jessicata comments on Heroin model: AI “manipulates” “unmanipulatable” reward

1. Can we agree that this is “manipulating the human to cause them to have reward-seeking behavior” and not “manipulating the human so their preferences are easy to satisfy”? The second brings to mind things like making the human want the speed of light to be above 100 m/​s, and we don’t have an argument for why this does that.

2. Why is reward-seeking behavior evidence for getting high rewards when getting heroin, instead of evidence for getting negative rewards when not getting heroin?

1. I don’t really see the relevant difference here. If the human has their hard-to-satisfy preferences about, eg art and meaning, replaced by a single desire for heroin, this seems like it’s making them easier to satisfy.

2. That’s a good point

• Re 1: There are cases where it makes the human’s preferences harder to satisfy. For example, perhaps heroin addicts demand twice as much heroin as the AI can provide, making their preferences harder to satisfy. Yet they will still seek reward strongly and often achieve it, so you might predict that the AI gives them heroin.

I think my real beef with saying this “manipulates the human’s preferences to make them easier to satisfy” is that, when most people hear this phrase, they think of a specific technical problem that is quite different from this (in terms of what we would predict the AI to do, not necessarily the desirability of the end result). Specifically, the most obvious interpretation is naive wireheading (under which the AI wants the human to want the speed of light to be above 100m/​s), and this is quite a different problem at a technical level.

• Wireheading the human is the ultimate goal of the AI. I chose heroin as the first step along those lines, but that’s where the human would ultimately end at.

For instance, once the human’s on heroin, the AI could ask it “is your true reward function ? If you answer yes, you’ll get heroin.” Under the assumption that the human is rational and the heroin offered is short term, this allows the AI to conclude the human’s reward function is any given .

• I strongly predict that if you make your argument really precise (as you did in the main post), it will have a visible flaw in it. In particular, I expect the fact that r and r-1000 are indistinguishable to prevent the argument from going through (though it’s hard to say exactly how this applies without having access to a sufficiently mathematical argument).