Day Two, First Speaker: Dr. Peter Norvig

Dr. Peter Norvig is Director of Research at Google. He spoke about the difficulty and inaccuracy of prediction, as well as his thoughts on how AGI will be developed.

Prediction by experts has been found by some researchers to be less effective if the expert knew a lot about particular subjects or were driven by underlying grand-unifying ideas. In effect, they become overconfident, thus clouding their ability to make predictions. The lesson learned from these observations is that any individual can have an opinion as good as an expert. Regarding the Technological Singularity and AGI, Norvig advised audience members to read, compare alternative views, keep up with the topics, and come to their own conclusions.

Norvig provided a list of AGI prequisites:

  • Probabilistic First-Order Logic – deal with uncertainties
  • Hierarchical representation and problem solving
  • Learning over the above
  • With lots of data
  • Online
  • Efficiently

Rodney Brooks asked Norvig if Google had observed any unexpected emergent behaviors that might suggest an emerging intelligence as sometimes depicted in science fiction movies. While there were unexpected problems and lessons learned, no unexpected emergent behaviors have been observed to date.

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Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet. His first published poem, "Roadside Freak Show," arrives on August 21, 2017 in Impossible Archetype.  His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (, on Goodreads (richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).