Re: Apollo Project to get to the Singularity

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Sun Aug 27 2006 - 02:08:49 MDT

Hi Richard,

> 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-;

This is just a quick message from an Internet cafe' near the
campground I am currently staying in (on Texel, an island off the cost
of Holland which is very peaceful and also features a sanctuary for
injured seals...)

I will reply to this from two perspectives...

First of all, given what I know about Novamente, my own view is that
the Novamente project can get to AGI within a reasonably brief period
of time (well before Kurzweil's 2029 for human-level AGI), if
reasonably funded (something I'm working hard on).

Next, what would I say on this topic if I were *not* in possession of
what I believe to be a viable design for an AGI (and an in-progress
code base being created by a too-small but excellent and appropriate

I would say that an optimal use of resources would be to fund **both**

1) a collection of small teams focused on mostly-independently
pursuing their own creative and idiosyncratic approaches to AGI

2) a collection of teams focused on building tools to support the
creation of AGI, including programming languages, operating systems,
visualization tools, novel hardware, novel mathematical analysis and
code formalization techniques, etc.

Feedback between the two sets of teams would be strongly encouraged.

Further, I venture that a funding initiative like this WILL exist at
some point, if Novamente or some other group does not initiate a hard
takeoff before the governments of the world get around to it....

An AI renaissance will almost surely occur, spurred partly by the
realization that AI is achievable in a matter of decades and that the
potential positive economic and social implications of this are
tremendous. But whether the renaissance will occur via a maverick
group creating a hard takeoff, or via a systematic funding effort such
as the one described above, is less certain. I'm betting on my own
maverick group, but I've sought here to give a broader opinion
independent of my own thoughts regarding the potential of my own

ok ... back to the beach and the seals (and some interesting thoughts
about the theory of language learning, which I may share with yŠll
when I return from this vacation ;-)

-- Ben G

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