4351 karmaJoined Oct 2017


Improving rodent welfare by reducing rodenticide use
The Rodenticide Reduction Sequence


It would be convenient for me to say that hostility is counterproductive but I just don’t believe that’s always true. This issue is too important to fall back on platitudes or wishful thinking.

Also, the way you frame your pushback makes me worry that you'll loose patience with considerate advocacy way too quickly

I don’t know what to say if my statements led you to that conclusion. I felt like I was saying the opposite. Are you just concerned that I think hostility can be an effective tactic at all?

I agree, it seems like there is a pretty big knowledge gap here on protests, more than I had thought. I’ll bump stirring a doc like this up in priority.

in general I think it's much easier for people to do great research and actually figure stuff out when they're viscerally interested in the problems they're tackling, and excited about the process of doing that work.

Totally. But OP kinda made it sound like the fact that you found 2 depressing was evidence it was the wrong direction. I think advocacy could be fun and full of its own fascinating logistical and intellectual questions as well as lots of satisfying hands-on work.

That too, but there was a clear indication that 1 would be fun and invigorating and 2 would be depressing.

Thanks, David :)

There’s such a wide-open field here that we can make a lot of headway with nice tactics. No question from me that should be the first approach, and I would be thrilled and relieved if that just kept working. There’s no reason to rush to hostility, and I don’t know if I would be able to run a group like that if I thought it was coming to that, but there may one day be a place for (nonviolent) hostile advocacy.

I sometimes see people make a similar point to yours in an illogical way, basically asserting that hostility never works, and I don’t agree with that. People think they hate PETA while updating in their direction about whatever issues they are advocating for and promptly forgetting they ever thought anything different. It’s a difficult role to play but I think PETA absolutely knows what they are doing and how to influence people. It’s common in social change for moderate groups to get the credit, and for people remember disliking the radical groups, but the direction of society’s update was determined by the radical flank pushing the Overton window.

The answer is not “hostility is bad/doesn’t work” or “hostility is good/works”. It depends on the context. It’s an inconvenient truth that hostility sometimes works, and works where nothing else does. I don’t think we should hold it off the table forever.

I also think we should reconceptualize what the AI companies are doing as hostile, aggressive, and reckless. EA is too much in a frame where the AI companies are just doing their legitimate jobs, and we are the ones that want this onerous favor of making sure their work doesn’t kill everyone on earth. If showing hostility works to convey the situation, then hostility could be merited.

Again, though, one amazing thing about not having explored outside game much in AI Safety is that we have the luxury of pushing the Overton window with even the most bland advocacy. I think we should advance that frontier slowly. And I really hope it’s not necessary to advance into hostility.

EDIT: Just to be absolutely clear-- the hard line that advocacy should not cross is violence. I am never using the word "hostility" to refer to violence.

The ways that you listed that AI Is easier to control don’t seem to really be getting to the heart of the alignment concern. They all seem rather surface level and liable to change with increasing general capabilities. I suppose you’ve argued in the past that there shouldn’t be mesa optimizers when using gradient descent, but, while I think it may be directionally correct, I am not convinced by that argument mesa optimizers (or just misspecified goals of some kind) are not a concern in alignment. Even if I were I would prefer to know this for sure by, for example, having fully interpreted advanced models and understood their goal architecture, before making the decision not Pause because of it.

I consider the consumer regulation route complementary to what I’m doing and I think a diversity of approaches is more robust, as well.

I didn’t know about your book! Happy to hear it :)

I think the answer to that question is how catastrophically bad tech of high enough capabilities could be, negative externalities or tech, and whether you include tech designed to cause harm like weapons. I have a very positive view of most technology but I’m not sure how a category that included all of those would look in the end due to the tail risks.

This is a peaceful and conversational protest, and we timed it to be able to speak with employees as they leave work. Matter of opinion and the person whether it’s confrontational. It’s a criticism so it might be perceived as confrontational no matter what. We’ll just be there on a public sidewalk sharing our views.

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