Re: AGI project planning

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Sat Dec 10 2005 - 13:19:24 MST


> I think to be
> useful you have to summarise you project plan into a set of
> major components, the key challenges for each, the dependencies
> between them, the resources assigned and a description of how
> the various capabilities your system should have will become
> available as you put the components together. Then you can
> label all that with confidence-bounded completion time
> estimates.

Yep, we have done that in the NM project, to a reasonable extent...

> Some people will probably still read it and reduce
> it down to 'they say they can do it in X years', but at least
> if you miss the deadline you can reference you project plan
> and show where you got things right and wrong, and meanwhile
> the people with a clue will be impressed that you made a
> serious effort to plan your project and justify your
> predictions.

Agreed. Perhaps part of he problem is that the intersection between
investors and "people with a clue" (about both AGI and software
engineering) is not very large ;-)

> > All of us on the team think the project has a nontrivial
> > probability of achieving human-level AGI
> I'm beginning to think that the phrase 'human-level AGI'
> has become an in-joke used on people who aren't clued up on
> how non-anthropomorphic (non-neuromorphic) AGI is.

I agree that it's a vague concept and it's not one that we use
internally in discussing Novamente development milestones, but it
seems to be useful for communicating with outsiders.

One concrete goal we are working towards, along these rough lines, is
the capability to hold English conversations at the same intellectual
level as an educated adult human (even if the English idiom may sound
weird). This is not precisely defined either but it is more
meaningful to me than the general notion of "human level

> > Unfortunately, it seemed that presenting our opinions and
> > attitudes honestly in this way turned off the investors,
> They usually prefer strong technical leadership that everyone
> else agrees with; having multiple people trying to impose
> their own directions on a project results in disaster unless
> those people are exceptionally competent and good at teamwork,
> consensus building and lossless compromise.

Well, the Novamente team *does* have a unified direction, but that
doesn't mean we have a unified opinion on every aspect.

In some cases where we have a Plan A and a Plan B for some aspect of
the system, there are some team members who think the ordering should
be reversed ... but everyone is still working according to the
decided-upon ordering (A first, then B) due to the need for overall

Regarding technical leadership, in the NM project it is understood
that I'm the conceptual leader and Cassio is the lead software
architect, but it's also understood that individuals involved with AI
R&D need a lot of latitude to creatively work out the details of the
components they're working on.

-- Ben

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