RE: SIAI: Donate Today and Tomorrow

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Sun Oct 24 2004 - 08:00:15 MDT

> Every academic I know tells of the death by a thousand cuts that is the
> academic life. But I will defer to Dr. Ben Goertzel for a more
> considered opinion on whether academic standing, papers, symposia and
> so on leads to more funding and research opportunity for doing SAI.
> - samantha

There is, in my view, very little chance of Eliezer or anyone else getting
significant research funding for FAI from the typical academic grant funding
sources (NSF, DARPA, etc.).

However, if Eliezer were to go the academic route, he could probably get
grant funding for AI research (without mentioning his FAI focus in his grant
applications); and this funding could then be used to support AI research
with a strong FAI aspect.


While I think that academia would be a decent place for Eliezer, it's clear
that he has a strong bias against following this path, so I'm going to
propose another suggestion.

Without actually getting a PhD, Eliezer could increase his reputation among
academic thinkers via presenting his ideas in a more traditionally
acceptable form. This is important for fundraising because when you
approach a wealthy potential donor for donations, they will often check with
their "pet academics" to see if you're kosher or not. So it's better if you
have a decent reputation among the academics.

A start toward this would be for Eliezer to write a systematic treatment of
his ideas about FAI in the form of a (technical or semi-technical book), to
be published by a typical academic press. It's easier to get eccentric
ideas published in book form than in academic journals, because the
refereeing process is different.

It may seem odd to recommend paper publication of ideas that are already
online, but the fact is that paper publication is taken more seriously by
the powers that be. And I think that the process of putting one's ideas
into a more "permanent" form often forces one to tighten up one's lines of

Furthermore, there are plenty of European universities that will give a PhD
based on research only, no coursework. After publishing a treatise on FAI,
it might well be possible to get a PhD on the basis of that book. I have
some particular European university connections that might be helpful in
this regard. I also believe I could help with the publication of the book,
as I know a few editors at academic presses.

-- Ben

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