The Case for a Journal of AI Alignment

Strongly agree.  I would be happy to help.  Here are three academic AI alignment articles I have co-authored. https://arxiv.org/abs/2010.02911  https://arxiv.org/abs/1906.10536 https://arxiv.org/abs/2003.00812

Why the outside view suggests that longevity escape velocity is a long time away and cryonics is a much more feasible option for those alive today: signal-boosting a comment by Calm-Meet9916 on Reddit

While not captured by the outside view, I think the massive recent progress in machine learning should give us much hope of achieving LEV in 30 years.  

Covid 12/24: We’re F***ed, It’s Over

Yes, the more people infected with the virus, and the longer the virus is in people the more time for a successful mutation to arise.

Covid 12/24: We’re F***ed, It’s Over

I did a series of podcasts on COVID with Greg Cochran and Greg was right early on.  Greg has said from the beginning that the risk of a harmful mutation is reasonably high because the virus is new meaning there are likely lots of potential beneficial mutations (from the virus's viewpoint) that have not yet been found.


[Linkpost] AlphaFold: a solution to a 50-year-old grand challenge in biology

From an AI safety viewpoint, this might greatly increase AI funding and drive talent into the field and so advance when we get a general artificial superintelligence.

Snyder-Beattie, Sandberg, Drexler & Bonsall (2020): The Timing of Evolutionary Transitions Suggests Intelligent Life Is Rare

Yes for high concentration of observers, and if high tech civilizations have strong incentives to grab galactic resources as quickly as they can  thus preventing the emergence of other high tech civilizations, most civilizations such as ours will exist in universes that have some kind of late great filter to knock down civilizations before they can become spacefaring.

Snyder-Beattie, Sandberg, Drexler & Bonsall (2020): The Timing of Evolutionary Transitions Suggests Intelligent Life Is Rare

At the end of Section 5.3 the authors write "So far, we have assumed that we can derive no information on the probability of intelligent life from our own existence, since any intelligent observer will inevitably find themself in a location where intelligent life successfully emerged regardless of the probability. Another line of reasoning, known as the “Self-Indication Assumption” (SIA), suggests that if there are different possible worlds with differing numbers of observers, we should weigh those possibilities in proportion to the number of observers (Bostrom, 2013). For example, if we posit only two possible universes, one with 10 human-like civilizations and one with 10 billion, SIA implies that all else being equal we should be 1 billion times more likely to live in the universe with 10 billion civilizations. If SIA is correct, this could greatly undermine the premises argued here, and under our simple model it would produce high probability of fast rates that reliably lead to intelligent life (Fig. 4, bottom)...Adopting SIA thus will undermine our results, but also undermine any other scientific result that would suggest a lower number of observers in the Universe. The plausibility and implications of SIA remain poorly understood and outside the scope of our present work."  

I'm confused, probably because anthropic effects confuse me and not because the authors made a mistake.  But don't the observer selection effects the paper uses derive information from our own existence, and if we make use of these effects shouldn't we also accept the implications of SIA?  Should rejecting SIA because it results in some bizarre theories cause us to also have less trust in observer selection effects?

Should students be allowed to give good teachers a bonus?

In 2007 I wrote an article for Inside Higher Ed advocating that "institutions should empower graduating seniors to reward teaching excellence. Colleges should do this by giving each graduating senior $1,000 to distribute among their faculty. Colleges should have graduates use a computer program to distribute their allocations anonymously."


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