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Answer by Justis21

Fine, basically. Surprised at the degree of emotional investment people seem to have in the EA community as such, above and beyond doing helpful stuff for the world personally. Sounds unpleasant. If I had feelings anywhere near as negative about a community as the ones I'm seeing routinely expressed, I think I'd just stop engaging and go do something else.

Ah shucks, I am sorry to hear it. Good luck to you!

Hmm. I think reactions to that would vary really widely between researchers, and be super sensitive to when it happened, why, whether it was permanent, and other considerations.

Ah yeah, you're right - I think basically I put in the percent rather than the probability. So it would indeed be very expensive to be competitive with AMF. Though so is everything else, so that's not hugely surprising.

As for the numbers, yeah, it does just strike me as really, really unlikely that we can solve AI x-risk right now. 1/10,000 does feel about right to me. I certainly wouldn't expect everyone else to agree though! I think some people would put the odds much higher, and others (like Tyler Cowen maybe?) would put them a bit lower. Probably the 1% step is the step I'm least confident in - wouldn't surprise me if the (hard to find, hard to execute) solutions that are findable would reduce risk significantly more.

EDIT: tried to fix the math and switched the "relative risk reduction term" to 10%. I feel like among findable, executable interventions there's probably a lot of variance, and it's plausible some of the best ones do reduce risk by 10% or so. And 1/1000 feels about as plausible as 1/10000 to me. So, somewhere in there.

(Comment to flag that I looked back over this and just totally pretended 4,000 was equal to 1,000. Whoops. Don't think it affects the argument very strongly, but I have multiplied the relevant dollar figures by 4.)

Thank you! My perspective is: "figuring out if it's tractable is at least tractable enough that it's worth a lot more time/attention going there than is currently", but not necessarily "working on it is far and away the best use of time/money/attention for altruistic purposes", and almost certainly not "working on it is the best use of time/money/attention under a wide variety of ethical frameworks and it should dominate a healthy moral parliament".

To me, "aligned" does a lot of work here. Like yes, if it's perfectly aligned and totally general, the benefits are mind boggling. But maybe we just get a bunch of AI that are mostly generating pretty good/safe outputs, but a few outputs here and there lower the threshold required for random small groups to wreak mass destruction, and then at least one of those groups blows up the biome.

But yeah given the premise we get AGI that mostly does what we tell it to, and we don't immediately tell it  to do anything stupid, I do think it's  very hard to predict what will happen but it's gonna be wild (and indeed possibly really good).

Yeah, I share the view that the "Recalls" are the weakest part -- I mostly was trying to get my fuzzy, accumulated-over-many-years vague sense of "whoa no we're being way too confident about this" into a more postable form. Seeing your criticisms I think the main issue is a little bit of a Motte-and-Bailey sort of thing where I'm kind of responding to a Yudkowskian model, but smuggling in a more moderate perspective's odds (ie. Yudkowsky thinks we need to get it right on the first try, but Grace and MacAskill may be agnostic there).

I may think more about this! I do think there's something there sort of between the parts you're quoting, by which I mean yes, we could get agreement to a narrower standard than solving ethics, but even just making ethical progress at all, or coming up with standards that go anywhere good/predictable politically seems hard. Like, the political dimension and the technical/problem specification dimensions both seem super hard in a way where we'd have to trust ourselves to be extremely competent across both dimensions, and our actual testable experiments against either outcome are mostly a wash (ie. we can't get a US congressperson elected yet, or get affordable lab-grown meat on grocery store shelves, so doing harder versions of both at once seems...I dunno, might hedge my portfolio far beyond that!).

Yeah I think a lot of it is West Coast American culture! I imagine EA would have super different vibes if it were mostly centered in New York.

I think it varies with the merits of the underlying argument! But at the very least we should suppose there's an irrational presumption toward doom: for whatever reason(s), maybe evopsych or maybe purely memetic, doomy ideas have some kind of selection advantage that's worth offsetting.

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