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timtyler comments on Q&A with Michael Littman on risks from AI - Less Wrong Discussion

15 Post author: XiXiDu 19 December 2011 09:51AM

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Comment author: timtyler 19 December 2011 10:35:47AM *  6 points [-]

2050 (I also think P=NP in that year.)

P=NP - WTF?!? ;-)

Comment author: JoshuaZ 19 December 2011 02:33:04PM *  2 points [-]

By far that comment is the one that is farthest outside his expertise. I'm not sure why he's commenting on it. (He is a computer scientist but none of his work seems to be in complexity theory or is even connected to it as far as I can tell.) But he's still very respected and I would presume knows a lot about issues in parts of compsci that aren't his own area of research. It is possible that he made a typo?

Comment author: mlittman 15 January 2012 03:10:40PM 6 points [-]

Not a typo---I was mostly being cheeky. But, I have studied complexity theory quite a bit (mostly in analyzing the difficulty of problems in AI) and my 2050 number came from the following thought experiment. The problem 3-SAT is NP complete. It can be solved in time 2^n (where n is the number of variables in the formula). Over the last 20 or 30 years, people have created algorithms that solve the problem in c^n for ever decreasing values of c. If you plot the rate of decrease of c over time, it's a pretty good fit (or was 15 years ago when I did this analysis) for a line that goes below 1 in 2050. (If that happens, an NP-hard problem would be solvable in polynomial time and thus P=NP.) I don't put much stake in the idea that the future can be predicted by a graph like that, but I thought it was fun to think about. Anyhow, sorry for being flip.

Comment author: mlittman 21 January 2012 03:36:55PM 2 points [-]

Side note: I did this analysis initially in honor of Donald Loveland (a colleague at the time whose satisfiability solver sits at the root of this tree of discoveries). I am gratified to see that he was interviewed on lesswrong on a more recent thread!

Comment author: JoshuaZ 15 January 2012 05:41:53PM 1 point [-]

Thanks for clarifying. (And welcome to Less Wrong.)

Comment author: XiXiDu 19 December 2011 11:07:35AM 1 point [-]

P=NP - WTF?!? ;-)

Also see: Polls And Predictions And P=NP

Comment author: Nymogenous 19 December 2011 01:23:52PM *  3 points [-]

Does anyone know what the largest amount of money wagered on this question is?

EDIT: I'm aware of a few bets on specific claimed proofs, but have not been able to find any bets on the general question that exceed a few hundred dollars (unless you count the million-dollar prizes various institutes are offering).

Comment author: XiXiDu 19 December 2011 03:02:50PM 4 points [-]

Does anyone know what the largest amount of money wagered on this question is?

Don't know, but Scott Aaronson once bet $200,000 on a proof being wrong. He wrote:

I’ve literally bet my house on it.

Comment author: gwern 19 December 2011 04:04:05PM 2 points [-]

When I read that, I didn't expect him to actually pay up in the unlikely event the proof was right - there's a big difference between saying 'I bet my house' on your blog and actually sending a few hundred thousand or million bucks to the Long Now Foundation's Long Bets project.

Comment author: CarlShulman 04 January 2012 09:09:01AM *  0 points [-]

When I read that, I didn't expect him to actually pay up in the unlikely event the proof was right

Likewise.

sending a few hundred thousand or million bucks to the Long Now Foundation's Long Bets project.

With Long Bets you lose the money (to your chosen charity) even if you are right, so not an ideal comparison.

Comment author: gwern 04 January 2012 02:48:36PM *  0 points [-]

It was an example of a more credible commitment than a blog post. To paraphrase Buffet's Noah principle, 'predicting rain doesn't count, building arks does'.

EDIT: an additional disadvantage to Long Bets is that they stash the stakes in a very low return fund (but one that should be next to invulnerable). Depending on your views about the future and your investment abilities, the opportunity cost could be substantial.