8850 karmaJoined Aug 2014


Researching Causality and Safe AI at Oxford

Previously, founder (with help from Trike Apps) of the EA Forum.

Discussing research etc at https://twitter.com/ryancareyai.


Topic Contributions

Causal Foundations is probably 4-8 full-timers, depending on how you count the small-to-medium slices of time from various PhD students. Several of our 2023 outputs seem comparably important to the deception paper: 

  • Towards Causal Foundations of Safe AGI, The Alignment Forum - the summary of everything we're doing.
  • Characterising Decision Theories with Mechanised Causal Graphs, arXiv - the most formal treatment yet of TDT and UDT, together with CDT and EDT in a shared framework.
  • Human Control: Definitions and Algorithms, UAI - a paper arguing that corrigibility is not exactly the right thing to be aiming for, to assure good shut down behaviour.
  • Discovering Agents, Artificial Intelligence Journal - an investigation of the "retargetability" notion of agency.

What if you just pushed it back one month - to late June?

2 - I'm thinking more of the "community of people concerned about AI safety" than EA.

1,3,4- I agree there's uncertainty, disagreement and nuance, but I think if NYT's (summarised) or Nathan's version of events is correct (and they do seem to me to make more sense to me than other existing accounts) then the board look somewhat like "good guys", albeit ones that overplayed their hand, whereas Sam looks somewhat "bad", and I'd bet that over time, more reasonable people will come around to such a view.

It's a disappointing outcome - it currently seems that OpenAI is no more tied to its nonprofit goals than before. A wedge has been driven between the AI safety community and OpenAI staff, and to an extent, Silicon Valley generally.

But in this fiasco, we at least were the good guys! The OpenAI CEO shouldn't control its nonprofit board, or compromise the independence of its members, who were doing broadly the right thing by trying to do research and perform oversight. We have much to learn.

Yeah I think EA just neglects the downside of career whiplash a bit. Another instance is how EA orgs sometimes offer internships where only a tiny fraction of interns will get a job, or hire and then quickly fire staff. In a more ideal world, EA orgs would value rejected & fired applicants much more highly than non-EA orgs, and so low-hit-rate internships, and rapid firing would be much less common in EA than outside.

It looks like, on net, people disagree with my take in the original post. 

I just disagreed with the OP because it's a false dichotomy; we could just agree with the true things that activists believe, and not the false ones, and not go based on vibes. We desire to believe that mech-interp is mere safety-washing iff it is, and so on.

On the meta-level, anonymously sharing negative psychoanalyses of people you're debating seems like very poor behaviour. 

Now, I'm a huge fan of anonymity. Sometimes, one must criticise some vindictive organisation, or political orthodoxy, and it's needed, to avoid some unjust social consequences.

In other cases, anonymity is inessential. One wants to debate in an aggressive style, while avoiding the just social consequences of doing so. When anonymous users misbehave, we think worse of anonymous users in general. If people always write anonymously, then writing anonymously is no-longer a political statement. We no-longer see anonymous writing as a sign that someone might be hiding from unjust retaliation.

Now, Aprilsun wants EA to mostly continue as normal, which is a majority position in EA leadership. And not to look to deeply into who is to blame for FTX, which helps to defend EA leadership. I don't see any vindictive parties or social orthodoxies being challenged. So why would anonymity be needed?

I'm sorry, but it's not an "overconfident criticism" to accuse FTX of investing stolen money, when this is something that 2-3 of the leaders of FTX have already pled guilty to doing.

This interaction is interesting, but I wasn't aware of it (I've only reread a fraction of Hutch's messages since knowing his identity) so to the extent that your hypothesis involves me having had some psychological reaction to it, it's not credible. 

Moreover, these psychoanalyses don't ring true. I'm in a good headspace, giving FTX hardly any attention. Of course, I am not without regret, but I'm generally at peace with my past involvement in EA - not in need of exotic ways to process any feelings. If these analyses being correct would have taken some wind out of my sails, then their being so silly ought to put some more wind in.

Creditors are expected by manifold markets to receive only 40c on each dollar that was invested on the platform (I didn't notice this info in the post when I previously viewed it). And, we do know why there is money missing: FTX stole it and invested it in their hedge fund, which gambled away and lost the money.

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