RE: An essay I just wrote on the Singularity.

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Wed Dec 31 2003 - 11:02:23 MST

Michael Anissimov wrote:
> I also think it's important that we present the FAI meme
> in a way that doesn't focus on Eliezer so much - even though he
> originated the idea, FAI-esque thinking has been going on for the past
> decade or two, and its present day supporters include ...

As an aside, I'm slightly curious about the extent to which it's true that
Eliezer "originated the idea" of Friendly AI.

I'm fairly certain he introduced that particular phrase, but is it really
true that no previous author wrote any kind of systematic essay on the
topic? I haven't done historical research on this, and I'm wondering if
anyone else on this list has. If anyone digs up any ancient history in this
regard, please let me know -- not so much because I'm interested in who has
"priority" on the idea, but because I'd like to read what was written about
the topic in the past.

Of course, it's not at all true that Eliezer was the first one to think at
length about the topic -- I thought about it plenty years before Eliezer was
born, and many sci-fi folks thought about it decades before I was born, etc.
But I'm wondering if anyone in the past took the trouble to write something
clear and systematic about it, before Eliezer came along?

This kind of historical question isn't so easy to resolve, of course,
because old writings tend not to be on the Web unless they're famous...
there's actually a significant historical research problem here.

-- Ben G

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