RE: 'Singularity Realism' - A few thoughts

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Fri Mar 05 2004 - 20:59:33 MST

> I'll make a more controversial statement, though: I think that if the
> world WANTED a Singularity in, say, 5-8 years, it could quite possibly
> get it. A Manhattan-project-style attack on the AGI problem could
> potentially yield dramatic results in a 2-3 year period.... However,
> the powers that be do not seem to have a belief-system oriented in
> direction at all, so this statement of mine is basically irrelevant in
> practical sense.
> -- Ben G

Of course, if I speak from my gut, I must admit don't even think it
would take a Manhattan Project style effort. I think I could get there
in 2-3 years with an investment of $20 million for staff and hardware.

A core AGI team shouldn't number more than 7-8 people, working very
closely together and without distractions. And the needed hardware
should cost just a few million dollars at current prices (I like the
Octiga bay supercomputers, but a network of 64-bit servers maxed-out on
RAM would do the trick too). However, more staff would be VERY useful
for things like building visualization tools, doing software testing,
building code to link the AI system to various perception/action
devices, etc. Having this kind of "peripheral" work taken care of
competently and systematically could, I suspect, make the difference
between success in 2-3 years and success in 5-7 years.

I think I'll get there in time anyhow, even without funding beyond what
we're already getting from our (currently) small-time commercial
endeavors ... but money could certainly buy time.

Now, set aside my faith in my own Novamente AGI project ... and imagine
that not only my project but 25 other AGI projects were similarly funded
for the next few years, at a cost of half a billion dollars.

The odds of getting a human-level AGI would pretty dramatically
increase, wouldn't they....

But unfortunately, the US would rather spend money sending someone to
Mars or going back to the Moon or whatever ... which is very cool, but
is only a greater priority than AGI, biotech and nanotech under a very
na´ve belief system...

-- Ben G

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