Re: 'Singularity Realism' - A few thoughts

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Fri Mar 05 2004 - 19:28:11 MST

At 10:33 PM 05/03/04 +1300, Marc wrote:

>Some thoughts on the future: If you're commited to
>the task of Creating FAI, you need to realize that
>you're in it for the long haul. Utopian visions of a
>Singularity in only 5-20 years are almost certainly
>fantasy (although I'd love to be proved wrong).
>People at the forefront of research are almost always
>far too over optimistic about how long it would take
>to achieve major breakthroughs. Fundamental knowledge
>about general intelligence is still missing. It is
>estimated that only about 2% of everything there is to
>know about cognitive science is known. Even with
>exponential progress, 100% knowledge wouldn't be
>reached for another 40-50 years.

I am reminded of Xanadu hypertext, a project I was around for more than a
decade and involved with at the programming details level at the very end.

In spite of involving some really smart guys (including Eric Drexler) for a
number of years, they never did solve all the problems of building a
perfect hypertext engine. It is possible that the full set of problems as
they stated them were impossible instead of just being very, very hard.

But, as it turned out, it didn't matter. The Internet and the World Wide
Web came along. With URL links and search engines they did most of what
Xanadu was trying to do *without* solving the hard problems.

Does this have application to the FAI problem? Darned if I know.

Keith Henson

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