7 December 2009

Bangalore and the future of AI

Filed under: AGI, Bangalore, Singularity — David Wood @ 3:15 pm

I’m in the middle of a visit to the emerging hi-tech centre of excellence, Bangalore.  Today, I heard suggestions, at the Forum Nokia Developer Conference happening here, that Bangalore could take on many of the roles of Silicon Valley, in the next phase of technology entrepreneurship and revolution.

I can’t let the opportunity of this visit pass by, without reaching out to people in this vicinity willing to entertain and review more radical ideas about the future of technology.  Some local connections have helped me to arrange an informal get-together in a coffee shop tomorrow evening (Tuesday 8th Dec), in a venue reasonably close to the Taj Residency hotel.

We’ve picked the topic “The future of AI and the possible technological singularity“.

I’ll prepare a few remarks to kick off the conversation, and we’ll see how it goes from there!

Ideas likely to be covered include:

  • “Narrow” AI versus “General” AI;
  • A brief history of progress of AI;
  • Factors governing a possible increase in the capability of general AI – hardware changes, algorithm changes, and more;
  • The possibility of a highly disruptive “intelligence explosion“;
  • The possibility of research into what has been termed “friendly AI“;
  • Different definitions of the technological singularity;
  • The technology singularity in fiction – limitations of Hollywood vision;
  • Fantasy, existential risk, or optimal outcome?
  • Risks, opportunities, and timescales?

If anyone wants to join this get-together, please drop me an email, text message, or Twitter DM, and I’ll confirm the venue.


  1. Have you considered the possibility that the Singularity will happen before we have AI?

    Comment by Keck — 8 December 2009 @ 12:39 am

    • Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for your link – it’s an interesting article!

      On reflection, I think I agree with the comment made in reply by Robin Hanson: “I don’t dismiss nanotech; I just judge some form of AI to be a ‘more likely’ source”.

      Some evidence for my conclusion: your article links in turn to the fascinating Responsible Nanotechnology piece, “Building ‘Digital Matter’“. I saw that article at the time, and invited the person whose work it describes, Professor Philip Moriarty of the Nanoscience Group in the School of Physics at the University of Nottingham, to speak at a UKH+ meeting later that year, “How feasible is a nanofactory“. It was a fascinating talk, and this discussion we’re having now reminds me that I ought to catch up with what’s happened in that field since then.

      // dw2

      Comment by David Wood — 8 December 2009 @ 5:54 am

  2. For a credible analysis of expected dates for the emergence of human-level general AI, see this recent posting by Shane Legg.

    In summary: there’s a 90% probability window of this happening during 2018-2036. The single most likely year is 2025. The mean expected year is 2028.

    Comment by David Wood — 8 December 2009 @ 1:11 pm

    • I think that timeline is rather optimistic, given the admission that the cortex seems to be a much harder nut to crack than the rest of the brain, and the author is really just guessing what it might even involve. But even so, compare that timeline to this one: http://www.crnano.org/timeline.htm

      Comment by Keck — 8 December 2009 @ 2:28 pm

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