Re: Apollo Project to get to the Singularity

From: Richard Loosemore (
Date: Wed Aug 23 2006 - 16:30:12 MDT

Russell Wallace wrote:
> On 8/23/06, *Richard Loosemore* <
> <>> wrote:
> So let's please drop the IQ discussions and talk about whether an Apollo
> or Manhattan Project would make sense.
> Any takers?
> I think it does. Now we're not sure yet exactly what the best approach
> is - but then they weren't sure in the Manhattan Project either, so they
> funded several approaches simultaneously, all under the one roof so they
> could cross-fertilize. That's what I'd do if I had, say, $10M/year to spend.
> It's interesting how little this is on the scale of things (and it could
> probably be reduced further by relocating to a place with soft currency
> - Novamente does that to some extent, IIRC; a significant fraction of
> their team is in Brazil). Later, Google-scale infrastructure might be
> required - but that would only be after at least some working code had
> been produced.

Alas I think that the $10M/year would not be enough for an Apollo
Project. 10M is only really about what a single decent startup would
need to get through seed stage.

I think that a coordinated project involving one central agency that did
the core work, together with contracting out to many other companies,
would be the way to go.

Certainly it would be necessary to allow many different approaches, not
just one.

One of the big roles of the central agency would be to ensure that it
did not turn into a Pork Barrel. We do not want it to go the same that
nanotechnology has gone, with all the standard corporate welfare outfits
(er.. sorry I mean major corporations) creaming off the money to do what
they were doing anyway, rebadged with the word "Singularity").

THE interesting question for me, however, is this: could a community
based project get its act together to do what NASA did for spaceflight,
but without government backing? We would not want governmet backing if
we could help it, because the conditions today are not the same as they
were in the 1960s, and I believe that the project would be
pork-barrelized today where it was only partially true back then.

And of course, it goes without saying that the other main role of the
central agency would be to devote time and energy to safety
(friendliness) issues.

I'd be prepared to initiate such a project right now if the startup
funds were available, because I believe it could actually work. And in
case I am not being clear, I don't mean just another advocacy group or
think tank, I mean a project to get concrete things done.

Richard Loosemore

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