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

From: Olie L (
Date: Sun Jan 29 2006 - 21:15:14 MST

Richard's refusal: Not Strong Enough

>From: Richard Loosemore <>
>Subject: Re: Syllabus for Seed Developer Qualifications [WAS Re: Some
>considerations about AGI]
>Date: Sun, 29 Jan 2006 19:39:00 -0500
>Patrick Crenshaw wrote:
>>On 1/25/06, Richard Loosemore <> wrote:
>>>Huh? You don't need a PhD. in all of those subjects!
>>>It would certainly help to be well-rounded, but it is crazy to require a
>>>Ph.D. in (e.g.) M-Theory. Heck, a couple of undergrad physics courses
>>>and a dose of Brian Greene ought to be enough.
>>A dose of Brian Greene is just about useless. What could be very
>>useful for AGI is... thermodynamics.

Useful, possibly. How is it _necessary_?

Imagine a Seed AI encoded on DNA... Does anyone deny this as a possibility?

Imagine a project going about creating a Seed AI using DNA. Sure, it's an
arse-about way to go about it today, but if our genetics knowledge were
greater (times many many)...

The original physics developments needed to create such a seed AI? Nowt.

The advanced physics knowledge needed by the development team? Nowt

The simple physics knowledge needed by the team? Hrmmm... could be useful
to help the seed AI get a grip on reality... before it learned advanced
physics for itself.

The simple physics knowledge needed by most members of the development team?

Some well rounded knowledge could be useful to help the project know where
it doesn't need to go. F'rinstance, some Neurology and Quantum mech might
be useful for an AGI team to know that Penrose's "brain /= computing
machine" objections are, at best, tangential to AGI.

But not every team member needs to be a polymath.

Polymaths are useful. At least, I hope so, as I have a limited degree of
vested interest in demand for polymaths. But not every member of a team has
to be a pan-Paragon for the team to achieve amazing things.

Teams ought to combine individuals' skills and abilities in compounding
ways. They need to be able to communicate on the application of specialist
abilities. That doesn't mean everyone has to be an expert in all areas.

I'm not playing down what's required to be on a successful AGI team. Even
though I "get" (a lot of) AI and cog-sci theory, I can't programme for shit.
  So don't hire me.

But don't turn down a great neuroscientist/cog scientist with meta-math and
programming skills (think: Giulio Tononi crossed with Jaynes, with coding
skills) just because they don't know diddley about networking / operating
systems / number theory.

Put them in a team, and make them useful.

-- Olie

More examples:

- If the AGI project is not utilising nanotech, no nanotech knowledge is
required. If it's using existing nanotech (eg: nanocomputers supplied by a
3rd party, which are faster but appear identcal to conventional computers),
no nanotech knowledge is required.

- Much is made about rationality tools. Any AGI project will have >=1
rationality tool (eg: Bayesian reasoning), so all programmers will likely
have *some* connection to the AGI's use of rationality tools. But if they
can institute the programming, does it really matter whether or not the
programmers are themselves hyper-rational?

If they are knowledgeable and insightful, does it matter if *some*
teammembers have mediocre "Judgement Quotients"? If they occasionally have
a teary over which O/S they have to programme with, does this matter outside
of team morale issues? I fail to see how such natural deficiencies are a
problem with well managed teams.

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