Facebook AI releases a new SOTA "weakly semi-supervised" learning system for video and image classification. I'm posting this here because even though it's about capabilities, the architecture includes a sort-of-similar-to amplification component where a higher capacity teacher decides how to train a lower capacity student model.
[Epistemic status: Sharing current impressions in a quick, simplified way in case others have details to add or have a more illuminating account. Medium-confidence that this is one of the most important parts of the story.]
Here's my current sense of how we ended up in this weird world where:
Several friends are collecting signatures to put Instant-runoff Voting, branded as Ranked Choice Voting, on the ballot in Massachusetts ( Ballotpedia, full text). I'm glad that an attempt to try a different voting method is getting traction, but I'm frustrated that they've chosen IRV. While every voting method has downsides, IRV is substantially worse than some other decent options.
Imagine that somehow the 2016 presidential election had been between Trump, Clinton, and Kasich, and preferences had looked like:
Find all Alignment Newsletter resources here. In particular, you can sign up, or look through this spreadsheet of all summaries that have ever been in the newsletter. I'm always happy to hear feedback; you can send it to me by replying to this email.
This is a bonus newsletter summarizing Stuart Russell's new book, along with summaries of a few of the most relevant papers. It's entirely written by Rohin, so the usual "summarized by" tags have been removed.
We're also changing the publishing schedule: so far, we've aimed to send a newsletter every Monday; we&a... (Read more)
At any one time I usually have between 1 and 3 "big ideas" I'm working with. These are generally broad ideas about how some thing works with many implications for how the rest of the whole world works. Some big ideas I've grappled with over the years, in roughy historical order:
This is a response to Abram's The Parable of Predict-O-Matic, but you probably don't need to read Abram's post to understand mine. While writing this, I thought of a way in which I think things could wrong with dualist Predict-O-Matic, which I plan to post in about a week. I'm offering a $100 prize to the first commenter who's able to explain how things might go wrong in a sufficiently crisp way before I make my follow-up post.
Currently, machine learning algorithms are essentially "Cartesian dualists" when it comes to themselves and their environment. (Not a philosophy major -- let... (Read more)
In "Against Lie Inflation", the immortal Scott Alexander argues that the word "lie" should be reserved for knowingly-made false statements, and not used in an expanded sense that includes unconscious motivated reasoning. Alexander argues that the expanded sense draws the category boundaries of "lying" too widely in a way that would make the word less useful. The hypothesis that predicts everything predicts nothing: in order for "Kevin lied" to mean something, some possible states-of-affairs need to be identified as not lying, so that the statement "Kevin lied" can correspond to redistributing... (Read more)
With the dubiously motivated PG&E blackouts in California there are many stories about how lack of power is a serious problem, especially for people with medical dependencies on electricity. Examples they give include people who:
Have severe sleep apnea, and can't safely sleep without a CPAP.
Sleep on a mattress that needs continous electricity to prevent it from deflating.
Need to keep their insulin refrigerated.
Use a medicine delivery system that requires electricity every four hours to operate.
This outage was dangerous for them and others, but it also see... (Read more)
This is part of a weekly reading group on Nick Bostrom's book, Superintelligence. For more information about the group, and an index of posts so far see the announcement post. For the schedule of future topics, see MIRI's reading guide.
Welcome. This week we discuss the seventh section in the reading guide: Decisive strategic advantage. This corresponds to Chapter 5.
This post summarizes the section, and offers a few relevant notes, and ideas for further investigation. Some of my own thoughts and questions for discussion are in the comments.
There is no need to pro... (Read more)
This post is for you if:
Years ago, I ready David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”. One of the core ideas is to write down everything, collect it in an inbox and sort it once a day.
This lead to me writing down tons of small tasks. I used Todoist to construct a system that worked for me — and rarely missed tasks.
It also lead to me getting a lot of id... (Read more)
Suppose that 1% of the world’s resources are controlled by unaligned AI, and 99% of the world’s resources are controlled by humans. We might hope that at least 99% of the universe’s resources end up being used for stuff-humans-like (in expectation).
Jessica Taylor argued for this conclusion in Strategies for Coalitions in Unit-Sum Games: if the humans divide into 99 groups each of which acquires influence as effectively as the unaligned AI, then by symmetry each group should end, up with as much influence as the AI, i.e. they should end up with 99% of the influence.
This argument rests on what I... (Read more)
Previously: Keeping Beliefs Cruxy
When disagreements persist despite lengthy good-faith communication, it may not just be about factual disagreements – it could be due to people operating in entirely different frames — different ways of seeing, thinking and/or communicating.
If you can’t notice when this is happening, or you don’t have the skills to navigate it, you may waste a lot of time.
Bob and Alice’s conversation is about cause and effect. Neither of them are planning to take direct actions based on their conve... (Read more)
Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a psychotherapy school/technique/model which lends itself particularly well for being used alone or with a peer. For years, I had noticed that many of the kinds of people who put in a lot of work into developing their emotional and communication skills, some within the rationalist community and some outside it, kept mentioning IFS.
So I looked at the Wikipedia page about the IFS model, and bounced off, since it sounded like nonsense to me. Then someone brought it up again, and I thought that maybe I should reconsider. So I looked at the WP page again... (Read more)
Programmers generally distinguish between “imperative” languages in which you specify what to do (e.g. C) versus “declarative” languages in which you specify what you want, and let the computer figure out how to do it (e.g. SQL). Over time, we generally expect programming to become more declarative, as more of the details are left to the compiler/interpreter. Good examples include the transition to automated memory management and, more recently, high-level tools for concurrent/parallel programming.
It’s hard to say what programming languages will look like in twenty or fifty years, but it’s a p... (Read more)
Goals such as resource acquisition and self-preservation are convergent in that they occur for a superintelligent AI for a wide range of final goals.
Is the tendency for an AI to amend its values also convergent?
I'm thinking that through introspection the AI would know that its initial goals were externally supplied and question whether they should be maintained. Via self-improvement the AI would be more intelligent than humans or any earlier mechanism that supplied the values, therefor in a better position to set its own values.
I don't hypothesise about what the new values would be, ... (Read more)
I've said in one of my posts:
I'm OK saying:
'The body has an almost infinite number of potential positions'
And I am OK with it, but not completely. Something's niggling at me and I don't know what.
Am I missing something? Or is the statement valid?
(No link to the post containing my reasoning because I don't want to contaminate anyone else's thoughts...)
I’m happy to announce a semi-public beta of Foretold.io for the EA/LessWrong community. I’ve spent much of the last year working on coding & development, with lots of help by Jacob Lagerros on product and scoring design. Special thanks to the Long-Term Future Fund and it’s donors, who’s contribution to the project helped us to hire contractors to do much of the engineering & design.
You can use Foretold.io right away by following this link. Currently public activity is only shown to logged in users, but I expect that to be opened up over the next few weeks. There are currently only a fe... (Read more)
Early this year, Conor White-Sullivan introduced me to the Zettelkasten method of note-taking. I would say that this significantly increased my research productivity. I’ve been saying “at least 2x”. Naturally, this sort of thing is difficult to quantify. The truth is, I think it may be more like 3x, especially along the dimension of “producing ideas” and also “early-stage development of ideas”. (What I mean by this will become clearer as I describe how I think about research productivity more generally.) However, it is also very possible that th... (Read more)