Should we enable public binding precommitments?

by capybaralet 3y31st Jul 201619 comments


The ability to make arbitrary public binding precommitments seems like a powerful tool for solving coordination problems.

We'd like to be able to commit to cooperating with anyone who will cooperate with us, as in the open-source prisoner's dilemma (although this simple case is still an open problem, AFAIK).  But we should be able to do this piece-meal.

It seems like we are moving in this direction, with things like Etherium that enable smart contracts.  Technology should enable us to enforce more real-world precommitments, since we'll be able to more easily monitor and make public our private data.

Optimistically, I think this could allow us to solve coordination issues robustly enough to have a very low probability of any individual actor making an unsafe AI.  This would require a lot of people to make the right kind of precommitments.

I'm guesing there are a lot of potential downsides and ways it could go wrong, which y'all might want to point out.