RE: AI hardware was 'Singularity Realism'

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Sat Mar 06 2004 - 10:22:48 MST

> >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
> >in 2-3 years with an investment of $20 million for staff and
> If you can make a strong case I think it could be funded without much
of a
> problem.

Keith, I am curious what funding sources you're thinking of.

The major science and technology funding bodies in the US are very
tightly tied into the "narrow AI" research programme and very skeptical
of radical approaches to AGI. This is in spite of the fact that they've
spent hundreds of millions of dollars on narrow AI programs (Cyc being
the flagship example ;-) without obtaining dramatic returns either
scientifically or economically.

So, if by a "strong case" you mean a case that will convince AGI
skeptics such as the folks at the National Science Foundation -- I guess
this essentially means "something like young-child-level human
intelligence has been achieved and what remains is teaching of the
system and refinement of the algorithms." I have no doubt that once we
get to this point, ample funding will be available. Also, by this
point, the political issues associated with AGI will become important --
the Luddites will start paying attention....

The problem is doing the work to get our AGI design (Novamente)
implemented and tested and tuned to the point of skeptic-convincing,
young-child-level human intelligence. Getting the funding for this work
is the problem.

Fortunately, the Novamente project *is* funded; however, the funding is
for commercial applications of the partially-complete codebase, which
allows us to do some fascinating and important application work, and to
push the AGI project along slowly, but not to proceed rapidly toward AGI
in the way that we would attempt if we had pure AGI research funding.

> But I don't think anyone right now has a clear idea of what it would
> to build an AI by other means than a simulation of a human brain.
> (Correct
> me and send pointers if someone *does* know.)

Obviously, I think I do have a clear idea in this regard. However, our
AI design has not been published or presented on the Internet. We plan
to publish a lot of material on Novamente sometime in the not too
distant future, probably early 2005 it looks like. Writing up stuff
like this in a quality way is time-consuming, and time spent writing
needs to be balanced against time spent doing.

-- Ben g

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