Re: Apollo Project to get to the Singularity

From: Richard Loosemore (
Date: Fri Aug 25 2006 - 14:22:00 MDT

Charles D Hixson wrote:
> Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
>> J. Andrew Rogers wrote:
>>> Community-based AI research is the idea that having a clue is an
>>> emergent property of having enough people without a clue in one
>>> room. And I use "emerge" in the "magic happens" sense here. I would
>>> make the observation that most productive AI research seems to be
>>> done by people who have shown little interest in community-based AI
>>> research, which would suggest that the "community" aspect is quite
>>> irrelevant to their progress. It is not as though there are not
>>> plenty of community-based AI research projects in existence.
>> The Japanese Fifth Generation project was exactly this sort of
>> project, only better funded. I wonder what went wrong. ...
> The Japanese PR claim was that it was that sort of project. Actually it
> was an attempt to bootstrap the Japanese computer industry and support
> their mainframe builders. Nothing went wrong. You can argue that they
> didn't get their money's worth, but it was a pork-barrel project, so
> that's not an arguement.
> Actually, they were starting too soon to achieve the kind of
> breakthrough they were announcing they were trying for...and it would
> still be too soon. At this stage what should be funded are lots of
> relatively small projects...say 8 college kids & their parent's garage
> size. Aim for "just graduated" and "dissertation work" to stretch your
> money. DON'T pay top dollar, aim to build skill sets. Require that the
> government (or other investors) get 50% of all profits & of all IP (all
> three kinds). Provide a "business services" unit to oversee compliance
> with relevant laws. (Presume that EVERYONE hired under this program is
> a all overhead is born by the investors, and that means
> business licenses and tax law compliance as well as everything else.)
> After a year, demand a proposal for a "demonstration" that they think
> that they'll be able to do in a year, then allow them two years to build
> it. If they fail, all of their work becomes Open Source (BSD or GPL?)
> and funding is cut in half. And they get a year extension.
> That kind of thing. This shouldn't be expected to yield any
> breakthroughs, but LOTS of skill development and SOME technical
> progress. And a few modest successes.
> I can see also funding around 1/3 as many projects at 3 times the
> funding, but these would need to be more carefully selected, and would
> need to show something before starting. And possibly 1/9th as many
> projects at 9 times the funding. etc. At each step the criteria for
> selection would need to be more than proportionally stronger. The idea
> here is not to create a monopoly, but a strong base. Monopolies are the
> WRONG direction.
> OTOH, would anyone here really want to merge their project into one that
> was run by the government? Defense contractors end up spending a lot of
> time lobbying Congress for support, and the government places insane
> restrictions on their businesses. And they tend to favor a very few
> large companies that they can, essentially, totally control. (I'll
> grant that the original transformation of the defense contractors was
> slow, but new ones are expected to fit into the existing framework
> immediately.)
> FWIW, and frustrating as it is, I suspect that underfunded and free is a
> better state for technical and philosophically correct development. I
> also expect that the government is already funding lots of AI
> projects...and that it's those that need to be beaten if one desires FAI
> as opposed to UFAI.

I can't say I agree with your position.

I just do not think that lots of little, random projects are going to do
it. I see the need, for example, of sophisticated software tools that
would transform the field: and if I am right about that, then it will
never happen because nobody is going to be disciplined enough to do
that. Too big; too structured.

Lone hackers we have plenty of. People with a smattering of knowledge
and a passion for coding, we have plenty of. Don't know that that is
where we should be encouraging things along.

Government does not only fund big outfits with lots of constraints. They
also give money to little ones with few constraints. But they have to
perceive a direct *need* for the product. AGI has no purpose except to
take over the world, so they wouldn't really , uh, be, uh...
interested.... 8-;


Richard Loosemore

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