A new paper from Google, in which they get a language model to solve some (of what to me reads as terrifyingly impressive) tasks which require quantitative reasoning skills. The abstract reads as follows:
Language models have achieved remarkable performance on a wide range of tasks that require natural language understanding. Nevertheless, state-of-the-art models have generally struggled with tasks that require quantitative reasoning, such as solving mathematics, science, and engineering problems at the college level. To help close this gap, we introduce Minerva , a large language model pretrained on general natural language data and further trained on technical content. The model achieves state-of-the-art performance on technical benchmarks without the use of external tools. We also evaluate our model on over two hundred undergraduate-level problems in physics, biology,
Mostly non-serious and slightly silly, with some potentially interesting bits for people who are into language models.
TLDR: The current version of GPT-3 has a strong tendency to encode mangled versions of a specific phrase when asked to write morse code in zero-shot situations. This is possibly the result of a previous version of the model using essentially a single phrase for all morse code writing, which the newer version then learnt to modify.
All completions done with text-davinci-002 (~GPT-Instruct-175B) at zero temperature and with no examples unless stated otherwise. All models used are GPT-Instruct series.
GPT-3 'knows' morse code in a rudimentary sense. It can accurately regurgitate both the encodings of the entire alphabet and of individual letters, but it's not so great at translating words:
Morse code is...
‘I don’t feel emotionally motivated to work on AI safety, even though I’m intellectually convinced that it’s important.’
It always surprises me when people say this because I find my work at Nonlinear on AI safety incredibly motivating. I’m sharing my reasons in the hope that they’ll resonate with some of you, and that these ideas will help bring your emotional drives into greater harmony with your abstract convictions.
When I was a kid, I wanted to save the world. Like many EAs, I was obsessed with stories of superheroes who could use their powers to save whole cities from catastrophe. I aspired to be like Gandhi, or Martin Luther King, and to do something really big and important; something that would...
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Many years ago, a blogger made a post advocating for an evil Y-Combinator which subsidized the opposite of Effective Altruism. Everyone (including the blogger) thought the post was a joke except the supervillains. The organization they founded celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. An attendee leaked to me a partial transcript from one of its board meetings.
Director: Historically, public unhealth has caused the most harm per dollar invested. How is is the Center for Disease Proliferation doing?
CDP Division Chief: Gain-of-function research remains—in principle—incredibly cheap. All you have to do is infect ferrets with the flu and let them spread it to one another. We focus on maximizing transmission first and then, once we have a highly-transmissible disease, select for lethality (ideally after a long asymptomatic infectious period).
I've argued that the development of advanced AI could make this the most important century for humanity. A common reaction to this idea is one laid out by Tyler Cowen here: "how good were past thinkers at predicting the future? Don’t just select on those who are famous because they got some big things right."
This is a common reason people give for being skeptical about the most important century - and, often, for skepticism about pretty much any attempt at futurism (trying to predict key events in the world a long time from now) or steering (trying to help the world navigate such key future events).
The idea is something like: "Even if we can't identify a particular weakness in arguments about key future events, perhaps we...
In southern California there’s a two-acre butterfly preserve owned by the oil company Chevron. They spend little to maintain it, but many millions on television advertisements featuring it as evidence of their environmental stewardship.
Environmentalists have a word for behavior like this: greenwashing. Greenwashing is when companies misleadingly portray themselves, or their products, as more environmentally-friendly than they are.
Greenwashing often does cause real environmental benefit. Take the signs in hotels discouraging you from washing your towels:
My guess is that the net environmental effect of these signs is in fact mildly positive. And while the most central examples of greenwashing involve deception, I’m sure some of these signs are put up by people who earnestly care. But I suspect hotels might tend to care less about water waste if utilities...
From time to time, someone makes the case for why transparency in reasoning is important. The latest conceptualization is Epistemic Legibility by Elizabeth, but the core concept is similar to reasoning transparency used by OpenPhil, and also has some similarity to A Sketch of Good Communication by Ben Pace.
I'd like to offer a gentle pushback. The tl;dr is in my comment on Ben's post, but it seems useful enough for a standalone post.
“How odd I can have all this inside me and to you it's just words.” ― David Foster Wallace
Say you demand transparent reasoning from AlphaGo. The algorithm has roughly two parts: tree search and a neural network. Tree search reasoning is naturally legible: the "argument" is simply a sequence of board states. In contrast,...
TL;DR: In this project, we collected and cataloged AI alignment research literature and analyzed the resulting dataset in an unbiased way to identify major research directions. We found that the field is growing quickly, with several subfields emerging in parallel. We looked at the subfields and identified the prominent researchers, recurring topics, and different modes of communication in each. Furthermore, we found that a classifier trained on AI alignment research articles can detect relevant articles that we did not originally include in the dataset.
(video presentation here)
In the context of the 6th AISC, we collected a dataset of alignment research articles from a variety of different sources. This dataset is now available for download here and the code for reproducing the scrape is on GitHub here. When...