All of bambi's Comments + Replies

burger flipper, making one decision that increases your average statistical lifespan (signing up for cryonics) does not compel you to trade off every other joy of living in favor of further increases. and, if the hospital or government or whoever can't be bothered to wait for my organs until i am done with them, that's their problem not mine.

Carl, Robin's response to this post was a critical comment about the proposed content of Eliezer's AI's motivational system. I assumed he had a reason for making the comment, my bad.

Oh, and Friendliness theory (to the extent it can be separated from specific AI architecture details) is like the doomsday device in Dr. Strangelove: it doesn't do any good if you keep it secret! [in this case, unless Eliezer is supremely confident of programming AI himself first]

Regarding the 2004 comment, AGI Researcher probably was referring to the Coherent Extrapolated Volition document which was marked by Eliezer as slightly obsolete in 2004, and not a word since about any progress in the theory of Friendliness.

Robin, if you grant that a "hard takeoff" is possible, that leads to the conclusion that it will eventually be likely (humans being curious and inventive creatures). This AI would "rule the world" in the sense of having the power to do what it wants. Now, suppose you get to pick what it wants (and ... (read more)

When Robin wrote: "It is easy, way too easy, to generate new mechanisms, accounts, theories, and abstractions." he gets it exactly right (though it is not necessarily so easy to make good ones, that isn't really the point).

This should have been clear from the sequence on the "timeless universe" -- just as that interesting abstraction is not going to convince more than a few credulous fans of the truth of that abstraction, the truth of the magical super-FOOM is not going to convince anybody without more substantial support than an appeal... (read more)

The issue, of course, is not whether AI is a game-changer. The issue is whether it will be a game-changer soon and suddenly. I have been looking forward to somebody explaining why this is likely, so I've got my popcorn popped and my box of wine in the fridge.

Perhaps Eliezer goes to too many cocktail parties:

X: "Do you build neural networks or expert systems?" E: "I don't build anything. Mostly I whine about people who do." X: "Hmm. Does that pay well?"

Perhaps Bayesian Networks are the hot new delicious lemon glazing. Of course they have been around for 23 years.

Perhaps "mind" should just be tabooed. It doesn't seem to offer anything helpful, and leads to vast fuzzy confusion.

What do you mean by a mind?

All you have given us is that a mind is an optimization process. And: what a human brain does counts as a mind. Evolution does not count as a mind. AIXI may or may not count as a mind (?!).

I understand your desire not to "generalize", but can't we do better than this? Must we rely on Eliezer-sub-28-hunches to distinguish minds from non-minds?

Is the FAI you want to build a mind? That might sound like a dumb question, but why should it be a "mind", given what we want from it?


1) A situation with AIs whose intelligence is between village idiot and Einstein -- assuming there is a scale to make "between" a non-poetic concept -- is not very likely and probably short-lived if it does occur (unless perhaps it is engineered that way on purpose).

2) Aspects of human cognition -- our particular emotions, our language forms, perhaps even pervasive mental tricks like reasoning by analogy -- may be irrelevant to Optimization Processes in general, making their focus for AI research possibly "voodoo doll" methodolo... (read more)

Richard: Thanks for the link; that looks like a bunch of O.B. posts glommed together; I don't find it any more precise or convincing than anything here so far. Don't get me wrong, though; like the suggestive material on O.B. it is very interesting. If it simply isn't possible to get more concrete because the ideas are not developed well enough, so be it.

For the record, my nickname is taken from a character in an old Disney animated film, a (male) deer.

Z.M.: interesting discussion. weapons of math destruction is a wickedly clever phrase. Still, I can hope for more than "FAI must optimize something, we know not what. Before we can figure out what to optimize we have to understand Recursive Self Improvement. But we can't talk about that because it's too dangerous."

Nick: Yes, science is about models, as that post says. Formal models. It does not seem unreasonable to hope that some are forthcoming. Surely that is the goal. The post you reference is complaining about people making a distincti... (read more)

Carry on with your long winding road of reasoning.

Of particular interest, which I hope you will dwell on: What does "self-improving" in the context of an AI program mean precisely? If there is a utility function involved, exactly what is it?

I also hope you start introducing some formal notation, to make your speculations on these topics less like science fiction.

"I built my network, and it's massively parallel and interconnected and complicated, just like the human brain from which intelligence emerges! Behold, now intelligence shall emerge from this neural network as well!"

Who actually did this? I'm not aware of any such effort, much less it being a trend. Seems to me that the "AI" side of neural networks is almost universally interested in data processing properties of small networks. Larger more complex network experiments are part of neuroscience (naive in most cases but that's a differ... (read more)

If the secret report comes back "acceptable risk" I suppose it just gets dumped into the warehouse from Raiders of the Lost Ark, but what if it doesn't?

Perhaps such a report was produced during the construction of the SSC?

What if the report is about something not under monolithic control?

Ben, you could be right that my "world is too fuzzy" view is just mind projection, but let me at least explain what I am projecting. The most natural way to get "unlimited" control over matter is a pure reductionist program in which a formal mathematical logic can represent designs and causal relationships with perfect accuracy (perfect to the limits of quantum probabilities). Unfortunately, combinatorial explosion makes that impractical. What we can actually do instead is redescribe collections of matter in new terms. Sometimes the... (read more)

Eliezer taught you rationality, so figure it out!

If I understand the research program under discussion, certain ideas are answered "somebody else will". e.g.

Don't build RSI, build AI with limited improvement capabilities (like humans) and use Moore's law to get speedup. "but somebody else will"

Build it so that all it does is access a local store of data (say a cache of the internet) and answer multiple choice questions (or some other limited function). Don't build it to act. "but somebody else will"

etc. every safety sugge... (read more)

There are many terms and concepts that don't pay for themselves, though we might not agree on which ones. For example, I think Goedel's Theorem is one of them... its cuteness and abstract splendor doesn't offset the dumbness it invokes in people trying to apply it. "Consciousness" and "Free Will" are two more.

If the point here is to remove future objections to the idea that AI programs can make choices and still be deterministic, I guess that's fair but maybe a bit pedantic.

Personally I provisionally accept the basic deterministic red... (read more)

iwdw: you could be right -- perhaps the truly top talented members of the "next generation" are better attracted to AI by wandering internet blog sequences on "rationality" than some actual progress on AI. I am neither a supergenius nor young so I can't say for sure.

Re your moral dilemma: you've stated that you think your approach needs a half-dozen or so supergeniuses (on the level of the titans of physics). Unless they have already been found -- and only history can judge that -- some recruitment seems necessary. Whether these essays capture supergeniuses is the question.

Demonstrated (published) tangible and rigorous progress on your AI theory seems more likely to attract brilliant productive people to your cause.

Unknown, your comment strikes me as a good way of looking at it.

The "me of now" as a region of configuration space contains residue of causal relationships to other regions of configuration space ("the past" and my memories of it). And the timeless probability field on configuration space causally connects the "me of now" to the "future" (other regions of configuration space). Just because this is true, and -- even more profoundly -- even though the "me of now" configuration space region has no special st... (read more)

So what tools do all you self-improving rationalists use to help with the "multiply" part of "shut up and multiply"? A development environment for a programming/scripting language? Mathematica? A desk calculator? Mathcad? Spreadsheet? Pen and paper?

Eliezer, your observers would hopefully have noticed hundreds of millions of years of increasing world-modeling cognitive capability, eventually leading to a species with sufficient capacity to form a substrate for memetic progress, followed by a hundred thousand years and a hundred billion individual lives leading up to now.

Looking at a trilobyte, the conclusion would not be that such future development is "impossible", but perhaps "unlikely to occur while I'm eating lunch today".

Ok, sure. Maybe Bayesianism is much more broadly applicable than it seems. And maybe there are fewer fundamental breakthroughs still needed for a sufficient RSI-AI theory than it seems. And maybe the fundamentals could be elaborated into a full framework more easily than it seems. And maybe such a framework could be implemented into computer programming more easily than it seems. And maybe the computing power required to execute the computer program at non-glacial speeds is less than it seems. And maybe the efficiency of the program can be automatica... (read more)

Ok, it looks to me like these answers (invoking the future over and over after accepting that there is no 't') are admissions that this type of physics thinking is just playfulness -- no consequences whatsoever, to our own actions or to any observable aspect of the universe.

That's cool, I misunderstood is all. Maybe life is just a dream, eh?

Eliezer, if you believe all of this, why do you care so much about saving the world from "future" ravenous AIs? The paperclip universes just are and the non-paperclip-universes just are. Go to the beach, man! Chill out. You can't change anyting; there is nothing to change.

His caring just is.. Actually that is excessively glib. Regrets and fears are posited on things being able to be different, being capable of change. The irony is that single universe plus indetermimistic collapse theories support ES moral attitudes much better than EYs ontology.

As long as arguing from fictional evidence is ok as long as you admit you're doing it, somebody should write the novelization.

Bayesian Ninja Army contacted by secret government agency due to imminent detonation of Logic Bomb* in evil corporate laboratory buried deep beneath some exotic location. Hijinks ensue; they fail to stop Logic Bomb detonation but do manage to stuff in a Friendliness supergoal at the last minute. Singularity ensues, with lots of blinky lights and earth-rending. Commentary on the human condition follows, ending in a sequel-preparing twist.

  • see commentary on yesterday's post

Ok, the phrase was just an evocative alternative to "scary optimization process" or whatever term the secret society is using these days to avoid saying "AI" -- because "AI" raises all sorts of (purportedly) irrelevant associations like consciousness and other anthropomorphisms. The thing that is feared here is really just the brute power of bayesian modeling and reasoning applied to self improvement (through self modeling) and world control (through world modeling).

If an already existing type of malware has claimed the term, invent your own colorful name. How about "Master"?

Phillip Huggan: bambi, IDK anything about hacking culture, but I doubt kids need to read a decision theory blog to learn what a logic bomb is (whatever that is). Posting specific software code, on the other hand...

A Logic Bomb is the thing that Yudkowsky is trying to warn us about. Ice-Nine might be a more apropos analogy, though -- the start of a catalytic chain reaction that transforms everything. Homo Sapiens is one such logically exothermic self-sustaining chain reaction but it's a slow burn because brains suck.

A Logic Bomb has the following componen... (read more)

Thanks Patrick, I did sort of get the gist, but went into the ditch from there on that point.

I have been posting rather snarky comments lately as I imagined this was where the whole series was going and frankly it seems like lunacy to me (the bit about evidence being passe was particularly sweet). But I doubt anybody wants to hear me write that over and over (if people can be argued INTO believing in the tooth fairy then maybe they can be argued into anything after all). So I'll stop now.

I hereby dub the imminent magical self-reprogramming seed AI: a &q... (read more)

Sorry, the first part of that was phrased too poorly to be understood. I'll just throw "sufficiently advanced YGBM technology" on the growing pile of magical powers that I am supposed to be terrified of and leave it at that.

Sorry, Hopefully Anonymous, I missed the installment where "you gotta belive me" was presented as a cornerstone of rational argument.

The fact that a group of humans (CBI) is sometimes able to marginally influence the banana-brand-buying probabilities of some individual humans does not imply much in my opinion. I wouldn't have thought that extrapolating everything to infinity and beyond is much of a rational method. But we are all here to learn I suppose.

You're right, it is (2)! If we build an artificial intelligence that smart, with such absurd resources, then we _will_ be in danger. Doing this thing implies we lose. However, that does not mean that not doing this thing implies we do not lose. A ⇒ B doesn't mean ¬A ⇒ ¬B. Just because simulating trillions of humans then giving them internet access would be dangerous, that doesn't mean that's the only dangerous thing in the universe; that would be absurd. By that logic, we're immune from nuclear weapons or nanotech just because we don't have enough computronium to simulate the solar system. Your conclusion simply doesn't follow. (Plus, the premise of the argument's totally a strawman, but there's no point killing a dead argument deader.)

Given this perspective on what Science does and does not encourage, can you explain the phenomenon of String Theory to us?

If you think that Science rewards coming up with stupid theories and disproving them just as much as more productive results, I can hardly even understand what you mean by Science beyond the "observe, hypothesize, test, repeat" overview given to small children as an introduction to the scientific method. Was Eliezer-18 blind to anything beyond such simple rote forumulas?

Negative results are forgiven but hardly ever rewarded (unless the theory disproven is widely believed).

If you'd put aside the rather bizarre bitterness and just say: "Baye... (read more)

Where do we get sufficient self-confidence to pull probabilities for ill-defined and under-measured quantities out of our butts so we can use them in The Formula?

Is there any actually interesting intellectual task that rests on nice justifiable grounded probabilities?

Finally this sequence of posts is beginning to build to its hysterical climax. It might be difficult to convince us that doomsday probability calculations are more than swag-based-Bayesianism, but the effort will probably be entertaining. I know I love getting lost in trying to calculate "almost infinity" times "almost zero".

As a substantive point from this sequence, at least now scientists know that they should choose reasonable theories to test in preference to ridiculous ones; I'm sure that will be a very helpful insight.

Surely "science" as a method is indifferent to interpretations with no observable differences.

Your point seems to be that "science" as a social phenomenon resists new untestable interpretations. Scientists will wander all over the place in unmappable territory (despite your assertion that "science" rejects MWI, it doesn't look like that to me).

If Bayesianism trumps science only in circumstances where there are no possible testable consequences, that's a pretty weak reason to care, and a very long tortured argument to achieve so little.