RE: Introduction TRANSPLANTED from seedaiwannabees.

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Wed Sep 07 2005 - 07:14:15 MDT

Justin Corwin wrote:

> I
> can't think of any one person who can seriously be credited not only
> with innovative theories, but a complex final design of a nontrivial
> part of our world. Things are much too complicated for that.
> Especially software design, wherein the interactions (even inside a
> system that could be said to be designed by one person) are often
> entirely unexpected to the designer.
> I suppose it just seems very unrealistic to imagine that all the
> relevant complexity could be solved, designed, communicated to drones
> or done personally, all by one person in any kind of reasonable
> time-scale, if it were possible at all. AI in particular is not just
> an architectural and theoretical problem, but many many
> implementation, engineering, and "mere" software design issues.

I agree completely.

Given the current state of hardware/software tech, it is not feasible
for one person to put together a seed AI.

And it's not feasible to envision seed AI as cleanly dividing into an
"AI layer" and an "implementation layer", with the maverick genius
doing the former and his drones filling in the latter.

At the present time, there needs to be a fair bit of feedback between
these two layers of any wannabe-AGI system, even if they are *reasonably*
well separated.

On the other hand, this may not be the case in another 15 years, once
hardware and software have advanced considerably.

So what I would say is: If some small team of individuals doesn't create
AGI in the next 5-20 years, then perhaps some lone maverick will do it
20-40 years from now, once technology has developed far enough to support
lone-maverick activities in this area.

The reason we don't see lone mavericks building significant, large,
real-world systems is that there are a lot of people in the world, and
teams generally emerge to do the job before the underlying support tech
reaches the point to enable individual-maverick activity.

> To load examples a bit, I could hold up Google, ostensibly a simple
> innovative idea by two graduate students. But upon closer inspection,
> the actual reality of google is the interaction of much more than
> that. Sergey and Larry did not design the cluster architecture it runs
> on, nor the Google File System which contains their database, nor the
> MapReduce implementation that underlies their fast response time.


Now, in 30 years, implementing Google may be a one-man job, because all
these support technologies will be commoditized. But there are many
enterprising humans, so many valuable things get done when they're still
at the "needs a team to do it" stage, in terms of the availability of
underlying support technologies.

> Quite aside from the time aspect, a single person is simply
> too prone to conceptual mistakes and self induced theory blocks. As
> optimistic as I am about mental plasticity, I don't' think any one
> person can really solve all the problems that are theoretically within
> their intelligence and ability. People get stuck, or lack inclination,
> or prefer to focus on more interesting problems, or simply run out of
> innovative ideas.

I think this is a far weaker point.

While what you say is statistically true, there may always be exceptions
to this sort of rule....

I am much more in sympathy with your prior comments about

a) the sheer mass
of details involved in a large-scale engineering project making use of
immature technologies

b) the difficulty of separating the purely-scientific from engineering-
oriented aspects of a complex engineering project

-- Ben

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