"Every perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination."
-- Gerald Edelman, Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge
2 Why not work on artificial general intelligence （AGI） or brain-computer interfaces （BCI） instead？4 Why not work on artificial general intelligence （AGI） or brain-computer interfaces （BCI） instead？Why not work on artificial general intelligence （AGI） or brain-computer interfaces （BCI） instead？How can we develop transformative tools for thought？2020-10-18Journal
Similarly, the invention of other tools for thought – writing, the printing press, and so on – are among our greatest ever breakthroughs. And, as far as we know, all emerged primarily out of open-ended exploration, not in a primarily goal-driven way. Even the computer itself came out of an exploration that would be regarded as ridiculously speculative and poorly-defined in tech today. Someone didn't sit down and think “I need to invent the computer”; that's not a thought they had any frame of reference for. Rather, pioneers such as Alan Turing and Alonzo Church were exploring extremely basic and fundamental (and seemingly esoteric) questions about logic, mathematics, and the nature of what is provable. Out of those explorations the idea of a computer emerged, after many years; it was a discovered concept, not a goal. Fundamental, open-ended questions seem to be at least as good a source of breakthroughs as goals, no matter how ambitious. This is difficult to imagine or convince others of in Silicon Valley's goal-driven culture. Indeed, we ourselves feel the attraction of a goal-driven culture. But empirically open-ended exploration can be just as, or more successful.