I'm Henry Lieberman, Research Scientist at the MIT Computer Science and AI Lab. I'm interested in long-term thinking about the future of humanity, technology and society, and have developed some new ideas, together with my colleague Christopher Fry, about how AI and other technologies can ensure a positive future for humanity. For the full story, see my Web site, https://www.whycantwe.org, where you'll find a 12-minute TED talk; other videos, and writing based on our book, "Why Can't We All Just Get Along?".
For specific thoughts on the Alignment question, here's an abstract (maybe a future paper and/or talk at an appropriate venue):
AI Alignment Depends on Human Alignment
Henry Lieberman – MIT CSAIL
The problem of whether the goals and values of an artificially intelligent agent will align with human goals and values, can be reduced to this problem: Will the goals and values of different human agents ever align with each other?
Regardless of what you believe about the problem for humans, we're likely to get the same answer when we think about intelligent machines. We can only program AI "in our own image", so both the features and bugs of humanity will reappear in AI. Thus, whether AI turns out to be a good thing or a bad thing in the future, depends critically on this question: Will humans cooperate with each other, or will they compete with one another?
Right now, our society is schizophrenic -- some of our institutions are oriented towards cooperation (like science), others (like business and politics) seem to be primarily oriented towards competing. Many of the social problems caused by AI are a result of this schizophrenia. If AI becomes a tool of warring human factions, we're doomed. But it doesn't have to be like that.
With all the evident conflict and disagreement in the world, some despair of the prospect of ever getting people to align their values, substantially, if not perfectly. Yet the technology itself will provide unprecedented opportunities to eliminate the barriers to widespread social cooperation. A positive future for AI depends on changing our competitive mindset (and institutions) towards more cooperative alternatives. I will present some concrete proposals for doing so. Then, we'll get benevolent AI "for free".