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wedrifid comments on Failed Utopia #4-2 - Less Wrong

52 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 21 January 2009 11:04AM

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Comment author: wedrifid 31 May 2013 08:57:52AM *  2 points [-]

The former doesn't imply the latter, it's just that both interpreting denotation and interpreting connotation are within an order of magnitude as difficult as each other

This much is true. It is somewhat more difficult to implement a connotation honoring genie (because that requires more advanced referencing and interpretation) but both tasks fall under already defined areas of narrow AI. The difference in difficulty is small enough that I more or less ignore it as a trivial 'implementation detail'. People could create (either as fiction or as AI) either of these things and each have different problems.

Annoyed that this purely epistemic question is going to get bogged down in and interpreted in the light of political boo- / yay-AI-risk-prevention stances, arguments-as-soldiers style.

Your mind reading is in error. To be honest this seems fairly orthogonal to AI-risk-prevention stances. From what I can tell someone with a particular AI stance hasn't got an incentive either way because both these types of genie are freaking dangerous in their own way. The only difference acknowledging the possibility of connotation honouring genies makes is perhaps to determine which particular failure mode you potentially end up in. Having a connotation honouring genie may be an order of magnitude safer than a literal genie but unless there is almost-FAI-complete code in there in the background as a a safeguard it's still something I'd only use if I was absolutely desperate. I round off the safety difference between the two to negligible in approximately the same way I round off the implementation difficulty difference.

As a 'purely epistemic question' your original claim is just plain false. However, as another valid point that is somewhat which we have both skirted around the edges of explaining adequately. I (think that I) more or less agree with what you are saying in this follow up comment. I suggest that the main way that AI interest influence this conversation is that it promotes (and is also caused by) interest in being accurate about precisely what the expected outcomes of goal systems are and just what the problems of a given system happen to be.

Comment author: Will_Newsome 31 May 2013 12:26:43PM *  4 points [-]

Your mind reading is in error.

Sorry, didn't mean to imply you'd be the one mind-killed, just the general audience. From previous interactions I know you're too rational for that kind of perversion.

Having a connotation honouring genie may be an order of magnitude safer than a literal genie

I actually think it's many, many orders of magnitude safer, but that's only because a denotation honoring genie is just egregiously stupid. A connotation honoring genie still isn't safe unless "connotation-honoring" implies something at least as extensive and philosophically justifiable as causal validity semantics. I honestly expect the average connotation-honoring genie will lie in-between a denotation-honoring genie and a bona fide justifiable AGI—i.e., it will respect human wishes about as much as humans respect, say, alligator wishes, or the wishes of their long-deceased ancestors. On average I expect an Antichrist, not a Clippy. But even if such an AGI doesn't kill all of us and maybe even helps us on average, the opportunity cost of such an AGI is extreme, and so I nigh-wholeheartedly support the moralistic intuitions that traditionally lead people to use djinn analogies. Still, I worry that the underlying political question really is poisoning the epistemic question in a way that might bleed over into poor policy decisions re AGI. (Drunk again, apologies for typos et cetera.)

Comment author: wedrifid 31 May 2013 04:47:49PM -1 points [-]

Sorry, didn't mean to imply you'd be the one mind-killed, just the general audience. From previous interactions I know you're too rational for that kind of perversion.

Thank you for your generosity but in all honesty I have to deny that. I at times notice in myself the influence of social political incentives. I infer from what I do notice (and, where appropriate, resist) that there are other influences that I do not detect.

I honestly expect the average connotation-honoring genie will lie in-between a denotation-honoring genie and a bona fide justifiable AGI—i.e., it will respect human wishes about as much as humans respect, say, alligator wishes, or the wishes of their long-deceased ancestors.

That seems reasonable.

But even if such an AGI doesn't kill all of us and maybe even helps us on average, the opportunity cost of such an AGI is extreme, and so I nigh-wholeheartedly support the moralistic intuitions that traditionally lead people to use djinn analogies.

I agree that there is potentially significant opportunity cost but perhaps if anything it sounds like I may be more willing to accept this kind of less-than-ideal outcome. For example if right now I was forced to make a choice whether to accept this failed utopia based on a fully connotative honoring artificial djinn or to leave things exactly as they are I suspect I would accept it. It fails as a utopia but it may still be better than the (expected) future we have right now.