369 karmaJoined Mar 2022Working (0-5 years)




President, EA Edinburgh. Moderator, EA Forum. Volunteering with aisafety.quest and aisafety.info to help people enter the alignment space. Background in Neuroscience and Medicine. 

Reach out to me about alignment or tools for collaborative truth-seeking (like Loom, Guesstimate, Metaculus etc.)!


Tools for collaborative truth seeking


Topic Contributions

1moModerator Comment3

I think this comment is flamebait, and broke Forum norms. Examples below: 

"I bet somewhere there's a small group of rich elites who actually bet on the gang fights in Haiti, have their own private app for it, and I bet some of them are also in an EA circle"

"forget I mentioned the word 'neocolonialism' because you'll be just like every other woke white person here and take offense that I said something true, you can go spend more time debating gender."

I’d like if the discussion could be more civil going forwards. 

Hi! Sorry for the delay in replying -- we've now posted the metrics, if you're interested.

Answer by brookJul 17, 202330

Epistemic status: just a 5-minute collation of some useful sources, with a little explanatory text off the top of my head. 

Stampy's answers to "Why is AI dangerous?"and "Why might we expect a superintelligence to be hostile by default?" seem pretty good to me.

To elaborate a little:

Alignment seems hard. Humans value very complex things, which it seems both A) difficult to tell an AI to preserve and B) seem unlikely for AI to preserve by default. 

A number of things seem to follow pretty directly from the idea of 'creating an agent which is much more intelligent than humans':

  • Non-human goals: we have a strong  prior that its goals will not line up with human goals (See orthogonality thesis)
  • Optimising is Destructive: optimising for one value system will by default destroy value according to other value systems (see: instrumental convergence)
  • Intelligence is Dangerous: as it's much smarter than humans, predicting its behaviour will be very difficult, as will containing or controlling it. (See AI boxing)

When you combine these  things, you get an expectation that the default outcome of unaligned AGI is very bad for humans -- and an idea of why AI alignment may be difficult. 


To take a different approach:

Humans have a pretty bad track record of not using massively destructive technology. It seems at least plausible that COVID-19 was a lab leak (and its plausibility is enough for this argument). The other key example to me is the nuclear bomb. 

What's important is that both of these technologies are relatively difficult to get access to. At least right now, it's relatively easy to get access to state-of-the-art AI. 

Why is this important? It's related to the unilateralist's curse. If we think that AI has the potential to be very harmful (which deserves its own debate), then the more people that have access to it, the more likely that harm becomes. Given our track record with lower-access technologies, it seems likely from this frame that accelerationism will lead to non-general artificial intelligence being used to do massive harm by humans. 

I would hope that good criticism of EA would "make the world better if taken seriously" by improving the EA ecosystem. That said, I do understand your concern-- I hope people will submit good criticism to the journal, and that it will be published!

This is a really great point! Thank you for raising it. I'll see about adding it to future posts.

Thank you for pointing that out! Worth noting  that's a limit on the videos you can have stored on their servers at once; if you want to download & delete them from the servers you can record as many as you like.

These look great, thanks for suggesting them! Would you be interested in writing tutorials for some/all of them that I could add to the sequence? If not, I think updating the topic page with links to tutorials you think are good would also be great!

The tool is here, there'll also be a post in a few hours but it's pretty self-explanatory

Any feedback you have as we go would be much appreciated! I've focussed on broadening use, so I'm hoping a good chunk of the value will be in new ways to use the tools as much as anything else-- if you have any ways you think are missing they would also be great!

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