Jun 6, 2012
Norman Rasmussen's analysis of the safety of nuclear power plants, written before any nuclear accidents had occurred, correctly predicted several details of the Three Mile Island incident in ways that that previous experts had not (see McGrayne 2011, p. 180). Had Rasmussen's analysis been heeded, the Three Mile Island incident might not have occurred.
This is the kind of strategic analysis, risk analysis, and technological forecasting that could help us to pivot the world in important ways.
Our AI risk situation is very complicated. There are many uncertainties about the future, and many interacting strategic variables. Though it is often hard to see whether a strategic analysis will pay off, the alternative is to act blindly.
Here are some examples of strategic research that may help (or have already helped) to inform our attempts to shape the future:
Here are some additional projects of strategic research that could help inform x-risk decisions, if funding were available to perform them:
I'll note that for as long as FHI is working on AI risk, FHI probably has an advantage over SI in producing actionable strategic research, given past successes like the WBE roadmap and the GCR volume. But SI is also performing actionable strategic research, as described above.