His struggle to bring reality to“sci-fi” origin of life research is Intro of the Walter Bradley Center’s inspiration for our work on AI:
The Bradley Center hopes to have a similar effect by promoting more general knowledge of fundamental issues around “thinking computers and questions around the real effects of technology on human well-being.
A friend sought to involve him in evolution issues in the mid-Seventies. He didn’t see how he could help; his specialty was materials science, where the subjects are interesting, “but they’re also dead.” He offered to evaluate research into the origin of life instead because he could better evaluate claims for the chemistry of non-living materials. There, he encountered a surprise: “It was very clear to me that they were absolutely like science fiction. They had so many claims and so little basis. And I was appalled that you had refereed journals that seemed to talk about these things as if they had real merit and real explanations.
And he resolved to do something about it.
See also: A philosopher muses on why machines are not creative: Creativity does not follow computational rules He worries about something quite different from the usual robots-are-coming concern, “It is entirely possible that we will come to treat artificially intelligent machines as so vastly superior to us that we will naturally attribute creativity to them. Should that happen, it will not be because machines have outstripped us. It will be because we will have denigrated ourselves.”