SIAI Canada Academic Prize for 2008

This morning I received the wonderful news that I’ve won the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence – Canada Academic Prize for 2008!

The award is in “recognition of [my] efforts to improve AI theory” and is worth CAD $10,000.  This will certainly help my budget over the next two years while I study at the Gatsby Unit in London.  So, thank you to SIAI Canada, and to all the Canadians whose donations made this money available!

Speaking of my research, after a long weekend of final edits, corrections, formatting, indexing, embedding fonts and other complexity (I’ll write a blog post about what I had to do at some point), I’ve finally uploaded my thesis “Machine Super Intelligence” to lulu.com and have ordered a test copy.  Once I’ve checked that everything is ok I’ll let you know where copies can be ordered.  Copies should be USD $18 plus shipping for a 200 page casewrap hardcover.  Probably about in a month…

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4 Responses to SIAI Canada Academic Prize for 2008

  1. Ben Williamson says:

    Congratulations!

  2. Jey Kottalam says:

    Congrats! Will a PDF version be available? I don’t want to kill a bunch of trees if I end up only skimming through your thesis. :)

  3. Shane Legg says:

    @Jey:

    Thanks.

    I’ve been thinking a bit about this in terms of what strategy is the best. The problem is that a pdf gets printed, skimmed, and discarded after being partly understood. These people, armed with their half baked understanding, then head to the internet. The result is endless mail list discussions about things like AIXI and Solomonoff induction that are full of technical sounding nonsense. As much of it critical, I suspect that being misunderstood is worse than being relatively unknown.

    A book, on the other hand, leaves a physical pointer in the world for decades to come. Its cost discourages skimmers and maybe even encourages those who buy it to spend a bit more time on the material as they have already spent the money. Of course I wouldn’t want to stop serious but poor readers.

    So what I’m going to do is this: Firstly I’ll release it in print only, but I will release it at cost. I figure that most people who aren’t willing to spend $18 on a 200 page hard cover book probably aren’t willing to really think about the material either.

    Then a few months later I’ll put up the pdf for free…

  4. Jey Kottalam says:

    Makes sense, and US$18 is really not bad. You might want to offer a secured PDF purchase option too. Many people find electronic documents more convenient.

    FWIW, I disagree with the idea that people who skim are less likely to understand the material, or that a person who buys a hardcopy is more likely to understand. It’s probably true that the people who buy hard copies are more likely to be “serious” about it, but that’s no guarantee of understanding.

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