Send me anonymous feedback: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScLKiFJbQiuRYBhrBbVYUo_c6Xf0f8DN_blbfpJ-2Ml39g1zA/viewform

Any type of feedback is welcome, including arguments that a post/comment I wrote is net negative.

Some quick info about me:

I'm Ofer G. and I have a background in computer science (BSc+MSc; my MSc thesis was in NLP and ML, though not in deep learning).

You can also find me on the EA Forum.

(Feel free to reach out by sending me a PM through LessWrong.)

ofer's Comments

Three Kinds of Competitiveness

Good point about inner alignment problems being a blocker to date-competitiveness for IDA... but aren't they also a blocker to date-competitiveness for every other alignment scheme too pretty much?

I think every alignment approach (other than interpretability-as-a-standalone-approach) that involves contemporary ML (i.e. training large neural networks) may have its date-competitiveness affected by inner alignment.

What alignment schemes don't suffer from this problem?

Most alignment approaches may have their date-competitiveness affected by inner alignment. (It seems theoretically possible to use whole brain emulation without inner alignment related risks, but as you mentioned elsewhere someone may build a neuromorphic AGI before we get there.)

I'm thinking "Do anything useful that a human with a lot of time can do" is going to be substantially less capable than full-blown superintelligent AGI.

I agree. Even a "narrow AI" system that is just very good at predicting stock prices may outperform "a human with a lot of time" (by leveraging very-hard-to-find causal relations).

Instead of saying we should expect IDA to be performance-competitive, I should have said something like the following: If at some point in the future we get to a situation where trillions of safe AGI systems are deployed—and each system can "only" do anything that a human-with-a-lot-of-time can do—and we manage to not catastrophically screw up until that point, I think humanity will probably be out of the woods. (All of humanity's regular problems will probably get resolved very quickly, including the lack of coordination.)

Three Kinds of Competitiveness

Very interesting definitions! I like the way they're used here to compare different scenarios.

Proposal: Iterated Distillation and Amplification: [...] I currently think of this scheme as decently date-competitive but not as cost-competitive or performance-competitive.

I think IDA's date-competitiveness will depend on the progress we'll have in inner alignment (or our willingness to bet against inner alignment problems occurring, and whether we'll be correct about it). Also, I don't see why we should expect IDA to not be very performance-competitive (if I understand correctly the hope is to get a system that can do anything useful that a human with a lot of time can do).

Generally, when using these definitions for comparing alignment approaches (rather than scenarios) I suspect we'll end up talking a lot about "the combination of date- and performance-competitiveness", because I expect the performance-competitiveness of most approaches will depend on how much research effort is invested in them.

Largest open collection quotes about AI

This spreadsheet is super impressive and has been very useful to me (it allowed me to find some very interesting stuff, like this discussion with Bill Gates and Elon Musk), thank you for creating it!

ofer's Shortform

Uneducated hypothesis: All hominidae species tend to thrive in huge forests, unless they've discovered fire. From the moment a species discovers fire, any individual can unilaterally burn the entire forest (due to negligence/anger/curiosity/whatever), and thus a huge forest is unlikely to serve as a long-term habitat for many individuals of that species.

Where can we donate time and money to avert coronavirus deaths?
Answer by oferMar 18, 20202

For donating money:

It may be worthwhile to look into the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund (co-created by WHO). From WHO's website:

The Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund is a secure way for individuals, philanthropies and businesses to contribute to the WHO-led effort to respond to the pandemic.

The United Nations Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation have created the solidarity fund to support WHO and partners in a massive effort to help countries prevent, detect, and manage the novel coronavirus – particularly those where the needs are the greatest.

The fund will enable us to:

  • Send essential supplies such as personal protective equipment to frontline health workers
  • Enable all countries to track and detect the disease by boosting laboratory capacity through training and equipment.
  • Ensure health workers and communities everywhere have access to the latest science-based information to protect themselves, prevent infection and care for those in need.
  • Accelerate efforts to fast-track the discovery and development of lifesaving vaccines, diagnostics and treatments
How long does SARS-CoV-2 survive on copper surfaces
Answer by oferMar 14, 20201

Disclaimer: I'm not an expert.

It seems to me that this preprint suggests that in certain conditions the half-life of HCoV-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is ~0.4 hours on copper, ~3.5 hours on cardboard, ~5.5 hours on steel, and ~7 hours on plastic.

How's the case for wearing googles for COVID-19 protection when in public transportation?

[EDIT: You probably shouldn't read this comment, and instead read this post by Scott Alexander.]

FYI, regular surgical masks are insufficient for protection against COVID-19. A respirator graded n95 or higher is required.

Disclaimer: I'm not an expert.

After a quick look at some of the papers mentioned in Elizabeth's answers here I updated away from the belief that surgical masks are substantially less effective than N95 masks at preventing the wearer from getting infected with the novel coronavirus (it now seems to me likely plausible that surgical masks are not substantially less effective). But I can easily be wrong about that, and the evidence I've seen seems to me weak (the papers I've seen did not involve the novel coronavirus).

March Coronavirus Open Thread

Maybe citing the CDC:

It’s likely that at some point, widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the United States will occur. Widespread transmission of COVID-19 would translate into large numbers of people needing medical care at the same time. Schools, childcare centers, and workplaces, may experience more absenteeism. Mass gatherings may be sparsely attended or postponed. Public health and healthcare systems may become overloaded, with elevated rates of hospitalizations and deaths. Other critical infrastructure, such as law enforcement, emergency medical services, and sectors of the transportation industry may also be affected. Healthcare providers and hospitals may be overwhelmed. At this time, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it.

What "Saving throws" does the world have against coronavirus? (And how plausible are they?)
Answer by oferMar 04, 20204

Are there more?

Speaking as a layperson, it seems to me plausible that we'll see a "successful saving throw" in the form of a new coronavirus testing method (perhaps powered by machine learning) that will be cheap, quick and accurate. It will then be used in a massive scale all over the world and will allow governments to quarantine people much more effectively.

Load More