RE: Robot that thinks like a human

From: Nick Bostrom (
Date: Wed May 18 2005 - 17:38:51 MDT

Michael Wilson wrote:

>thinking and rationalisation usually means that they succeed. Nick
>Bostrom is trying to kick-start a debate that might manage to
>convince (reasonable chunks of) academia otherwise, but don't hold
>your breath.

Just to clarify my view: Could academia play a useful role in Friendly AI?
Perhaps eventually, but I agree with Michael - don't hold your breath. I
don't think the time is ripe. Shooting for targets of opportunity is fine -
e.g. by getting some of your writings into print, or funding a selected
individual here and there. I wouldn't recommend SIAI spending its limited
resources on attempting to start a general academic debate right now.

I think it would be great if Friendly AI theory became a serious academic
topic. Academia does contain lots of good brains that devote themselves
full-time to theoretical topics once they become "legitimate" research
areas. But I doubt the preconditions are in place yet for this to happen.
Academia is only now beginning to pay serious attention to human
enhancement ethics (~SL1), so there's still quite some way to go.

Nick Bostrom
Faculty of Philosophy, Oxford University
Tel: +44 (0)7789 74 42 42 | Web:

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