AGI and Mainstream Culture
So, as you may know, the first episode of Doctor Who, “Smile”, was about a misaligned AI trying to maximize smiles (ish). And the latest, “Extremis”, was about an alien race who instantiated conscious simulations to test battle strategies for invading the Earth, of which the Doctor was a subroutine.
I thought the common threat of AGI was notable, although I’m guessing it’s just a coincidence. More seriously, though, this ties in with an argument I thought of, and want to know your take on: i
If we want to avoid an AI arms race, so that safety research has more time to catch up to AI progress, then we would want to prevent, if at all possible, these issues from becoming more mainstream. The reason is that if AGI in public perception becomes disassociated with Terminator (i.e. laughable, nerdy, and unrealistic) and more like a serious whoever-makes-this-first-can-take-over-the-world situation, then we will get an arms race faster.
I’m not sure I believe this argument myself. For one thing, being more mainstream has the benefit of attracting more safety research talent, government funding, etc. But maybe we shouldn’t be spreading awareness without thinking this through some more.