“The Wisdom of the Lazy Teacher”

by Richard_Kennaway1 min read21st Nov 20215 comments



If you teach a man to fish, he’ll be eating fish for a lifetime. Teach him to teach himself to fish, and you’ve given him the fundamental life skill of figuring things out on his own.

Wylie Beckert

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If you teach an AI to fish, it might optimize its performance within a narrow scope. Teach it to teach itself to fish, and you've created a recursively self-improving AGI that is unaligned with human values by default and will most likely end up killing us all.

-- Eliezer, probably

It reminds me of what I told my kids about mathematicians being lazy and inventing ways of skipping work. For example, instead of repeated addition, find tricky ways to do multiplication. Or that fractions are just delayed divisions - we postpone during the division as long as possible - including many multiplications on the way too (canceling down). Or think of summation rules.

Might work for a hungry man, but a disengaged and lazy students?

The linked article is about what to do as a student rather than what to do as a teacher.

If you were given the task of adding the numbers 1 through 100 together, what would you do?