Not long ago, I noticed myself wondering: why am I working on AI Safety again?
I remembered caring deeply about it. Doing essentially everything for the sake of that singular point in the future. Resting for the sake of work. Brooding over it every moment. But not now.
Now I found myself just following the path of least resistance that my past self had carved out for me. Simply carrying out my social role. Sheepishly. Kinda ignoring the point of it.
My sincere worry had turned into a fake belief. One that I kept to preserve social capital, while conveniently forgetting the mentally taxing worldview that motivated my work in the first place.
This had been going on for at least a year, and it worries me. It shows that losing purpose can happen internally, quietly, long before it manifests outwardly in obviously malign choices. Long before you notice. I was still acting as if I was pursuing AI Safety, but merely to placate social control mechanisms. I wonder just how much thinking was wasted in the times that those mechanisms were appeased.
I thought long and hard about it. What was the point again? I simulated what I thought might happen. I imagined seeing hours of work being done in the 3 seconds after uttering a command. I imagined everything changing overwhelmingly fast, being lost in horrible confusion. I imagined the joy of idea generation being my bottleneck, instead of boring execution.
And it all came back. The fire lit. My beliefs paid rent again.