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Comment author: SteveG 18 November 2014 06:12:58PM 2 points [-]

One reason we did not go travelling might have been a resource constraint, perhaps money but also a limited ability to plan good trips because of distraction or knowledge should be counted as a limitation of planning resources.

That aside, people still have multiple drives which are not really goals, and we sort of compromise amongst these drives. The approach the mind takes is not always the best.

In people, it's really those mid-brain drives that run a lot of things, not intellect.

We could try to carefully program in some lower-level or more complex sets of "drives" into an AI. The "utility function" people speak of in these threads is really more like an incredibly overpowering drive for the AI.

If it is wrong, then there is no hedge, check or diversification. The AI will just pursue that drive.

As much as our minds often .take us in the wrong direction with our drives, at least they are diversified and checked.

Checks and diversification of drives seem like an appealing element of mind design, even at significant cost to efficiency at achieving goals. We should explore these options in detail.

Comment author: grobstein 18 November 2014 07:49:07PM 1 point [-]

But I don't think "utility function" in the context of this post has to mean, a numerical utility explicitly computed in the code.

It could just be, the agent behaves as-if its utilities are given by a particular numerical function, regardless of whether this is written down anywhere.

Comment author: SteveG 18 November 2014 06:12:58PM 2 points [-]

One reason we did not go travelling might have been a resource constraint, perhaps money but also a limited ability to plan good trips because of distraction or knowledge should be counted as a limitation of planning resources.

That aside, people still have multiple drives which are not really goals, and we sort of compromise amongst these drives. The approach the mind takes is not always the best.

In people, it's really those mid-brain drives that run a lot of things, not intellect.

We could try to carefully program in some lower-level or more complex sets of "drives" into an AI. The "utility function" people speak of in these threads is really more like an incredibly overpowering drive for the AI.

If it is wrong, then there is no hedge, check or diversification. The AI will just pursue that drive.

As much as our minds often .take us in the wrong direction with our drives, at least they are diversified and checked.

Checks and diversification of drives seem like an appealing element of mind design, even at significant cost to efficiency at achieving goals. We should explore these options in detail.

Comment author: grobstein 18 November 2014 07:46:06PM 2 points [-]

In humans, goal drift may work as a hedging mechanism.

Comment author: diegocaleiro 18 November 2014 04:41:22PM *  2 points [-]

I wonder what kinds of insights would be available for a Superintelligence that might override it's goal-content integrity goal. To begin with, the other instrumental goals, if they emerged, would themselves tamper with its allocation of resources.

Now consider humans: sometimes we think our goals are "travel a lot" but actually they turn out to be "be on a hammock two hours a day and swim once a week".

By trial and error, we re-map our goals based on what they feel from the inside, or rewards.

Which similar processes might an AGI do?

Comment author: grobstein 18 November 2014 07:44:43PM 1 point [-]

One possible explanation for the plasticity of human goals is that the goals that change aren't really final goals.

So me-now faces the question,

Should I assign any value to final goals that I don't have now, but that me-future will have because of goal drift?

If goals are interpreted widely enough, the answer should be, No. By hypothesis, those goals of me-future make no contribution to the goals of me-now, so they have no value to me. Accordingly, I should try pretty hard to prevent goal drift and / or reduce investment in the well-being of me-future.

Humans seem to answer, Yes, though. They simultaneously allow goal drift, and care about self-preservation, even though the future self may not have goals in common with the present.

This behavior can be rationalized if we assume that it's mostly instrumental goals that drift, with final goals remaining fixed. So maybe humans have the final goal of maximizing their inclusive fitness, and consciously accessible goals are just noisy instruments for this final goal. In that case, it may be rational to embrace goal drift because 1) future instrumental goals will be better suited to implementing the final goal, under changed future circumstances, and 2) allowing goals to change produces multiple independent instruments for the final goal, which may reduce statistical noise.

Comment author: grobstein 18 November 2014 04:09:56AM 3 points [-]

I am not that confident in the convergence properties of self-preservation as instrumental goal.

It seems that at least some goals should be pursued ballistically -- i.e., by setting an appropriate course in motion so that it doesn't need active guidance.

For example, living organisms vary widely in their commitments to self-preservations. One measure of this variety is the variety of lifespans and lifecycles. Organisms generally share the goal of reproducing, and they pursue this goal by a range of means, some of which require active guidance (like teaching your children) and some of which don't (like releasing thousands of eggs into the ocean).

If goals are allowed to range very widely, it's hard to believe that all final goals will counsel the adoption of the same CIVs as subgoals. The space of all final goals seems very large. I'm not even very sure what a goal is. But it seems at least plausible that this choice of CIVs is contaminated by our own (parochial) goals, and given the full range of weird possible goals these convergences only form small attractors.

A different convergence argument might start from competition among goals. A superintelligence might not "take off" unless it starts with sufficiently ambitious goals. Call a goal ambitious if its CIVs include coming to control significant resources. In that case, even if only a relatively small region in goal-space has the CIV of controlling significant resources, intelligences with those goals will quickly be overrepresented. Cf. this intriguing BBS paper I haven't read yet.

In response to comment by CronoDAS on Causal Universes
Comment author: RobbBB 29 November 2012 02:13:37AM 10 points [-]

If your theory of time is 4-dimensionalist, then you might think the past people are 'still there,' in some timeless sense, rather than wholly annihilated. Interestingly, you might (especially if you reject determinism) think that moving through time involves killing (possible) futures, rather than (or in addition to) killing the past.

In response to comment by RobbBB on Causal Universes
Comment author: grobstein 29 November 2012 05:28:10PM 3 points [-]

Hard to see why you can't make a version of this same argument, at an additional remove, in the time travel case. For example, if you are a "determinist" and / or "n-dimensionalist" about the "meta-time" concept in Eliezer's story, the future people who are lopped off the timeline still exist in the meta-timeless eternity of the "meta-timeline," just as in your comment the dead still exist in the eternity of the past.

In the (seemingly degenerate) hypothetical where you go back in time and change the future, I'm not sure why we should prefer to say that we "destroy" the "old" future, rather than simply that we disconnect it from our local universe. That might be a horrible thing to do, but then again it might not be. There's lots of at-least-conceivable stuff that is disconnected from our local universe.

In response to Causal Universes
Comment author: grobstein 29 November 2012 04:59:30PM *  1 point [-]

Any inference about "what sort of thingies can be real" seems to me premature. If we are talking about causality and space-time locality, it seems to me that the more parsimonious inference regards what sort of thingies a conscious experience can be embedded in, or what sort of thingies a conscious experience can be of.

The suggested inference seems to privilege minds too much, as if to say that only the states of affairs that allow a particular class of computation can possibly be real. (This view may reduce to empiricism, which people like, but stated this way I think it's pretty hard to support! What's so special about conscious experience?)

EDIT: Hmm, here is a rather similar comment. Hard to process this whole discussion.

EDIT EDIT: maybe even this comment is about the same issue, although its argument is being applied to a slightly different inference than the one suggested in the main article.

Comment author: FAWS 19 March 2011 12:47:13AM *  14 points [-]

World-destroying black hole caused by LHC. Autism through vaccination. Cancer from low intensity radio waves (i.e. a cell phone rather than a radar station). A meteorite hitting your house. A plane crashing into your house if you don't live in a landing vector of an airport. Terrorists capturing the plane you are on if you fly rarely.

Comment author: grobstein 24 March 2011 08:48:09PM 3 points [-]

Which of these is a major stressor on romantic relationships?

In response to comment by Mario on Optimal Employment
Comment author: LukeStebbing 01 February 2011 10:07:25PM *  1 point [-]

This is untrue as a general rule, though it can be closer or farther from the truth depending on market conditions.

To see why, imagine that every month you buy a supply of fizzlesprots from Acme Corp. Today is the first of February, so you eagerly rush off to buy your monthly fix. But wait! The government has just imposed a tax on all fizzlesprot purchases. Curses! Now you'll have to pay even more, because Acme Corp will just pass the whole tax on to you.

Now change "fizzlesprot" to "labor" and "Acme Corp" to "employee". Huh? You're an employer, not an employee? My world is turned upside down! Could it be that the narrative where You bear the full brunt of every tax and They end up paying nothing is wrong?

In fact, whenever an economic transaction is taxed, the buyers and the sellers split the tax based on who is more eager to buy or sell. Labor is no different. It's possible that, empirically, the employee usually pays more of a labor tax than the employer, but this is by no means guaranteed and I would personally expect the proportion to vary significantly between labor market segments.

(Wikipedia's article on tax incidence claims that employees pay almost all of payroll taxes, but cites a single paper that claims a 70% labor / 30% owner split for corporate income tax burden in the US, and I have no idea how or whether that translates to payroll tax burden or whether the paper's conclusions are generally accepted.)

For more details, consult your nearest introductory economics textbook.

Comment author: grobstein 01 February 2011 10:23:11PM 1 point [-]

(Wikipedia's article on tax incidence claims that employees pay almost all of payroll taxes, but cites a single paper that claims a 70% labor / 30% owner split for corporate income tax burden in the US, and I have no idea how or whether that translates to payroll tax burden or whether the paper's conclusions are generally accepted.)

There's no consensus on the incidence of the corporate income tax in the fully general case. It's split among too many parties.

In response to Optimal Employment
Comment author: grobstein 31 January 2011 09:29:36PM *  4 points [-]

The USA is not the best place to earn money.2 My own experience suggests that at least Japan, New Zealand, and Australia can all be better. This may be shocking, but young professionals with advanced degrees can earn more discretionary income as a receptionist or a bartender in the Australian outback than as, say, a software engineer in the USA.

As a side question, when did a receptionist or bartender become a "professional"? Is "professional" just used as a class marker, standing for something like "person with a non-vocational 4-year college degree"?

Or is the idea that one is a professional because one is in some sense a software engineer (e.g.), even while employed as a receptionist or bartender?

In response to Optimal Employment
Comment author: [deleted] 31 January 2011 04:30:24PM 1 point [-]

Great article!

I'm currently trying to figure out my personal optimal employment. (I'm a German CS student and will get my degree next year. Most importantly, I want to leave the country and live in some English-speaking country. I can't stand the cultural isolation any longer.) I was already considering Australia and you have just made it look a lot more attractive.

The specific job you provided, however, isn't right for me. Remote areas are exactly where I don't wanna be right now. I've lived in villages and small towns most of my life and I'm sick of them. But I am very interested in hearing about other options like this, especially if they would involve less telephones or similar activities, as Alicorn already mentioned.

In response to comment by [deleted] on Optimal Employment
Comment author: grobstein 31 January 2011 07:51:37PM 9 points [-]

Note that a lot of the financial benefit described here comes from living somewhere remote -- in particular the housing and food costs. That's the reason for the strenuous warning not to live in "Sidney, Melbourne or any major Australian city." From a larger perspective, it partly accounts for choosing Australia over America (low population density --> low housing costs, etc.).

For a full analysis, the cost differentials of living in the Australian outback vs. an American city (or whatever) have to be decomposed into price level, consumption, and other factors. For example, I pay a very high cost for living in New York. But I recover part of the cost in various benefits. Broadly: 1) New York may be the only place in the world where my employment situation is possible, 2) New York is a social coordination point where it is especially easy to meet the kind of people I would like to meet.

This is probably the case for many people who decide to live in New York.

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