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So the idea is that if you get as many people in the AI business/research and as possible to read the sequences, then that will change their ideas in a way that will make them work in AI in a safer way, and that will avoid doom?

I'm just trying to understand how exactly the mechanism that will lead to the desired change is supposed to work.

If that is the case, I would say the critique made by OP is really on point. I don't believe the current approach is convincing many people to read the sequences, and I also think reading the sequences won't necessarily make people change their actions when business/economic/social incentives work otherwise. The latter being unavoidably a regulatory problem, and the former a communications strategy problem.

Or are you telling me to read the sequences? I intend to sometime, I just have a bunch of stuff to read already and I'm not exactly good at reading a lot consistently. I don't deny having good material on the subject is not essential either.

Won't the goal of getting humans to reason better necessarily turn political at a certain point? After all, if there is one side of an issue that is decidedly better from some ethical perspective we have accepted, won't the rationalist have to advocate that side? Won't refraining from taking political action then be unethical? This line of reasoning might need a little bit of reinforcement to be properly convincing, but it's just to make the point that it seems to me that since political action is action, having a space cover rationality and ethics and not politics would be stifling a (very consequential) part of the discussion.

I'm not here very frequently, I just really like political theory and have seen around the site that you guys try to not discuss it too much. Not very common to find a good place to discuss it, as one would expect. But I'd love to find one!

You claim that the point of the rationalist community was to stop an unfriendly AGI. One thing that confuses me is exactly how it intends to do so, because that certainly wasn't my impression of it. I can see the current strategy making sense if the goal is to develop some sort of Canon for AI Ethics that researchers and professionals in the field get exposed to, thus influencing their views and decreasing the probability of catastrophe. But is it really so?

If the goal is to do it by shifting public opinion in this particular issue, by making a majority of people rationalists, or by making political change and regulations, it isn't immediately obvious to me. And I would bet against it because institutions that for a long time have been following those strategies with success, from marketing firms to political parties to lobbying firms to scientology, seem to operate very differently, as this post also implies.

If the goal is to do so by converting most people to rationalism (in a strict sense), I'd say I very much disagree with that being likely or maybe even a desirable effort. I'd love to discuss this subject here in more detail and have my ideas go through the grinder, but I've found this place to be very hard to penetrate, so I'm rarely here.

It's hard to judge this particular case without context, but such sentences can be valid if they convey a general direction a person wants something to move on in a situation where they can't or shouldn't be overspecific, for example if they don't know much about the specific subject, or if they want to remain on topic during a talk about a particular issue.

For example, I could say "it's time someone developed a machine that is able to fetch things around the house and bring them to us". It doesn't mean I know anything about engineering or about how this machine would operate, just that I think it would be a good thing.

In the same way, the speaker might just have wanted to say that they believe that it would be good if AI development went in two directions: 1-Multinational 2-Democratic. That did not involve them claiming they were an expert in developing democratic frameworks for international decision making. He was just expressing that it should move in the direction of those ideals, maybe because he liked the outcome of other projects who shared them, like the Human Genome Project.

Paolo Freire

You mean Paulo Freire!

Most apostrophe removals didnt cause any problems, but the "were" in the paragraph before the last one had me confused for a split second.

One of the reasons I was having trouble with the Reagan example when I was reading this for the first time was that I was interpreting it as

“Reagan will provide federal support for unwed mothers AND cut federal support to local governments” is more probable than “Reagan will provide federal support for unwed mothers AND NOT cut federal support to local governments”.

The fact that in one option one of the the sentences was present and in the other option it wasn't made me think that the fact that it was not present made it implicit that it would NOT happen, when it wasn't the case.

I wonder how common is that line of reasoning.