A Little Friendly Cooperative Competition

It's good to see the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence (SIAI) growing and progressing at a fair pace. Recent announcements include a slew of new faces in new positions, including Ray Kurzweil for their board of directors, and a $400,000 matching challenge funded by Peter Thiel:

In the coming decades, humanity will likely create a powerful artificial intelligence. SIAI exists to confront this urgent challenge - the opportunity and the risk. We have built the infrastructure to expand our research, education, and outreach initiatives in 2007. Thanks to the generous support of our matching fund donors, we are announcing the $400,000 Matching Challenge, which, if successful, will help underwrite our expansion this year.

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The ideas of a singularity scenario and Friendly AI are powerful, but more importantly, relevant now. I support SIAI because they are making unique contributions to these critical areas of knowledge. I have pledged $200,000 in matching funds to the matching challenge to help grow the Singularity Institute, with an additional $50,000 available if half of the challenge is matched in the first 45 days. I hope you will join me as a donor, and support this important organization.

SIAI is probably the closest thing to a friendly competitor to the Methuselah Foundation, given that they knock on many of the same doors in search of funding and support. Competition is always a good thing between friendly parties - it keeps us on our toes, reaching for better results, and improves the rate at which fundraising strategies can be explored and refined. I'll be happy to see the two sides of the fence spur one another to greater effort and greater progress.

Given the long-standing connections between the forward-looking segments of the strong artificial intelligence and healthy life extension communities - the transhumanist community and friends, in essence - it's only natural that two of the most successful organizational outgrowths of those communities should be on such good terms.

It has come to pass, as such things often do, that the Singularity Institute and the Methuselah Foundation share major donors, there is an overlap of volunteers and supporters, important members have known one another for years and on, and key fundraising operations are held in much the same geographical locations these days. Should you wander into a strategy meeting for one organization, it might take a few moments of counting heads to work out which of the two it is. All the better to gently remind one another of the latest successes...

I am happy to say that 138 people and organizations have joined The Three Hundred since its launch, and each is helping to change the world for the better by funding the Mprize for longevity research and the SENS science sponsored by the Methuselah Foundation.

We're well on the way to filling half of the places in the The Three Hundred, and what a milestone that will be!

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