[ExI] First PhD to an AGI

Tomasz Rola rtomek at ceti.pl
Sun Jul 15 23:02:21 UTC 2012

On Sun, 15 Jul 2012, Kryonica wrote:

> On 14 Jul 2012, at 22:37, Kelly Anderson wrote:
> > With our newly minted doctor in residence, the question occurs to me
> > as to when you think an accredited university will first award a
> > doctorate degree to an artificial intelligence? Anyone want to put
> > their bet into the pool as to when that might occur?
> > 
> > I'll go first, I'm guessing 2035.
> Later than that because academics will fear the competition in a world 
> in which the ONLY thing that distinguishes them from their cleverer AI 
> competitors is a piece of paper with "Ph D" printed on it.  So how long 
> will it take them to give in?  For computer scientists and 
> mathematicians, perhaps not that long because their fear will be 
> overcome by their admiration for their own brainchildren.  For people 
> working in the humanities, much longer.  Say 2050 for computer science 
> and 2070 for English or History.

Not sure about dates but agree on general attitude. For the same reasons, 
AGI will get engineering degrees easier.

>  And I think the first Ph D in Theology awarded an AI will only be so 
> after a long fight with the Vatican and only once the pope himself is a 
> cyborg.  Say 2250 or thereabout, judging from how long it took the 
> Church to come to terms with the theory of evolution.

I guess universities have lots of independency, and in such case one 
should not count on Vatican having much to say about this. Of course their 
suggestions might be listened to. Overally, whoever gives money to the 
uni, has a say about such thing. And I would expect some money involved in 
denying AGI any kind of independency. Like, if Wall Street had their owh 
AGI-based money machine, would they really allow growth of any idea 
suggesting money should belong to the software?

As of pope becoming a cyborg, this is doable anytime. All it takes are, 
for example:

- hip replacement

- ear implant

- connecting to dialyzer

- heart's pacemaker implantation

- implantation of total artificial heart

- any surgical procedure involving connection to cardiopulmonary bypass 
(we allow the pope to become a cyborg temporarilly, right?)

I wouldn't expect as much opposition from the Church officials as from the 
Church-goers themselves. Afterall, officials are expected to be educated, 
mostly modern folks, with PhDs and sometimes academic achievements. OTOH, 
we will wait and maybe we'll see who makes bigger opposition and for what 
reason :-). And BTW, why AGI would care it was denied PhD in Theology?

I mean, it is easy to fall into trap when one starts extrapolating future 
behaviour of institutions and people involved. For example, there was once 
Trofim Lysenko, who opposed Mendelian theory of inheritance and is said to 
have a role in purges of scientists researching genetics in USSR. If you 
don't know, sometimes this could mean not only you but your closest family 
and even further relatives or friends could go into prison or travel to 
Siberia - those travels were often unidirectional. Actually, I believe 
Siberia was preferred to prison, because there prisoners could be worked 
to death rather than having free prison meals. After all, if a geneticist 
was an enemy of people, he did not deserve a bullet, let alone calm and 
long life in prison.


About decade after Lysenko's star begun to fade, in 1966, Wlodzimierz 
Sedlak wrote a habilitation thesis "Mozliwosc odtworzenia poczatkow 
ewolucji organicznej na podstawie komponentu krzemowego" ("On possibility 
of recreating organic evolution's beginnings on a base of silicon 
substrate" - I'm not sure if this is the best translation, cannot spot 
anything better) - this one was from theoretical biology, but he also had 
PhD in pedagogy as well as made some pioneering research in bioelectronics 
- and he was a Polish Catholic priest, by the way.

Tomasz Rola

** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature.      **
** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home    **
** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened...      **
**                                                                 **
** Tomasz Rola          mailto:tomasz_rola at bigfoot.com             **

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