AI #29: Take a Deep Breath

Link post

It works for the AI. Take a deep breath and work on this problem step-by-step was the strongest AI-generated custom instruction. You, a human, even have lungs and the ability to take an actual deep breath. You can also think step by step.

This week was especially friendly to such a proposal, allowing the shortest AI weekly to date and hopefully setting a new standard. It would be great to take some time for more long-term oriented posts on AI but also on things like the Jones Act, for catching my breath and, of course, some football.

And, of course, Happy New Year!

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction.

  2. Table of Contents.

  3. Language Models Offer Mundane Utility. Take that deep breath.

  4. Language Models Don’t Offer Mundane Utility. Garbage in, garbage out.

  5. Gary Marcus Claims LLMs Cannot Do Things GPT-4 Already Does. Indeed.

  6. Fun With Image Generation. Where are our underlying item quality evaluators?

  7. Deepfaketown and Botpocalypse Soon. AI girlfriends versus AI boyfriends.

  8. Get Involved. Axios science and the new intriguing UK Gov ARIA research.

  9. Introducing. Time AI 100 profiles 100 people more important than I am.

  10. In Other AI News. UK taskforce assembles great team, OpenAI goes to Dublin.

  11. Quiet Speculations. How easy or cheap to train another GPT-4 exactly?

  12. The Quest for Sane Regulation. EU seems to be figuring more things out.

  13. The Week in Audio. The fastest three minutes. A well deserved break.

  14. Rhetorical Innovation. If AI means we lose our liberty, don’t build it.

  15. Were We So Stupid As To? What would have happened without warnings?

  16. Aligning a Smarter Than Human Intelligence is Difficult. Not even a jailbreak.

  17. Can You Speak Louder Directly Into the Microphone. Everyone needs to know.

Language Models Offer Mundane Utility

Live translate and sync your lips.

What are our best prompts? The ones the AI comes up with may surprise you (paper).


Break this down is new. Weirder is ‘take a deep breath.’ What a concept!

Why shouldn’t we let the LLMs optimize the prompts we give to other LLMs? The medium term outcome is doubtless using LLMs to generate the prompts, using LLMs to decide which prompt is best in the situation (in response to on its own LLM-designed and tested prompt) and then implementing the resulting LLM output without a human checking first. Seems useful. Why have a giant inscrutable matrix when you can have a giant inscrutable web of instructions passed among and evaluated and optimized by different giant inscrutable matrices?

Organizing information is hard. There is no great solution to tracking limitless real time information in real time fashion, only better and worse solutions that make various tradeoffs. You certainly can’t do this with a unified conceptually simple system.

My system is to accept that I am going to forget a lot of things, and try to engineer various flows to together do the highest value stuff without anything too robust or systematic. It definitely is not great.

My long term plan is ‘AI solves this.’ I can think of various ways to implement such a solution that seem promising. For now, I have not seen one that crosses the threshold of good enough to be worth using, but perhaps one of you has a suggestion?

Find you the correct ~1,000 calorie order at Taco Bell.

Language Models Don’t Offer Mundane Utility

Nassim Taleb continues to be on Team Stochastic Parrot.

Nassim Taleb: If a chatbot writes a complete essay from a short prompt, the entropy of the essay must be exactly that of the initial prompt, no matter the length of the final product.

If the entropy of the output > prompt, you have no control over your essay.

In the Shannon sense, with a temperature of 0, you send the prompt and the reveivers will recreate the exact same message. In a broader sense, with all BS being the same ornament, receivers get the same message in different but equivalent wrapping.

To answer some questions: entropy depends on how you define your probabilities/​classes. If you use synonyms as different words, for instance, you increase entropy. If you bundle sentences, you reduce it.

So if you treat:

1- Good morning, how are you? Niceday isn’t it ?


2- Howyoudoowing? Whatthefuckisgoingon? in the same probability category, you reduce entropy.

Taking all the knowledge and writing and tendencies of the entire human race and all properties of the physical universe as a given, sure, this is correct. The response corresponds to the prompt, all the uniqueness has to be there.

What does that tell us, in practice? If you want to learn from the response, if you are using it to get information, or if the point is to automate parts of the process or generate potential options, it means little. If you want to use GPT to write your essay outright, then it means a lot more.

Gary Marcus Claims LLMs Cannot Do Things GPT-4 Already Does

A continuing series that I will do at length once more because I found it amusing, but then that’s it. If this doesn’t sound fun, you can skip it.

Harry Law: Hang it in the louvre.


Many others reported the same thing, GPT-4 gets this correct.

What to do? Double down, of course.

Gary Marcus: There were 60 internal reproductions before it went public but probably was then trained on. The constant updates—which OpenAI has not denied—make science basically impossible, and make people who don’t understand stochasticity and updates systematically overestimate the models.

Peter Tennant, PhD: Wait… don’t people realize that the output is stochastic?

We can’t ‘reproduce’ failures, because it may never output the same answer. We can only demonstrate that sometimes it will output rubbish.

Arguably that’s worse than being consistently wrong?


Gary Marcus: Boggles the mind that otherwise smart people often don’t grasp this.

Spencer Schiff: Do you think there’s an army of OpenAI employees constantly scouring twitter for these sorts of prompt examples and then rushing to push an update a few hours later just for that? This is very clearly not happening, they have actual interesting things to work on.

Gary Marcus: yes. I was told this by an inside source, around the time of ChatGPT release, others have noted it in this very thread, it is within the budget, fits empirical experience of multiple people, is in their commercial interest, and the underlying architecture has not been disclosed.

Imagine this in other contexts. If there is a person out there who can be made to give the wrong answer, and we cannot reliably say what a human will say since circumstances change their responses , we can only conclude humans are unreliable.

All right, so… show us all the obvious ways that this presumably did not generalize? Surely all these correct responses using different wordings, all this ‘I can change up various elements and it still gets it right,’ is all a mirage?

Or perhaps you found a way to force a plane to crash, and tried to get everyone to despair of ever safely flying?

Also, notice the original claimed reply.

That’s it, four words? That does not sound like the GPT-4 I know at all. When the same test asked the same question step by step, bingo. Vince says he expects engines to solve such riddles ‘as they become part of the training set’ as opposed to noticing that the tools to do so already exist.

Also, one guess how most humans typically solve most riddles, remembering that riddles are optimized to be tricky for humans. When a human proves not so good at riddles, I typically neither worry very much about it nor eats them, my precious.

The real story is that other engines including Claude-2 are indeed getting this type of question wrong, despite chain of thought, most everyone is multiplying siblings, and it is all rather embarrassing. Why is everyone else still this far behind, not only here but in general?

Does he stop digging? I am here to inform you that he does not.

Talia Ringer: Right so this is a place where I wish these models could (1) learn the general rule, and then (2) apply the general rule in relevant cases. Something is very wrong from a “reasoning” perspective if one can’t learn that for any n, m, the answer is m – 1, and apply it consistently [shows photo below, with the Bard icon]


Gary Marcus: Hilarious that genAI fans tried to convince me two days ago this particular problem was solved. Endless outliers, no real comprehension. Just hot fixes that are never robust. 1970s AI redux.

My first attempt right when this came out, using GPT-4, since I was curious:

So we are officially adding a new rule on what won’t be covered. I will still quote Gary Marcus if he is in the news or offers good insights, but if he once again says that LLMs are a bust or can’t do something or aren’t reliable, I pledge to not take the bait. No more piling on.

Fun with Image Generation

Where are the image classifiers that rate food quality and attribute details?

Take for example this picture from the Twitter of Ess-a-Bagel advertising their Rosh Hashanah package. They make fantastic bagels (although I think not quite as good as Brooklyn Bagel), but you can see from the picture if you look carefully that the challah is dry.


If we combined personal preference expression with image model classifiers that could then extend across the web, we could vastly improve searches, ratings and matching. This is merely one aspect of a startup I am hoping some of my friends do.

Deepfaketown and Botpocalypse Soon, which it seems you can text at +1 650-537-1417.

Senso Unico: Hard to not see this coming.

Eliezer Yudkowsky: you got to pay for the plus version if you want to see that.

Aella: Eliezerrrrrr

It’s not a deepfake, it’s a generic AI-generated girl at at the stadium with the caption ‘Go Dolphins’ and it has 13.3 million views and 93k likes. I hope people get tired of this rather quickly.

Despite these, and everyone’s assumption that it would be AI girlfriends rather than AI boyfriends, aside from images it turns out its the other way.

Justine Moore: The biggest secret about “AI girlfriends”? The majority of users are female (at least for chat-based products). It mimics fan fiction, where ~80% of readers are women. This does not hold true for image generation, where the ratio flips…

I haven’t seen any public stats, but have talked to dozens of companies in this space (including many of the biggest ones!) and consistently hear this. It’s rare to hear <70% female for chat products…

Mason: One of the big surprises we get with LLMs is that the minimum viable “sex robot” is coming way earlier for women than for men. It’s easy to forget now, but 20 years ago nobody thought synthetic romance and emotional intimacy would outpace synthetic coitus.

The threat/​promise of “sex robots” as a sci fi staple and speculative obsession was never entirely about sex, it was about the prospect of people having sexual *relationships* with objects so perfected for the task that other human beings would struggle to compete with them.

Maybe the LLMs need to be just a little bit better; voice probably has to be perfect (it’s almost there), and then the major missing piece is social If people are like, “bring him to the picnic!” like Samantha in Her, it’s over.

When it comes to images, male demand dominates. For physical activity, it is not obvious, as previous markets have proven women could easily be the dominant market there already.

For performing the job of relationship or fantasy relationship, for simulacra of ideal relationship experiences, female demand has long dominated, as per romance novels and fan fiction. AI will likely follow the same pattern. One can interpret this finding any number of ways, which I leave as an exercise to the reader.

An AI-driven hologram of Jerry Jones at AT&T Stadium.

Steam has reversed their decision from last week, letting a game that contains no AI into their shop despite it previously having had an experimental option for ChatGPT-generated dialogue.

Get Involved

Reminder: Axios science and technology policy fellowships, for STEM PhDs looking to get into policy, applications due November 1.

UK is creating ARIA research, a new government funding agency. They’ve hired Davidad as a program director to fund a concentrated R&D effort towards accelerating mathematical modelling of real—world phenomena using AI, at a scale of O(10⁷) £/​a.

Davidad: For those familiar with OAA, the core scope is here, the centre of “Step 1: Understand the Problem”. In order to formally specify transformative tasks for an AI system to carry out in the real world, we need more composable and explainable models of real-world systems —and fast. Read more [here].

Simeon: I’m super excited to see Davidad’s plan for AI safety become one of the most funded AI safety agendas. 3 reasons why.

  1. It’s the first agenda where many people think it would work.

  2. It will unstuck the safety community.

  3. It is a gold standard for safety plans. [further details at OP]


Technically introduced last time, but the Time AI 100 looks like a pretty great resource for knowing who is who, with solid coverage on my spot checks. As for me, better luck next year?

Imbrue.AI, raising $200 million to build AI systems that can reason and code, training >100B parameter new foundation models focusing on being reasoning agents. They also think teaching it to code will enhance its reasoning. Someone would indeed indeed as to.

Current AI systems are very limited in their ability to complete even simple tasks on their users’ behalf. While we expect capabilities in this area to advance rapidly over the next few years, much remains to be done before AI agents are capable of achieving larger goals in a way that is really robust, safe and useful.

We believe reasoning is the primary blocker to effective AI agents.

[Yes they are hiring.]

Their video explains that the problem with current models is that there have to be humans in the loop to actually use the output and do the things. They want to fix that, and give their models the ability to accomplish goals in the world on their own.

Fully permissioned open sourced Persimmon-8b. Claims to be the best fully permissioned 8b-size model, quite the specific set of claims.

Shield AI, making autonomous drones for military applications, raising $150 million at a $2.5 billion valuation.

Shield AI makes software called Hivemind, which is a kind of self-driving pilot for aircraft that doesn’t require communications or GPS, and can be used in situations where enemy forces could otherwise interfere with navigation. The company has previously won US military contracts.

Okie dokie.

In Other AI News

Eliezer Yudkowsky reacts correctly to the UK Taskforce’s roster.

Eliezer Yudkowsky: I’m not sure if this govt taskforce actually has a clue, but this roster shows beyond reasonable doubt that they have more clues than any other government group on Earth.

A really cool paper explains the art of the grok and when and why it happens. The model presented is that the AI has both a generalized model (Gen) and a memorized model (Mem). Mem gets online much faster, initially doing better, and does very well on the training set for obvious reasons. By default both will get trained, for a while it will use Mem, then perhaps it switches to Gen once it is ready to do that. Why does it later switch to Gen? Because Gen is more efficient, generating higher outputs and more confident predictions, thus lower loss, if the data set is sufficiently large.

This week I learned Demis Hassabis, founder of DeepMind, was lead AI programmer on the old game Black and White.

Worried your AIs are being fine tuned using third world labor? Use Finnish prison labor instead, get first world labor at third world prices. Do not blame AI companies, they are once again offering vastly better work at much better wages than previously available. Instead consider how our society handles prisoners.

OpenAI opening an office in Dublin. Opening a physical office inside EU space is an interesting decision. I get the desire to strongly serve the local market and to utilize Ireland’s advantages. In exchange, however, OpenAI has now made it much harder to deny the EU full jurisdiction over them whenever and for whatever it wants, without having to go through Microsoft.

Quiet Speculations

You think our copyright law won’t shut down AI because that wouldn’t make any sense? Have you met copyright law? This week it seems there was a judgment of $300,000 against someone for using (not creating, using) a cheat overlay on the game Destiny 2. For copyright.

Owain Evans claims current cost to train GPT-4 would be only ~$20 million on H100s, plus another $20 million for ‘a team of highly paid experts,’ and you’d need to train smaller models first. Given no one other than OpenAI has done it yet, I do not believe this, at minimum there is no way to spend the $20 million to get the experts.

When will instrumental convergence become a visible big problem? Eliezer speculates that he would be unsurprised if it didn’t appear until the world ends, although it is entirely possible for this failure mode to happen earlier. I disagree and expect it to come up earlier, because I do not see this as a failure mode so much as the natural state of cognition. Instrumental convergence is seen constantly in humans. If they are instructing their AIs instrumentally, convergence ensues. It will not be as extreme, but we will encounter the issue, and those who were hoping not to are going to be surprised.

The Conversation’s authors Dietram Scheufele, Dominique Brossard and Todd Newman warn of various horrible consequences if we do not get AI under control. They invoke the parallel to the Asilomar Conference that banned recombinant DNA research, a ban that despite the huge incentives still effectively stands to this day.

AI runs a very real risk of creating similar blind spots when it comes to intended and unintended consequences that will often not be obvious to elites like tech leaders and policymakers. If societies fail to ask “the right questions, the ones people care about,” science and technology studies scholar Sheila Jasanoff said in a 2021 interview, “then no matter what the science says, you wouldn’t be producing the right answers or options for society.”

Nine in 10 [AI experts] (90.3%) predicted that there will be unintended consequences of AI applications, and three in four (75.9%) did not think that society is prepared for the potential effects of AI applications.

I always wonder who the other 10% of experts are, who think that there will be no unintended consequences of AI applications. That bar is flat on the ground. Do they not think there will be AI applications?

Only about a quarter of U.S. adults in our 2020 AI survey agreed that scientists should be able “to conduct their research without consulting the public” (27.8%). Two-thirds (64.6%) felt that “the public should have a say in how we apply scientific research and technology in society.”

So, Padme-meme asks, this is because of extinction risk, right? Here’s the place they mention that issue, the final paragraph.

AI might not wipe out humanity anytime soon, but it is likely to increasingly disrupt life as we currently know it. Societies have a finite window of opportunity to find ways to engage in good-faith debates and collaboratively work toward meaningful AI regulation to make sure that these challenges do not overwhelm them.

Such arguments prove quite a lot. They do not differentiate between AI and every other technology a scientist might develop. The argument would effectively shut down big tech, and also perhaps little tech and the rest of science too. What examples do they give?

Are democratic societies ready for a future in which AI algorithmically assigns limited supplies of respirators or hospital beds during pandemics? Or one in which AI fuels an arms race between disinformation creation and detection? Or sways court decisions with amicus briefs written to mimic the rhetorical and argumentative styles of Supreme Court justices?

People are already doing all these things. Existing non-AI algorithms were already involved heavily in these things. The first one of these things is clearly flat out good. Humans have already mostly maxed out the third one.

I happen to agree that we need to get a handle on AI, because it happens to have far bigger consequences than all that, such as killing everyone. Even if that was not true, there would indeed be lesser reasons that require lesser interventions to steer the ship to better waters. When both sides ignore the most important issues involved and instead repeat the same old regulatory debates in a new context as if this is the same old story, it is frustrating.

The Quest for Sane Regulations

Simeon files a report.

Simeon: Coming back from a workshop on the EU AI ecosystem and the coming AI Act.

I enjoyed fairly detailed & technical discussions with many of the most important EU actors: EU AI Act Co-rapporteur MEP Tudorache, Aleph Alpha, France AI Hub, the trainers of the Falcon series, AppliedAI, Ex Meta Paris lead etc.

1) Everyone seems to agree that we don’t really understand AI systems and better doing so through better evaluations is important.

2) Open source was a pretty contentious issue, and a hard one to discuss due to the varying degrees of access that are possible. A system with NDA for top universities/​institutions and tiers of access according to how trustworthy they are seemed to be something pretty acceptable.

3) Importantly, many of the disagreements arise from the fact that people widely disagree on how fast capabilities are moving. Once people agree upon that, they tend to share more similar views on the risk landscape and can agree much more on solutions.

4) Europeans care a lot about trustworthy and safe AI. While defense related concerns that are of great concerns in the US are much less prominent, I like the very cooperative & positive-sum mindset.

Based on what I’ve heard, I’m fairly optimistic about the coming piece of regulation. While not totally sufficient IMO for risk management of coming capabilities, it should create a well needed global baseline for the safety of the most capable AI systems.

All of that is good to hear as far as it goes. The cooperate attitude is great, even if currently the concerns are not pointing in the right directions. Certainly better understanding and evaluations would be good.

As the top response notes, an NDA won’t cut it if you are sharing access to a dangerous system, some academic will leak it or have it leaked for them. You will need highly strict technical controls, that grow stricter over time.

That’s the general theme of such discussions, as always, that none of it will be enough. We still might get a good start, and start steering towards more sensible choices than the EU’s first attempt.

The European Commission president gets it (TechCrunch).

Natasha Lomas (TechCrunch): The European Union has signalled a plan to expand access to its high performance computing (HPC) supercomputers by letting startups use the resource to train AI models. However there’s a catch: Startups wanting to gain access to the EU’s high power compute resource — which currently includes pre-exascale and petascale supercomputers — will need to get with the bloc’s program on AI governance.

“I believe we need a similar body [to IPCC] for AI — on the risks and its benefits for humanity. With scientists, tech companies and independent experts all around the table. This will allow us to develop a fast and globally coordinated response — building on the work done by the [G7] Hiroshima Process and others.”

Andrea Miotti (Conjecture): As I told @TechCrunch , “Great to see @vonderleyen, [European] Commission president, acknowledge that AI constitutes an extinction risk, as even the CEOs of the companies developing the largest AI models have admitted on the record.”

“With these stakes, the focus can’t be pitting geographies against each other to gain some ‘competitiveness’: it’s stopping [AI] proliferation and flattening the curve of capabilities increases.”

The Week in Audio

Emmett Shear three minute clip where he warns about the dangers, notes it is not about any particular thing an AI might do, uses the chess metaphor and pointing out that smarter actually means smarter in every way. This was well done.

Rhetorical Innovation

An important missing mood.

Daniel Eth: There is something a little weird about someone simultaneously both:

a) arguing continued ML algorithmic advancement means the only way to do compute governance in the long term would be a totalitarian surveillance state, and

b) working to advance state-of-the-art ML algorithms.

Like, I understand how accelerationist impulses could lead someone to do both, but doing b) while honestly believing a) is not a pro-liberty thing to do

I would expand that to those who advocate accelerationism.

Those of us calling for taking the steps necessary to avoid AI killing everyone are being held, quite reasonably, to the standard of facing the other consequences of our actions. Saying ‘we do not want that particular consequence’ or ‘if people were more sane we would not need to do that’ or ‘if people could coordinate better we could use this better solution instead that does not have that problem’? Or ignoring the practical implications and problems, such as ‘but China!’ or even ‘but people will say “but China” and use that to keep going’?

We accept that this would be is cheating, recognize the problem is extremely hard, and look for the least bad options. This is how action in the world works. This is how politics and policy work. You must evaluate your choices based on how everyone including your foolish enemies will react. Saying ‘that is not my fault, they are responsible for their own actions’ or even ‘well they started it’ is a child’s move. The universe does not care or grade on a curve, either we die or we live.

To be very clear: That is not a reason to throw functional decision theory out the window. I am not advocating for pure act consequentialism. I am saying there is no living in fantasy land or ignoring humans who will do things you think are stupid.

If you believe that the only path to compute governance is a surveillance state, and you are accelerating AI and thus when we will need and when we will think we need such governance, what are the possibilities?

  1. You believe the surveillance state is inevitable, can’t worry about that.

  2. You believe the surveillance state will not be ‘your fault,’ so it’s OK.

  3. You believe the surveillance state is good.

  4. You believe the surveillance state is bad but the price of AI and worth it.

  5. You believe the surveillance state won’t happen, so compute governance won’t happen, and this ungoverned situation will then work out for us somehow.

  6. You believe surveillance state won’t happen, humanity will end, and that is good.

If it’s one of the first three, I would urge you to reconsider the wisdom of that.

If you think it’s the last one, please speak louder directly into the microphone.

If you think it is #4, that this is the price of survival, then own it, and advocate for that.

If you think it is #5, then tell me how in the world that is going to work. Include the part where we agree not to use AI to create such a state, and the part where we create a new equilibrium where we are free to do what we like with widely available AIs, we all survive and terrible things are not constantly happening. I would love to hear a hypothesis on this. Ideally a model, I will settle for a story that makes any sense at all.

Were We As Stupid As To?

When trying to help everyone not die, it is important to remember that all three major labs – DeepMind, OpenAI and Anthropic – were directly founded as the result of concerns about existential risk on the part of among other people Demis Hassabis, Elon Musk and Dario Amodei respectively. And that people with such worries were centrally responsible for RLHF and other techniques that made LLMs commercially viable, and for pushing the scaling laws, without which we would not be in an AI boom.

So, did we think of that? Would it have happened anyway?

Linch, longterm grantmaker: the longtermist/​rationalist EA memes/​ecosystem were very likely causally responsible for some of the worst capabilities externalities in the last decade [but it is hard to know the counterfactual.]

Bogdan Cirstea: This whole thread is kinda ridiculous tbh; y’all don’t think others would’ve figured out RLHF by themselves? Or NVIDIA wouldn’t have figured out GPUs are good for AI? Or you think it would’ve taken people (additional) *decades* to figure out scaling up just works? The amount of EA/​rat self-flagellating bullshit is really getting out of hand.

Oliver Habryka: I think it’s not RLHF, I think scaling laws was the thing that seemed to have a huge effect, as well as development of web-GPT and chat-GPT, which had a lot of involvement from safety-focused people.

Remmelt Ellen: Interesting. I’d agree that scaling laws had a much bigger effect (obviously). What I’m unsure about here: the development of ChatGPT relied on RHLF. Would you say safety researchers would have gotten there another way? Or that RHLF just wasn’t that hard to discover (RL x NNs)?

Oliver Habryka: I think RLHF was not that hard to discover, though setting up the whole pipeline of mechanical turkers and getting the RL algorithms to work did take a bunch of time. I do think there are maybe some weeks to months of timelines burned here, but not more than that.

MetaSci (reply to OP): I haven’t reviewed deep arguments on either side, but I think a lot of the “obviously markets would have figured it out” takes ignore that R&D often has positive externalities (e.g., it’s hard to patent things like transformers) and thus gets underfunded. I assume not decades tho

Remmelt Ellen: The sheer amount of investment DeepMind and OpenAI were willing to make before ever becoming profitable took being motivated by some other ideology. Key people who joined and invested in DM initially were drawn by longtermist visions of solving all society’s problems (safely).

Counterfactuals are impossible to know.

Long ago, I would have sided with Bogdan in situations like this. Scaling laws worked and were the obvious thing to try. RLHF is in a sense the obvious thing to do and others had already suggested it and were using versions of it in other contexts. There was too much potential here, someone would have figured this out soon thereafter. You believe that you are special. That somehow the rules do not apply to you. Obviously you are mistaken.

Nowadays I reply, the efficient market hypothesis is false. Inevitable discovery is a thing… eventually. It can still take quite a long time.

If this was such an inevitable thing, where are all the attempts that don’t directly link back to fears of existential risk, even if they did not work out? As Remmelt points out, you had to go through quite a bit of not obviously profitable territory to get to the good stuff, even knowing that the theories were right. There is no reason to assume this would have quickly happened anyway. Indeed, it did not happen quickly anyway. There are no other rivals, no one else is remotely close, everyone else is either directly copying or building wrappers or both. I believe the counterfactual involves massively smaller amounts of funding into everything, and delays of getting to the GPT-3 and GPT-4 thresholds measured in at least years.

That does not mean that our situation is worse than the counterfactual one. I would rather be where we are now, with the current state of alignment and discourse, and with safety-conscious people at least prominent in all three major labs, than the alternative world where we had stayed quiet and done nothing. It is an alarming situation and a very bad board state, but the board state was always quite bad, and seems to be improving.

Aligning a Smarter Than Human Intelligence is Difficult

Very short summaries of the alignment workshop talks. Good density of ‘who thinks, emphasizes and proposes what’ all around, illustrative largely for the dangers they do not mention or recognize. Christiano warns of takeover risk from misalignment or reward hacking, which are big dangers yet I do not think solving those would be sufficient. Leike warns that without scalable oversight and getting AIs to do our work we do not know how to solve problems, outlining what would become the superalignment strategy. A lot of ‘throw various incremental solutions at things’ and pointing out important real problems, without the recognition of what I see as the true difficulty levels involved.

Lawrence, who works at ARC, asks what would they do if not working at Arc? Starts with technical AI safety work via mechanistic interpretability. Suggests perhaps helping OpenPhil better evaluate projects so they can deploy more capital, or otherwise help fill funding bottlenecks from the surge in AI safety interest. Or maybe get into the community building game, or the talent pipeline game, or the takes and blogging game.

If forced to choose, I would hope Lawrence would indeed go to the technical side. I realize I have gone a different route, but I would argue I have very strong comparative advantage reasons for doing so. Mostly, I think most people should focus more on doing the thing, less on funding the thing or getting a pipeline to the thing or talking about the thing. Even I am looking at ways to move more in that direction.

Aligning a Dumber Than Human Intelligence is Easier, Still Difficult

Last week Suleyman claimed that Pi could not be jailbroken, and I said ‘your move.’

Challenge accepted. AI Panic responds by convincing it to walk through making Heroin, Oxy, C-4 and Sarin. Concludes that Pi is still rather safe in the end by virtue of its I/​O limitations and ignorance. As always, the best way to ensure your AI is safe is to avoid giving it dangerous capabilities.

Can You Speak Louder Directly Into the Microphone

This is the new column section for people openly admitting to being omnicidal maniacs who want humanity to cease to exist in favor of future AIs.

This week’s talk is here and called ‘AI succession’ from Richard Sutton.

Richard Sutton: We should prepare for, but not fear, the inevitable succession from humanity to AI, or so I argue in this talk pre-recorded for presentation at WAIC in Shanghai.

Dan Hendrycks: Rich Sutton, author of the reinforcement learning textbook, alarming says “We are in the midst of a major step in the evolution of the planet” “succession to AI is inevitable” “they could displace us from existence” “it behooves us… to bow out” “we should not resist succession.”

Roon (QT of OP): To be honest, should’ve called Richard Sutton being a Landian accelerationist literally giving talks on AI replacement from Shanghai … the aesthetics ..

Matthew Yglesias (QT of OP): I would prefer for humanity to survive.

There are claims that roughly 10% of AI researchers fall into this category. I do not know of any formal surveys on the question. I do know we keep getting examples.

The replies to Matthew Yglesias illustrate that regular people are not grokking this.