[extropy-chat] Fools building AIs

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky sentience at pobox.com
Fri Oct 6 00:28:13 UTC 2006

Rafal Smigrodzki wrote:
> On 10/4/06, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky <sentience at pobox.com> wrote:
> You also seem to assume (but not say so explicitely) that  the sets
> "all people capable of independently shaping a GAI so as to act
> according to their wishes" and "all evil people (i.e. people whose
> goal is a net loss of utility)" are non-intersecting. This is where I
> disagree with you.

I think it is likely that the intersection is small - bear in mind, set 
1 is damned small to begin with - but I do not claim that it is zero 
summed up over all Everett branches.  It's probably zero in any given 
Everett branch.

But the point is that the set of people capable of building and shaping 
an AGI, who are going to do it on command from their military superiors 
to blow up a terrorist bunker somewhere, is "essentially zero".

> I can visualize the mind with an excellent intuitive grasp of
> rationality, a mind that understands itself, knows where its goals
> came from, knows where it is going, and yet wishes nothing but to
> fulfill the goals of dominance, and destruction.

A *human* mind?  I think most people in this set would not be running on 
strictly normal brainware; but maybe you could, for example, have a 
genuine genius psychopath.  I do not deny the possibility, but it seems 
to have a low frequency.

> I am not talking
> about the Sharia zombie, who may have benign goals (personal happiness
> with virgins, etc.) perverted by ignorance and lack of understanding.
> I am referring to people who are evil, know it, and like it so.

That's pretty damn rare at IQ140+.  Evil people who know they're evil 
and like being evil are far more rare than evil people.  Most famous 
super-evil people are not in that small set.

> Of course, I may be wrong. Perhaps there is a cognitive sieve that
> separates GAI builders and Dr. Evil. I also think that present
> understanding of the issue is generally insufficient to allow
> confident prediction. Therefore, until proven otherwise, the prospect
> of truly evil geniuses with large AI budgets will continue to worry
> me, more than the dangers of asteroid impacts but less than a flu
> pandemic.

Well, yes, but:

Problem of truly evil geniuses who can build and shape AGI
<< problem of misguidedly altruistic geniuses who pick the wrong F
<< problem of genius-fools who turn their future light cones into paperclips

where << is the standard "much less than" symbol.

In my experience thus far, the notion of someone deliberately building 
an evil AGI, is much appealed to by genius-fools searching for a 
plausible-sounding excuse not to slow down:  "We've got to beat those 
bastards in the military!  We don't have time to perfect our AI theory!" 
  Now this is a nonzero risk but the risk of genius-fools is far 
greater, in the sense that I expect most AI-blasted Everett branches to 
be wiped out by genius-fools, not truly evil supergeniuses.  Because of 
the vastly larger base prior favoring the former catastrophe scenario, 
the partial derivative of dead Everett branches with respect to caution, 
is negative with respect to a policy change that makes it even a tiny 
bit easier to be an altruistic genius-fools, no matter how much harder 
it makes it to be a truly evil supergenius.  In fact, I expect (with 
lower confidence) that many more dead Everett branches are wiped out by 
genius-fool AI programmers than by nanotech or superviruses.

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky                          http://singinst.org/
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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