Cullen_OKeefe's Shortform

by Cullen_OKeefe22nd Nov 20204 comments
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Should EAs prepare to start stockpiling N95s when the pandemic is over? There will presumably be a lot of excess capacity, so later this year it may be easier than usual to buy up a ton on N95s and store them for the next few years.

Random, time-sensitive charity idea: start a pledge drive for people who have received their COVID vaccine to contribute the cost of at least one vaccine to the COVAX facility. Unfortunately, Americans can’t directly donate to COVAX, but people from the UK can.

Although I've seen some people say they feel like EA is in a bit of an intellectual slump right now, I think the number of new, promising EA startups may be higher than ever. I'm thinking of some of the recent Charity Entrepreneurship incubated programs and some new animal welfare orgs like the Fish Welfare Initiative.

The venerable Judge Easterbrook appears to understand harms from unaligned AI. In this excerpt, he invokes a favorite fictional example among the AI risk community:

The situation is this: Customer incurs a debt and does not pay. Creditor hires Bill Collector to dun Customer for the money. Bill Collector puts a machine on the job and repeatedly calls Cell Number, at which Customer had agreed to receive phone calls by giving his number to Creditor. The machine, called a predictive dialer, works autonomously until a human voice comes on the line. If that happens, an employee in Bill Collector's call center will join the call. But Customer no longer subscribes to Cell Number, which has been reassigned to Bystander. A human being who called Cell Number would realize that Customer was no longer the subscriber. But predictive dialers lack human intelligence and, like the buckets enchanted by the Sorcerer's Apprentice, continue until stopped by their true master.

Soppet v. Enhanced Recovery Co., LLC, 679 F.3d 637, 638–39 (7th Cir. 2012).