Re: Why I'm not more involved with academia

From: Eliezer Yudkowsky (
Date: Sat Oct 23 2004 - 10:14:59 MDT

Ben Goertzel wrote:
> In fact, knowing you moderately well as I do, I think that getting a PhD and
> becoming an academic would be a reasonably good choice for you.

Thanks, but no thanks. I'd love to live on a college campus, ideally
within easy walking distance of the main technical library. I'd hate to
actually *work* there.

> Getting the PhD would be fairly easy for you,

I am skeptical.

> and once you had it, you could get a job as a professor,

I am highly skeptical.

> guaranteeing you a lifetime income,

Getting tenure isn't difficult or anything, is it?

> with fairly minimal duties

Join the Army, learn to repair trucks. (And kill people, but that almost
never happens.)

> beyond doing and publishing your research. And, perhaps more
> importantly, you having a PhD would make it significantly easier for SIAI to
> raise money for your research.
> Personally, I benefited a lot from the research-time I obtained via being an
> academic for 8 years; and in my business pursuits now, I'm taken more
> seriously than I would be otherwise because I have a PhD.
> There's something to be said for boldly forging your own path in life, but
> there's also some value to playing the games of the society you're embedded
> within.

There's also something to be said for thinking outside the box. Much
faster to recruit an existing PhD as spokesperson than take the long
circuitous uncertain route.

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky                
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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