RE: AGI awareness (was Re: AGI funding)

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Mon Nov 11 2002 - 04:24:41 MST

> But, seriously, I really hope that "Real AI" book does well. It's a real
> opportunity to do some serious promotion of AGI research which I
> guess would
> be perfect for places like Wired or Tech TV. You would really score big,
> though, if you could get a chance to be interviewed by Tech TV. They've
> already had people like Merkle and Kurzweil (promoting both his
> last books)
> on, for example, and they always give their guests an easy time there. One
> time, they even mentioned
> extropians in their news. That was a shocker. Plus the exposure
> is not only
> nationwide, but also international.

Well, the strategy is a bit more indirect than that.

The "Real AI" book is going to be too academic/technical of a book to be
promoted widely in this manner.

However, if it's successful, it will result in AGI research *not* being a
laughingstock among academic AI people, or at least not being *as much of* a
laughingstock. My goal is mainly that AGI be accepted as an eccentric and
speculative but nonetheless professional and reasonable field of AI
research. It is not even at that level of acceptance now.

If the AGI field can be brought to this (fairly measly) level of
recognition, then

a) research grant funding from the NSF, DARPA, etc. will become more

b) when an AGI-related press release is sent to a journalist, and they call
their "on-call AI expert" for some quick advice, the advice (on average)
won't be quite so dramatically negative

This will be a step forward.

> Of course, the real winner would be some working AGI-software. This would
> open up many doors.

If the Novamente design is right, we will get there in time, even without
any AGI funding at all.

The question of funding is merely a question of decreasing the time to
success by a factor of, say, 2-5.

Part of the reason I *haven't* been focusing on fundraising for AGI is that
I've been spending a lot of time on actually getting AGI work done, and
there are only so many hours in the day....

Similarly, if Eliezer comes up with a correct design (and I believe there
are many correct designs), he will probably get there in time even without
funding, as well. But the process will be a lot longer and more annoying
for him...

One of the wonderful things about AGI research is that a lot of it can be
done on commodity PC's, unlike nanotech or biotech which tend to require
very expensive specialized equipment. It's true that we would progress
faster if we had a whole bunch of PC's for testing. But still, it's great
that we are able to progress at all in the absence of AGI funding -- and we

-- Ben G

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