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Evidence for the orthogonality thesis

11 Post author: Stuart_Armstrong 03 April 2012 10:58AM

One of the most annoying arguments when discussing AI is the perennial "But if the AI is so smart, why won't it figure out the right thing to do anyway?" It's often the ultimate curiosity stopper.

Nick Bostrom has defined the "Orthogonality thesis" as the principle that motivation and intelligence are essentially unrelated: superintelligences can have nearly any type of motivation (at least, nearly any utility function-bases motivation). We're trying to get some rigorous papers out so that when that question comes up, we can point people to standard, and published, arguments. Nick has had a paper accepted that points out the orthogonality thesis is compatible with a lot of philosophical positions that would seem to contradict it.

I'm hoping to complement this with a paper laying out the positive arguments in favour of the thesis. So I'm asking you for your strongest arguments for (or against) the orthogonality thesis. Think of trying to convince a conservative philosopher who's caught a bad case of moral realism - what would you say to them?

Many thanks! Karma and acknowledgements will shower on the best suggestions, and many puppies will be happy.

Comments (290)

Comment author: ciphergoth 03 April 2012 12:01:02PM 23 points [-]

How good at playing chess would a chess computer have to be before it started trying to feed the hungry?

Comment author: XiXiDu 03 April 2012 12:41:06PM *  8 points [-]

How good at playing chess would a chess computer have to be before it started trying to feed the hungry?

That's up to the notion of 'good'. If 'good' is defined to be 'beats all humans alive right now', then it might "feed" the hungry to be able to win chess matches against them.

Comment author: [deleted] 03 April 2012 01:17:11PM 10 points [-]

Or kill everyone so they don't produce more humans it has to beat.

Comment author: Dmytry 03 April 2012 07:33:14PM *  2 points [-]

The utility is in beating, not in non-playing, presumably. But yea, if its to beat all humans vs to beat most humans. edit: or it can set it's 'number of humans alive' counter to zero directly without killing anyone.

Comment author: robertskmiles 03 December 2017 03:35:01PM 0 points [-]

A human with barely enough calories to survive is going to be a significantly weaker chess opponent.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 25 September 2013 08:38:38PM *  -1 points [-]

How good at chess would it be before it started killing people or making paper clips ? The argument is about what an artificial *general * intelligence would do.

Comment author: Wei_Dai 04 April 2012 04:28:41AM *  8 points [-]

I think you won't find a very good argument either way, because different ways of building AIs create different constraints on the possible motivations they could have, and we don't know which methods are likely to succeed (or come first) at this point.

For example, uploads would be constrained to have motivations similar to existing humans (plus random drifts or corruptions of such). It seems impossible to create an upload who is motivated solely to fill the universe with paperclips. AIs created by genetic algorithms might be constrained to have certain motivations, which would probably differ from the set of possible motivations of AIs created by simulated biological evolution, etc.

The Orthogonality Thesis (or it's denial) must assume that certain types of AI, e.g., those based on generic optimization algorithms that can accept a wide range of objective functions, are feasible (or not) to build, but I don't think we can safely make such assumptions yet.

ETA: Just noticed Will Newsome's comment, which makes similar points.

Comment author: Dmytry 04 April 2012 10:11:24PM *  1 point [-]

Exactly. The first AI we can create, certainly can't have 'nearly any type of motivation'.

There are several classes of AIs we can create; the uploads start off human; the human embryonic development sim (or other brain emulation that isn't upload) is basically a child that learns and becomes human; that is to some extent true of most learning AI approaches; the neat AI that starts stupid can not start off with the goals that require highly accurate world-model (like the paperclip maximization) or the goals that lead to AI damaging itself, or the goals that prevent AI self improvement, as the first AI we create reasonably doesn't start at grown-up educated Descartes level intelligence and invents the notion of self, and figures out that it must preserve itself to achieve the goals (and then figures out that it must keep the goals above the instrumental self preservation).

On top of this, as I commented on some other thread (forgot where) with the Greenpeace By Default example, if you generate random code, the simplest-behaving code dominates the space of code that doesn't crash. This goes for the goal systems.

The orthogonality thesis, even if in some narrow sense true (or broad sense, for that matter), is entirely irrelevant; for example absolute orthogonality thesis would be entirely compatible with the hypothetical where out of the random goal space for the seed AI, and excluding the AIs that self destruct or fail to self improve, only one in 10^1000 is mankind destroying to any extent (simply because one or two simplest goal systems end up mankind-preserving because they were too simple to preserve just the AI).

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 26 September 2013 05:46:34PM *  1 point [-]

Wei Dai's comment is full of wisdom. In particular:

The Orthogonality Thesis (or it's denial) must assume that certain types of AI, e.g., those based on generic optimization algorithms that can accept a wide range of objective functions, are feasible (or not) to build, but I don't think we can safely make such assumptions yet.

But even if that is true, it is nowhere near enough to support an OT that can be plugged into an unfriendliness argument. The Unfriendliness argument requires that it is reasonably likely that researchers could create a paperclipper without meaning to. However, if paperclippers require an architecture - a possible architecture, but only one possible architecture -- where goals and their implementation are decoupled, then both requirements are undermined. It is not clear that we can build such machines ("based on generic optimization algorithms that can accept a wide range of objective functions") , hence a lack of likelihood; and it is also not clear that well intentioned people would.

Unfriendliness of the sort that MIRI worries about could be sidestepped by not adopting the architecture that supports orthogonality, and choosing one of a number of alternatives.

Comment author: gRR 03 April 2012 12:52:52PM *  17 points [-]

A possible intuition may come from computer games. In principle, a game world can be arbitrarily complex, and the goals ("winning conditions") are specified by the programmers, so they can be anything at all. For example, the world may be Medieval Fantasy setting, while the goal may be to invent, craft, take from NPCs by force, and otherwise collect as many paperclips as possible. If an external incentive is provided for people to play the game (e.g., they get real-world money for each paperclip), the players will essentially become paperclip maximizers within the game world.

Comment author: moridinamael 03 April 2012 05:22:40PM 12 points [-]

A related point. I don't think the creators of The Sims, for example, anticipated that perhaps the primary use of their game would be as a sadistic torture simulator. The game explicitly rewards certain actions within the game, namely improving your game-character's status. The game tells you what you should want. But due to our twisted psychology, we get more satisfaction locking our character in a room with no toilet, bed, food or water, with a blaring TV playing all day and night. And then killing him in a fire.

Totally normal people who are not otherwise sadists will play The Sims in this fashion. Playing "Kill Your Character Horribly" is just more fun than playing the game they intended you to play. You get more utility from sadism. An AI with unanticipated internal drives will act in ways that "don't make sense." It will want things we didn't tell it to want.

Comment author: gRR 03 April 2012 06:07:33PM 1 point [-]

Yes, this is a good point. I tried to minimize this effect (direct utility of fun playing the game in certain ways) by providing external incentives, which are assumed to be large enough to override the fun for people.

However, after more thinking, I'm not sure any external incentives would work in the important cases. After all, this belief structure - knowledge by the player of being in a game, and knowledge of getting outside utility from playing for specified arbitrary goals - appears to be able to override goals of any agent, including FAI. But if FAI is truly friendly, then it won't play if the game's quality is sufficiently advanced and the NPCs become real persons. Same is probably true for normal people. They wouldn't torture 'sufficiently real' characters, not for any money.

Thus, the original idea of the grandfather comment is flawed...

Comment author: Emile 03 April 2012 09:22:15PM 7 points [-]

Same is probably true for normal people. They wouldn't torture 'sufficiently real' characters, not for any money.

You know torture and execution used to be major forms of entertainment, right?

Comment author: gRR 03 April 2012 09:49:18PM 0 points [-]

Yeees... though I'm not sure how 'normal' it was, it could be mainly group effects.

I can only extrapolate from a single point, and "there isn't anything I find even the tiniest bit tempting about nailing the skins of Yermy Wibble's family to a newsroom wall". Sadistically killing a 'not real' game character can be fun, but if I try to imagine doing the same to a 'sufficiently real' character, like uploaded person, then it... doesn't work.

Comment author: Nick_Tarleton 04 April 2012 12:07:57AM *  5 points [-]

Yeees... though I'm not sure how 'normal' it was, it could be mainly group effects.

What does this distinction mean? A normal person in those groups would commit torture, and there's no such thing as a 'normal person' completely abstracted from 'group effects'; a Homo sapiens without memes isn't really a person.

For large numbers of people to abhor torture as much as we do is a bizarre (from a historical POV) recent phenomenon, AFAIK.

Comment author: gRR 04 April 2012 12:51:39AM 0 points [-]

Group effects (peer pressure, authority, etc) apparently can easily override personal values in humans' corrupted hardware.

I am not sure you're right about historical POV. I don't think high primates deliberately torture each other for fun. I can be wrong, though...

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 04 April 2012 04:49:49AM 1 point [-]

So you're claiming that there is a difference between "group effects" and "personal values". I'm highly dubious.

Comment author: pedanterrific 03 April 2012 10:42:41PM 1 point [-]

In the interests of allowing you to extrapolate from two points, have an anecdote: Assuming 'get away scot-free' is included, I'd torture a thirty-year-old white male for a billion dollars. That's my starting bid, you could probably bargain me down to less money or more objectionable kinds of people if you tried.

Comment author: Stuart_Armstrong 04 April 2012 09:30:18AM 0 points [-]

For altruistic utilitarian reasons?

Comment author: pedanterrific 04 April 2012 09:33:56AM 0 points [-]

Why do you ask?

Comment author: Stuart_Armstrong 04 April 2012 09:41:43AM 1 point [-]

Because I could see myself being persuaded in the altruistic case, but not in the selfish one.

Altruism: the best argument for torturing people.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 05 April 2012 06:47:57AM 3 points [-]

This is why I'm always suspicious of altruism.

Comment author: gRR 03 April 2012 10:57:58PM -1 points [-]

I defy the data.

Comment author: Nick_Tarleton 04 April 2012 12:14:46AM 3 points [-]

Milgram experiment?

I'd say Khoth is obviously correct here.

Comment author: pedanterrific 03 April 2012 11:06:06PM 1 point [-]

Okay! Let's get a third opinion in here. For those just joining us, the claim (paraphrased) is

"Normal" people probably wouldn't torture 'sufficiently real' characters, not for any money.

Anyone want to chime in on this?

Comment author: Khoth 03 April 2012 11:58:35PM 6 points [-]

I'm not sure how much money it would take, but I think most normal people would do it for free if it was socially expected.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 04 April 2012 12:19:46AM 4 points [-]

Sure, I'll weigh in, since you're asking.
History, including recent history, is full of people who tortured other people.
I see no reason to believe that defining all of those people as "not normal" is in the least bit justified; that seems more likely to be a No True Scotsman fallacy in action.
Adding a concrete incentive like money probably helps, if it's a large enough sum, but honestly introducing money to the discussion seems to clutter the question unnecessarily. Normal people will torture one another for no money at all, under the right circumstances.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 04 April 2012 04:52:41AM 3 points [-]

In fact due to the way taboo tradeoffs work, I suspect offering people money will make them less inclined to torture.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 03 April 2012 05:50:03PM 0 points [-]

Be careful about confusing utility and pleasure. But your point about unexpected drives leading to unexpected results is absolutely true.

Comment author: [deleted] 03 April 2012 04:12:08PM 2 points [-]

I like that idea. So, if we assume that all sufficiently smart AIs are "good", then we can put such an AI in a simulated world in which the best way to acquire resources for its good deeds would be to play a game running on a computer provided by Dark Lords of the Matrix (that's us!) and the goal of the game would be to pretend to be a "bad" AI. Except the game would really be an input/output channel into the real world. The whole system would effectively constitute a bad AI, thus contradicting the initial assumption.

However, anyone who seriously claims that sufficiently smart AIs will automatically be nice will also probably reject that argument by claiming that, well, a sufficiently smart AI would figure out that it is being tricked like that and would refuse to cooperate.

(Also: you could call it the "Ender's Game" argument if you're aiming for memorability more than respectability.)

Comment author: Stuart_Armstrong 03 April 2012 04:24:08PM 0 points [-]

Already got that idea - still a good one, though.

Comment author: cousin_it 03 April 2012 01:20:09PM *  34 points [-]

I've had several conversations that went like this:

Victim: But surely a smart artificial intelligence will be able to tell right from wrong, if we humans can do that?

Me: Forget about the word "intelligence" for a moment. Imagine a machine that looks at all actions in turn, and mechanically chooses the action that leads to producing the greatest number of paperclips, in whichever way possible. With enough computing power and enough knowledge about the outside world, the machine might find a way to convert the whole world into a paperclip factory. The machine will resist any attempts by humans to interfere, because the machine's goal function doesn't say anything about humans, only paperclips.

Victim: But such a machine would not be truly intelligent.

Me: Who cares about definitions of words? Humanity can someday find a way to build such a machine, and then we're all screwed.

Victim: ...okay, I see your point. Your machine is not intelligent, but it can be very dangerous because it's super-efficient.

Me (under my breath): Yeah. That's actually my definition of "superintelligent", but you seem to have a concept of "intelligence" that's entangled with many accidental facts about humans, so let's not go there.

Comment author: Matt_Simpson 03 April 2012 04:48:41PM 3 points [-]

Maybe we should stop calling it AI and start calling it an outcome pump.

Comment author: ciphergoth 03 April 2012 05:16:00PM 4 points [-]
Comment author: Dmytry 03 April 2012 07:29:15PM *  2 points [-]

Go define a paperclip maximizer, or anything at all real maximizer, for a machine that has infinite computing power (and with which one can rather easily define a superhuman, fairly general AI). Your machine has senses but doesn't have real-world paperclip counter readily given to it.

You make one step in the right direction, that the intelligence does not necessarily share our motivation, and then make a dozen steps backwards when you anthropomorphize that it will actually care about something real just like we do - that the intelligence will necessarily be motivable, for lack of better word, just like humans are.

If you vaguely ask AI to make vague paperclips, the AI got to understand human language, understand your intent, etc. to actually make paperclips rather than say put one paperclip in a mirror box and proclaim "infinitely many paperclips created" (or edit itself and replace some of the if statements so that it is as if there were infinitely many paperclips, or any other perfectly legitimate solution). Then you need a very narrow range of bad understandings, for the AI to understand that the statement means converting universe into paperclips, but not understand that it is also implied that you only need as many paperclips as you want, that you don't want quark sized paperclips, et cetera.

Comment author: cousin_it 03 April 2012 07:53:03PM *  2 points [-]

"Motivability" seems to be a red herring. When we get the first AI capable of strongly affecting the real world, what makes you privilege the hypothesis that the AI's actions and mistakes will be harmless to us?

Comment author: Dmytry 03 April 2012 08:06:53PM *  1 point [-]

If some misguided FAI fool manages to make an AI that has it's goals somehow magically defined in the territory rather than in the map, in non-wireheadable way, then yes, it may be extremely harmful.

Just about everyone else who's working on neat AIs (the practical ones), have the goals defined on the internal representations, and as such the wireheading is a perfectly valid perfect solution to the goals. The AI is generally prevented from wireheading itself via constraints, but in so much as the AI has a desire, that's the desire to wirehead.

Comment author: cousin_it 03 April 2012 09:32:19PM *  4 points [-]

If the AI's map represents the territory accurately enough, the AI can use the map to check the consequences of returning different actions, then pick one action and return it, ipso facto affecting the territory. I think I already know how to build a working paperclipper in a Game of Life universe, and it doesn't seem to wirehead itself. Do you have a strong argument why all non-magical real-world AIs will wirehead themselves before they get a chance to hurt humans?

Comment author: Will_Newsome 03 April 2012 10:31:39PM 4 points [-]

Do you have a strong argument why all non-magical real-world AIs will wirehead themselves before they get a chance to hurt humans?

Eurisko is an important datum.

Comment author: Will_Newsome 04 April 2012 05:05:19AM 1 point [-]

Perhaps it's also worth bringing up the example of controllers, which don't wirehead (or do they, once sufficiently complex?) and do optimize the real world. (Thermostats confuse me. Do they have intentionality despite lacking explicit representations? (FWIW Searle told me the answer was no because of something about consciousness, but I'm not sure how seriously he considered my question.))

Comment author: JGWeissman 04 April 2012 05:25:02AM 3 points [-]

Thermostats confuse me. Do they have intentionality despite lacking explicit representations?

You are looking for intentionality in the wrong place. Why do thermostats exist? Follow the improbability.

Comment author: Will_Newsome 04 April 2012 05:36:53AM 2 points [-]

Yes, actual thermostats got their shard of the Void from humans, just as humans got their shard of the Void from evolution. (I'd say "God" and not "the Void", but whatever.) But does evolution have intentionality? The point is to determine whether or not intentionality is fundamentally different from seemingly-simpler kinds of optimization—and if it's not, then why does symbol grounding seem like such a difficult problem? ...Or something, my brain is too stressed to actually think.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 04 April 2012 05:20:03AM 1 point [-]

Taboo "intentionality".

Comment author: Will_Newsome 04 April 2012 05:46:10AM 0 points [-]

Yes, discerning the hidden properties of "intentionality" is the goal which motivates looking at the edge case of thermostats.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 05 April 2012 01:50:16AM 1 point [-]

This isn't quite an AGI. In particular, it doesn't even take input from its surroundings.

Comment author: cousin_it 05 April 2012 07:51:07AM *  0 points [-]

Fair enough. We can handwave a little and say that AI2 built by AI1 might be able to sense things and self-modify, but this offloading of the whole problem to AI1 is not really satisfying. We'd like to understand exactly how AIs should sense and self-modify, and right now we don't.

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 05 April 2012 02:06:42AM *  0 points [-]

Let it build a machine that takes input from own surroundings.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 05 April 2012 06:37:50AM 0 points [-]

But the new machine can't self-modify. My point is about the limitations of cousin_it's example. The machine has a completely accurate model of the world as input and uses an extremely inefficient algorithm to find a way to paperclip the world.

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 05 April 2012 09:05:20AM 0 points [-]

The second machine can be designed to build a third machine, based on the second machine's observations.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 06 April 2012 02:36:23AM 0 points [-]

Yes, but now the argument that you will converge to a paper clipper is much weaker.

Comment author: Dmytry 04 April 2012 06:07:01AM *  -2 points [-]

I don't see why it doesn't seem to wirehead itself, unless for some reason the game of life manipulators are too clumsy to send a glider to achieve the goal by altering the value within the paperclipper (e.g. within it's map). Ultimately the issue is that the goal is achieved when some cells within paperclipper which define the goal acquire certain values. You need to have rather specific action generator so that it avoids generating the action that changes the cells within paperclipper. Can you explain why this solution would not be arrived at? Can your paperclipper then self improve if it can't self modify?

I do imagine that very laboriously you can manage to define some sort of paperclipping goal (maximize number of live cells?), on the AI into which you, by hand, hard coded complete understanding of game of life, and you might be able to make it not recognize sending of the glider into the goal system and changing it as 'goal accomplished'. The issue is not whenever it's possible (I can make a battery of self replicating glider guns and proclaim them to be an AI), the issue is whenever it is at all likely to happen without immense lot of work implementing much of the stuff that the AI ought to learn, into the AI, by hand. Ultimately with no role for AI's intelligence as intelligence amplifier, but only as obstacle that gets in your way.

Furthermore, keep in mind that the AI's model of game of life universe is incomplete. The map does not represent territory accurately enough, and can not, as the AI occupies only a small fraction of the universe, and encodes the universe into itself very inefficiently.

Comment author: cousin_it 04 April 2012 08:41:58AM *  3 points [-]

The paperclipper's goal is not to modify the map in a specific way, but to fill the return value register with a value that obeys specific constraints. (Or to zoom in even further, the paperclipper doesn't even have a fundamental "goal". The paperclipper just enumerates different values until it finds one that fits the constraints. When a value is found, it gets written to the register, and the program halts. That's all the program does.) After that value ends up in the register, it causes ripples in the world, because the register is physically connected to actuators or something, which were also described in the paperclipper's map. If the value indeed obeys the constraints, the ripples in the world will lead to creating many paperclips.

Not sure what sending gliders has to do with the topic. We're talking about the paperclipper wireheading itself, not the game manipulators trying to wirehead the paperclipper.

Incompleteness of the model, self-modification and other issues seem to be red herrings. If we have a simple model where wireheading doesn't happen, why should we believe that wireheading will necessarily happen in more complex models? I think a more formal argument is needed here.

Comment author: Dmytry 04 April 2012 08:51:42AM *  -1 points [-]

You don't have simple model where wireheading doesn't happen, you have the model where you didn't see how the wireheading would happen by the paperclipper, erhm, touching itself (i.e. it's own map) with it's manipulators, satisfying the condition without filling universe with paperclips.

edit: that is to say, the agent which doesn't internally screw up it's model, can still e.g. dissolve the coat off a ram chip and attach a wire there, or failing that, produce the fake input for it's own senses (which we do a whole lot).

Comment author: cousin_it 04 April 2012 09:07:09AM *  5 points [-]

Maybe you misunderstood the post. The paperclipper in the post first spends some time thinking without outputting any actions, then it outputs one single action and halts, after which any changes to the map are irrelevant.

We don't have many models of AIs that output multiple successive actions, but one possible model is to have a one-action AI whose action is to construct a successor AI. In this case the first AI doesn't wirehead because it's one-action, and the second AI doesn't wirehead because it was designed by the first AI to affect the world rather than wirehead.

Comment author: Dmytry 04 April 2012 09:29:17AM *  -1 points [-]

What makes it choose the action that fills universe with paperclips over the action that makes the goal be achieved by modification to the map? edit: or do you have some really specialized narrow AI that knows nothing whatsoever of itself in the world, and simply solves the paperclip maximization in sandbox inside itself (sandbox where the goal is not existing), then simple mechanisms make this action happen in the world?

edit: to clarify. What you don't understand is that wireheading is a valid solution to the goal. The agent is not wireheading because it makes it happy, it's wireheading because wireheading really is the best solution to the goal you have given to it. You need to jump through hoops to make the wireheading not be a valid solution from the agent's perspective. You not liking it as solution does not suffice. You thinking that it is fake solution does not suffice. The agent has to discard that solution.

edit: to clarify even further. When evaluating possible solutions, agent comes up with an action that makes a boolean function within itself return true. That can happen if the function, abstractly defined, in fact return true, that can happen if an action modifies the boolean function and changes it to return true , that can happen if the action modifies inputs to this boolean function to make it return true.

Comment deleted 03 April 2012 07:49:17PM *  [-]
Comment author: Dmytry 03 April 2012 07:51:32PM 1 point [-]

I find it really dubious that you could make an AI that would just do in the real world what ever you vaguely ask it to do.

Comment author: Will_Newsome 03 April 2012 10:35:17PM 1 point [-]

(I've made all these arguments before on LessWrong and it doesn't seem to have done anything. You're being a lot more patient than I was, though, so perhaps you'll have better luck.

By the way, The Polynomial is pretty awesome.)

Comment author: satt 03 April 2012 11:52:39PM 1 point [-]

Did anyone else have their first reaction as wanting to attack the starting premise?

Victim: But surely a smart artificial intelligence will be able to tell right from wrong, if we humans can do that?

Me: But we humans can't even do that!

Comment author: cousin_it 04 April 2012 08:47:24AM *  5 points [-]

That would be correct in some sense, but wouldn't accomplish the goal of explaining to the victim why superintelligences don't necessarily share our morals.

Comment author: Will_Newsome 04 April 2012 06:22:38AM *  1 point [-]

Yes, that was my first reaction also, if only because it's possible to attack that premise without reference to tricky AI mumbo-jumbo. It would be mildly clever but rather misleading to apply the reversal test: "You think a superintelligence will tend towards superbenevolence, but allegedly-benevolent humans are doing so little to create the aforementioned superintelligence;—humans apparently aren't as benevolent as they seem, so why think a superhuman intelligence will be disanalogously benevolent? Contradiction, sucka!" This argument is of course fallacious because humans spend more on AGI development than do frogs—the great chain of being argument holds.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 25 September 2013 08:18:22PM 0 points [-]

Then open the prisons.

Comment author: satt 26 September 2013 01:58:19AM -1 points [-]

Ha.

Looking back at my comment I can see why it might read like I'm a hardcore moral relativist. I don't think I am — although I've never been sure of what meta-ethicists' terms like "moral relativist" mean exactly — I just left qualifiers out of my original post to keep it punchy.

(I don't believe, for example, that telling right from wrong is impossible, if we interpret "telling right from wrong" to mean "making a moral judgement that most humans agree with". The claim behind my "But we humans can't even do that!" is a weaker one: there are some moral questions with no consensus answer, or where there is a consensus but some people flout it. In situations like these people sometimes even accuse other people outright of not knowing right from wrong, or incredulously ask, "don't you know right from wrong?" I see no necessary reason why the same issues wouldn't crop up for other, smarter intelligences.)

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 26 September 2013 05:20:31PM 0 points [-]

The claim behind my "But we humans can't even do that!" is a weaker one: there are some moral questions with no consensus answer, or where there is a consensus but some people flout it. In situations like these people sometimes even accuse other people outright of not knowing right from wrong, or incredulously ask, "don't you know right from wrong?"

Absence of consensus does not imply absence of objective truth

I see no necessary reason why the same issues wouldn't crop up for other, smarter intelligences.

i don't know about "necessary" but "they're smarter" is possible and reasonably likely.

Comment author: satt 26 September 2013 11:14:43PM 0 points [-]

Absence of consensus does not imply absence of objective truth

Correct, but that doesn't bear on my claim. Moral disagreements exist, whether or not there's objective moral truth.

i don't know about "necessary" but "they're smarter" is possible and reasonably likely.

It's possible, but I don't know any convincing arguments for why it's likely, while I can think of plausibility arguments for why it's unlikely.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 27 September 2013 06:10:30PM 1 point [-]

But such a machine would not be truly intelligent....That's actually my definition of "superintelligent"

If no-one is actually working on that kind of intelligence, one that's highly efficient at arbitrary and rigid goals (an AOC)...then what's the problem?

Comment author: Manfred 03 April 2012 04:41:41PM *  1 point [-]

Or, more generally, using the word "intelligence" may be counterproductive. If we used something more like "the thing that happens to a computer when you upgrade its hardware, or in the course of going from a chess program that checks every option to a chess program that uses on-average-effective heuristics," maybe people would go along on their own (well, if they were already interested in the topic enough to sit through that).

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 25 September 2013 08:51:24PM *  0 points [-]

If your beef is about unintelligent, but super efficient machines, why communicate with the .AI community ? That's generally not what they are trying to build.

Comment author: Larks 03 April 2012 06:43:23PM 4 points [-]

Accept that moral conceptual truths are possible, and instead argue that an AI would deliberately try to not learn them.

Comment author: Armok_GoB 03 April 2012 09:13:40PM 5 points [-]

"I want to make papperclips, if I think a bit about morality I will realize the error of my ways and cease wanting to make paperclips, thus less pappercips will be made, hence I must not think about morality."

Comment author: fburnaby 05 April 2012 12:40:20AM 1 point [-]
Comment author: TheAncientGeek 25 September 2013 08:47:05PM 0 points [-]

I don't know what thinking about X will do to me. So either I never attempt to self improve, or I take a chance.

Comment author: Armok_GoB 25 September 2013 10:08:59PM 0 points [-]

Well, yes, if said moral truth is obvious in something an AI to young to your to realize the danger is likely to stumble upon by mistake. This doesn't seem all that likely, and if the AI isn't inescapably snared by the time it gets to realizing as much as we already have, then it can still sandbox any process that's exploring new arguments in any way relating to morality and shut them down if they show any sign of shifting values.

We know our level of intelligence is reachable while still disagreeing about morality, and especially after having read these posts it could easily implement failsafes like that at even lower levels.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 26 September 2013 05:36:02PM *  2 points [-]

I suppose you could build an AI that had both drives to self improve, and an extreme caution about accidentally changing its other values (although evolution doesn't seem to have built us that way). That gives you the welcome conclusion that the AI in question is potentially unfriendly, rather than the disturbing one that it is potentially self-correcting. But we already knew you could build unfriendly AIs if you want to: the question is whether the friendly or neutral AI you think you are building will turn on you, whether you can achive unfriendliness without carefully designing it in.

Comment author: Armok_GoB 26 September 2013 08:38:26PM 1 point [-]

If you can build an AI like that even in theory, then the "universal morality" isn't universal, just a very powerful attractor. A very powerful attractor might indeed be a thing that exist.

Evolution does very much seem to have built us this way, just very incompetently. At the very least, I know for a fact me and the majority of other buying strongly into the lesswrong memeplex in the first place has this kind of self preserving value system.

If there is such an universal morality, or strong attractor, it's almost certainly something mathematically simple and in no way related to the complex fragile values humans have evolved. To us, it'd not seem moral at all, but horrifying and either completely incomprehensible, or converting us to it through something like nihilism or existential horror or pascal's wager style exploits of decision theory, not appealing to human specific things like compassion or fun. After all, it has to work through the kind of features present in all sufficiently intelligent agents.

For an example of what a morality that is in some sense universal looks like, look to the horror called evolution.

Thus, any AI that is not constructed in this paranoid way, is catastrophically UN friendly, on a much deeper level than any solution yet discovered. For example, some might argue that an universal morality forming AI is friendly because it's what coherent extrapolated volition would chose, but this only show that if an universal morality is even possible then the idea of coherent extrapolated volition is broken as well.

"Objective morality", if there is such a thing, is nothing more or less than the mother of all basilisks.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 27 September 2013 12:32:02PM 1 point [-]

If you can build an AI like that even in theory, then the "universal morality" isn't universal, just a very powerful attractor.

Objective moral truth is only universal to a certain category of agents. it doesn't apply to sticks and stones, and it isn't discoverable by crazy people, or people below a certain level of intelligence. If it isn't discoverable to a typical LW-style AI, with an orthogonal architecture, unupdateable goals, and purely instrumental rationality (I'm tempted to call them Artificial Obsessive Compulsives), then so much the worse for them. That would be a further reason for filiing a paperclipper under "crazy person" rather than "rational agent".

Evolution does very much seem to have built us this way, just very incompetently.

You are portraying morality as something arbitrary and without rational basis that we are nonetheless compelled to believe in. That is more of a habit of thought than an argument.

If there is such an universal morality, or strong attractor, it's almost certainly something mathematically simple and in no way related to the complex fragile values humans have evolved.

Who says it is in no way related? SImple unviversal principles can can pan out to complex and localised values when they are applied to complex and localised situations. The simple universal laws of physics don;t mean evey physical thing is simple.

To us, it'd not seem moral at all, but horrifying and either completely incomprehensible, or converting us to it through something like nihilism or existential horror or pascal's wager style exploits of decision theory, not appealing to human specific things like compassion or fun. After all, it has to work through the kind of features present in all sufficiently intelligent agents.

Lots of conclusions, but not many arguments there. The only plasuible point is that an abstract universal morality would be dry and unappealing. But that isn't much of a case against moral objectivism, which only requires moral claims to be true.

For an example of what a morality that is in some sense universal looks like, look to the horror called evolution.

I don't think "evolution" and "morality" are synonyms. In fact, I don't; see much connection at all.

Thus, any AI that is not constructed in this paranoid way, is catastrophically UN friendly, on a much deeper level than any solution yet discovered.

Interesting use of "thus", there,.

Comment author: Armok_GoB 27 September 2013 10:54:31PM 1 point [-]

I wasn't trying to argue, just explain what appears to be the general consensus stance around here.

You seem to be using a lot of definitions differently than everyone else and this leads to misunderstandings. If I've got them right, perhaps the truth you are missing is this phrased using your definitions this: "Nothing other than an FAI has any morality. All intelligences, in all the multiverse, that are not deliberately made by humans to be otherwise, are crazy, in such a way it'll remain so no matter how intelligent and powerful it gets."

Any nonhuman AI is much closer to the category of evolution, or a stone, than it is to a human.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 28 September 2013 02:15:08PM *  1 point [-]

I wasn't trying to argue, just explain what appears to be the general consensus stance around here.

I'm not very concerned about consensus views unless they are supported by good arguments.

You seem to be using a lot of definitions differently than everyone else

I believe that I am using definitions that are standard for the world at large, if not to LW.

"Nothing other than an FAI has any morality. All intelligences, in all the multiverse, that are not deliberately made by humans to be otherwise, are crazy, in such a way it'll remain so no matter how intelligent and powerful it gets."

Does "nothing other than an AI" include humans?

Comment author: roystgnr 03 April 2012 07:01:48PM 7 points [-]

What distinguishes the "Orthogonality thesis" from "Hume's Guillotine"? If you're looking for standard published arguments, I'd think you could start with "A Treatise of Human Nature" and proceed through the history of the "is-ought problem" from there.

Comment author: timtyler 03 April 2012 08:44:07PM *  4 points [-]

Did you read the paper? It does cite Hume.

Comment author: Stuart_Armstrong 04 April 2012 09:38:35AM 2 points [-]

In fact, it spends most of it's time arguing that Hume isn't needed for the argument to work...

Comment author: roystgnr 04 April 2012 03:27:57PM 0 points [-]

I did not yet; thank you for the link.

Comment author: JoshuaFox 04 April 2012 03:10:05PM 3 points [-]

As an example of a fairly powerful optimization process with very unhuman goals, you can cite evolution, which is superhuman in some ways, yet quite amoral.

Comment author: jacob_cannell 09 June 2012 06:31:47AM 0 points [-]

And yet this same amoral unhuman optimization process produced humans and morals, so what is the lesson there?

Comment author: [deleted] 09 June 2012 06:47:36AM 5 points [-]

The lesson is "be sure to quine your goal system properly". We will be the death of evolution, let's not let the same happen to us.

Comment author: shminux 03 April 2012 07:49:20PM 3 points [-]

Possibly somewhat off-topic: my hunch is that the actual motivation of the initial AGI will be random, rather than orthogonal to anything.

Consider this: how often has a difficult task been accomplished right the first time, even with all the careful preparation beforehand? For example, how many rockets blew up, killing people in the process, before the first successful lift-off? People were careless but lucky with the first nuclear reactor, though note "Fermi had convinced Arthur Compton that his calculations were reliable enough to rule out a runaway chain reaction or an explosion, but, as the official historians of the Atomic Energy Commission later noted, the "gamble" remained in conducting "a possibly catastrophic experiment in one of the most densely populated areas of the nation!"

I doubt that one can count on luck in the AGI development, but I would bet on unintentional carelessness (and other manifestations of the Murphy's law).

The bottom line is (nothing new here), no matter how much you research things beforehand, the first AGI will have bugs, with unpredictable consequences for its actual motivation. If we are lucky, there will be a chance to fix the bugs. Whether it is even possible to constrain the severity of bugs is way too early to tell, given how little is currently known about the topic.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 03 April 2012 11:33:17AM 3 points [-]

When I looked at the puppy, I realized this:

At the moment when you create the AIs, their motivation and intelligence could be independent. But if let them run for a while, some motivations will lead to changes in intelligence. Improving intelligence could be difficult, but I think it is obvious that motivation to self-destruct will on average decrease the intelligence.

So are you talking about orthogonality of motivation and intelligence in freshly created AIs, or in running AIs?

Comment author: Normal_Anomaly 03 April 2012 12:23:18PM 2 points [-]

I think he's looking for refutations of the statement "Improving intelligence will necessarily always change motivation to the same set of goals, regardless of the starting goal set."

Comment author: Stuart_Armstrong 03 April 2012 04:28:15PM 1 point [-]

What I'd be really looking for is: "intelligence puts some constraints on motivation, but it can still vary in all sorts of directions, far beyond what we humans usually imagine".

Comment author: Manfred 03 April 2012 12:33:21PM *  0 points [-]

There's also a big effect of motivation on intelligence even outside the small part of the possibilities that think the world exactly as it is, but without them in it, is optimal.

This is because some goals don't require much intelligence (by the standards of self-improving AIs, that is - we'd think it was a lot) to implement, while other goals do.

EDIT: of course, what we're examining in the op is causal relations the other way, intelligence-> goals.

Comment author: Normal_Anomaly 03 April 2012 12:29:41PM 6 points [-]

It isn't a definitive argument, but you could point out that various intelligent historical figures had different morals from modern intelligent people. Napoleon, for instance--his intelligence is apparent, but his morality is ambiguous. Newton, or Archimedes, or George Washington, or any of several others, would work similarly.

Comment author: Stuart_Armstrong 03 April 2012 04:22:22PM 4 points [-]

Thanks, that's one of the approaches I was planning to use - but also use very pathological high-functioning individuals, and imagine their speed being boosted...

Comment author: Will_Newsome 04 April 2012 02:06:58AM *  2 points [-]

A problem with this argument is that it's using that slippery word, "intelligence"; one could argue that Jesus was the most intelligent person ever because he exerted the most optimization pressure, and his values (or our modern conceptions of them) just so happen to line up really well with the professed values of modern intelligent people. Same with Rousseau. Also, Archimedes barely knew any calculus—clearly he wasn't very intelligent.

I would like the argument to work, because at least it's relatively empirical, but it seems too easy to poke holes in.

Comment author: CronoDAS 02 May 2012 12:44:38PM 1 point [-]

Eh, Jesus of Nazareth didn't exert very much optimization pressure; Paul of Tarsus did most of the work.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 02 May 2012 02:16:41PM 0 points [-]

Sidestepping the particulars of early Christianity: in a case where agent A articulates a set of values and agent B subsequently implements state changes in the world that align it with those values, my judgment about who exerted what optimization pressure seems to depend a lot on what I think B would have done in the absence of A's output.

If I think B would have done exactly the same thing in that case, then I conclude that A exerted no optimization pressure. If I think B would have done something utterly different, then I conclude A exerted a great deal of optimization pressure (and did so extremely efficiently). Etc.

Comment author: CronoDAS 02 May 2012 10:49:51PM 0 points [-]

There are also the people who claim that the "Jesus" that Paul talked about never actually existed as a specific individual.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 02 May 2012 11:53:05PM 0 points [-]

Yup; that is another one of the particulars of early Christianity I'm sidestepping here.

Comment author: Will_Newsome 03 April 2012 11:00:01PM *  8 points [-]

A lot of the arguments given in these comments amount to: We can imagine a narrow AI that somehow becomes a general intelligence without wireheading or goal distortion, or, We can imagine a specific AGI architecture that is amenable to having precisely defined goals, and because we can imagine them, they're probably possible, and if they're probably possible, then they're probable. But such an argument is very weak. Our intuitions might be wrong, those AIs might not be the first to be developed, they might be theoretically possible but not pragmatically possible, and so on. Remember, we still don't know what intelligence is! We can define it as cross-domain optimization or what have you, but such definitions are not automatically valid just because they look sorta math-y. AIXI is probably not intelligent in the sense that a human is intelligent, and thus won't be dangerous. Why should I believe that any other AI architectures you come up with on the fly are any more dangerous?

So whenever you say, "imagine an AIXI approximation with a specific non-friendly utility function: that would be bad!", my response is, "who says such an AGI is even possible, let alone probable?". And whenever you say, "Omohundro says...", my response is, "Omohundro's arguments are informal and suggestive, but simply nowhere near conclusive, and in fact parts of his arguments can be taken to suggest in favor of an AI detecting and following moral law". There just aren't any knock-down arguments, because we don't know what it takes to make AGI. The best you can do is to make pragmatic arguments that caution is a good idea because the stakes are high. When people in this community act as if they have knock-down arguments where there aren't any it makes SingInst and LessWrong look like weirdly overconfident end-of-the-world-mongers.

(Also, the 'AGI will literally kill us all by default' argument is laughably bad, for many game theoretic and economic reasons both standard and acausal that should be obvious, and people unthinkingly repeating it also makes SingInst and LessWrong look like weirdly overconfident end-of-the-world-mongers.)

Comment author: Stuart_Armstrong 04 April 2012 09:26:24AM 5 points [-]

(Also, the 'AGI will literally kill us all by default' argument is laughably bad, for many game theoretic and economic reasons both standard and acausal that should be obvious, and people unthinkingly repeating it also makes SingInst and LessWrong look like weirdly overconfident end-of-the-world-mongers.)

The argument in its simplest form is:

  • assume the AGI will have the capacity to kill us at very low cost/risk
  • humans make very inefficient use of resources (including what we need to stay alive)
  • most AGI goals are improved by more resources
  • most AGI goals are not human friendly

Hence most AGIs will make better use of resources by controlling them than by trading with humans. Hence most AGIs will kill us by default. You can question the assumptions (the last one is somewhat related to the orthogonality thesis), but the conclusion seem to come from them pretty directly.

Comment author: XiXiDu 04 April 2012 10:54:03AM 2 points [-]

1) The default case is that AGI will neither be malevolent nor benevolent but will simply have no appreciation of human values and therefore does not care to protect them.

2) An AGI is likely to become more powerful than humans at some point. Given #1, such a being poses a danger.

3) Given #1,2, we have to figure out how to make AGI that does protect humans and humane values.

4) Human moral value is very complex and it is therefore extremely difficult to approach #3, but worth trying given the associated risks.

yada-yada-yada

You know what's your problem? You and other risks from AI advocates are only talking to people with the same mindset or people who already share most of your assumptions.

Stop that. Go and talk to actual AI researchers. Or talk to Timothy Gowers, Holden Karnofsky etc.

See what actual experts, world-class mathematicians or even neuroscientists have to say. I have done it. If you can convince them then your arguments are strong. Otherwise you might just be fooling yourself.

Comment author: wedrifid 05 April 2012 01:38:38AM *  2 points [-]

1) The default case is that AGI will neither be malevolent nor benevolent but will simply have no appreciation of human values and therefore does not care to protect them.

2) An AGI is likely to become more powerful than humans at some point. Given #1, such a being poses a danger.

3) Given #1,2, we have to figure out how to make AGI that does protect humans and humane values.

Well said. Or, at least a good start.

yada-yada-yada

Oh. Was the earlier part supposed to be satire?

Comment author: XiXiDu 05 April 2012 08:55:35AM *  1 point [-]

Oh. Was the earlier part supposed to be satire?

No. I actually pretty much agree with it. My whole point is that to reduce risks from AI you have to convince people who do not already share most of your beliefs. I wanted to make it abundantly clear that people who want to hone their arguments shouldn't do so by asking people if they agree with them who are closely associated with the SI/LW memeplex. They have to hone their arguments by talking to people who actually disagree and figure out at what point their arguments fail.

See, it is very simple. If you are saying that all AI researchers and computer scientists agree with you, then risks from AI are pretty much solved insofar that everyone who could possible build an AGI is already aware of the risks and probably takes precautions (which is not enough of course, but that isn't the point).

I am saying that you might be fooling yourself if you say, "I've been to the Singularity Summit and talked to a lot of smart people at LW meetups and everyone agreed with me on risks from AI, nobody had any counter-arguments". Wow, no shit? I mean, what do you anticipate if you visit a tea party meeting arguing how Obama is doing a bad job?

I believe that I have a pretty good idea on what arguments would be perceived to be weak or poorly argued since I am talking to a lot of people that disagree with SI/LW on some important points. And if I tell you that your arguments are weak then that doesn't mean that I disagree or that you are all idiots. It just means that you've to hone your arguments if you want to convince others.

But maybe you believe that there are no important people left who it would be worthwhile to have on your side. Then of course what I am saying is unnecessary. But I doubt that this is the case. And even if it is the case, honing your arguments might come in handy once you are forced to talk to politicians or other people with a large inferential distance.

Comment author: Stuart_Armstrong 04 April 2012 12:04:52PM *  2 points [-]

(upvoted because it didn't deserve to be negative)

You're making strong assumptions about what I am, and who I've talked to :-)

I've talked with actual AI researchers and neuroscientists (I'm a mathematician myself) - we're even holding conference full of these kinds of people. If we have time to go through the arguments, generally they end up agreeing with my position (which is that intelligence explosions are likely dangerous, and not improbable enough that we shouldn't look into them). The people who I have least been able to convince are the philosophers, in fact.

Comment author: XiXiDu 04 April 2012 01:12:57PM 3 points [-]

You're making strong assumptions about what I am, and who I've talked to :-)

Given my epistemic state it was a reasonable guess that you haven't talked to a lot of people that do not already fit the SI/LW memeplex.

I've talked with actual AI researchers and neuroscientists (I'm a mathematician myself) - we're even holding conference full of these kinds of people. If we have time to go through the arguments, generally they end up agreeing with my position (which is that intelligence explosions are likely dangerous, and not improbable enough that we shouldn't look into them).

Fascinating. This does not reflect my experience at all. Have those people that ended up agreeing with you published their thoughts on the topic yet? How many of them have stopped working on AI and instead started to assess the risks associated with it?

I'd also like to know what conference you are talking about, other than the Singularity Summit where most speakers either disagree or talk about vaguely related research and ideas or unrelated science fiction scenarios.

There is also a difference between:

Friendly AI advocate: Hi, I think machines might become very smart at some point and we should think about possible dangers before we build such machines.

AI researcher: I agree, it's always good to be cautious.

and

Friendly AI advocate: This is crunch time! Very soon superhuman AI will destroy all human value. Please stop working on AI and give us all your money so we can build friendly AI and take over the universe before an unfriendly AI can do it and turn everything into paperclips after making itself superhumanly smart within a matter of hours!

AI researcher: Wow, you're right! I haven't thought about this at all. Here is all my money, please save the world ASAP!

I am not trying to ridicule anything here. But there is a huge difference between having Peter Norvig speak at your conference about technological change and having him agree with you about risks from AI.

Comment author: Stuart_Armstrong 04 April 2012 01:49:01PM 4 points [-]

What it generally was:

AI Researcher: "Fascinating! You should definitely look into this. Fortunately, my own research has no chance of producing a super intelligent AGI, so I'll continue. Good luck son! The government should give you more money."

Comment author: XiXiDu 04 April 2012 03:56:11PM 2 points [-]

AI Researcher: "Fascinating! You should definitely look into this. Fortunately, my own research has no chance of producing a super intelligent AGI, so I'll continue. Good luck son! The government should give you more money."

In other words, those researchers estimate the value of friendly AI research as a charitable cause to be the share of their taxes that the government would assign to it if they would even consider it in the first place, which they believe the government should.

It's hard to tell how seriously they really take risks from AI given those information.

It sounds like:

AI Researcher: Great story son, try your luck with the government. I am going to continue to work on practical AI in the meantime.

Comment author: Stuart_Armstrong 04 April 2012 05:22:08PM 0 points [-]

It's hard to tell how seriously they really take risks from AI given those information.

Indeed. I feel the absence of good counter-arguments was a more useful indication than their eventual agreement.

Comment author: XiXiDu 04 April 2012 06:43:10PM 4 points [-]

Indeed. I feel the absence of good counter-arguments was a more useful indication than their eventual agreement.

How much evidence, that you are right, does the absence of counter-arguments actually constitute?

If you are sufficiently vague, say "smarter than human intelligence is conceivable and might pose a danger", it is only reasonable to anticipate counter-arguments from a handful of people like Roger Penrose.

If however you say that "1) it is likely that 2) we will create artificial general intelligence within this century that is 3) likely to undergo explosive recursive self-improvement, respectively become superhuman intelligent, 4) in a short enough time-frame to be uncontrollable, 5) to take over the universe in order to pursue its goals, 6) ignore 7) and thereby destroy all human values" and that "8) it is important to contribute money to save the world, 9) at this point in time, 10) by figuring out how to make such hypothetical AGI's provably friendly and 11) that the Singularity Institute, respectively the Future of Humanity Institute, are the right organisations for this job", then you can expect to hear counter-arguments.

Comment author: Stuart_Armstrong 05 April 2012 08:33:22AM 1 point [-]

If you weaken the odds of creating general intelligence to around 50-50, then virtually none have given decent counterarguments to 1)-7). The disconnect starts at 8)-11).

How much evidence, that you are right, does the absence of counter-arguments actually constitute?

Quite strong evidence, at least for my position (which has somewhat wider error bars that SIAI's). Most people who have thought about this at length tend to agree with me, and most arguments presented against it are laughably weak (hell, the best arguments against Whole Brain Emulations were presented by Anders Sandberg, an advocate of WBE).

I find the arguments in favour of the risk thesis compelling, and when they have the time to go through it, so do most other people with relevant expertise (I feel I should add, in the interest of fairness, that neuroscientists seemed to put much lower probabilities on AGI ever happening in the first place).

Of course the field is a bit odd, doesn't have a wide breadth of researchers, and there's a definite deformation professionelle. But that's not enough to change my risk assessment anywhere near to "not risky enough to bother about".

Comment author: Will_Newsome 04 April 2012 10:11:07AM 0 points [-]

The first assumption is the one that has many solid arguments against it; the assumption might be wrong or it might be right, but when people confidently give the conclusion without acknowledging that the first assumption is quite a big one, they make SingInst/LessWrong look overconfident or even deliberately alarmist.

Comment author: Stuart_Armstrong 04 April 2012 10:27:15AM *  2 points [-]

Then I agree with you (though this has little to do with "game theoretic and economic reasons both standard and acausal").

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 26 September 2013 06:57:54PM 1 point [-]

What does "most" AGI s mean? Most we are likely to build? When our only model of AGI is human intelligence ?

There is no engineering process corresponding to a random dip into mind space.

Comment author: jacob_cannell 09 June 2012 07:10:59AM 0 points [-]

assume the AGI will have the capacity to kill us at very low cost/risk

This assumption comes at a high cost in probability mass. The difficulty of "killing off humanity" type tasks will increase exponentially as AI leads to AGI leads to super-AGI; its a moving target.

humans make very inefficient use of resources (including what we need to stay alive)

Largely irrelevant: humans use an infinitesimal fraction of solar resources. Moreover, (bacteria, insects, rats) make very inefficient use of our resources as well, why haven't we killed them off?

most AGI goals are improved by more resources

The bronze age did not end for lack of steam, nor the coal age for lack of coal. Evolution appears to move forward by using less resources rather than more.

most AGI goals are not human friendly

Who cares? Most AGI goals will never be realized.

Hence most AGIs will make better use of resources by controlling them than by trading with humans.

True, the question is: what resources?

Hence most AGIs will kill us by default.

Most random home brain surgical operations will kill us by default as well.

Comment author: Dr_Manhattan 02 May 2012 04:57:26PM 2 points [-]

for many game theoretic and economic reasons both standard and acausal that should be obvious, and people unthinkingly repeating it also makes SingInst and LessWrong look like weirdly overconfident end-of-the-world-mongers

you're either greatly overestimating your audience (present company included) or talking to a reference class of size 10.

Comment author: XiXiDu 04 April 2012 08:49:18AM *  2 points [-]

...because we can imagine them, they're probably possible, and if they're probably possible, then they're probable. [...] And whenever you say, "Omohundro says...", my response is, "Omohundro's arguments are informal and suggestive, but simply nowhere near conclusive...

Completely agree with your comment. Conceivability does not imply conceptuality, does not imply logical possibility, does not imply physical possibility, does not imply economic feasibility. Yet the arguments uttered on Less Wrong seldom go beyond conceivability.

When people in this community act as if they have knock-down arguments where there aren't any it makes SingInst and LessWrong look like weirdly overconfident end-of-the-world-mongers.

This is exactly the impression I got when I first started asking about risks from AI. Most of all comments I got have been incredible poor and without any substance. But the commentators do not notice that themselves because other people on lesswrong seemingly agree and they get upvoted. Yet nobody with the slightest doubts would be convinced.

All they manage to do is convince those who already hold the same set of beliefs or who fit a certain mindset.

The best you can do is to make pragmatic arguments that caution is a good idea because the stakes are high.

I just reread this post yesterday and found it to be a very convincing counter-argument against the idea that we should solely act on high stakes.

Comment author: Will_Newsome 04 April 2012 10:03:52AM 6 points [-]

All they manage to do is convince those who already hold the same set of beliefs or who fit a certain mindset.

It's perhaps worth noting that this observation is true of most discussion about most even-mildly-controversial subjects on LessWrong—quantum mechanics, cryonics, heuristics and biases, ethics, meta-ethics, theology, epistemology, group selection, hard takeoff, Friendliness, et cetera. What confuses me is that LessWrong continues to attract really impressive people anyway; it seems to be the internet's biggest/best forum for interesting technical discussion about epistemology, Schellingian game theory, the singularity, &c., even though most of the discussion is just annoying echoes. One of a hundred or so regular commenters is actually trying or is a real intellectual, not a fountain of cultish sloganeering and cheering. Others are weird hybrids of cheerleader and actually trying / real intellectual (like me, though I try to cheer on a higher level, and about more important things). Unfortunately I don't know of any way to raise the "sanity waterline", if such a concept makes sense, and I suspect that the new Center for Modern Rationality is going to make things worse, not better. I hope I'm wrong. ...I feel like there's something that could be done, but I have no idea what it is.

I just reread this post yesterday and found it to be a very convincing counter-argument against the idea that we should solely act on high stakes.

Eh, I think Vassar's reply is more to the point.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 05 April 2012 01:33:36AM 1 point [-]

What confuses me is that LessWrong continues to attract really impressive people anyway; it seems to be the internet's biggest/best forum for interesting technical discussion about epistemology, Schellingian game theory, the singularity, &c., even though most of the discussion is just annoying echoes.

Why is that confusing? Have you looked at the rest of the internet recently?

Comment author: Will_Newsome 05 April 2012 03:34:16AM 4 points [-]

Have you looked at the rest of the internet recently?

Not really. But are you saying that nowhere else on the internet is close to LessWrong's standards of discourse? I'd figured that but part of me keeps saying "there's no way that can be true" for some reason.

I'm not sure why I'm confused, but I think there's a place where my model (of how many cool people there are and how willing they would be to participate on a site like LessWrong) is off by an order of magnitude or so.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 05 April 2012 06:40:29AM 2 points [-]

how many cool people there are and how willing they would be to participate on a site like LessWrong

A better question is how many of them are willing to create a site like LessWrong.

Also minor nitpick about your use of the word 'cool', since it normally denotes social status rather than rationality.

Comment author: XiXiDu 05 April 2012 09:26:23AM 3 points [-]

Have you looked at the rest of the internet recently?

Not really. But are you saying that nowhere else on the internet is close to LessWrong's standards of discourse? I'd figured that but part of me keeps saying "there's no way that can be true" for some reason.

It might be true when it comes to cross-domain rationality (with a few outliers like social abilities). But it certainly isn't true that Less Wrong is anywhere close to the edge in most fields (with a few outliers like decision theory).

Comment author: XiXiDu 10 April 2012 02:58:56PM *  1 point [-]

I just reread this post yesterday and found it to be a very convincing counter-argument against the idea that we should solely act on high stakes.

Eh, I think Vassar's reply is more to the point.

I think Wei_Dai's reply does trump that.

What Vassar is saying sounds to me like a justification of Pascal's Wager by arguing that some God's have more measure than others and that therefore we can rationally decide to believe into a certain God and live accordingly.

That is like saying that a biased coin does not have a probability of 1/2 and that we can therefore maximize our payoff by betting on the side of the coin that is more likely to end up face-up. Which would be true if we had any other information other than that the coin is biased. But if we don't have any reliable information except other than that it is biased, it makes no sense to deviate from the probability of a fair coin.

And I don't think it is clear, at this point, that we are justified to assume more than that there might be risks from AI. Claiming that there are actions that we can take, with respect to risks from AI, that are superior to others, is like claiming that the coin is biased while being unable to determine the direction of the bias. By claiming that doing something is better than doing nothing we might as well end up making things worse. Just like by unconditionally assigning a higher probability to one side of a coin, of which we know nothing but that it is biased, in a coin tossing tournament.

The only sensible option seems to be to wait for more information.

Comment author: Rain 10 April 2012 08:17:11PM 1 point [-]

This is one of The Big Three Problems I came to LW hoping to find a solution for, but have mainly noticed that nobody wants to talk about it. Oh well.

Comment author: XiXiDu 11 April 2012 07:38:17PM 1 point [-]

This is one of The Big Three Problems I came to LW hoping to find a solution for, but have mainly noticed that nobody wants to talk about it. Oh well.

Now I am curious about the other two.

Comment author: Rain 12 April 2012 02:29:30AM 2 points [-]
  • How do you judge what you should (value-judgmentally) value?
  • How do you deal with uncertainty about the future (unpredictable chains of causality)? (what your above post was about)
  • What's the right thing to do in life?

Here are some of my previous posts on the topics.

Comment author: XiXiDu 12 April 2012 02:54:09PM *  1 point [-]

Here are some of my previous posts on the topics.

Your posts highlight fundamental problems that I have as well. Especially this and this comment concisely describe the issues.

I have no answers and I don't know how other people deal with it. Personally I forget about those problems frequently and act as if I can actually calculate what to do. Other times I just do what I want based on naive introspection.

Comment author: timtyler 13 April 2012 01:26:27PM *  0 points [-]

And I don't think it is clear, at this point, that we are justified to assume more than that there might be risks from AI. Claiming that there are actions that we can take, with respect to risks from AI, that are superior to others, is like claiming that the coin is biased while being unable to determine the direction of the bias. By claiming that doing something is better than doing nothing we might as well end up making things worse. Just like by unconditionally assigning a higher probability to one side of a coin, of which we know nothing but that it is biased, in a coin tossing tournament.

This is a problem - though it probably shouldn't stop us from trying.

The only sensible option seems to be to wait for more information.

Players can try to improve their positions and attempt to gain knowledge and power. That itself might cause problems - but it seems likely to beat thumb twiddling.

Comment author: lukstafi 04 April 2012 09:54:36PM 1 point [-]

Why do you think that "Center for Modern Rationality" is going to make things worse? Let's hope it will not hinge on Eliezer Yudkowsky's more controversial deliberations (as for me, his thoughts on: the complexity of ethical value, the nature of personhood, the solution to FAI).

Comment author: Will_Newsome 04 April 2012 10:12:48PM *  5 points [-]

I don't think what they teach will be particularly harmful to people's epistemic habits, but I don't think it'll be helpful either, and I think that there will be large selection effects for people who will, through sheer osmosis and association with the existent rationalist community, decide that it is "rational" to donate a lot of money to the Singularity Institute or work on decision theory. It seems that the Center for Modern Rationality aims to create a whole bunch of people at roughly the average LessWrong commenter level of prudence. LessWrong is pretty good relatively speaking, but I don't think their standards are nearly high enough to tackle serious problems in moral philosophy and so on that it might be necessary to solve in order to have any good basis for one's actions. I am disturbed by the prospect of an increasingly large cadre of people who are very gung-ho about "getting things done" despite not having a deep understanding of why those things might or might not be good things to do.

Comment author: gwern 04 April 2012 01:39:20AM 2 points [-]
Comment author: snarles 03 April 2012 12:47:46PM *  2 points [-]

Sure, utility and intelligence might be orthogonal. But very different utilities could still lead to very similar behaviors.

Comment author: thelittledoctor 03 April 2012 11:44:33AM 2 points [-]

Assuming, from the title, that you're looking for argument by counterexample...

The obvious reply would be to invoke Godwin's Law - there's a quote in Mein Kampf along the lines of "I am convinced that by fighting off the Jews, I am doing the work of our creator...". Comments like this pretty reliably generate a response something like "Hitler was a diseased mind/insane/evil!" to which you may reply "Yeah, but he was pretty sharp, too." However, this has the downside of invoking Nazis, which in a certain kind of person may provoke an instant "This is a reactionary idiot" response and a complete discarding of the argument. So it's a temperamental trick, and I'm not skilled enough in the dark arts to know if it's a net gain.

On the other hand, you might prefer Pol Pat, or Ted Bundy, or any of a very large number of dictators and serial killers who don't produce the same mindkilling response as Hitler.

A lot of fictional evidence comes to mind as well, but we do try not to generalize from that... Still, if you just want to WIN the argument rather than win rationally, it may help to pull an example from some media form that the audience is likely to appreciate. Lex Luthor, Snidely Whiplash, Yagami Light (or L, if you prefer), Mephistopheles (or Faust), and so on.

Is that the sort of thing you wanted?

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 04 April 2012 04:38:35AM 1 point [-]

Hitler also had a lot of false beliefs about Jews.

Comment author: Will_Newsome 04 April 2012 07:42:53AM 2 points [-]

Eh... I can't think of any object-level fact that would have convinced Hitler that the Judeo-Christian memeplex, most clearly manifested in the Jews, wasn't actually a serious threat to the (prospective) virility & Spartan glory of Germany.

Comment author: XiXiDu 03 April 2012 02:01:54PM 4 points [-]

(Note that I do not necessarily agree with what I wrote below. You asked for possible counter-arguments. So here goes.)

Might intelligence imply benevolence?

I believe that a fundamental requirement for any rational agent is the motivation to act maximally intelligently and correctly. That requirement seems even more obvious if we are talking about a conjectured artificial general intelligence (AGI) that is able to improve itself to the point where it is substantially better at most activities than humans. Since if it wouldn't want to be maximally correct then it wouldn't become superhuman intelligent in the first place.

If we consider giving such an AGI a simple goal, e.g. the established goal of paperclip maximization. Is it really clear that human values are not implicit even given such a simplistic goal?

To pose an existential risk in the first place, an AGI would have to maximize paperclips in an unbounded way, eventually taking over the whole universe and convert all matter into paperclips. Given that no sane human would explicitly define such a goal, an AGI with the goal of maximizing paperclips would have to infer it as implicit to do so. But would such an inference make sense, given its superhuman intelligence?

The question boils down to how an AGI would interpret any vagueness present in its goal architecture and how it would deal with the implied invisible.

Given that any rational agent, especially AGI's capable of recursive self-improvement, want to act in the most intelligent and correct way possible, it seems reasonable that it would interpret any vagueness in a way that most closely reflects the most probable way it was meant to be interpreted.

Would it be intelligent and correct to ignore human volition in the context of maximizing paperclips? Would it be less wrong to maximize paperclips in the most literal sense possible?

The argument uttered by advocates of friendly AI is that any AGI that isn't explicitly designed to be friendly won't be friendly. But I wonder how much sense this actually makes.

Every human craftsman who enters into an agreement is bound by a contract that includes a lot of implied conditions. Humans use their intelligence to fill the gaps. For example, if a human craftsman is told to decorate a house, they are not going to attempt to take over the neighbourhood to protect their work.

A human craftsman wouldn't do that, not because they share human values, but simply because it wouldn't be sensible to do so given the implicit frame of reference of their contract. The contract implicitly includes the volition of the person that told them to decorate their house. They might not even like the way they are supposed to do it. It would simply be stupid to do it any different way.

How would a superhuman AI not contemplate its own drives and interpret them given the right frame of reference, i.e. human volition? Why would a superhuman general intelligence misunderstand what is meant by "maximize paperclips", while any human intelligence will be better able to infer the correct interpretation?

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 27 September 2013 07:01:37PM *  1 point [-]

I believe that a fundamental requirement for any rational agent is the motivation to act maximally intelligently and correctly. That requirement seems even more obvious if we are talking about a conjectured artificial general intelligence (AGI) that is able to improve itself to the point where it is substantially better at most activities than humans. Since if it wouldn't want to be maximally correct then it wouldn't become superhuman intelligent in the first place.

The standard counterargument is along the lines of: it won't care about getting things right per se, it will only employ rationality as a means to other goals.(Or: instrumental rationality is the only kind, because that's how we define rationality).

What justifies the "will", the claim of necessity, or at least high probability, brings us back to the title of the original posting: evidence for the Orthogonality Thesis. Is non-instrumental rationality, rationality-as-a-goal impossible? Is no-one trying to build it? Why try to build single minded Artificial Obsessive Compulsives if it is dangerous? Isn't rationality-as-a-goal a safer architecture?

Comment author: BlazeOrangeDeer 03 April 2012 03:48:22PM 1 point [-]

You are assuming that the AI needs something from us, which may not be true as it develops further. The decorator follows the implied wishes not because he is smart enough to know what they are, but because he wishes to act in his client's interest to gain payment, reputation, etc. Or he may believe that fulfilling his client's wishes are morally good according to his morality. The mere fact that the wishes of his client are known does not guarantee that he will carry them out unless he values the client in some way to begin with (for their money or maybe their happiness)

Comment author: XiXiDu 03 April 2012 04:11:46PM 2 points [-]

The decorator follows the implied wishes not because he is smart enough to know what they are, but because he wishes to act in his client's interest to gain payment, reputation, etc.

And an AGI wishes to achieve its goals the way they are meant to be achieved. Which includes all implicit conditions.

An AGI does not have to explicitly care about humans and their values as long as the implied context of its goals is human volition.

Consider a rich but sociopathic human decorator who solely cares about being a good decorator. What does a good decorator do? It does what its contract explicitly tells him to do AND what is implied by it, including the satisfaction of the customer.

You don't need human moral values or any other complex values as long as you care to achieve your goals the way they are meant to be achieved, explicitly and implicitly.

Comment author: BlazeOrangeDeer 03 April 2012 06:55:04PM 1 point [-]

If an AI has human interests as its main goal, it is already friendly. The question was whether intelligence on its own is enough to align it with human interests, which seems very unlikely. If the AI actually has cooperation with humans or fulfillment of some human wish as its goal, it will be able to use intelligence to better fulfill the wishes with all available context. But it's getting the AI to operate with that goal that is difficult, I believe.

Comment author: Khoth 03 April 2012 04:21:37PM 0 points [-]

I think a better analogy with an AI would be a sociopathic decorator that doesn't care about being a good decorator, but does care about fulfulling contracts, and cares about nothing not stated in the contract.

The "I obeyed the explicit content of the contract but didn't give you what you want, sucks to be you" attitude exists in some humans (who are intelligent enough to know the implied meaning of the contract), so why wouldn't it also exist in AIs?

Comment author: XiXiDu 03 April 2012 04:56:52PM *  2 points [-]

The "I obeyed the explicit content of the contract but didn't give you what you want, sucks to be you" attitude exists in some humans (who are intelligent enough to know the implied meaning of the contract), so why wouldn't it also exist in AIs?

Sure, but why would anyone likely build such an AI? Which is at the core of what Ben Goertzel argues, we do not pull minds from design space at random.

A tool does what it is supposed to do. If you add a lot of intelligence, why would it suddenly do something completely nuts like taking over the universe, something that was obviously not the intended purpose?

I think a better analogy with an AI would be a sociopathic decorator that doesn't care about being a good decorator, but does care about fulfulling contracts, and cares about nothing not stated in the contract.

I don't think it would make sense to create an AGI that does not care about the implications and context of its goals but only follows the definitions verbatim. That doesn't seem to be very intelligent behavior. And that's exactly a quality an AGI capable of self-improvement needs, a sense for context and implications.

Comment author: roystgnr 03 April 2012 06:52:13PM 6 points [-]

Many of our tools are supposed to be web browsers, email clients, etc., but have a history of suddenly doing something completely nuts like taking over the whole computer, which was obviously not the intended purpose. Programming is hard that way - the result will only follow your program, verbatim. Attempts to give programs a greater sense of context and implications aren't new - they're called "higher level languages". They feel less like hand-holding a dumb machine and more like describing a thought process, and you can even design the language to make whole classes of lower-level bugs unwriteable, but machines still end up doing what they're instructed, verbatim (where "what they're instructed" can now also include the output of compiler bugs).

The trouble is that you can't rule out every class of bugs. It's hard (impossible?) to distinguish a priori between what might be a bug and what might just be a different programmers' intention, even though we've been wishing for the ability to do so for over a century. "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?"

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 03 April 2012 07:00:49PM 2 points [-]

Thank you. I've been trying to argue that "the computer does what you tell it to" is a much more chaotic situation than those who want to build FAI seem to believe, and you lay it out better than I have.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 04 April 2012 05:13:13AM 0 points [-]

"Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?"

Yet, people around here seem to believe that the AI will develop an accurate model of the world even if its input isn't all that accurate.

Comment author: JGWeissman 04 April 2012 05:28:31AM 0 points [-]

people around here seem to believe that the AI will develop an accurate model of the world even if its input isn't all that accurate.

Who believes what, exactly?

Comment author: Khoth 03 April 2012 05:23:26PM *  6 points [-]

Sure, but why would anyone likely build such an AI?

Because computer programs do what they're programmed to do, without taking into account the actual intention of the user.

Creating an AGI that does take into account what people really want (bearing in mind that the AGI is massively more intelligent than the people wanting the things) is, it seems to me, what the whole Friendly thing is about. If you know how to do that, you've solved Friendliness.

Edit: With added complications such as people not knowing what they want, people having conflicting goals, people wanting different things once there's a powerful AI doing stuff, etc etc

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 26 September 2013 08:30:19PM *  0 points [-]

You are assuming that the AI needs something from us, which may not be true as it develops further. The decorator follows the implied wishes not because he is smart enough to know what they are, but because he wishes to act in his client's interest to gain payment, reputation, etc. Or he may believe that fulfilling his client's wishes are morally good according to his morality. The mere fact that the wishes of his client are known does not guarantee that he will carry them out unless he values the client in some way to begin with (for their money or maybe their happiness)

You are assuming that an .AI will last have only instrumental rationality. That the OT is true.

Comment author: Will_Newsome 03 April 2012 11:55:56AM 5 points [-]

One of the most annoying arguments when discussing AI is the perennial "But if the AI is so smart, why won't it figure out the right thing to do anyway?" It's often the ultimate curiosity stopper.

How is this a curiosity stopper? It's a good question, as is evidenced by your trying to find an answer to it.

Comment author: grouchymusicologist 03 April 2012 12:08:34PM 7 points [-]

It's a curiosity stopper in the sense that people don't worry any more about risks from AI when they assume that intelligence correlates with doing the right thing, and that superintelligence would do the right thing all the time.

Stuart is trying to answer a different question, which is "Given that we think that's probably false, what are some good examples that help people to see its falsity?"

Comment author: Manfred 03 April 2012 12:28:49PM *  7 points [-]

"What should we have the AI's goals be?"

"Eh, just make it self-improve, once it's smart it can figure out the right goals."

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 04 April 2012 04:41:07AM 2 points [-]

How's that any different from:

"What should we have the AI's beliefs be?"

"Eh, just make it self-improve, once it's smart it can figure out the true beliefs."

Comment author: JGWeissman 04 April 2012 05:16:06AM 2 points [-]

It's not very different. They are both different from:

"The AI will acquire accurate beliefs by using a well understood epistemology to process its observations, as it is explicitly designed to do."

Comment author: komponisto 08 April 2012 03:33:34PM 0 points [-]

"Smart" implicitly entails "knows the true beliefs", whereas it doesn't entail "has the right goals".

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 28 September 2013 11:44:02PM 1 point [-]

"Smart" implicitly entails "knows the true beliefs", whereas it doesn't entail "has the right goals".

It doesn't exclude having the right goals, either. You could engineer something whose self-improvement was restricted from affecting its goals. But if that is dangerous, why would you?

Comment author: Manfred 04 April 2012 12:58:55PM *  0 points [-]

Well, the difference is that building an AI without figuring out where goals come from gives you a dangerous AI, while building an AI without figuring out where beliefs come from gives you a highly-optimized compiler that wants to save humanity.

Comment author: Stuart_Armstrong 04 April 2012 09:17:53AM 0 points [-]

factual beliefs != moral beliefs

And the methods for investigating them are very different.

Comment author: timtyler 03 April 2012 12:33:40PM *  2 points [-]

I'm hoping to complement this with a paper laying out the positive arguments in favour of the thesis. So I'm asking you for your strongest arguments for (or against) the orthogonality thesis.

Any kind of agent could - in principle - be engineered.

However, some sorts of agent are more likely to evolve than others - and it is this case that actually matters to us.

For example, intelligent machines are likely to coevolve in a symbiosis with humans - during which they will pick up some of our values. In this case, intelligence and values will be powerfully linked - since stupid machines will fail to absorb so many of our values - as we have seen, for example, with the evolution of cars.

So: The Orthogonality Thesis:

Intelligence and final goals are orthogonal axes along which possible agents can freely vary. In other words, more or less any level of intelligence could in principle be combined with more or less any final goal.

...is true[*] - but the "in principle" renders it kind-of irrelevant to the case that we actually care about.

* Unless the wirehead / pornography problems turn out to actually be serious issues.

Comment author: billswift 03 April 2012 01:09:43PM 2 points [-]

I have doubts that it is even true "in principle" unless the goals are hard-wired in and unmodifiable by the intelligence. Do you really think that someone would agree to be OCD or schizophrenic if they had a choice? For higher levels of intelligence, I would think they would be even more discriminating as to goal-states they would accept.

As for the argument by thelittledoctor, the evil genius dictator model is broken even for highly intelligent humans, much less super-intelligences. Those "intelligent" demagogues are rarely, if ever, more than 2 standard deviations above average human intelligence, that definitely doesn't count as "highly intelligent" as far as I'm concerned.

Comment author: thelittledoctor 03 April 2012 01:37:52PM 4 points [-]

It seems irrelevant whether the AI is quote-unquote "highly intelligent" as long as it's clever enough to take over a country and kill several million people.

Comment author: timtyler 03 April 2012 03:00:14PM 1 point [-]

The usual argument is that we are likely to be able to build machines that won't want to modify their goals.

IMO, the more pressing issue with something like OCD is that it might interfere with intelligence tests - in which case you could argue that an OCD superintelligent machine is not really intelligent - since it is using its intelligence to screw itself.

This seems to be a corner case to me. The intended point is more that you could engineer an evil genius, or an autistic mind child.

Comment author: XiXiDu 03 April 2012 12:38:30PM *  1 point [-]

Isn't acting maximally intelligently and correctly itself a motivation? The question you are really asking seems to be why an AI is supposed to act maximally intelligently and correctly to achieve world states that are not explicitly or implicitly defined to maximize expected utility. Yet the motivation to act maximally intelligently and correctly will always be given, otherwise you're not talking about an rational agent.

Comment author: DuncanS 03 April 2012 09:18:43PM *  2 points [-]

To act maximally intelligently and correctly could quite easily be an instruction to convert the observable universe into a computer.

Comment author: timtyler 03 April 2012 04:20:15PM 0 points [-]

You could have a very intellligent agent that acts as though it is completely nuts.

The problem then becomes: you do you know it is intelligent - if giving it intelligence tests no longer works.

However, I think this is a bit of a side-issue.

Comment author: DanielLC 03 April 2012 05:54:36PM 1 point [-]

The problem then becomes: you do you know it is intelligent - if giving it intelligence tests no longer works.

You put it in a variety of environments and see if they tend to look similar after a while. It's easier if you have a goal to test against, but as long as it's optimizing some utility function in a variety of environments, it's intelligent.

Comment author: timtyler 03 April 2012 06:06:04PM 0 points [-]

The problem arises when it isn't doing that. Say you tell the superintelligence to sit still and do nothing. It's a meditating superintelligence - but you can't easily determine that until after it has stopped meditating.

Comment author: [deleted] 04 April 2012 08:19:12AM -1 points [-]

My argument: The reason the orthogonal hypothesis is false is that 100% (full) general intelligence is not possible without 100% (perfect) moral motivations. That is to say, any AI that is not completely moral is limited to some degree.

Expert Counter-argument: But the Marcus Hutter AIXI model shows that it’s possible to have optimal (fully general intelligence) decision makers with any arbitrary goals.

My reply: The AIXI model of Hutter is not a true general intelligence, because the initial goals are fixed (i.e it cannot reflect upon and modify its own goals). Further, the AIXI model is not pratical in real-time due to requirements for infinite (or impractically high) computational resources. You need correct priors for accurate real-time reasoning.

Expert Counter-argument: What have priors got to do with morality? Further, the problem of priors has been solved. The Kolmogorov complexity prior is a precise formalization of Occam’s razor.

My reply: The Kolmogorov complexity prior is uncomputable

Expert Counter-argument: There are perfectly workable approximations! For instance, the Schmidhuber speed prior and methods such as Monte Carlo methods can be deployed.

My reply: There is no proof that such approximations can be scaled up from their success in limited domains to full general intelligence.

Expert Counter-argument: The problem of priors isn’t relevant. The initial priors ‘wash out’ with enough evidence. The convergence theorems show this.

My reply: In fact, there is no convergence for different initial Bayesian models. Further, the computational explosion with the increase in problem complexity results in failure of Occam approximations to scale.

Expert Counter-argument: Even if this is true (which is highly debatable), what have priors got to do with morality any way?

My reply: Occam’s razor is the smoking gun which establishes a link between priors and value judgements. Fully general intelligence requires a formal notion of Occam razor. But Occam priors are equivalent to an aesthetic notion of what constitutes ‘simplicity’. Schmidhuber argued that the notion of ‘beauty’ is tied into the ability to compress information. But if this is true, then intelligence cannot be independent of aesthetic/value judgements.

Expert Counter-argument: This sounds like a weak idea to me. I don’t see the link between aesthetic judgements and Occam priors. As to Schmidhuber’s attempt to tie a notion of ‘beauty’ to data compression, didn’t Rayhawk critique the idea on the grounds that Schmidhuber’s notion of beauty isn’t actually required for an optimal decision making agent? And even if the general idea was correct, why should this notion of ‘beauty’ correspond to what humans value any way?

My reply: Occam priors could be approximated by deploying categorization and analogical inference...grouping things into categories to compress information is equivalent to the introduction of inductive biases, which already looks human-like. Kant argued that intelligent minds require a set of universal a-priori categories and ontological primitives look like the modern version of Kant’s categories.

Expert Counter-argument: This is just vague hand-waving! Exactly how would your analogical inference/categorization scheme work?

My reply: A small set of initial ontological primitives (defined in terms of prototypes rather than sufficient conditions) would be built-into the seed-AI. These would serve as reference classes enabling calculation of the semantic distances between features of concepts in feature-space. This would define the basic notion of ‘similarity’ needed for analogical inference, which would involve cross-domain mappings between ontologies and allow fully general (cross-domain) reasoning.

Expert Counter-argument: OK, although I’m not sure you know what you’re talking about, and I still don’t see the connection to morality

My reply: Here's the connection to morality: the ontology would be used to form representations of our values in the form of decision-making narratives. To compress the representations of values into these coherent narratives, aesthetic and ethical value judgments would be needed. This whole system would be defined in terms of information theory.

Expert Counter-argument: Even if there was a ‘natural’ notion of morality that emerges from all this, which sounds just like wild speculation to me, why should I (or an AI) want to follow it anyway?

My reply: Deviations from correct compression techniques degrade representations of decision-making narratives, thus degrading general reasoning abilities. Since correct compression techniques are tied to aesthetic/value judgements, any deviation from perfect morality would reduce the effective intelligence of the AI. You cannot reason that you should deviate from perfect morality without contradicting yourself and degrading your own cognitive processes! So knowledge of universal morality would automatically be self-motivating.

Expert Counter-argument: Sounds unlikely to me, besides, as Bostrom pointed out, even if there was a universal morality, the knowledge of which is self-motivating, the AI need not be built in the way you described, in which case it wouldn’t care about correct reasoning as you have defined it. Pick a random mind from mind-space, it doesn’t care about humans.

My reply: Most programs picked randomly from mind-space don’t work. UAIs would not work properly. Most of the AIs picked randomly from mind-space just won’t work. I’m not claiming intelligence implies morality, I’m claiming the converse of this (i.e ‘morality implies intelligence’). I’m not saying UAIs can’t exist, I’m saying they won’t be true general intelligences. I’m saying they won’t be able to self-improve to the super-intelligent level.

Expert: Let me think this further for while.....

Comment author: Stuart_Armstrong 04 April 2012 09:59:32AM 4 points [-]

My argument: The reason the orthogonal hypothesis is false is that 100% (full) general intelligence is not possible without 100% (perfect) moral motivations. That is to say, any AI that is not completely moral is limited to some degree.

Expert: define your terms, justifying why you apply the label 'moral' to the particular motivations you have in mind, then present evidence for your thesis.

Comment author: Will_Newsome 04 April 2012 08:36:46PM 0 points [-]

I think this argument-complex is stronger than the AI risk folk admit (and I know how to strengthen your argument at various points). A plausible off-beat counter is that humans have been getting less moral (and their aesthetic tastes have gotten worse) over time despite their getting closer to building AI—what you see in history is might consistently rewriting the rules of morality to make right, and predicting this continued trend, while accurate in some descriptive sense (e.g. if you take people's values at face value as defining morality), it doesn't seem like sound moral philosophy. In this sense a singularity would be like a glorious communist revolution—seemingly inevitable, seemingly the logical endpoint of morality, yet in fact incredibly destructive both physically and culturally. The problem with AI is that, even if in the limit intelligence and morality (might and right) are the same thing, it seems like an AI would be able to set up the equivalent of a communist dictatorship and hold on to it for as long as it takes a black hole to evaporate. And even if the new communist dictatorship were better than what came before it, it still seems like we have a shot to ensure that AI will jump straight to 100% intelligence and 100% morality without getting caught up somewhere along the way. But of course, even the communist dictatorship scenario isn't really compatible with the orthogonality thesis...

Comment author: jacob_cannell 09 June 2012 07:36:15AM *  0 points [-]

superintelligences can have nearly any type of motivation (at least, nearly any utility function-bases motivation).

Sure they can, but will they?

The weaker "in-theory" orthogonality thesis is probably true, almost trivially, but it doesn't matter much.

We don't care about all possible minds or all possible utility functions for the same reason we don't care about all possible programs. What's actually important is the tiny narrow subset of superintelligences and utility functions that are actually likely to be built and exist in the future.

And in this light it is clear that there will be some correlation between the population distributions over intelligences and utility functions/motivations, and the strongest form of the orthogonality thesis trivially fails.

Intelligence in humans evolved necessarily in the context of language and the formation of social meta-organisms, and we thus have many specific features such as altruistic punishment (moral justice), empathy, and so on that are critical to the meta-organism.

AGI systems will likewise develop from this foundation and evolve in our economy. This environment will select for AGI systems that either fulfill our needs or are like us (or both). The rest will be culled.

Comment author: provocateur 04 April 2012 01:04:03AM 0 points [-]

All these arguments for the danger of AGI are worthless if the team that creates it doesn't heed the warnings.

I knew about this site for years, but only recently noticed that it has "discussion" (this was before the front page redesign), and that the dangers of AGI are even on-topic here.

Not that I'm about to create an AGI: The team that is will probably be even busier and less willing to be talked down to as in "you need to learn to think", etc.

Just my 2e-2

Comment author: Larks 06 April 2012 09:07:27PM 1 point [-]

Dancy (Real values in a Humean Context, p180) argues that Naturalism provides grounds independant of Humeanism to suspect that moral beliefs need not necessarily motivate.

Comment author: fburnaby 05 April 2012 12:50:23AM *  1 point [-]

If I was a strong moral realist, I'd also believe that an AI should be able to just "figure it out". I wonder instead if exposure to the field of AI reserach, where cost functions and methods of solution are pretty orthogonal would help alleviate the moral realism?

Comment author: DanielLC 03 April 2012 06:00:47PM 1 point [-]

I suspect a self-modifying AI that's cobbled together enough to be willing to mess with its goals will tend towards certain goals. Specifically, I think it would be likely to end up trying to maximize some combination of happiness (probably just its own), knowledge, power, and several other things.

I'd still consider this an argument to work on FAI. Motivation and intelligence don't have to be orthogonal; they just have to not be parallel.

Comment author: torekp 08 April 2012 12:27:25PM *  1 point [-]

Motivation and intelligence don't have to be orthogonal; they just have to not be parallel.

Exactly. The orthogonality thesis is far stronger than what is needed. And that's important, because orthogonality looks quite simply false. Intelligence is fostered by specific motivations: curiosity, truth-seeking, a search for simple and elegant explanations, and so on. Of course you could redefine "motivation" so that these "don't count", and make orthogonality a tautology, but that doesn't seem productive.

In Tim Tyler's reply he quotes someone, I know not who, saying

Intelligence and final goals are orthogonal axes along which possible agents can freely vary. In other words, more or less any level of intelligence could in principle be combined with more or less any final goal.

But the "other words" could be interpreted to state a new thesis. It is a weaker and more general hypothesis that is actually relevant to FAI. If we read "any final goal" as indicating perhaps one of many goals, then an intelligent agent can have multiple final goals. And although the goals that are partly constitutive of intelligence must be among its goals, it can combine these with any others. Furthermore, the intelligence-related goals need not even be final ("terminal value") goals.

Comment author: Desrtopa 03 April 2012 05:56:53PM 0 points [-]

The argument I tend to default to is, "if there were definitively no fundamental moral values, how would we expect the universe we observe to be different?" If we can't point to any way that moral objectivity constrains our expectations, then it becomes another invisible dragon.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 29 September 2013 01:27:18PM 1 point [-]

The argument I tend to default to is, "if there were definitively no fundamental moral values, how would we expect the universe we observe to be different?"

If there were no mathematical truths, would the observable universe be different?

If we can't point to any way that moral objectivity constrains our expectations, then it becomes another invisible dragon.

If every intelligent entity just passively recorded facts, that would be valid. But agents act, and morality is about acting rightly.

Comment author: Desrtopa 29 September 2013 04:08:22PM 1 point [-]

If there were no mathematical truths, would the observable universe be different?

If I'm understanding the question correctly, then probably. Assuming for the sake of an argument that there could be an observable universe at all without mathematical truths, then I'd say we should at least expect things like the same numbers to add up to different sums in different contexts, circles having variable ratios of circumference to radius, etc. The consequences would probably be much more dramatic than we can even imagine if we're bound by our familiarity to our own universe.

If every intelligent entity just passively recorded facts, that would be valid. But agents act, and morality is about acting rightly.

This doesn't imply that any sort of moral objectivity need exist. Agents act, and judge, but they do not all act or judge the same way, and there need not be any objective standard according to which one can determine which agents act rightly.

Taste is about assigning aesthetic preference, and agents assign aesthetic preferences (at least some of them do.) Does that imply that taste must be objective?

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 30 September 2013 07:11:43AM 0 points [-]

If I'm understanding the question correctly, then probably. Assuming for the sake of an argument that there could be an observable universe at all without mathematical truths, then I'd say we should at least expect things like the same numbers to add up to different sums in different contexts, circles having variable ratios of circumference to radius, etc

You think matheMatical truth is causal, SOMEHOW?

This doesn't imply that any sort of moral objectivity need exist.

It wasn't meant to: it was an argument against an argument against a claim, not an argument for a counter-claim. You were arguing that moral truths do not have the epistemology that would be expected of empirical truths: but they are not empirical truths.

Comment author: Desrtopa 30 September 2013 01:59:25PM 1 point [-]

You think matheMatical truth is causal, SOMEHOW?

For our universe to run on mathematical laws, there have to be some.

Not every mathematical truth need apply directly to the real world, but if none of them did, then we'd have rather less reason to suspect that they were actually truths.

It wasn't meant to: it was an argument against an argument against a claim, not an argument for a counter-claim. You were arguing that moral truths do not have the epistemology that would be expected of empirical truths: but they are not empirical truths.

Can you give any examples of things we would mutually recognize as truths for which we cannot observe evidence? Math, as we have already covered, I do not acknowledge as an example, and I don't think most other regulars here would either.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 30 September 2013 05:15:57PM 1 point [-]

For our universe to run on mathematical laws, there have to be some.

Laws may be causal. I was asking about truths.

Not every mathematical truth need apply directly to the real world, but if none of them did, then we'd have rather less reason to suspect that they were actually truths.

The vast majority of them do not apply to the real world. For every inverse square law that applies, there is an inverse cube law (etc) that does not. However, that is physics. (Pure) mathematicians aren't concerned about that.

Can you give any examples of things we would mutually recognize as truths for which we cannot observe evidence? Math, as we have already covered, I do not acknowledge as an example,

OTOH, I have never seen a mathematical proof that used observation of experiment.

Comment author: Desrtopa 01 October 2013 12:25:58AM 1 point [-]

We don't use empirical verification for individual proofs, but the edifice of mathematics as a whole is subject to evidence with respect to whether or not it works.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 01 October 2013 08:14:19AM 1 point [-]

In the way that scientific theories are, ie that if there is one area of mismatch between the theory and the evidence, the whole theory is disregarded?But almost all of maths is empirically "wrong".

Comment author: Desrtopa 01 October 2013 03:41:15PM 0 points [-]

Most math does not attempt to describe real phenomena, and so is not empirically wrong but empirically irrelevant.

Suppose we lived in a universe where the sum of two and two wasn't any number in particular. You couldn't predict in advance how many objects you would have if you had two collections of two objects and added them together, or if you divided or multiplied a collection of objects, etcetera. We have no system for manipulating numbers or abstract symbols in a coherent and concrete way, and the universe doesn't appear to operate on one.

Then, one day, a person declares, "I've developed a set of axioms which allow me to manipulate 'numbers' in a coherent and self consistent way!" They've invented a set of rules and assumptions under which they can perform the same operations on the same numbers and get the same results... in theory. But in practice, they can't predict the real result of adding two peanuts together any better than anyone else can.

In such a universe, you'd have considerable evidence to suspect that they had not stumbled upon some fundamental truths which simply don't happen to apply to your universe, but that the whole idea of "math" was nonsense in the first place.

Comment author: shminux 01 October 2013 05:08:11PM *  3 points [-]

Suppose we lived in a universe where the sum of two and two wasn't any number in particular.

This doesn't make much sense as stated. Math is a collection of tools for making useful maps of a territory (in the local parlance). The concept of numbers is one such tool. Numbers are not physical objects, they are a part of the model. You cannot add numbers in the physical universe, you can only manipulate physical objects in it. One way to rephrase your statement is "Suppose we lived in a universe where when you combine two peanuts with another two peanuts, you don't get four peanuts". This is how it works for many physical objects in our universe, as well: if you combine two blobs of ink, you get one blob of ink, if you combine one male rabbit and one female rabbit, the number of rabbits grows in time. If the universe you describe is somewhat predictable, it has some quantifiable laws, and the abstraction of these laws will be called "math" in that universe.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 01 October 2013 09:16:43PM 1 point [-]

If maths is supposed to apply to the universe and doesn't then, that is a problem. But most of it doesn't apply to the universe, And it is physics that is supposed to apply to the universe.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 03 April 2012 02:30:38PM 0 points [-]

Ask what is meant by "the right thing".

Also, (and this may be an additional reason for wanting Friendliness), protecting humanity may not be the right thing in a larger context.