James Martin Mentions Singularity as a Reason for his £36m Donation to Oxford

This is from an article in the Guardian reporting on the donation, which is among the top 5 largest that Oxford has ever received:

“My view is that while we may be distracted by today’s credit crunch, we must not forget the bigger picture,” he said.

“We need to safeguard a future for the generations that follow us. We urgently have to work towards solutions to critical global challenges like climate change, world population growth and the impact of the singularity in computing.”

Singularity is when machines surpass human intellect.

“That’s why I want to inspire further financial support and new kinds of collaboration with my offer of matching funds,” Martin said.

John Hood, the vice-chancellor of Oxford, said Martin’s generosity showed that “despite the global economic downturn, there are philanthropists willing to support the world’s leading universities”.

I do hope that he inspires further financial support for Singularity efforts, and not just at Oxford!

Comments

  1. Belisarius

    Some or all of that could go to Nick Bostrom’s group at Oxford.

  2. Well, since the Future of Humanity Institute is a part of the James Martin 21st Century School, some of the donations will indeed go to us. But we of course *get more* if people donate to FHI in particular. If you donate X to us, JM doubles it and the School gets half of that, so we get 1.5X.

    It was pretty impressive hearing him talk about the singularity while we were standing under the 550 year old gothic vaults of the divinity school. Especially since I had just come from a lecture on international governance, and the singularity had been mentioned offhandedly there too.

  3. Isaac J.

    Excellent to hear. Did the funds actually go to research and actual programming or to theory development?

  4. The FHI doesn’t do AI research or programming, but it has done extensive analyses of the possibility of whole brain emulation and the ethics of advanced AI. This is an academic think tank that puts out papers, if you’re not familiar with the FHI.

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