Gwern's "Why Tool AIs Want to Be Agent AIs: The Power of Agency"

by habryka1 min read5th May 20191 comment


Tool AIAgencyAI
This is a linkpost for

I somehow hadn't read this post until now, so I am posting this here in case I am not the only one (and I wasn't able to find a previous linkpost for it). Relevant to relatively recent discussion on AI-as-a-service, but also just good as a broad reference.

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Agenty AI's can be well defined mathematically. We have enough understanding of what an agent is that we can start dreaming up failure modes. Most of what we have for tool ASI is analogies to systems to stupid fail catastrophically anyway, and pleasant imaginings.

Some possible programs will be tool ASI's, much as some programs will be agent ASI's. The question is, what are the relative difficulties in humans building, and benefits of, each kind of AI. Conditional on friendly AI, I would consider it more likely to be an agent than a tool, with a lot of probability on "neither", "both" and "that question isn't mathematically well defined". I wouldn't be surprised if tool AI and corrigible AI turned out to be the same thing or something.

There have been attempts to define tool-like behavior, and they have produced interesting new failure modes. We don't have the tool AI version of AIXI yet, so its hard to say much about tool AI.