Max Tegmark has posted a Time article on AI Safety and how we're in a "Don't Look Up" scenario. 

In a similar manner to Yudkowsky, Max went on Lex Fridman and has now posted a Time article on AI Safety. (I propose we get some more people into this pipeline)

Max, however, portrays a more palatable view regarding societal standards. With his reference to Don't Look Up, I think this makes it one of my favourite pieces to send to people new to AI Risk, as I think it describes everything that your average joe needs to know quite well. (An asteroid with a 10% risk of killing humanity is bad)

In terms of general memetics, it will be a lot harder for someone like LeCun to come up with a genius equivalence between asteroid safety and airplane safety with this framing. (Which might be a shame since it's one of the dumber counter-arguments I've heard.) 

But who knows? He might just claim that scientists know and have always known how to use nuclear bombs to shoot the asteroid away or something.

What I wanted to say with the above is that I think Max is doing a great way of framing the problem, and with his respect from his earlier career as a physicist, I think it would be good to use his articles more in public discussions. I also did quite enjoy how he described alignment on the Lex Fridman podcast, and even though I don’t agree with all he says, it’s good enough.


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He repeats the "A recent survey showed that half of AI researchers give AI at least 10% chance of causing human extinction" claim, but the survey in question finds that this is true of respondents, who were 17% of those the survey was sent to. So this claim is misleading as phrased.

The survey seems to have taken reasonable steps to account for responder-bias, and IIRC at least I couldn't tell any obvious direction in which respondents were biased. Katja has written some about this here: 

Response rates still seem good to mention when mentioning the survey, but I don't currently believe that getting a survey with a higher response rate would change the results. Might be worth a bet?

Fair enough, didn't know about those steps. That does update me towards this being representative.


For reference, is a recent blog post about the same claim. After fact-checking, the author is "not convinced" by the survey.


Additionally, here according to one survey participant, "it was obvious from question formulation that they were not interested in an unbiased answer."

but the survey in question finds that this is true of respondents, who were 17% of those the survey was sent to

Only 20% of the respondents gave a response to that particular question (thanks to Denreik for drawing my attention to that fact, which I verified). Of the initially contacted 4271 researchers, 738 gave responses (17% of 4271), and 149 (20% of 738) gave a probability for the "extremely bad" outcome on the non-trick version of the question (without the "human inability to control" part).

Max believes in all sorts of crazy things. I agree with a lot of them, but nevertheless, I think that makes him less of an eminently respectable scientist than he would otherwise be, given his intelligence and track record. But then again, he has published a lot of crazy stuff, and it has gained traction. So maybe he knows what he's doing when it comes to communicating to the public.

Honestly, I want stats on these articles to see what their reception is like. Engagement metrics, surveys of readership, Google trend analytics etc. I'm tempted to go out and intrview professionals on their reception to the FT article on AI. 

Very nice! I would've liked to have seen either a call to action (e.g., "ban all training of models larger than GPT-4") or an exploration of the emotional implications (e.g., "don't put your hope in the future, because there probably isn't much future left", which Eliezer said during his interview with Lex Fridman) but overall very helpful.

Totally agreed. This is probably the most accessible framing of the issue I've ever read up to this point!

[+][comment deleted]10mo10