Re: the Singularity Summit and regulation of AI

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Wed May 10 2006 - 10:46:07 MDT

Bill Hibbard wrote:
> I am concerned that the Singularity Summit will not include
> any speaker advocating government regulation of intelligent
> machines. The purpose of this message is not to convince you
> of the need for such regulation, but just to say that the
> Summit should include someone speaking in favor of it. Note
> that, to be effective, regulation should be linked to a
> widespread public movement like the environmental and
> consumer safety movements. Intelligent weapons could be
> regulated by treaties similar to those for nuclear, chemical
> and biological weapons.

We (meaning Ray Kurzweil) tried very hard to get Bill Joy, but he simply
wasn't available for May 13.

> The obvious choice to advocate this position would be James
> Hughes, and it is puzzling that he is not included among the
> speakers. Can anyone explain why he is not included?

Stanford demanded a known, prominent Singularity skeptic - for their
definitions of "prominent" and "Singularity skeptic". When we couldn't
get Bill Joy, they gave us a list that included Bill McKibben, and
McKibben was the first person we asked who was available.

I confess that I didn't think of replacing Bill Joy with James Hughes to
speak for the regulatory viewpoint, but the speaker schedule was already
full at this point, and we only had one slot (the one that would have
gone to Bill Joy) to fill with a Stanford-approved skeptic. It is a
fair suggestion, if we could do it all over from scratch.

> The Singularity Summit should include all points of
> view, including advocates for regulation of intelligent
> machines. It will weaken the Summit to exclude this
> point of view.

The organizers seem extremely Summit-fatigued at this point, but maybe
we'll do another one someday... as it is, the speaker schedule is full
up and it's too late for any changes. The Summit represents a huge
diversity of views. *All points of view* is impossible. But, yes,
there were viewpoints we wanted from speakers we couldn't get. Vinge
wasn't available on May 13 either.

Ben Goertzel wrote:
> As an aside, I certainly would have liked to be invited to speak
> regarding the implication of AGI for the Singularity, but I understand
> that they simply had a very small number of speaking slots: it's a
> one-day conference.....

Indeed. Also, bear in mind that SIAI is only one organizer of the
Summit; and that the goal was to fit in all the viewpoints, rather than
all the people. Ben Goertzel and Eliezer Yudkowsky may seem different
if your accustomed environment is the SL4 mailing list, but from the
Summit's perspective, we represent viewpoints that are clustered very
close together in opinionspace.

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky                
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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