[ExI] AI thoughts

Jason Resch jasonresch at gmail.com
Wed Nov 22 16:08:38 UTC 2023

On Tue, Nov 21, 2023, 7:25 PM Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Tue, Nov 21, 2023 at 12:08 PM Jason Resch <jasonresch at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > On Tue, Nov 21, 2023 at 2:24 PM Keith Henson via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> >>
> >> The LLM of AI chatbots are trained on what humans know.  They don't
> >> seem any more dangerous to me than exceptionally well-informed humans.
> >>
> >> Of course, I could be wrong.
> >
> > Nick Bostrom in "Superintelligence" defines three possible dimensions of
> superintelligence:
> >
> > 1. Speed
> > 2. Depth
> > 3. Breadth
> >
> > You have identified that LLMs, in having read everything on the
> Internet, every book, every wikipedia article, etc. already vastly outstrip
> humans in terms of their breadth of knowledge. I think another dimension in
> which they outpace us already is in terms of speed. They can compose entire
> articles in a matter of seconds, which might take a human hours or days to
> write.
> Agree.
> > This is another avenue by which superintelligence could run-away from us
> (if a population of LLMs could drive technological progress forward 100
> years in one year's time,
> Drexler talked about this in the early 80s.

Very interesting, what great foresight.

Even the combination of
> human engineers and LLMs is going to speed things up somewhat.

That's also true.

> > then humans would no longer be in control, even if individual LLMs are
> no smarter than human engineers).
> I don't think humans have been in control for a long time, certainly
> not individual humans, and I just don't believe in "elders" or any
> other group that is exerting control.  Every single human is like a
> wood chip on a river.

I appreciate this analogy very much. I have sometimes thought similar
things as well, that the greatest and scariest conspiracy theory of all is
that no one is in control.

But the river analogy adds another dimension which I think is more correct.
We are subject to overarching trends and laws of evolution,  technological
development, economics, etc. and we individual humans are like cells in
this greater organism, all in the end replaceable cogs whose presence or
absence might make a small difference as to when some inevitable discovery
might happen, but will not prevent it entirely.

> > I think depth of reasoning may be one area where the best humans are
> currently dominant, but a small tweak, such as giving LLMs a working memory
> and recursion, as well as tightening up their ability to make multiple
> deductive logical steps/leaps, could quickly change this.
> Can you make a case that it would be worse than the current situation?

I don't believe it will, but if tasked to make the case, I would say the
greatest present danger is that it amplifies the agency of any user. So
that ill-willed people might become more destructively capable than they
otherwise would (e.g. the common example of a lone terrorist leveraging the
AI's expertise in biotechnology to make a new pathogen) but the Internet
has already done this to a lesser extent. I think agency amplification
applies to everyone, and since there are more good-intentioned people than
ill-intentioned ones, any generally-available amplification technology
tends to be a net positive for humanity.

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