Karl von Wendt

German writer of science-fiction novels and children's books (pen name Karl Olsberg). I blog and create videos about AI risks in German at www.ki-risiken.de and youtube.com/karlolsbergautor.


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I see how my above question seems naive. Maybe it is. But if one potential answer to the alignment problem lies in the way our brains work, maybe we should try to understand that better, instead of (or in addition to) letting a machine figure it out for us through some kind of "value learning". (Copied from my answer to AprilSR:) I stumbled across two papers from a few years ago by a psychologist, Mark Muraven, who thinks that the way humans deal with conflicting goals could be important for AI alignment (https://arxiv.org/abs/1701.01487 and https://arxiv.org/abs/1703.06354).They appear a bit shallow to me and don't contain any specific ideas on how to implement this. But maybe Muraven has a point here.

"my fellow humans get nice stuff" happens to be the weird unpredictable desire that I ended up with at the equilibrium of reflection on the weird unpredictable godshatter that ended up inside me

This may not be what evolution had "in mind" when it created us. But couldn't we copy something like this into a machine so that it "thinks" of us (and our descendants) as its "fellow humans" who should "get nice stuff"? I understand that we don't know how to do that yet. But the fact that Eliezer has some kind of "don't destroy the world from a fellow human perspective" goal function inside his brain seems to mean a) that such a function exists and b) that it can be coded into a neuronal network, right?

I was also thinking about the specific way we humans weigh competing goals and values against each other. So while for instance we do destroy much of the biosphere by blindly pursuing our misaligned goals, some of us still care about nature and animal welfare and rain forests, and we may even be able to prevent total destruction of them. 

A question for Eliezer: If you were superintelligent, would you destroy the world? If not, why not?

If your answer is "yes" and the same would be true for me and everyone else for some reason I don't understand, then we're probably doomed. If it is "no" (or even just "maybe"), then there must be something about the way we humans think that would prevent world destruction even if one of us were ultra-powerful. If we can understand that and transfer it to an AGI, we should be able to prevent destruction, right?