Because all regulation does is redistribute power between fallible humans.

Yes. The regulatory body takes power away from the fallible human. If this human teams up with his evil AI he will become master of the universe. Above all of us including you. The redistribution will take power from to the synergetic entity of human and AI and all human beings on earth will gain power except the few ones entangled with that AI.

Who is that "we"?

Citizens concerned about possible negative outcomes of Singularity. Today this "we" is only a small community. In a few years this "we" will include most of the educated population of earth. As soon as a wider public is aware of the existential risks the pressure to create regulatory safeguards will rise.

LOL. So, do you think I have problems finding torrents of movies to watch?

DRM is easy to circumvent because it is not intrinsically part of the content but an unnecessary encryption. A single legal decryption can create a freely distributable copy. With computing power this could be designed differently, especially when specially designed chips will be used. Although GPUs are quite good for current deep learning algorithms there will be a major speed-up as soon as hardware becomes available that embeds these deep learning network architectures. The vital backpropagation steps required for learning could be made conditional on a hardware based enabling scheme that is under control of a tool AI that monitors all learning behaviour. For sure you could create FPGA alternatives - but these workarounds will come with significant losses in performance.

Why would the politicians need AI professionals when they'll just hijack the process for their own political ends?

No - my writing was obviously unclear. We (the above mentioned "we") need AI professionals to develop concepts how a regulatory process could be designed. Politicians are typically opportunistic, uninformed and greedy for power. When nothing can be done they do nothing. Therefore "we" should develop concepts of what can be done. If our politicians get intensively pushed by public pressure we maybe can hijack them to push regulation.

Today the situation is like this: Google, Facebook, Amazon, Baidu, NSA and some other players are in a good starting position to "win" Singularity. They will suppress any regulatory move because they could lose the lead. Once any of these players reaches Singularity he has in an instant the best hardware+the best software + the best regulatory ideas + the best regulatory stunting solutions - to remain solely on top and block all others. Then all of the sudden "everybody" = "we" are manipulated to want regulation. This will be especially effective if the superintelligent AI manages to disguise its capabilities and let the world think it had managed regulation. In this case not "we" have manged regulation, but the unbound and uncontrollable master-of-the-universe-AI.

The regulatory body takes power away from the fallible human.

The "regulatory body" is the same fallible humans. Plus power corrupts.

If this human teams up with his evil AI

Why wouldn't a "regulatory body" team up with an evil AI? Just to maintain the order, you understand...

In a few years this "we" will include most of the educated population of earth.

Colour me sceptical. In fact, I'll just call this hopeful idiocy.

how a regulatory process could be designed

In the real world? Do tell.

To contribute to AI safety, consider doing AI research

by Vika 1 min read16th Jan 201639 comments


Among those concerned about risks from advanced AI, I've encountered people who would be interested in a career in AI research, but are worried that doing so would speed up AI capability relative to safety. I think it is a mistake for AI safety proponents to avoid going into the field for this reason (better reasons include being well-positioned to do AI safety work, e.g. at MIRI or FHI). This mistake contributed to me choosing statistics rather than computer science for my PhD, which I have some regrets about, though luckily there is enough overlap between the two fields that I can work on machine learning anyway. I think the value of having more AI experts who are worried about AI safety is far higher than the downside of adding a few drops to the ocean of people trying to advance AI. Here are several reasons for this:

  1. Concerned researchers can inform and influence their colleagues, especially if they are outspoken about their views.
  2. Studying and working on AI brings understanding of the current challenges and breakthroughs in the field, which can usefully inform AI safety work (e.g. wireheading in reinforcement learning agents).
  3. Opportunities to work on AI safety are beginning to spring up within academia and industry, e.g. through FLI grants. In the next few years, it will be possible to do an AI-safety-focused PhD or postdoc in computer science, which would hit two birds with one stone.

To elaborate on #1, one of the prevailing arguments against taking long-term AI safety seriously is that not enough experts in the AI field are worried. Several prominent researchers have commented on the potential risks (Stuart Russell, Bart Selman, Murray Shanahan, Shane Legg, and others), and more are concerned but keep quiet for reputational reasons. An accomplished, strategically outspoken and/or well-connected expert can make a big difference in the attitude distribution in the AI field and the level of familiarity with the actual concerns (which are not about malevolence, sentience, or marching robot armies). Having more informed skeptics who have maybe even read Superintelligence, and fewer uninformed skeptics who think AI safety proponents are afraid of Terminators, would produce much needed direct and productive discussion on these issues. As the proportion of informed and concerned researchers in the field approaches critical mass, the reputational consequences for speaking up will decrease.

A year after FLI's Puerto Rico conference, the subject of long-term AI safety is no longer taboo among AI researchers, but remains rather controversial. Addressing AI risk on the long term will require safety work to be a significant part of the field, and close collaboration between those working on safety and capability of advanced AI. Stuart Russell makes the apt analogy that "just as nuclear fusion researchers consider the problem of containment of fusion reactions as one of the primary problems of their field, issues of control and safety will become central to AI as the field matures". If more people who are already concerned about AI safety join the field, we can make this happen faster, and help wisdom win the race with capability.

(Cross-posted from my blog. Thanks to Janos Kramar for his help with editing this post.)