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Even if you're an anarchist who thinks taxation is theft, to say willful nonpayment of taxes to donate is effective altruism is absurd, the consequences of this are just obviously very bad, both the idea and the advocacy. One publicized case of a person willfully refusing to pay their taxes in the name of effective altruism can do much more damage to it than many such people donating a bit more, and even if a particular case is invisible, the general practice is visible (Newcomb issues). Consider how much damage SBF and FTX have done to the causes of effective altruism, pandemic prevention, AI safety. There are billions of dollars committed to effective charity, and thousands of people trying to do good effectively, and people tying commonsense wrongdoing to it with crazy rationales has a serious damaging multiplier effect on the whole.

Any dollar donated through this method is in expectation going to cost multiple dollars worth of similar donations (plausibly a huge number) equivalent through such damage. It would be much better for the world if tax scofflaws were spending their taxes due on gambling or alcohol rather than effective altruism.

I disagree, from my experience of engaging with the public debate, doubt is mostly about AI capability, not about misalignment. Most people easily believe AI to be misaligned to them, but they have trouble believing it will be powerful enough to take over the world any time soon. I don't think alignment research will do that much here.

I would say that the power of AI will continue to visibly massively expand (although underestimation of further developments will continue to be a big problem), but that will increase both 'fear AI disaster' and 'get AI first' elements. My read is that that the former is in a very difficult position now when its policy recommendations conflict with the latter. I see this in the Congressional hearings and rejection of the pause letter.

Even if experts would agree that increasing the power of the aligned AI is good and necessary, and that expansion in space would be required for that, I think it will take a long time to convince the general public and/or decision makers, if it's at all possible. And in any remotely democratic alignment plan, that's a necessary step.

When that kind of AI is available, it would mean by the same token that such expansion could break down MAD in short order as such explosive growth could give the power to safely disarm international rivals if not matched or stopped. And AI systems and developers will be able to demonstrate this. So the options would be verifying/trusting deals with geopolitical and ideological rivals to hold back or doing fast AI/industrial expansion. If dealmaking fails, then all options would look scary and abrupt.

I think the assumption that safe, aligned AI can't defend against a later introduction of misaligned AI is false, or rather depends on the assumption of profound alignment failures so that the 'aligned AI' really isn't. AI that is aligned enough to do AI research and operate industry and security forces can expand its capabilities to the technological frontier and grow an industrial base claiming unclaimed resources in space. Then any later AI introduced faces an insurmountable balance of capabilities just from the gap in resources, even if it catches up technologically.  That would not violate the sovereignty of any state, although it could be seen as a violation of the Outer Space Treaty if not backed by the international community with treaty revision.

Advanced AI-enabled tech and industry can block bioweapons completely through physical barriers, detection, and sterilization. Vast wealth can find with high probability any zero-days that could  be discovered with tiny wealth, and produce ultra-secure systems, so cyberattacks do not produce a vulnerable world. Even nuclear weapons lose their MAD element in the face of millions of drones/interceptors/defenses for each attempted attack (and humans can move to a distance in space, back up their minds, etc).

If it turns out there is something like the ability to create a vacuum collapse that enables  one small actor to destroy a much larger AI-empowered civilization, then the vast civilization will find out first, and could safely enforce a ban if a negotiated AI-enforced  treaty could not be struck.

If I understand correctly memes about pivotal acts to stop anyone from making misaligned AI stem from the view that we won't be able to make AI that could be trusted to undergo intelligence explosion and industrial expansion for a long time after AI could enable some other 'pivotal act.' I.e. the necessity for enforcing a ban even after AGI development is essentially entirely about failures of technical alignment.

Furthermore, the biggest barrier to extreme regulatory measures like a ban is doubt (both reasonable and unreasonable) about the magnitude of misalignment risk, so research that studies and demonstrates high risk (if it is present) is perhaps the most leveraged possible tool to change the regulatory/governmental situation.

No. Short version is that the prior for the combination of technologies and motives for aliens (and worse for magic, etc) is very low, and the evidence distribution is familiar from deep dives in multiple bogus fields (including parapsychology, imaginary social science phenomena, and others), with understandable data-generating processes so not much likelihood ratio.

We've agreed to make a 25:1 bet on this. John will put the hash of the bet amount/terms below.

As we've discussed and in short, I think aligned AI permits dialing up many of the processes that make science or prediction markets imperfectly self-correcting: tremendously cheaper, in parallel, on the full panoply of questions (including philosophy and the social sciences), with robust consistency, cross-examination, test sets, and forecasting. These sorts of things are an important part of scalable supervision for alignment, but if they can be made to work I expect them to drive strong epistemic convergence.

The thing was already an obscene 7 hours with a focus on intelligence explosion and mechanics of AI takeover (which are under-discussed in the discourse and easy to improve on, so I wanted to get concrete details out). More detail on alignment plans and human-AI joint societies are planned focus areas for the next times I do podcasts.

I'm interested in my $250k against your $10k.

 I assign that outcome low probability (and consider that disagreement to be off-topic here).

Thank you for the clarification. In that case my objections are on the object-level.


This post is an answer to the question of why an AI that was truly indifferent to humanity (and sentient life more generally), would destroy all Earth-originated sentient life.

This does exclude random small terminal valuations of things involving humans, but leaves out the instrumental value for trade and science, uncertainty about how other powerful beings might respond. I know you did an earlier post with your claims about trade for some human survival, but as Paul says above it's a huge point for such small shares of resources. Given that kind of claim much of Paul's comment still seems very on-topic (e.g. hsi bullet point .

Insofar as you're arguing that I shouldn't say "and then humanity will die" when I mean something more like "and then humanity will be confined to the solar system, and shackled forever to a low tech level", I agree, and

Yes, close to this (although more like 'gets a small resource share' than necessarily confinement to the solar system or low tech level, both of which can also be avoided at low cost). I think it's not off-topic given all the claims made in the post and the questions it purports to respond to. E.g. sections of the post purport to respond to someone arguing from how cheap it would be to leave us alive (implicitly allowing very weak instrumental reasons to come into play, such as trade), or making general appeals to 'there could be a reason.'

Separate small point:

And disassembling us for spare parts sounds much easier than building pervasive monitoring that can successfully detect and shut down human attempts to build a competing superintelligence, even as the humans attempt to subvert those monitoring mechanisms. Why leave clever antagonists at your rear?

The costs to sustain multiple superintelligent AI police per human (which can double in supporting roles for a human habitat/retirement home and controlling the local technical infrastructure) is not large relative to the metabolic costs of the humans, let alone a trillionth of the resources. It just means some replications of the same impregnable AI+robotic capabilities ubiquitous elsewhere in the AI society.

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