RE: Singularity Institute - update

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Wed Apr 30 2003 - 20:52:55 MDT

> As far as philanthropy goes, that doesn't seem like a likely source,
> even with the credentials. Philanthropists generally give money to
> causes they understand (which pretty much rules out SIAI).
> Philanthropy also provides a fairly tiny amount of money when compared
> to the other two sources, and that proportion is shrinking.
> So then the other realistic source of funding is grants. Granting
> agencies like credentials. They like PhDs and publications in peer
> reviewed journals. As Ben said, these credentials don't necessarily
> have to be yours, but they're useful for someone on the team to have.

What I have found is that scientific/technical philanthropists also like

Ideally, they like you to be an established scientist who has gotten grants
or industry funding and done mainstream research -- and THEN gone in a
slightly more adventurous direction, which the grant-funding bodies are too
conservative to fund.... Then the philanthropist can step in and feel like
they're being adventurous and supporting maverick work! But they have
confidence the maverick work is good because the people involved have
already proven themselves doing more "academically acceptable" work.

Also, rather than "philanthropists give money to causes they understand",
I'd say "philanthropists give money to causes they FEEL LIKE they
understand." The actual understanding doesn't have to be there, or can be
very shallow.... Many wealthy science buffs are really good at convincing
themselves they understand more than they actually do [well -- Ok -- a lot
of other humans have this trait too!!]

A well-received book on Friendly AI could well be enough to garner some SIAI
funding from one of the few-dozen significant science-oriented
philanthropists in the US....

-- Ben G

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