Re: Why SIAI is a nonprofit

From: Michael Roy Ames (
Date: Wed Oct 27 2004 - 08:55:24 MDT

Samantha Atkins wrote:

> This [Eliezer's] bit of ageism is probably not that
> strongly justified. If you believe it is then
> please provide your evidence.

Indeed. There is little evidence that thinking ability declines with age,
and the evidence that we have indicates a very slow tailing off affecting
mostly the speed of processing rather than the depth. I have personally
observed, in myself and many others, that changing habits of thought have
far more effect on the level of mental output than any other factor. These
habits may be affected by one's age and socio-economic situation, but a
great deal of wilful control (of ones habits) is possible.

> I think you [Eliezer] are loading yourself up with a
> lot of pressure that does not serve you or the work.
> You are too good and have much too much to do to
> play super-hero.

Pressure, and expectations for particular behaviour, have a profoundly
negative affect on ones cognitive processes. This is a well established
experimental result. I second Samantha's wise advice: concentrate on the
job. You are not alone in this thing, although at times it might seem that

> Only so much can be done in your head.

Agreement. There is so much to learn by implementation of various parts of
FAI. Not the least of which is the deeper understanding of the problem by
the ones doing the implementing. There is a significant probability that
such partial implementations would help improve theory. At the very least
problem areas would be thrown into stark relief.

> If SIAI doesn't find a deeper source of funding and
> get some actual building the tech traction the
> people will continue to die.

It has to be said, and thank you Samantha for saying it this time. It is
definitely not too soon to start "building the tech traction". Who cares if
great gobs of code have to be thrown out if the theory needs to be revised?
Its almost certain to happen anyway, as that is the nature of blue sky

Michael Roy Ames

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