3666 karmaJoined Dec 2017Working (0-5 years)Oakland, CA, USAcullenokeefe.com


I am a lawyer and policy researcher interested in improving the governance of artificial intelligence. In May 2019, I received a J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School. I currently work as a Research Scientist in Governance at OpenAI.

I am also a Research Affiliate with the Centre for the Governance of AI at the Future of Humanity Institute; Founding Advisor and Research Affiliate at the Legal Priorities Project; and a VP at the O’Keefe Family Foundation.

My research focuses on the law, policy, and governance of advanced artificial intelligence.

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Law-Following AI
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Topic Contributions

Do you have any citations for this claim?

According to the book Bullies and Saints: An Honest Look at the Good and Evil of Christian History, some early Christians sold themselves into slavery so they could donate the proceeds to the poor. Super interesting example of extreme and early ETG.

(I'm listening on audiobook so I don't have the precise page for this claim.)

(To avoid bad-faith misinterpretation: I obviously think that nobody should do the same.)

Longtermist shower thought: what if we had a campaign to install Far-UVC in poultry farms? Seems like it could:

  1. Reduce a bunch of diseases in the birds, which is good for: a. the birds’ welfare; b. the workers’ welfare; c. Therefore maybe the farmers’ bottom line?; d. Preventing/suppressing human pandemics (eg avian flu)
  2. Would hopefully drive down the cost curve of Far-UVC
  3. May also generate safety data in chickens, which could be helpful for derisking it for humans

Insofar as one of the main obstacles is humans' concerns for health effects, this would at least only raise these for a small group of workers.

Narrow point: my understanding is that, per his own claims, the Manifund grant would only fund technical upkeep of the blog, and that none of it is net income to him.

Answer by CullenJul 28, 20233

How probable does he think it is that some UAP observed on Earth are aliens? :-)

Super excited about the artificial conscience paper. I'd note that a similar approach be very useful for creating law-following AIs:

An LFAI system does not need to store all knowledge regarding the set of laws that it is trained to follow. More likely, the practical way to create such a system would be to make the system capable of recognizing when it faces sufficient legal uncertainty,[10] then seeking evaluation from a legal expert system ("Counselor").[11]

The Counselor could be a human lawyer, but in the long-run is probably most robust and efficient if (at least partially) automated. The Counselor would then render advice on the pure basis of idealized legality: the probability and expected legal downsides that would result from an idealized legal dispute regarding the action if everyone knew all the relevant facts.

Utilitarianism is much more explicit in its maximisation than most ideologies, plus it (at least superficially) actively undermines the normal safeguards against dangerous maximisation (virtues, the law, and moral rules) by pointing out these can be overridden for the greater good.

Like yes there are extreme environmentalists and that's bad, but normally when someone takes on an ideology like environmentalism, they don't also explicitly & automatically say that the environmental is all that matters and that it's in principle permissible to cheat & lie in order to benefit the environment.

I think it's true that utilitarianism is more maximizing than the median ideology. But I think a lot of other ideologies are minimizing in a way that creates equal pathologies in practice. E.g., deontological philosophies are often about minimizing rights violations, which can be used to justify pretty extreme (and bad) measures.

I would be very curious for Gregory's take on whether he thinks EAs are too epistemically immodest still!

On the Democratic side, challenging Biden is a way to make yourself Very Unpopular with party elites. Challenging Harris, if she is his chosen successor, would be That But Worse.

This seems very wrong to me. Harris is very unpopular.

Thanks, this is a meaningful update for me.

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