Re: Syllabus for Seed Developer Qualifications [WAS Re: Some considerations about AGI]

From: Marieke Willis (
Date: Sun Jan 29 2006 - 13:48:50 MST

--- "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <> wrote:
> At the inaugural colloquium of the Redwood Neuroscience Institute,
> there
> was a discussion among some (major, prestigious) computational
> neuroscientists about what kind of degree they'd most like to hire.
> Some said neurology, some said electrical engineering, but then one
> person said, "I'd rather have someone with a degree in physics,
> because they can learn anything," and the rest nodded agreement.

??? -People with a physics degree can learn anything, as opposed to
people with a degree in neurology or ee? People with a physics degree
can severely lack in memory, and in social/communication skills.
Speaking of which, if I were you I'd emphasize the communication skills
requirement more. Not the "you should be capable of communicating with
anyone", but if you want to be part of a team you should be capable of
communicating well with other members of the team. About technical
things and about non-technical things. Because someone not being able
to communicate his annoyance with one of the other team-members and the
problem hence escalating could be real BAD. Having majored in
Biomedical Science & Engineering, AI, EE, and Neuroscience at different
universities for smaller and larger amounts of time makes it real
obvious to me that in all of the areas you might find people from there
are tons of people who are severely lacking in people skills (which
doesn't mean that I wasn't/am not one of them).

> The most
> important requirement, obviously, is that the one be able to learn
> anything. It is also indispensable that the one already be a math
> talent, and have some experience programming, because there are some
> things I'm not willing to bother teaching.

I'd rather teach a brilliant person math/programming than teach them
how to communicate, self-control, emotional stability, etc. That said,
I agree that math/programming is extremely important. Now, a brilliant
person should be capable of learning all the prerequisite
math/programming on his own without much help from anyone, but that
doesn't mean you should hire someone who doesn't meet those prereqs. I
thought the article was alright, it said way too much obvious stuff for
me, but knowing normal intelligent people I think that that's likely to
be necessary.


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