Re: [agi] Two draft papers: AI and existential risk; heuristics and biases

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Wed Jun 07 2006 - 13:19:34 MDT


> FAI is a genuinely new problem, and it requires new science. Was the
> theory of evolution created by a community "getting off its butt and
> building consensus"? How about special relativity? Thermodynamics?

FAI involves science, mathematics and philosophy (ethics) mixed together.

Special relativity and thermodynamics are IMO not particularly good comparables.

I happen to agree with you that consensus-building is not going to be
effective at cracking the FAI problem, but I do feel that collective
discussion may be useful. BUT, collective discussions on the topic on
this list have become quite dull in recent years due to the excessive
repetition of a handful of speculative points of view (including my
own ;-). What would be nice would be to have more creative, diverse
brainstorming on the topic by a variety of different thoughtful
people.... That might lead to the generation of new ideas that would
spur someone to create new, relevant science and mathematics....
(Hey, one can always hope!!)

> You can't do good science by firing off quick e-mails and agreeing with
> people. You have to think. You should probably think by yourself,
> because when human beings form groups, they stop thinking and start
> politicking.
> My recommendation is to spend some time learning existing science and
> mathematics. Maybe then you'll be in a position to develop new science.
> There are plenty of people who never will learn any science. Fine, you
> don't have to listen to them. Why care about consensus?

Hmmm.... Knowing Mark Waser (the person you're replying to) F2F, I
happen to know that he does know plenty of science and mathematics and
has built a variety of AI systems for commercial deployment over the
last 20 years. He also has spent plenty of time thinking by himself.
My opinion is that Mark is definitely in a position intellectually to
create important new science, although he seems to be very busy with
commercial work these days. I'm not sure why you assume that he is an
ignorant and non-thoughtful person just because he is interested in
consensus-building!!! ;-)

-- Ben G

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