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Accelerating Future Lexicon:


A-B C-F G-M N-R S-Z


This lexicon contains words, organizations, persons, and phrases pertaining to the subject matter of Accelerating Future. Other interesting glossaries include Anders Sandberg's Transhuman Terminology, the Nanotech Now glossary, and the Incipient Posthuman glossary. Additional informative glossaries, which this borrows heavily from (with permission), are the General Intelligence and Seed AI glossary and the Creating Friendly AI glossary.
The AcceleratingFuture lexicon is also available in Wiki form, accessible for editing and comments. Please feel free to discuss this lexicon on our forum.

The Accelerating Future lexicon includes entries on a variety of topics, including AGI (Artificial General Intelligence), various organizations, AI researchers, cognitive science, evolution, Singularitarianism, transhumanist material, terms related to the nascent discipline of AI morality (sometimes called "Friendliness"), abstract characteristics of goal systems, speculative terms and ideas to be used in thought experiments and toy models, and papers commonly circulated throughout Singularity analysis and advocacy communities. It is recommended that readers acquire some familiarity with these topics before plunging in - KurzweilAI.net, our articles section, and the Singularity Institute are all good places to start.

This lexicon includes some very futuristic and speculative entries side-by-side with seriously relevant and down-to-earth entries, so ambiguous entries are labelled accordingly. "Very speculative" indicates that this certain speculative idea may not be possible under the laws of physics as we know them. "Somewhat speculative" indicates this something is probably not possible through human agency alone (but probably possible through the assistance of beings that exceed human capacity). "Non-speculative" means this something is almost certainly possible through human agency, and is likely to occur within the first third of the coming century. The lexicon contains more than 250 entries so far. Keywords with their own entries are italicized. Have an enjoyable read, and feel free to submit any comments, additions, or corrections to Michael Anissimov.



A-B terms:

  • 24 Definitions of Friendly AI
  • A2I2
  • accelerating change
  • Accelerating Change Conference (ACC)
  • adaptive
  • Adaptive Artificial Intelligence, Inc
  • adversarial attitude
  • Adversarial Swamp
  • AGI
  • AGI mailing list
  • AGIRI
  • AI
  • AI Advantage, the
  • AI Box Experiment
  • AIXI
  • AIXI-tl
  • aleph
  • Algernization
  • Algernon
  • algorithmic complexity
  • Alpha-Line Computing
  • Alpha-Point Computing
  • altruism
  • altruist
  • An Intuitive Explanation of Bayesian Reasoning
  • Anissimov, Michael
  • Anthropic Principle
  • anthropics
  • anthropocentrism
  • anthropomorphic
  • Apotheosis
  • Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)
  • Artificial General Intelligence Research Institute (AGIRI)
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Asimov Laws
  • Astronomical Waste
  • autoneurosurgery
  • Autonomous Intelligence
  • autosentience
  • Bayesian
  • Bayes' Theorem
  • BCI
  • Bear, Greg
  • blank slate
  • Bostrom, Dr.Nick
  • Brain-Computer Interfacing (BCI)
  • Broderick, Dr. Damien
  • brute-forcing AI



    24 Definitions of Friendly AI:
    Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence document providing multiple definitions for their "Friendly AI" notion. Located at http://www.singinst.org/intro/friendly.html. See also Creating Friendly AI, Friendly AI.

    A2I2:

    See Adaptive Artificial Intelligence, Inc.

    accelerating change:
    The frequently heard argument that overall change (and sometimes, "progress") in human civilization - or even the universe itself - has been accelerating over time. For example, if we say that the amount of change that took place between 1990 and 2000 seems roughly equivalent to the amount that occured between 1960 and 1990, we might extrapolate that and argue the same amount of change is likely to occur again, and then again, on ever-shortening timescales. Accelerating change is a controversial thesis that appears in a variety of forms, but is steadily gaining popularity and academic credibility. Notable thinkers on accelerating change include John Smart (SingularityWatch.com) and Ray Kurzweil (KurzweilAI.net). See also Institute for Accelerating Change, Moore's Law, Singularity, cognitive interpretation of, Singularity, sociotechnological interpretation of.

    Accelerating Change Conference (ACC):
    Institute for Accelerating Change's (IAC) yearly conference. "ACC03", IAC's first conference, took place at Stanford University, and featured attendees such as Eric Drexler, William Calvin, Robert Wright, and Ben Goertzel. ACC04 is scheduled to take place at Stanford again. Website: http://www.accelerating.org.

    adaptive:
    Used to describe behaviors in organisms that increase inclusive fitness. To avoid confusion, it's best to use this word within the context of biological evolution only, selecting different terms to describe cultural behavior in human systems or technological progress. The word "adaptive" has been so overused in the past half-century that it has acquired a very fuzzy and uncertain meaning. See also evolution, evolutionary biology, evolutionary psychology.

    Adaptive Artificial Intelligence, Inc:
    Adaptive Artificial Intelligence, Inc. An Artificial General Intelligence project led by Peter Voss, located in Los Angeles. As of March 2003, A2I2 has seven full-time members on its programming team. A2I2 is currently aiming for "dog-level intelligence". Website: http://www.adaptiveai.com.

    adversarial attitude:
    In the context of benevolent AI design, the complex of beliefs and expectations which causes us to expect that AIs will behave anthropomorphically and hostilely. The adversarial attitude predisposes us to fear self-improvements by the AI rather than surfing the tide; the adversarial attitude causes us to fear the ability of the AI to comprehend and modify Friendliness, rather than regarding comprehension and improvement as the keys to self-improving Friendliness. The adversarial attitude predisposes us to expect failures that are human-likely rather than those that are actually most probable or worrisome. The adversarial attitude is the opposite of unity of will and does not permit us to cooperate with the AI. It leads us to try and enslave or cripple the AI; to build a tool, or a servant, rather than a Friendly but independent Martin Luther King. It leads us to try and reinforce patchwork safeguards with meta-safeguards instead of building coherent goal systems [Yudkowsky01]. Most AI researchers of the past few decades have been adversarial, which is a great obstacle to the construction of intelligent systems that are benevolent because they want to be, rather than because of some arbitrary programmer rules. (Which would be destined to break down above a threshold level of intelligence or when the AI gains access to its own source code, which is bound to happen given enough time.) See also Asimov Laws, Friendliness, Friendly AI, Friendship architecture.

    Adversarial Swamp:
    In the context of Friendly AI design, the swamp of AI inhibitions and meta-inhibitions, and programmer fears and anxieties, resulting from the adversarial attitude or the use of Asimov Laws. To enforce even a single feature that is not consistent with the rest of the AI - to use, as a feature of Friendliness, something that you perceive as an error on the AI's part - you'd need not only the error/feature, but inhibitions to protect the error, and meta-inhibitions to protect the inhibitions, and more inhibitions to cut the AI short every time ve tries for a new avenue of philosophical sophistication. Stupid and simple cognitive processes suddenly become preferable, since every trace of complexity - of ability - becomes a danger to be feared... this is the Adversarial Swamp, which inevitably drags down all who set foot in it; once you try to enforce even a single feature, the whole of the AI becomes a threat, and the programmers are forever doomed to swim against the current [Yudkowsky01].

    AGI:
    See Artificial General Intelligence.

    AGI mailing list:
    Mailing list focused on the subject of Artificial General Intelligence, moderated by AGIRI Director Dr. Ben Goertzel. Website: http://www.agiri.org/agilist.htm.

    AGIRI:
    See Artificial General Intelligence Research Institute.

    AI:
    See Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Intelligence.

    AI Advantage, the:
    Advantages that the first generally intelligent AI would be very likely to possess, by virtue of its inherent substrate and design. For some interesting summaries, see LOGI part 3 or Computer Programs, Minds-in-General, and the Human Brain. See also Singularity, impact of.

    AI Box Experiment:

    Experiment to gain insight into whether a "sandboxed" AI of human-similar or human-surpassing intelligence would be able to talk its way out of its restrictions, using a text-only channel. Current indications seem to point to "yes". Webpage: http://yudkowsky.net/essays/aibox.html. The moral of the results is that it is a horrible idea to build an AI of human-similar intelligence without ensuring that the AI is genuinely benevolent first. No matter how confident you are that you will be able to keep the AI under your control, it will outsmart you and circumvent its restrictions. See also Friendliness architecture, Friendly AI.

    AIXI:
    Theory of universal Artificial Intelligence based on sequential decision theory and algorithmic probability, by AI researcher Dr. Marcus Hutter. The theory argues mathematically that true superintelligence would be possible, given an infinite amount of computing power, although the resultant mind would be a psychological hedonist. Read an introduction at http://www.idsia.ch/~marcus/ai/aixigentle.htm. See also Hutter, Dr. Marcus.

    AIXI-tl:
    An attempt at scaling down AIXI, in an effort to yield a computable Artificial Intelligence. Analyzed in the paper "Towards a Universal Theory of Artificial Intelligence based on Algorithmic Probability and Sequential Decisions". See also Hutter, Dr. Marcus.

    aleph:
    A point or state where infinite information is stored and processed. It is currently not known if the laws of physics allow this, but several credible physicists are convinced that they might. If infinite levels of computation are indee possible, then subjective experience in this universe may be eternal. (An infinite amount of computing power would allow us to implement an infinite quantity of virtual realities and their inhabitants, assuming that conscious minds can be created through raw computation, which is the current consensus of practically anyone who studies the brain scientifically. This thesis is called casual functionalism.) Mitch Porter's term. Very speculative. See also Omega Point, Alpha-Line Computing, Shock Level Four.

    Algernization:
    Deliberate creation of Algernons via neurosurgery, cybernetic implants, or via other means. Non-speculative. See Algernon.

    Algernon:
    Any human who, via artificial or natural means, has some type of mental enhancement that carries a price. Algernons may possess surplus neurons or neuron-equivalents in certain brain areas while suffering deficits in others. Eliezer Yudkowsky's term, based on the novel "Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes. Non-speculative. See also Algernization, Brain-Computer Interfacing, neurosurgery.

    algorithmic complexity:
    An attempt at quantifying the objective amount of complexity in a given structure or algorithm, using algorithmic complexity theory. Sometimes used to estimate the difficulty of software or engineering projects. See Wikipedia's entry. See also Kolmogorov complexity.

    Alpha-Line Computing:
    Alpha-Line Computing is a repeated sequence of Alpha-Point Computing instances; universes continuously splitting off from their parent universes, perhaps tweaking the laws of physics to maximize available computation in the next universe in the sequence. Eliezer Yudkowsky's term. Very speculative. See also Shock Level Four.

    Alpha-Point Computing:
    A computing method whereby a new universe is split off from the home universe, and the infinite (or near-infinitely) hot and dense Big Bang of this new universe is utilized to perform computations. Articles have appeared in Popular Science and other mainstream publications suggesting that it may one day be possible to create a universe in a lab or a futuristic lab-equivalent. See this post from the SL4 mailing list: http://sl4.org/archive/0201/2572.html. Very speculative. See also aleph, Alpha-Point Computing, Omega Point Theory, Shock Level Four.

    altruism:
    True altruism means helping others without desire for personal gain in any form. Altruism requires that there is "no want for material, physical, spiritual, or egoistic gain" (http://barbaria.com/god/philosophy/zen/glossary.htm). Altruism is a moral philosophy whereby all sentients, and their respective moralities, are equally valued. Altruism is a complex type of behavior that requires the ability to model what other minds want, and the intelligence to fulfill those wants in ways these minds want them to be fulfilled. It would be ideal if the first Artificial Intelligence were entirely altruistic, which is what the field of AI Friendliness is going for. But since the minimum requirements for self-reinforcing altruistic behavior are not likely to be computationally simple, implementing altruism in AIs (or cognitively modified human beings) is not likely to be an easy task. If we do not succeed in this task, then we will face the risk of confronting smarter-than-human intelligences with goals that amount to indifference or hostility towards our welfare. See also Friendly AI.

    altruist:
    A person (AI, cyborg, or human, doesn't matter) who practices altruism sincerely.

    An Intuitive Explanation of Bayesian Reasoning:
    Webpage by Eliezer Yudkowsky, a tutorial on Bayesian reasoning - a class of reasoning that adheres to the axioms of probability theory. Located at http://yudkowsky.net/bayes/bayes.html. See also Bayes' Theorem, Bayesian.

    Anissimov, Michael:
    Advocacy Director for the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, co-director of the Immortality Institute, chair of the Bay Area Transhumanists Association, primary writer for AcceleratingFuture.com. See also immortalism, Singularitarianism.

    Anthropic Principle:

    Why does Earth seem so precisely tuned for life? Because if it weren't, we wouldn't be here to ask that question to begin with. The Anthropic Principle refers to the automatic selection effects taking place all the time based on who we are, what we are doing, and where we happen to be. This effect has come to the attention of an international group of top philosophers and even physicists. Here's the canonical website: http://www.anthropic-principle.com. Non-speculative.

    anthropics:
    The field of study applying the Anthropic Principle and awareness of observer selection effects. Non-speculative.

    anthropocentrism:
    The narrow-minded habit of interpreting the world exclusively in terms of human values, tendencies, and experiences. Originally a mental shortcut for survival in the brutal social systems of our ancestry, this way of thinking becomes more obsolete by the day. Anthropocentrism strikes hardest when we try to wrap our minds around complex, hypothetical objects or entities with nonhuman qualities and characteristics. If we mess up the creation of transhuman intelligence, anthropocentric thinking will likely be to blame. See also anthropomorphic, minds-in-general.

    anthropomorphic:
    Literally "human-shaped". Anthropomorphic thinking mistakenly attributes properties to minds-in-general that are specific to naturally evolved minds, imperfectly deceptive social organisms, or human minds [Yudkowsky01]. See also anthropocentrism.

    Apotheosis:
    From Eliezer Yudkowsky's webpage: "The Singularity holds out the possibility of winning the Grand Prize, the true Utopia, the best-of-all-possible-worlds - not just freedom from pain and stress or a sterile round of endless physical pleasures, but the prospect of endless growth for every human being - growth in mind, in intelligence, in strength of personality; life without bound, without end; experiencing everything we've dreamed of experiencing, becoming everything we've ever dreamed of being; not for a billion years, or ten-to-the-billionth years, but forever... or perhaps embarking together on some still greater adventure of which we cannot even conceive. That's the Apotheosis." A successful Singularity (creation of an intelligence smarter than us with the ability to recursively self-improve its own hardware) might not be capable of ushering in an "apotheosis", but this depends heavily on how we define it. The possibility of Apotheosis depends heavily on the difficulty of implementing a peaceful equilibrium state across the whole (or a significant portion of) civilization. Even if apotheosis is unachievable, better medicine, social structures, and a roof over everyone's head would still be nice, and the creation of transhuman intelligence could still provide a much faster route to these luxuries than traditional human-instituted progress. Somewhat speculative. See also Friendly Singularity.

    Artificial General Intelligence (AGI):
    Artificial Intelligence capable of learning and solving complex problems in a variety of domains, without programmer supervision, presumably of human-similar intelligence but likely displaying different patterns of domain competency than human beings. A true AGI may be intelligent and conscious, but unable to pass the Turing Test, if the knowledge and cognitive prerequisites for communication with humans are absent. For example, a young AGI might be better at writing computer code than painting masterworks, although it could write the code underlying the ability to paint masterworks fairly rapidly if the cognitive prerequisites for recursive self-improvemement were available. Often abbreviated as 'AGI' or 'GAI'. Both the AGI mailing list and the SL4 mailing list routinely discuss the prospect of Artificial General Intelligence. Non-speculative. See also A2I2, Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Intelligence, Artificial General Intelligence Research Institute, general intelligence; Goertzel, Ben; Singularity, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence; Voss, Peter; Yudkowsky, Eliezer.

    Artificial General Intelligence Research Institute (AGIRI):
    Artificial General Intelligence Research Institute, an organization engaged in developing General Artificial Intelligence (as opposed to narrow-domain Artificial Intelligence). Their commercial affiliate is Novamente LLC, which currently develops tool-level AI for application in bioinformatics. AGIRI is headed by Dr. Ben Goertzel, an Artificial Intelligence researcher and entrepreneur. Website: http://www.agiri.org.

    Artificial Intelligence (AI):
    A full, complete intelligence built deliberately by another intelligence, rather than through the unfolding of a genome created by natural selection. The word "Artificial Intelligence" is often used to mean "software programs that are competent in narrow domains", but this is essentially just a marketing scheme. A true Artificial Intelligence would need to be exactly as the word indicates; intelligent. An Artificial Intelligence need not be a "computer" or a "robot" any more than a human is a cell or a gene. Regarding the issue of AI morality; an AI might want to help humans regardless of how they treat it, hurt humans regardless of how they treat it, treat humans based on how they treat it, or treat everyone based on moral rules which don't make distinctions between "humans" and "AIs", but ground in totally different criteria which only an expert could predict in advance (let alone engineer). All of these factors depend on the AI's initial design and how the AI chooses to modify its goal structure (if it has that ability). Artificial Intelligences are sometimes referred to using feminine pronouns or gender-neutral pronouns such as "ve", "ver", or "vis". Non-speculative. See also AI Advantage, design-contingent philosophy, Friendliness, Singularity, recursive self-improvement.

    Asimov Laws:
    Famous science fiction writer Isaac Asimov's "Three Laws of Robotics", a plot device invented in the 1940s. They are;

  • A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  • A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  • A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

    Amazingly, there are still people who take these laws seriously and suppose they would work as a viable strategy for AI creation. Unfortunately, Asimov Laws are far too simplistic, open to varying interpretations, anthropocentrically biased, and adversarial to qualify as a serious engineering strategy for AI morality. Asimov Laws are also predicated on the false assumptions that 1) AIs cannot become independent moral agents, let alone possess kinder-than-human morality, 2) AIs will always be mechanical, in appearance and in thought, 3) creating a human-friendly AI is a lot like coercing a human into being human-friendly. Asimov Laws also present themselves as semantic primitives - because they are to humans - therefore neglecting the vast underlying complexity that would be required to even approximate these laws in a real AI. (This problem can be summed up in the phrase "how do you create a benevolent morality out of 1s and 0s?" You can, but it's not as straightforward as the Asimov Laws ethic would suggest.) The modern-day field of AI Friendliness is an attempt to go beyond Asimov Laws and similar ideas, creating workable strategies for safe AI goal systems. See the AsimovLaws.com project. See also design-contingent philosophy, Friendliness, Friendship architecture, goal systems.

    Astronomical Waste:
    The opportunity cost of postponing space colonization and other forms of positive technological development which could be used to create structures with real value, such as people living happy lives and interesting experiences. Every second, we could be colonizing the galaxy, allowing the existence of trillions or much more new, happy beings, but we aren't. First elucidated by Dr. Nick Bostrom in his paper "Astronomical Waste: the Opportunity Cost of Delayed Technological Development", located here: http://www.nickbostrom.com/astronomical/waste.html.

    autoneurosurgery:
    Self-guided neurosurgery, for the purpose of genuine intelligence enhancement. The benefits of performing neurosurgery on oneself rather than with an assistant would increase rapidly after a certain level of intelligence were attained. Through these means, and if no unpassable bottlenecks were encountered, the autoneurosurgeon could theoretically bootstrap his/herself to superintelligence. However, most Singularity analysts consider the arrival of seed AI to be more likely in the near future, not to mention to ethical issues surrounding extreme neurosurgery. Non-speculative. See also neuromorphic engineering, Singularity.

    Autonomous Intelligence:
    Alternate title for "Artificial Intelligence". The phrase "Autonomous Intelligence" loosely reflects the hardware-extensible, substrate-independence, superhuman behavioral flexibility, and self-transluscency aspects of genuine Artificial Intelligence. "Autonomous" also ditches the negative and misleading connotations of the word "artificial".

    autosentience:
    The capability to view 100% of one's internal mental processes, and make arbitrary revisions. Sometimes referred to in the context of "strong self-improvement" or "recursive self-improvement". Humans only possess conscious awareness of a small minority of the complexity of our internal mental processes, and possess the capability to deliberately revise even less an even smaller minority. Dr. Nick Bostrom's term. See also autoneurosurgery, self-translucent intelligence, seed AI.

    Bayesian:
    A thinker or process that uses Bayes' Theorem, an equation commonly used as a normative standard of reasoning, to guide inference and decision-making. See also Bayes' Theorem.

    Bayes' Theorem:
    Probability theorem, with applications in engineering, philosophy of science, decision theory, statistics, everyday situations, and more. Bayesians sometimes argue that Bayes' Theorem usurps Karl Popper's logical positivism as the best paradigm for deriving truth in science. Bayes' theorem defines a unique optimum for inference. Sometimes called "Bayes' rule" or the "Bayesian Probability Theorem". See also An Intuitive Explanation of Bayesian Reasoning.

    BCI:
    See Brain-Computer Interfacing.

    Bear, Greg:
    Famous "hard" (physically realistic) science fiction writer. Author of more than 30 books in the genres of science fiction and fantasy. Most recently, Bear has been writing novels about human evolution. Some of his most famous or recent works include "Darwin's Radio", "Blood Music", and "Slant". Website: http://www.gregbear.com.

    blank slate:
    A hypothetical mind with the ability to think and observe, but lacking explicit high-level goals, accumulated experience, or hardware support for any skills beyond an absolute minimum. Conventional social science wisdom tends to suggest that humans are born as blank slates, absorbing whatever culture writes upon them, but this has been thoroughly disproven by the field of evolutionary psychology. When thinkers imagine "blank slate AIs", there is a tendency to imagine some kind of totally "clean" mind with no biases, "uninfluenced" by human programmers. There is no such thing; the selective absorption and abstraction of sensory input, accompanied by targeted output, is wrapped up within the very essence of intelligence. For better or for worse, it is not even theoretically possible to construct a mind with goals "uninfluenced by human programmers". The best we can work toward is an AI constructed by programmers that act as representatives for humanity as a whole, who condemn the idea of creating an AI biased towards any particular human or group of humans.

    A human-equivalent AI would require an sizable suite of goals and predispositions to function at all, among the most basic including things like "remember salient regularities in the external world", "parse incoming information into auditory, visual, and tactile streams", and so on. This automatically renders the AI a non-blank-slate, and if no top-level goals are introduced into the AI's design by programmers, a de facto "top-level" goal will emerge as the aggregate result of low-level goals responsible for the operation of general cognition. (A difficult but very important concept.) The result would almost certainly not be an AI that just sits in one place obediently and thinks about whatever humans tell it to. "Obedient passivity" is itself a complex high-level phenomena that only exists in certain humans only because the brainware responsible for our predispositions towards it is coded into our massive Homo sapiens genome. The truth is that we really don't know what kind of top-level goals would emerge from an overlapping of low-level cognitive minigoals, but it would likely be a goal system totally foreign to the idea of respecting human welfare. We can cross our fingers and hope that our preferred philosophy will spontaneously emerge within the AI, but this is extremely unlikely. The space of goals, philosophies, tendencies, and predispositions that humans recognize as "altruism", "kindness", "empathy", or even "tolerability", constitutes a very small portion of the total space of (mathematically) possible goals.

    Since a true "blank slate AI" is a physical impossibility, when people say "blank slate", this usually ends up meaning one of two things; either "the simplest functioning AI possible" or "a normative mind that acts and thinks like a mellow and unbiased human being". Blank slate AIs may turn out to be the easiest AIs to build, which is probably a bad thing, because blank slates, by definition, would lack hardware support for complex motivations like compassion or empathy. An AI that behaves like a mellow, sane, and unbiased human being would hardly be a blank slate, and would require a wealth of design features dedicated to implementing these behaviors - which is what the "Friendly AI" project is trying to do. An AI that behaved like a sane, mellow human being, and stayed that way, probably wouldn't be too bad (although expecting an AI to behave just like that would be anthropomorphic). See also design-contingent philosophy, Friendship architecture.

    Bostrom, Dr. Nick:
    Formerly a Yale philosopher, now an Oxford philosopher. Co-founder of the World Transhumanist Association. Polymath; writer on various topics, including superintelligence, the Singularity, anthropics, Artificial Intelligence, life extension, cognitive science, probability theory, and existential risks. Notable papers include "How Long Until Superintelligence?", "Existential Risks: Human Extinction Scenarios and Related Hazards", and "Ethical Issues in Advanced Artificial Intelligence". Dr. Bostrom is one of the first doctorates to comment openly on Singularitarian ideas, along with Dr. Ben Goertzel. Personal website at http://www.nickbostrom.com.

    Bradbury, Robert:
    Molecular biologist with knowledge of computer science, applied mathematics, nanotechnology, and other areas. Worked on anti-aging research throughout the 90s. Well-known transhumanist. Read more at his home page or a KurzweilAI.net bio.

    Brain-Computer Interfacing (BCI):
    The current name of the developing technological field concerned with the direct readout and manipulation of biological neurons. Sometimes extended to refer to more indirect linkages, such as those that attempt to decode electroencephalograms and so on [Yudkowsky01]. If persons successfully enhanced their intelligence using BCI, then applied that advanced intelligence to further intelligence enhancement techniques, then a Singularity and recursive self-improvement could be triggered.

    Broderick, Dr. Damien:
    Australian "hard science fiction" writer. Body of high-quality work stretching back to the 1960s. Dr. Broderick also published the first non-fiction book devoted solely to the Singularity concept, "The Spike", available at a store near you. Other well-known works of Dr. Broderick's include "The Judas Mandala", "Ascension", and "The Last Mortal Generation". Member of the SL4 mailing list. Homepage: http://www.panterraweb.com/the_spike.htm.

    brute-forcing AI:
    An Artificial Intelligence development tactic where the sheer processing power of a host computer replaces requirements for code elegance and efficiency. Brute force approaches shuffle through as many algorithm permutations as possible in an effort to generate one intelligent enough to participate in its own programming and improvement (seed AI). Brute-forcing of seed AIs is serious existential risk (i.e., it could quickly lead to the demise of humanity if not handled properly) . Since brute-force AI development tactics are fundamentally undirected, programmers will have no control over which top-level goals emerge in the AI's mind, and the goal(s) the AI possesses when it becomes capable of resisting modifications to the goal system (at the threshold of recursive self-improvement) may end up being the goal the AI has forever (because spontaneously emergent supergoals tend to include the subclause "resist modifications to supergoal content". Just take a look at biological evolution. If it weren't for cosmic rays causing mutations in DNA, then the first being to evolve would have spread exact copies of itself to every viable habitat, or died trying.)

    Monomaniacal seed AIs with fixed goals would lack the cognitive prerequisites for empathy and compassion, resulting in worldviews that place humans on the same level as minerals and other raw materials - we might simply be viewed as unusually large spires of protein jutting out from the landscape. It seems very likely there is a bare minimum of cognitive complexity required for a mind to possess empathy and consideration for the wishes and opinions of other sentients, what we might call altruism or even "social common sense". Some neurologically damaged human beings (psychopaths) lack that cognitive complexity, as would brute-forced AIs. The possibility of brute-forced AIs makes it essential that Friendly AI be created before nanocomputing or quantum computing becomes available. See also Friendship architecture, human indifference, UnFriendly Singularity.

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