Re: Einstein, Edison, & IQ

From: justin corwin (
Date: Thu Nov 17 2005 - 11:41:43 MST

On 11/17/05, Michael Anissimov <> wrote:
> Note that A2I2, despite informing thousands of people in the
> transhumanist community, has not yet received responses to their queries
> for AGI programmers (to my knowledge).

Well, this is obviously not true. I was hired nearly two years ago,
after knowing about a2i2 since it's inception. Our most recent hire,
David Raw, was a lurker on sl4 and applied for a job after he
completed his CS degree.

We have had quite a few interviews, and we currently have pending
applications although this isn't really the place to discuss it.

Suffice to say that we do need more people, and thus far, the
transhumanist culture has been the richest source of talent we've
found that had both the skills and the interest to do good work. (past
employees like David McFadzean, Richard Kowalski, and others before my
time have been very key to the project)

> I agree with Michael Vassar that we have an unfortunate tendency to
> overestimate the average intelligence of human beings. The Internet allows
> us to selectively isolate ourselves within relatively high-IQ communities.

One very important aspect of internet networking is that it's a
positive interaction. You don't talk to other people on sl4
incidentally, and thus only know what you or they have made a point to
establish. So it's easy to 'fill in the blanks' about the other person
out of assumed similarity.

I think that online communities depend on a certain blurring and
assumption of shared identity in order to get over the fact that
people don't have geography or family/work associations to hold them
together, which is fine. But it's important to realize that there
isn't really an 'average sl4 reader' opinion, because the barriers to
entry are both low, and there is little harmonizing experience, other
than the common experience of reading the list. Thus there is of
course a 'most common opinion' amongst sl4 readers, which is not the
same thing at all.

The point of my digression here is that it's easy to isolate yourself
in specialist interest groups, but it's also possible to overestimate
how many people agree with you there, and why. I would caution against
naive sociological conclusions based on your sense of such a

Justin Corwin

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