Tom Richards


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"It is possible that there is, in practice, no middle path. That our only three available choices, as a planet, are ‘build AGI almost as fast as possible, assume alignment is easy on the first try and that the dynamics that arise after solving alignment can be solved before catastrophe as well,’ ‘build AGI as fast as possible knowing we will likely die because AGI replacing humans is good actually’ or ‘never build a machine in the image of a human mind.’"

I think we are largely in agreement, except that I think this scenario is by far the likeliest. Whether or not a middle path exists in theory, I see no way to it in practice. I don't know what level of risk justifies outright agitation for Butlerian jihad, smash all the microchips and execute anyone who tries to make them, but it's a a good deal lower than 50%.

It's obviously true that the risk from rare burgers is higher than the risk from rare steak. It's obviously nonsense that the absolute risk from rare burgers to healthy adults is high enough to be worth worrying about.

Anti-vax sentiment is much rarer in the UK than in the US (or indeed most countries). It would be very surprising if uptake in the UK were not significantly higher.

There is as yet no significant national policy response to the prospect of possible escape variants. In particular, the current plan is to use August to vaccinate children, when I think a better use of the infrastructure at that point would probably be to give Pfizer/Moderna/Novavax to people who got AZ first time round in a bid to stave off a potential Autumn wave of B.1.351, B.1.617 or some other variant (assuming AZ's apparent underperformance against B.1.351 is real and generalizes to other similar variants, as I think likely).