[ExI] Digital Consciousness .

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Fri Apr 26 09:19:46 UTC 2013

On 26/04/2013 05:43, spike wrote:
>> ...A question of academic interest only. A much more interesting and
> practical question is will it be ethical for the machines to shoot us, and a
> even more interesting question is will they shoot us?  John K Clark
> _______________________________________________
> We have all these robo-soldiers and missile-armed drones in the military's
> inventory now.  I can see how AI friendliness is a topic which absorbed the
> attention of Eliezer and his crowd, long before we had all that stuff.

It is also a surprisingly fertile question ("Infinite cookie-jar" as Eli 
put it). It gets philosophers, mathematicians and computer scientists to 
work together. We had a long brainstorming session yesterday about one 
set of approaches extending the beyond-mindbending Löb's theorem ( 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%C3%B6b%27s_theorem , see also 
http://yudkowsky.net/rational/lobs-theorem for a cartoon guide) in 
certain directions. Followed by a visit of a game theorist who was a bit 
shocked that the philosophy department was pumping him about numerical 
methods for calculating Nash equilibria.

I belong to the "scruffy" camp of AI safety people: I think those "neat" 
attempts of formulating mathematically provable safety systems are not 
going to work, but enough layers of decent safety is both implementable 
and has a reasonable chance of working. Of course, the best safety would 
be to have an intelligence explosion based on human-based minds 
integrated in a cooperative framework (a so-called "society"), but we do 
not have any proof or strong evidence that this is achievable or will 
happen before de novo AI.

Of course, these AI safety considerations tend to be for the high end AI 
rather than the drones and autonomous cars. There is a separate 
community of robot ethicists that are doing some practical (?) work 
there. The basic rule is that a good engineer should engineer away 
risks, but (1) open systems in contact with the world usually cannot be 
proven safe even in theory, (2) the pattern of risks engineered away is 
deep down an ethical choice, and this is typically not recognized by the 
engineers or the people hiring them. The roboethicists are pretty good 
at pointing out aspects of (2), although I don't think the engineers 
listen to them much. I think I ought to write more about (1) - there are 
some very cool links to computer security theory.

Anders Sandberg,
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Faculty of Philosophy
Oxford University

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