Sunday, May 21, 2006

Seminal Singularity and AGI events

Two recent events, the Singularity Summit on May 13, 2006 at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA and the Artificial General Intelligence Research Institute's Workshop on May 20-21, 2006 in North Bethesda, MD featured many of the key people known to be involved with the singularity and artificial general intelligence (AGI) movements respectively in side-by-side presentations and were seminal in crystallizing the progress to date in these areas and the dramatic degree of future progress required. Two of the key challenges appear to be:

1. the siloed thoughts of individuals for the most part completely without collaboration and not sharing a common nomenclature (particularly in the singularity area), and

2. the theoretician's anti-action bias

After decades, it is still the early days where theory not action dominates which suggests that collaborative, open-source models could be most productive for reaching goals. Ongoing focus workshops could help formalize the singularity and AGI movements, attract funding and facilitate collaboration or at minimum discussion of key problems. A technology roadmap could be a key tool developed at these meetings, the meetings being like IEEE technical committees having regular schedules and targeted problem areas, and could help overcome the reticence of theorists, academic and otherwise, to take action in service of achieving singularity/AGI objectives.

In the singularity area, a marketing, outreach and policy organization, perhaps somewhat similar to nanotech's Foresight Institute, could help the movement articulate an agenda and popularize the ideas and offer ways for people to get educated and involved. Seen from a business lens, some simple steps could be taken to move the singularity movement to a broader audience: injecting marketing (e.g.; for starters, identifying the agenda and who is the audience, what is the message and how to position the message to the audience) and facilitating the above-mentioned workshops to demolish ego-heavy siloes and anti-action bias.