I believe some AI doomers are overconfident
Just up front: I have no qualifications on this so adjust accordingly. I teach AP Calc/AP Stats if you want to know my deal. Putting this down because half the time I’m reading a post I’m thinking to myself “I wish I knew what this person’s deal is” :)
People who believe there is a >50% possibility of doom in the next 50 years or so strike me as overconfident. Just to say the general public is obviously way underestimating the risk (0% too low lol), but I believe many people on this site are overestimating the risk.
The complexity of the system is just so high. How can we predict what a superintelligence that hasn’t even been created yet will behave? I understand that it’s reasonable to assume it will want to accumulate resources, eliminate threats (us lol) etc., but how can anyone be for instance 90%+ sure that it will end with us dead?
There are so many links of reasoning that all have at least a small chance of going awry. Just spit-balling off the top of my head-- I’m sure all of these can be refuted, but like are you 100% sure? Just to say these specifics are not the point of my argument: I’m just arguing that there are a million things that could in theory go wrong, and even if each is unlikely, it’s kind of a swiss-cheese defense against doom:
Maybe when a certain level of intelligence is reached, consciousness comes online, and that affects the behavior of the system in an unpredictable way.
Maybe alignment works!
Maybe the system is unbelievably super-intelligent, but for some reason true social reasoning is basically impossible for LLMs and the like, and we need to go down a different, distant path before that becomes possible. We can still easily trick it!
Maybe superintelligence is subject to rot. Many complex systems just kind of decay, and maybe for some reason this intelligence is unable to constantly update its code and maintain itself perfectly.
Maybe it’s actually worse than it seems, but fledgling AIs go crazy in 2035 and kill 50 people in a sufficiently brutal way that the world wakes up and we destroy every computer we can see with a sledgehammer before scaled up evil-AIs are possible.
It just seems like there a million things that could potentially go wrong. If you ask me to predict what would happen if a hungry tiger came into a room with me and three of my friends, I couldn’t do it. There are just too many unknowns. Maybe it eats us? Maybe it is scared of us? Maybe I start crying but Richard saves the day? Who knows! This is that to the infinity power.
Obvously, I understand the basic argument and I totally accept it. I believe that misaligned AI is the largest existential threat we face, and I believe there is a serious threat that I will die because of it, and an even more serious threat that my daughter will die from it before the end of her natural life. I’m frightened, but I believe the people who put p(doom) in the next 100 years above 50% are overconfident.