"Would you kill babies if it was the right thing to do? If no, under what circumstances would you not do the right thing to do? If yes, how right would it have to be, for how many babies?"
—horrible job interview question
Swapping hats for a moment, I'm professionally intrigued by the decision theory of "things you shouldn't do even if they seem to be the right thing to do".
Suppose we have a reflective AI, self-modifying and self-improving, at an intermediate stage in the development process. In particular, the AI's goal system isn't finished—the shape of its motivations is still being loaded, learned, tested, or tweaked.
Yea, I have seen many ways to screw up an AI goal system design, resulting in a decision system that decides, given its goals, that the universe ought to be tiled with tiny molecular smiley-faces, or some such. Generally, these deadly suggestions also have the property that the AI will not desire its programmers to fix it. If the AI is sufficiently advanced—which it may be even at an intermediate stage—then the AI may also realize that deceiving the programmers, hiding the changes in its thoughts, will help transform the universe into smiley-faces.
Now, from our perspective as programmers, if we condition on the fact that the AI has decided to hide its thoughts from the programmers, or otherwise act willfully to deceive us, then it would seem likely that some kind of unintended consequence has occurred in the goal system. We would consider it probable that the AI is not functioning as intended, but rather likely that we have messed up the AI's utility function somehow. So that the AI wants to turn the universe into tiny reward-system counters, or some such, and now has a motive to hide from us.
Well, suppose we're not going to implement some object-level Great Idea as the AI's utility function. Instead we're going to do something advanced and recursive—build a goal system which knows (and cares) about the programmers outside. A goal system that, via some nontrivial internal structure, "knows it's being programmed" and "knows it's incomplete". Then you might be able to have and keep the rule:
"If [I decide that] fooling my programmers is the right thing to do, execute a controlled shutdown [instead of doing the right thing to do]."
And the AI would keep this rule, even through the self-modifying AI's revisions of its own code, because, in its structurally nontrivial goal system, the present-AI understands that this decision by a future-AI probably indicates something defined-as-a-malfunction. Moreover, the present-AI knows that if future-AI tries to evaluate the utility of executing a shutdown, once this hypothetical malfunction has occurred, the future-AI will probably decide not to shut itself down. So the shutdown should happen unconditionally, automatically, without the goal system getting another chance to recalculate the right thing to do.
I'm not going to go into the deep dark depths of the exact mathematical structure, because that would be beyond the scope of this blog. Also I don't yet know the deep dark depths of the mathematical structure. It looks like it should be possible, if you do things that are advanced and recursive and have nontrivial (but consistent) structure. But I haven't reached that level, as yet, so for now it's only a dream.
But the topic here is not advanced AI; it's human ethics. I introduce the AI scenario to bring out more starkly the strange idea of an ethical injunction:
You should never, ever murder an innocent person who's helped you, even if it's the right thing to do; because it's far more likely that you've made a mistake, than that murdering an innocent person who helped you is the right thing to do.
During World War II, it became necessary to destroy Germany's supply of deuterium, a neutron moderator, in order to block their attempts to achieve a fission chain reaction. Their supply of deuterium was coming at this point from a captured facility in Norway. A shipment of heavy water was on board a Norwegian ferry ship, the SF Hydro. Knut Haukelid and three others had slipped on board the ferry in order to sabotage it, when the saboteurs were discovered by the ferry watchman. Haukelid told him that they were escaping the Gestapo, and the watchman immediately agreed to overlook their presence. Haukelid "considered warning their benefactor but decided that might endanger the mission and only thanked him and shook his hand." (Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb.) So the civilian ferry Hydro sank in the deepest part of the lake, with eighteen dead and twenty-nine survivors. Some of the Norwegian rescuers felt that the German soldiers present should be left to drown, but this attitude did not prevail, and four Germans were rescued. And that was, effectively, the end of the Nazi atomic weapons program.
Good move? Bad move? Germany very likely wouldn't have gotten the Bomb anyway... I hope with absolute desperation that I never get faced by a choice like that, but in the end, I can't say a word against it.
On the other hand, when it comes to the rule:
"Never try to deceive yourself, or offer a reason to believe other than probable truth; because even if you come up with an amazing clever reason, it's more likely that you've made a mistake than that you have a reasonable expectation of this being a net benefit in the long run."
Then I really don't know of anyone who's knowingly been faced with an exception. There are times when you try to convince yourself "I'm not hiding any Jews in my basement" before you talk to the Gestapo officer. But then you do still know the truth, you're just trying to create something like an alternative self that exists in your imagination, a facade to talk to the Gestapo officer.
But to really believe something that isn't true? I don't know if there was ever anyone for whom that was knowably a good idea. I'm sure that there have been many many times in human history, where person X was better off with false belief Y. And by the same token, there is always some set of winning lottery numbers in every drawing. It's knowing which lottery ticket will win that is the epistemically difficult part, like X knowing when he's better off with a false belief.
Self-deceptions are the worst kind of black swan bets, much worse than lies, because without knowing the true state of affairs, you can't even guess at what the penalty will be for your self-deception. They only have to blow up once to undo all the good they ever did. One single time when you pray to God after discovering a lump, instead of going to a doctor. That's all it takes to undo a life. All the happiness that the warm thought of an afterlife ever produced in humanity, has now been more than cancelled by the failure of humanity to institute systematic cryonic preservations after liquid nitrogen became cheap to manufacture. And I don't think that anyone ever had that sort of failure in mind as a possible blowup, when they said, "But we need religious beliefs to cushion the fear of death." That's what black swan bets are all about—the unexpected blowup.
Maybe you even get away with one or two black-swan bets—they don't get you every time. So you do it again, and then the blowup comes and cancels out every benefit and then some. That's what black swan bets are all about.
Thus the difficulty of knowing when it's safe to believe a lie (assuming you can even manage that much mental contortion in the first place)—part of the nature of black swan bets is that you don't see the bullet that kills you; and since our perceptions just seem like the way the world is, it looks like there is no bullet, period.
So I would say that there is an ethical injunction against self-deception. I call this an "ethical injunction" not so much because it's a matter of interpersonal morality (although it is), but because it's a rule that guards you from your own cleverness—an override against the temptation to do what seems like the right thing.
So now we have two kinds of situation that can support an "ethical injunction", a rule not to do something even when it's the right thing to do. (That is, you refrain "even when your brain has computed it's the right thing to do", but this will just seem like "the right thing to do".)
First, being human and running on corrupted hardware, we may generalize classes of situation where when you say e.g. "It's time to rob a few banks for the greater good," we deem it more likely that you've been corrupted than that this is really the case. (Note that we're not prohibiting it from ever being the case in reality, but we're questioning the epistemic state where you're justified in trusting your own calculation that this is the right thing to do—fair lottery tickets can win, but you can't justifiably buy them.)
Second, history may teach us that certain classes of action are black-swan bets, that is, they sometimes blow up bigtime for reasons not in the decider's model. So even when we calculate within the model that something seems like the right thing to do, we apply the further knowledge of the black swan problem to arrive at an injunction against it.
But surely... if one is aware of these reasons... then one can simply redo the calculation, taking them into account. So we can rob banks if it seems like the right thing to do after taking into account the problem of corrupted hardware and black swan blowups. That's the rational course, right?
There's a number of replies I could give to that.
I'll start by saying that this is a prime example of the sort of thinking I have in mind, when I warn aspiring rationalists to beware of cleverness.
I'll also note that I wouldn't want an attempted Friendly AI that had just decided that the Earth ought to be transformed into paperclips, to assess whether this was a reasonable thing to do in light of all the various warnings it had received against it. I would want it to undergo an automatic controlled shutdown. Who says that meta-reasoning is immune from corruption?
I could mention the important times that my naive, idealistic ethical inhibitions have protected me from myself, and placed me in a recoverable position, or helped start the recovery, from very deep mistakes I had no clue I was making. And I could ask whether I've really advanced so much, and whether it would really be all that wise, to remove the protections that saved me before.
Yet even so... "Am I still dumber than my ethics?" is a question whose answer isn't automatically "Yes."
There are obvious silly things here that you shouldn't do; for example, you shouldn't wait until you're really tempted, and then try to figure out if you're smarter than your ethics on that particular occasion.
But in general—there's only so much power that can vest in what your parents told you not to do. One shouldn't underestimate the power. Smart people debated historical lessons in the course of forging the Enlightenment ethics that much of Western culture draws upon; and some subcultures, like scientific academia, or science-fiction fandom, draw on those ethics more directly. But even so the power of the past is bounded.
And in fact...
I've had to make my ethics much stricter than what my parents and Jerry Pournelle and Richard Feynman told me not to do.
Funny thing, how when people seem to think they're smarter than their ethics, they argue for less strictness rather than more strictness. I mean, when you think about how much more complicated the modern world is...
And along the same lines, the ones who come to me and say, "You should lie about the Singularity, because that way you can get more people to support you; it's the rational thing to do, for the greater good"—these ones seem to have no idea of the risks.
They don't mention the problem of running on corrupted hardware. They don't mention the idea that lies have to be recursively protected from all the truths and all the truthfinding techniques that threaten them. They don't mention that honest ways have a simplicity that dishonest ways often lack. They don't talk about black-swan bets. They don't talk about the terrible nakedness of discarding the last defense you have against yourself, and trying to survive on raw calculation.
I am reasonably sure that this is because they have no clue about any of these things.
If you've truly understood the reason and the rhythm behind ethics, then one major sign is that, augmented by this newfound knowledge, you don't do those things that previously seemed like ethical transgressions. Only now you know why.
Someone who just looks at one or two reasons behind ethics, and says, "Okay, I've understood that, so now I'll take it into account consciously, and therefore I have no more need of ethical inhibitions"—this one is behaving more like a stereotype than a real rationalist. The world isn't simple and pure and clean, so you can't just take the ethics you were raised with and trust them. But that pretense of Vulcan logic, where you think you're just going to compute everything correctly once you've got one or two abstract insights—that doesn't work in real life either.
As for those who, having figured out none of this, think themselves smarter than their ethics: Ha.
And as for those who previously thought themselves smarter than their ethics, but who hadn't conceived of all these elements behind ethical injunctions "in so many words" until they ran across this Overcoming Bias sequence, and who now think themselves smarter than their ethics, because they're going to take all this into account from now on: Double ha.
I have seen many people struggling to excuse themselves from their ethics. Always the modification is toward lenience, never to be more strict. And I am stunned by the speed and the lightness with which they strive to abandon their protections. Hobbes said, "I don't know what's worse, the fact that everyone's got a price, or the fact that their price is so low." So very low the price, so very eager they are to be bought. They don't look twice and then a third time for alternatives, before deciding that they have no option left but to transgress—though they may look very grave and solemn when they say it. They abandon their ethics at the very first opportunity. "Where there's a will to failure, obstacles can be found." The will to fail at ethics seems very strong, in some people.
I don't know if I can endorse absolute ethical injunctions that bind over all possible epistemic states of a human brain. The universe isn't kind enough for me to trust that. (Though an ethical injunction against self-deception, for example, does seem to me to have tremendous force. I've seen many people arguing for the Dark Side, and none of them seem aware of the network risks or the black-swan risks of self-deception.) If, someday, I attempt to shape a (reflectively consistent) injunction within a self-modifying AI, it will only be after working out the math, because that is so totally not the sort of thing you could get away with doing via an ad-hoc patch.
But I will say this much:
I am completely unimpressed with the knowledge, the reasoning, and the overall level, of those folk who have eagerly come to me, and said in grave tones, "It's rational to do unethical thing X because it will have benefit Y."
Given the current sequence, perhaps it's time to revisit the whole Torture vs Dust Specks thing?
My guess is the results of that poll would depend radically on how the question is worded.
But yes, I agree with you that for most wordings, most people (including most LW contributors) will say "X units torture is worse than Y units of dust specks" for any substantial X & Y, no matter how vanishingly small X/Y is. And those who say "dust specks are worse for a sufficiently small X/Y" will chide them for succumbing to scope insensitivity, and the Torture Is Worse team will counterchide for being evil.
For my own part, I think recovery is a red herring. Sure, it's implausible to imagine a person recovering from fifty years of torture in the real world. It's also implausible to imagine 3^^^3 people getting a dust speck in their eye in the real world. It's an implausible thought experiment. So what?
But if one insists on taking recovery rates into account, well, OK: consider a person whose life thus far has been so miserable that they are right on the borderline of they can recover from. Left alone, they'd eventually manage recovery, but even the slightest worsening of their condition -- say, getting a dust speck in their eye at the wrong time -- will tip them o... (read more)
"Would you kill babies if it was the right thing to do? If no, under what circumstances would you not do the right thing to do? If yes, how right would it have to be, for how many babies?"
I would have answered "yes"; eg., I would have set off a bomb in Hitler's car in 1942, even if Hitler was surrounded by babies. This doesn't seem to be a case of corruption by unethical hardware; the benefit to me from setting off such a bomb is quite negative, as it greatly increases my chance of being tortured to death by the SS.
The problem here of course is how selective to be about rules to let into this protected level of "rules almost no one should think themselves clever enough to know when to violate." After all, your social training may well want you to include "Never question our noble leader" in that set. Many a Christian has been told the mysteries of God are so subtle that they shouldn't think themselves clever enough to know when they've found evidence that God isn't following a grand plan to make this the best of all possible worlds.
There's that old quote: "never let your sense of morality keep you from doing what you know is right."
I'd still like an answer to the most basic Friendly AI question: what do you want it to do? Forget the implementation problems for a second, and just give me a scenario where the AI is doing what you want it to do. What does that world look like? Because I don't even know what I want from that future.
Michael, the AI I would currently like to create computes a metamoral question, looking for reflective equilibria of your current inconsistent and unknowledgeable self; something along the lines of "What would you ask me to do if you knew what I know and thought as fast as I do?"
What does the actual world look like? I can visualize a world that, to me at least, seems at least pleasant enough to refute most of the objections people have along the lines of "But you couldn't have that much fun and still lead a philosophically acceptable existence". But I'm not sure it's wise to write about it, because I'm afraid it would suck out people's souls. It's better for your mental health to look down at the Middle Ages than up at the future.
Well, I hope you will stick around, MichaelG. Most people around here IMHO are too quickly satisifed with answers to questions about what sorts of terminal values properly apply even if the world changes drastically. A feeling of confusion about the question is your friend IMHO. Extreme scepticism of the popular answers is also your friend.
@Tom McCabe: I would have answered "yes"; eg., I would have set off a bomb in Hitler's car in 1942, even if Hitler was surrounded by babies. This doesn't seem to be a case of corruption by unethical hardware; the benefit to me from setting off such a bomb is quite negative, as it greatly increases my chance of being tortured to death by the SS.
It's easy to talk now about it, harder if you actually lived in Germany at that time and had to really fear the SS. Are you american? If yes did you consider the fact that the actual political situation in ... (read more)
So... do you not actually believe in your injunction to "shut up and multiply"? Because for some time now you seem to have been arguing that we should do what feels right rather than trying to figure out what is right.
Learning Methods might be a relevant system. It's based on the idea that emotional and physical pain are information, and it's important to override the impulse to shut them down so that you can use them as detailed signals.
I think Eliezer makes some good points, but that he is taking them too far. I'm not certain where or how much we disagree though. It would be clearer what he really believes he was forced to discuss/debate a wide range of situations in which he agrees/disagrees that it is worth violating an ethic which is generally a good one.
I encourage people to offer thought experiments in the comments.
I'm much more sympathetic to "Never try to deceive yourself, or offer a reason to believe other than probable truth". Honestly, it seems to me that I take this injunction as seriously as anyone does, including Eliezer, but I'm still, unlike Eliezer, willing to mention a few caveats. The most important is that for humans, though not for minds in general, beliefs, brain states, world states, and values are not cleanly separate. There is not, for instance, any completely clean distinction between causing myself to hold a vague belief about what i... (read more)
"looking for reflective equilibria of your current inconsistent and unknowledgeable self; something along the lines of 'What would you ask me to do if you knew what I know and thought as fast as I do?'"
We're sufficiently more intelligent than monkeys to do that reasoning... so humanity's goal (as the advanced intelligence created by monkeys a few million years ago for getting to the Singularity) should be to use all the knowledge gained to tile the universe with bananas and forests etc.
We don't have the right to say, "if monkeys were more in... (read more)
You should never, ever murder an innocent person who's helped you, even if it's the right thing to do
Shut up and do the impossible!
As written, both these statements are conceptually confused. I understand that you didn't actually mean either of them literally, but I would advise against trading on such deep-sounding conceptual confusions.
You should never, ever do X, even if if you are exceedingly confident that it is the right thing to do
This sounds less profound, but will actually be true for some value of X, unlike the first sentence or its derivatives. It sounds as profound as it is, and no more. I believe this is the right standard.
A: yes; B: N/A; C: approximately 3.6 floodlenips of rightness - per baby.
Robin has an excellent point. The majority of the planet, when faced with reasoning that argues against their religion, executes a very close variant on that shutdown code. They have a very similar injunction against being too clever. And they are similarly smug about rationalists who give up eternity to freeze their heads.
Eliezer, have you read Bryan Caplan yet? His "rational irrationality" argues that most of the planet engages in willful self-deception and gets away with it. Not without aggregate harm, but tragedy of the commons and all that.
So AIs are dangerous, because they're blind optimization processes; evolution is cruel, because it's a blind optimization process... and still Eliezer wants to build an optimizer-based AI. Why? We human beings are not optimizers or outcome pumps. We are a layered cake of instincts, and precisely this allows us to be moral and kind.
No idea what I'm talking about, but the "subsumption architecture" papers seem to me much more promising - a more gradual, less dangerous, more incrementally effective path to creating friendly intelligent beings. I hope something like this this will be Eliezer's next epiphany: the possibility of non-optimizer-based high intelligence, and its higher robustness compared to paperclip bombs.
Sure we are. All biological organisms are. Evolution is a giant optimization process, and we are doing the optimizing in our region of design space.
I agree that there are certain moral rules we should never break. Human beings are not omniscient, so all of our principles have to be principles-in-a-context. In that sense every principle is vulnerable to a black swan, but there are levels of vulnerability. The levels correspond to how wide ranging the abstraction. The more abstract the less vulnerable.
Injunctions about truth are based on the metaphysical fact of identity, which is implied in every single object we encounter in our entire lives. So epistemological injunctions are the most invulnerable. T... (read more)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113613/ Plot: A group of idealistic, but frustrated, liberals succumb to the temptation of murdering rightwing pundits for their political beliefs.
I believe a more sensible interpretation would be, "You should have an unbreakable prohibition against doing X, even in cases where X is the right thing to do" - the issue is not that you might be wrong about it being the right thing to do, but rather that not having the prohibition is a bad thing.
This seems closely related to inside-view versus outside-view. The think-lobe of the brain comes up with a cunning plan. The plan breaks an ethical rule but calculation shows it is for the greater good. The executive-lobe of the brain then ponders the outside view. Every-one who has executed an evil cunning plan has run a calculation of the greater good and had their plan endorsed. So the calculation lack outside-view credibility.
What kind of evidence could give outside-view credibility? Consider a plan with lots of traceability to previous events. If it g... (read more)
Michael, it applies to AI at an intermediate stage (and maybe not so much to AI as to the design decisions that came into its creation). These black swan safety measures should of course be relative to predictive horizon, where precise knowledge about (evaluation of) consequences is possible. There is no such problem when you need to choose between alternatives having only known immediate consequences that have known moral evaluation, so the question is when to pull the plug, when to decide that your model likely deceives you.
Interesting and convincing climax to a series of slightly less convincing posts. I see what you were getting at, and thanks for writing it.
I'm confused by your desire for an 'automatic controlled shutdown' and your fear that further meta-reasoning will override ethical inhibitions. In previous writings you've expressed a desire to have a provably correct solution before proceeding. But aren't you consciously leaving in a race-condition here?
What's to prohibit the meta-reasoning from taking place before the shutdown triggers? It would seem that either you can hard-code an ethical inhibition or you can't. Along those lines, is it fair to presume that the inhibitions are always neg... (read more)
Highly excellent series of posts. However, is there not a need to take account of more/better data on the aspects of human psychology that these Ethical Injunctions are there to protect against? Eliezer derived the hypotheses from evolutionary theory, but is not more solid empirical data needed in order to more accurately determine how severe these psychological effects are and in turn to more accurately design good Ethical Injunctions? Or will good Injunctions likely be so general that such a level of accuracy is not necessary?
I'll offer a reason to believe. The truth costs. Take pi, the most probable truth is that pi is equal to the limit of the Perimeter of an n sided polygon divided by its diameter as n goes to infinity.
pi = 3.14159000000 is... (read more)
Will, you are arguing about precision rather than accuracy.
As before, I agree with Toby Ord.
Will, when you use a rational approximation of pi, you still don't believe you're using the exact value of pi... I hope?
Thom, how is the issue not "that you might be wrong about it being the right thing to do"?
Vladimir N, it's meant to apply to AI at an intermediate stage, but I think Michael's concern is that it would get locked into the utility function forever. That is tricky.
Like I keep on saying, I have a different moral framework than most, but I come to the same conclusions on unethical means to allegedly ethical ends.
I've seen many claims that deceiving oneself optimistically is a prerequisite for success. In particular, it is claimed that most successful people were initially excessively optimistic about their prospects for success. Without this excessive optimism, success is claimed to be unlikely. I notice that Eliezer is indeed optimistic about his prospects for success in creating friendly AI, however he has a rationalization for why his optimism is justified. Many critics here have expressed skepticism about his justifications. One risk is that without conscious ... (read more)
Zubon, I didn't think I was arguing about either.
Nick Tartleton, I might occasionally forget that the value of PI I am using is an approximation, just like I sometimes forget that multiplication is not commutative for floating point numbers. For some people e.g. sea captains plotting a course, they might never need to know that pi is an approximation. Due to the immense amount of imprecision involved in piloting a boat, they don't need to know the truth. There isn't the phrase, "near enough for a sailing ship" for no reason. Preferring to spend t... (read more)
Letting yourself forget ≠ choosing to forget ≠ choosing to believe falsely.
Hal asks good questions. I advise always minding the distinction between personal success (personal economic security, reputation, esteem among high-status people) and global success (increasing the probability of a good explosion of engineered intelligence) and suggest that the pernicious self-deception (and blind spots) stem from unconscious awareness of the need for personal success. I.e., the need for global success does not tend to distort a person's perceptions like (awareness of) the need for personal success does.
Forgetting truths has the same potential consequences as rationally choosing to believe falsely. How is an AI who chooses to delete their memories and any logs of the action, any different from a system that forgets.
We are discussing AI design here right? The AI system must have a way of deciding what is forgotten, it might be subconscious, but you hope it is done with a reason or purpose it doesn't randomly forget very important things, like how to speak etc. So a choice is made by the system. So your subconscious chooses what you forget, not your consci... (read more)
One category of cases where self-deception might be (evolutionarily) adaptive would be for males to be over-confident about their chances to pick up a female for a one-night stand (or, alternative, over-confident about how pleasurable that dalliance would be, and/or about how little they would be emotionally hurt by a rejection of their advances).
Suppose that in reality the potential utility to the male of the 1-night stand (if the seduction works) is twice as much as the utility loss (if rejected) and the actual chances of success are 20%; in this case th... (read more)
I can think of two positions on torture to which I am sympathetic:
1) No legal system or society should ever refrain from punishing those who torture - anything important enough that torture would even be on the table, like a nuclear bomb in New York, is important enough that everyone involved should be willing to go to prison for the crime of torture.
2) The chance of actually encountering a "nuke in New York" situation, that can be effectively resolved by torture, is so low, and the knock-on effects of having the policy in place so awful, that a blanket injunction against torture makes sense.
In case 1, you would choose TORTURE over SPECKS, and then go to jail for it, even though it was the right thing to do.
In case 2, you would simultaneously say "TORTURE over SPECKS is the right alternative of the two, but a human can never be in an epistemic state where you have justified belief that this is the case", which would tie in well to the Hansonian argument that you have an O(3^^^3) probability penalty from the unlikelihood of finding yourself in such a uni... (read more)
Tim Tyler, IMO you're wrong: a human mind does not act as if maximizing any utility function on world states. The mind just goes around in grooves. Nice things like culture and civilization fall out accidentally as side effects. But thanks for the "bright light" idea, it's intriguing.
You are so Kantian. I think the world could use a little more Kant and a little less Hobbes these days.
I forgot I posted over here the other day, and so I didn't check back. For anyone still reading this thread, here's a bit of an email exchange I had on this subject. I'd really like a "FriendlyAI scenarios" thread.
From the few sentences I read on CEV, you are basically saying “I don’t know what I want or what the human race wants, but here I have a superintelligent AI. Let’s ask it!” This is clever, even if it means the solution is completely unknown at this point. Still, there are problems. I envision this as a two-step process. First, ... (read more)
MichaelG, read up on molecular nanotechnology. I think a biological humanity living on a real Earth is a terrible idea - that's not at all what I think of when I talk about defending humanity. I mean, everyone's just going to die young anyway at that rate.
Eliezer, I'm aware of nanotech. And I know you think the human race is obsolete when AI comes along. And I also think that you might be right, and that people like you might have the power to make it so.
But I also believe that if the rest of the human race really thought that was a possibility, you'd be burned at the stake.
Do you have any regard for the opinions of humanity at all? If you were in the position of having an AI in front of you, that you had convinced yourself was friendly, would you let it out of the box without bothering to consult anyone else?
I have great regard for the welfare of humanity. But there is no right to having an opinion on the subject. Not without doing all the work and studying all the issues required to have an opinion, on this terrible issue where a single flawed step in reasoning could be fatal.
I don't think you have any idea how poor humanity's position on the gameboard looks right now, if you think that there's any space at all for anything but the most perfect possible moves as fast as they can be made.
I have no intent, at present, to wield superhuman power with my own hum... (read more)
It doesn't make sense to me. More likely, once we have AI, not many will be interested in emulating the human brain. Emulations may happen eventually, but the results will probably have very low social an... (read more)
Eliezer, I understand the logic of what you are saying. If AI is an existential threat, then only FriendlyAI can save us. Since any self-improving AI can become quickly unstoppable, FriendlyAI must be developed first and deployed as soon as it is developed. The team that developed it would in fact have a moral imperative to deploy it without risking consultation from anyone else.
I assume you also understand where I'm coming from. Out here in the "normal" world, you sound like a zealot who would destroy the human race in order to save it. Any... (read more)
Uploads are not a very practical idea. The required technology comes some considerable distance after that required to make an engineered intelligence - and so much of the motivation to develop it falls away before the technology is in place. Then there's the issue of machine status. Machines are likely to be enslaved by humans initially. An upload would probably have few rights. Also, uploads would have to be into a sandbox, ... (read more)
Are you saying this is a reason not to act, or just to tone down the rhetoric?
"Don't have to listen to criticism ... (read more)
Tim, do we have any idea what is required for uploads? Do we have any idea what is required for AGI? How can you make those comparisons?
If we thin-section and scan a frozen brain, it's an immense amount of data, but at least potentially, captures everything you need to know about a brain. This is a solvable technological problem. If we understand neurons well enough, we can simulate that mapped brain. Again, that's just a matter of compute power. I'm sure there's a huge distance from a simulated scan to a functional virtual human, but it doesn't stri... (read more)
Kurzweil discusses the hardware requirements in TSIN, pages 124 and 199. His estimate for uploading is way too low - but the exact estimates don't matter much - the point is that uploads require a lot more in the way of computing hardware. That doesn't address software issues, but probably with several orders of magnitude of hardware difficulties come several orders of magnitude of software difficulties.... (read more)
Even if at somepoint it would have been better for some particular human to believe false thing X, couldn't there be a set of truths T which would be even better in every one of those situations?
If my utility function has a high enough U(Babies undergoing mind-state annihilation) I will go about tiling the universe. It doesn't at present and additionally implements U(high U(Babies undergoing mind-state annihilation)) as way low.
Y'know, I can't help but notice that a lot of atheists talk about how death... (read more)
That's a fantastic quote.
There is something I don't understand about the "fooling programmers -> shutdown" idea - how "It looks like it should be possible"
Am I correct assuming this requires an AI that:
Implements changes in discrete iterations
Understands how it itself works, both on low and very high levels (getting fractal here)
Can do the same for its more advanced iteration
Monitors the more advanced iteration (a simulation or a live deployment) for a certain behavior, preferably in real time or faster
Has the concept of deception (shutdown conditi
I've been working my way through the Sequences--and I'm wondering a lot about this essay, in light of the previously-introduce notion of 'how do you decide what values, given to you by natural selection, you are going to keep?'
Could someone use the stances you develop here, EY, to argue for something like Aristotelian ethics? (Which, admittedly, I may not properly understand fully, but my basic idea is:)
'You chose to keep human life, human happiness, love, and learning as values in YOUR utility function,' says the objector, 'even though you know where they... (read more)
Tangentially, there's an upcoming Netflix six-episode series named “The Heavy Water War,” that should cover both this event, and the sabotage of the heavy water production facility that led up to it.
Your protecting of Knut Haikelid's decision only comes from your "it is more meaningful that we save lives than that we conform to a particular pattern while attempting it" moral rule (which is, as I argued, not part of many people's ethics) - or am I getting something wrong?
As for lies on Singularity - a clever skeptic could say "people who are smart enough to expose you in a lie on such a technical matter are also smart enough to help you instead of exposing you, and you even could leave them a clue that you know you are lying that those outside the technical paradigm simply will not get". It is a difficult technical matter, after all. As for simplicity - is it a terminal value? I think not.