I'd say it's at least 30% likely that's the case! But if you believe that, you'd be pants-on-head loony not to drop a billion on the 'residual' 70% chance that you'll be first to market on a world-changing trillion-dollar technology. VCs would sacrifice their firstborn for that kind of deal.
Feels worth pasting in this other comment of yours from last week, which dovetails well with this:
DL so far has been easy to predict - if you bought into a specific theory of connectionism & scaling espoused by Schmidhuber, Moravec, Sutskever, and a few others, as I point out in https://www.gwern.net/newsletter/2019/13#what-progress & https://www.gwern.net/newsletter/2020/05#gpt-3 . Even the dates are more or less correct! The really surprising thing is that that particular extreme fringe lunatic theory turned out to be correct. So the question is,
I'm imagining a tiny AI Safety organization, circa 2010, that focused on how to achieve probable alignment for scaled-up versions of that year's state-of-the-art AI designs. It's interesting to ask whether that organization would have achieved more or less than MIRI has, in terms of generalizable work and in terms of field-building.
Certainly it would have resulted in a lot of work that was initially successful but ultimately dead-end. But maybe early concrete results would have attracted more talent/attention/respect/funding, and the org could have thrown ... (read more)
a lot of AI safety work increasingly looks like it'd help make a hypothetical kind of AI safe
I think there are many reasons a researcher might still prioritize non-prosaic AI safety work. Off the top of my head: