AGI Sputnik moment

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The IBM computer Deep Blue defeated world chess champion Gary Kasparov in a highly publicized event, creating a narrow AI Sputnik moment.

An AGI Sputnik moment is a term coined by Ben Goertzel during a 2011 interview. It describes a moment when some project or program makes an impressive demonstration of AGI and convinces the general public and private entitites of its feasability. The author proposes that if that moment happens somewhere soon, the funding and investment in AGI development through computer science that would ensue would make it surpass other approaches, such as brain simulation.

The phrase refers to the successful launching of the Russian satellite Sputnik, which demonstrated the possibility of space technology to the public. This event triggered the ensuing space race between the United States and the Soviet Union, leading to long-term funding of space projects from both governments. The analogy is not meant to imply government funding for AGI, only that the event convinces non-specialists of the practicality of AGI. Goertzel expressed desire towards this type of demonstration as a method of gaining funding for OpenCog, his AGI project.

It has been argued that, because very little research has been published on AGI safety, encouraging AGI research on a global scale would increase the risk of creating UFAI. This might cause government's retraction from such projects and the development might stall. When considering such ideas, Goertzel and Pitt argue that open research would decrease the chances of such perception. At the same time, they also note that after an AGI Sputnik moment, AGI research will rapidly progress, and any attempt to regulate it will be either futile or dangerous.

Further Reading & References