Re: AGI funding (was Re: Some bad news)

From: Slawomir Paliwoda (
Date: Sat Nov 09 2002 - 19:14:27 MST

Ben wrote:
> I have an acquaintance who's a PR agent, and he basically does what you
> describe. What he has that you and I don't, however, is
> 1) A better understanding of how to phrase things so as to interest media
> people, who get WAY more story suggestions each day than they can possibly
> act on. Instead of one blurb on an idea, he'll create dozens of blurbs,
> phrased specifically for different media people, based on his knowledge of
> their different psychologies and interests.

Yes, I was just merely suggesting the direction, not the detailed
description of how to get there. It goes without saying that you would
create dozens of versions of
what you would like to communicate, depending on who you would sent it to. I
before you can send anything you would need a good knowledge of what your
want. Then you would just give it to them (no lies, though), and hope for
the best.

I would also like to point out that this kind of story suggestion
(AGI/Singularity) should stand out among others. Plus, if you send different
versions of your message to 30 places and do it, say, once a month, then
sooner or later one of them will perhaps be made into some article. Then,
when the remaining media targets are being contacted, the message could be
made more attractive if the reference to the already existing article on the
subject is made in it. Note, that such a reference would make the new
writer's job much easier.

> 2) Most importantly by far: **An outstanding network of media contacts.**
> He knows a huge number of reporters and editors and producers personally.
> So when he has an idea he wants to publicize, he creats spiffy little
> descriptions of his idea, and sends them to his contacts. They know he's
> suggested good stuff to them before, so they read his stuff, unlike most
> the things people send their way.

Yes, this is where professional PR agents have a huge advantage.

> Without this kind of understanding and Rolodex, sending out press releases
> at random is like sending unsolicited music tapes to music companies, or
> unsolicited fiction manuscripts to book publishers. It's hard to be heard
> among all the noise out there.

True. The question is, therefore, whether the idea of contacting the media
should be abandoned. I don't think it should. If you consider that fear of
the unsolicited suggestions being rejected by media may eventually prevent
you from getting funding for AGI research, then I guess that contacting the
media makes sense after all. It's not pleasant or "nice" tactic but if it
helps in any way in the quest to bring about safe Singularity, then I think
I can live with it.

One more thing. News media is not exactly a music or book publishing
company. If I report some event or development of relevance to the society,
then that's news, which is not in the same category as just another
unsolicited tape that nobody cares about.

> Unfortunately, this particular PR guy I know charges $20K/month minimum,
> I don't think he'll work for the Singularity or AGI for free...

Hiring PR agents is therefore out of the question.

> Among other campaigns, this guy did the PR campaign for the Republic of
> Sealand (a bunch of freaks who took over an abandoned oil platform in the
> North Sea, declared it their own country, and started a data haven there).
> Among other things, he got them a cover story on Wired... which brought
> their data haven fuckloads of business...

There you go :). Now if you were a writer for Wired and had two suggestions
for a story. One about "a bunch of freaks who took over an abandoned oil
platform" and the other about AGI research that may lead to Singularity,
which one would you want to write about?


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:41 MDT