Research Coordinator @ "Do Not Build Uncontrollable AI" area for AI Safety Camp
960 karmaJoined Feb 2017Working (6-15 years)


See explainer on why AGI could not be controlled enough to stay safe:


Note: I am no longer part of EA because of the community’s/philosophy’s overreaches. I still post here about AI safety. 


Bias in Evaluating AGI X-Risks
Developments toward Uncontrollable AI
Why Not Try Build Safe AGI?


Topic contributions


I spent time digging into Uganda Community Farm’s plans last year, and ended up becoming a regular donor. From reading the write-ups and later asking Anthony about the sorghum training and grain-processing plant projects, I understood Anthony to be thoughtful and strategic about actually helping relieve poverty in the Kamuli & Buyende region.

Here are short explainers worth reading:

UCF focusses on training farmers and giving them the materials and tools needed to build up their own incomes, which is a much more targeted approach than just transferring money (though need to account for differences in local income levels too).

Personally, I think the EA community often focussed on measuring and mapping out consequences of global poverty interventions from afar and not as much on enabling charity entrepreneurs on the ground who have first-hand contextual knowledge on what’s holding their community back. My sense is that robust approaches will tend to consider both.

Is there an argument that it is impossible?

There is actually an impossibility argument. Even if you could robustly specify goals in AGI, there is another convergent phenonemon that would cause misaligned effects and eventually remove the goal structures.

You can find an intuitive summary here: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/jFkEhqpsCRbKgLZrd/what-if-alignment-is-not-enough

Thanks! Also a good example of lots of complaints being prepared now by individuals

Actually, looks like there is a thirteenth lawsuit that was filed outside the US.

A class-action privacy lawsuit filed in Israel back in April 2023.

Wondering if this is still ongoing: https://www.einpresswire.com/article/630376275/first-class-action-lawsuit-against-openai-the-district-court-in-israel-approved-suing-openai-in-a-class-action-lawsuit

I agree that implies that those people are more inclined to spend the time to consider options. At least they like listening to other people give interesting opinions about the topic.

But we’re all just humans, interacting socially in a community. I think it’s good to stay humble about that.

If we’re not, then we make ourselves unable to identify and deal with any information cascades, peer proof, and/or peer group pressures that tend to form in communities.

Three reasons come to mind why OpenPhil has not funded us.

  1. Their grant programs don't match, and we have therefore not applied to them.They have fund individuals making early career decisions, our university-based courses, or programs that selectively support "highly talented" young people, or "high quality nuanced" communication. We don't fit any of those categories.
    1. We did sent in a brief application early 2023 though for a regrant covering our funds from FTX, which was not granted (same happened to at least one other field-building org I'm aware of).
  2. AISC wasn't contacted for bespoke grants – given OpenPhil's fieldbuilding focuses shown above, and focus on technical research, academic programs, and governance organisations for the rest.
    1. Also, even if we engage i with OpenPhil staff, I heard that another AIS field-building organisation had to make concessions and pick research focusses OpenPhil staff like, in order to ensure they get funding from OpenPhil.  Linda and I are not prepared to do that.
  3. I did not improve things by critiquing OpenPhil online for supporting AGI labs. I personally stand by the content of the critiques, but it was also quite in your face, and I can imagine they did not like that. 
    1. Whatever I critique about collaborations between longtermist orgs and AGI labs can be associated back to  AI Safety Camp is  or the area I run at AI Safety Camp. I want to be more mindful how I word my critiques in the future.

Does that raise any new questions?

They're not quite doing a brand partnership. 

But 80k has featured various safety researchers working at AGI labs over the years. Eg. see OpenAI.

So it's more like 80k has created free promotional content, and given their stamp of approval of working at AGI labs (of course 'if you weigh up your options, and think it through rationally' like your friends).

Do you mean OP, as in Open Philanthropy?

Hi Conor,

Thank you.

I’m glad to see that you already linked to clarifications before. And that you gracefully took the feedback, and removed the prompt engineer role. I feel grateful for your openness here.

It makes me feel less like I’m hitting a brick wall. We can have more of a conversation.

~ ~ ~

The rest is addressed to people on the team, and not to you in particular:

There are grounded reasons why 80k’s approaches to recommending work at AGI labs – with the hope of steering their trajectory – has supported AI corporations to scale. While disabling efforts that may actually prevent AI-induced extinction.

This concerns work on your listed #1 most pressing problem. It is a crucial consideration that can flip your perceived total impact from positive to negative.

I noticed that 80k staff responses so far started by stating disagreement (with my view), or agreement (with a colleague’s view).

This doesn’t do discussion of it justice. It’s like responding to someone’s explicit reasons for concern that they must be “less optimistic about alignment”. This ends reasoned conversations, rather than opens them up.

Something I would like to see more of is individual 80k staff engaging with the reasoning.

If some employees actually have the guts to whistleblow on current engineering malpractices…

Plenty of concrete practices you can whistleblow on that will be effective in getting society to turn against these companies:

  1. The copying of copyrighted and person-identifying information without permission (pass on evidence to publishers and they will have a lawsuit feast).
  2. The exploitation and underpayment of data workers and coders from the Global South (inside information on how OpenAI staff hid that they instructed workers in Kenya to collect images of child sexual abuse, anyone?).
  3. The unscoped misdesign and failure to test these systems for all the uses the AI company promotes.
  4. The extent of AI hardware’s environmental pollution.

Pick what you’re in a position to whistleblow on.

Be very careful to prepare well. You’re exposing a multi-billion-dollar company. First meet in person with an attorney experienced in protecting whistleblowers.

Once you start collecting information, make photographs with your personal phone, rather than screenshots or USB copies that might be tracked by software. Make sure you’re not in line of sight of an office camera or webcam. Etc. Etc.

Preferably, before you start, talk with an experienced whistleblower about how to maintain anonymity. The more at ease you are there, the more you can bide your time, carefully collecting and storing information.

If you need information to get started, email me at remmelt.ellen[a/}protonmail<d0t>com.

~ ~ ~

But don’t wait it out until you can see some concrete dependable sign of “extinction risk”. By that time, it’s too late.

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