RE: Singularity Institute - update

From: James Rogers (
Date: Wed Apr 30 2003 - 16:56:03 MDT

Ramez Naam wrote:
> Instead of the roundabout strategy of writing a book on
> rationalism, how about:
> 1) Writing a book on your AI and FAI ideas?
> 2) Publishing your AI and FAI ideas in AI journals?

I can't speak for Eliezer, but it seems that doing this would reinforce some
of the existing underlying problems with discussions of the topic. The
problem is less that people need to be exposed to the ideas of AI, than that
they need to have their heads in the right conceptual place to even begin
considering it at a meaningful level. Getting people to change how they
conceptualize the world at a very fundamental level is the hard part in my

One of the biggest problems I've found in discussing many of the ideas I've
been working on is that the vast majority of people are lacking the
background fundamentals and conceptual context to see conclusions and
consequences that are "obvious" to me. And it isn't just a matter of simple
tutorial to get people up to speed, the amount of background and conceptual
understanding to make much of what I am talking about transparent is not
trivial to convey and much (most?) of it isn't even directly related to AI.
Consequently, I never delve into the real theoretical space that I'm
*actually* working in, because people generally aren't ready for it. I
don't have the time and most people don't have the attention span.

What it sounds like Eli is talking about writing is an immense tome that is
intended to provide the background conceptual space in which AI needs to be
considered. This is very different than writing a book *on* AI, and a much
more crucial resource for people interested in understanding AI in my
opinion. You can't show people how to run if they haven't even figured out
how to crawl.

> 3) Pursuing a PhD in AI? (which would force you to do #2)

A rather inefficient use of resources as I see it, and I suspect other
people will as well. Not that it isn't useful, just that it isn't an
optimal usage of time if you are in a hurry.

-James Rogers

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