William Saunders


Why I'm excited about Debate

If the High-Rated Sentence Producer was restricted to output only single steps of a mathematical proof and the single steps were evaluated independently, with the human unable to look at previous steps, then I wouldn't expect this kind of reward hacking to occur. In math proofs, we can build proofs for more complex questions out of individual steps that don't need to increase in complexity.

As I see it, debate on arbitrary questions could work if we figured out how to do something similar, having arguments split into single steps and evaluated independently (as in the recent OpenAI debate work), such that the debate AI can tackle more complicated questions with steps that are restricted to the complexity that humans can currently work with. Hard to know if this is possible, but still seems worth trying to work on.

Some AI research areas and their relevance to existential safety

For the preference learning skepticism, does this extend to the research direction (that isn't yet a research area) of modelling long term preferences/preferences on reflection? This is more along the lines of the "AI-assisted deliberation" direction from ARCHES.

To me it seems like AI alignment that can capture preferences on reflection could be used to find solutions to many of other problems. Though there are good reasons to expect that we'd still want to do other work (because we might need theoretical understanding and okay solutions before AI reaches the point where it can help on research, because we want to do work ourselves to be able to check solutions that AIs reach, etc.)

It also seems like areas like FairML and Computational Social Choice will require preference learning as components - my guess is that people's exact preferences about fairness won't have a simple mathematical formulation, and will instead need to be learned. I could buy the position that the necessary progress in preference learning will happen by default because of other incentives.

Some AI research areas and their relevance to existential safety

One thing I'd like to see are some more fleshed out examples of the kinds of governance demands that you think might be important in the future and would be bottlenecked on research progress in these areas.

Learning the prior and generalization

Okay, makes more sense now, now my understanding is that for question X, answer from ML system Y,  amplification system A, verification in your quote is asking the A to answer "Would A(Z) output answer Y to question X?", as opposed to asking A to answer "X", and then checking if it equals "Y". This can at most be as hard as running the original system, and maybe could be much more efficient.

Learning the prior and generalization

Right, but in the post the implicitly represented Z is used by an amplification or debate system, because it contains more information than a human can quickly read and use (so are you assuming it's simple to verify the results of amplification/debate systems?)

Learning the prior and generalization

for extremely large  which are represented only implicitly as in Paul's post, we might not always check whether the model matches the ground truth by actually generating the ground truth and instead just ask the human to verify the answer given 


I'm not sure what "just ask the human to verify the answer given " looks like, for implicitly represented 

Competition: Amplify Rohin’s Prediction on AGI researchers & Safety Concerns

Seems like it could be helpful if people who've thought about this would also predict on the question of what the survey value would be today. (e.g. via elicit snapshots)

OpenAI announces GPT-3

Google's Meena (2.6 billion parameters, February 2020) creates original puns in "Conversation D", and I think "Cross-turn Repetition Example 2" is absurdist comedy, but maybe more as a result of the way the model fails.

Conversation D
Human: I like how cute cows are
Meena: Ah, interesting. You like how they are cute, right?
Human: yeah, and they’re realy smart
Meena: I heard they go to college
Human: cows go to college?
Meena: I heard that a cow went to Harvard.
Human: what did the cow study?
Meena: Bovine sciences.
Human: do horses go to Harvard?
Meena: Horses go to Hayvard.
Human: that’s a pretty good joke, I feel like you led me into it
Meena: You were trying to steer it elsewhere, I can see it.
Zoom In: An Introduction to Circuits

The worry I'd have about this interpretability direction is that we become very good at telling stories about what 95% of the weights in neural networks do, but the remaning 5% hides some important stuff, which could end up including things like mesa-optimizers or deception. Do you have thoughts on that?

Reinforcement Learning in the Iterated Amplification Framework

I'm talking about an imitation version where the human you're imitating is allowed to do anything they want, including instatiting a search over all possible outputs X and taking that one that maximizes the score of "How good is answer X to Y?" to try to find X*. So I'm more pointing out that this behaviour is available in imitation by default. We could try to rule it out by instructing the human to only do limited searches, but that might be hard to do along with maintaining capabilities of the system, and we need to figure out what "safe limited search" actually looks like.

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