Have you lost your purpose?

Not long ago, I no­ticed my­self won­der­ing: why am I work­ing on AI Safety again?

I re­mem­bered car­ing deeply about it. Do­ing es­sen­tially ev­ery­thing for the sake of that sin­gu­lar point in the fu­ture. Rest­ing for the sake of work. Brood­ing over it ev­ery mo­ment. But not now.

Now I found my­self just fol­low­ing the path of least re­sis­tance that my past self had carved out for me. Sim­ply car­ry­ing out my so­cial role. Sheep­ishly. Kinda ig­nor­ing the point of it.

My sincere worry had turned into a fake be­lief. One that I kept to pre­serve so­cial cap­i­tal, while con­ve­niently for­get­ting the men­tally tax­ing wor­ld­view that mo­ti­vated my work in the first place.

This had been go­ing on for at least a year, and it wor­ries me. It shows that los­ing pur­pose can hap­pen in­ter­nally, quietly, long be­fore it man­i­fests out­wardly in ob­vi­ously ma­lign choices. Long be­fore you no­tice. I was still act­ing as if I was pur­su­ing AI Safety, but merely to pla­cate so­cial con­trol mechanisms. I won­der just how much think­ing was wasted in the times that those mechanisms were ap­peased.

I thought long and hard about it. What was the point again? I simu­lated what I thought might hap­pen. I imag­ined see­ing hours of work be­ing done in the 3 sec­onds af­ter ut­ter­ing a com­mand. I imag­ined ev­ery­thing chang­ing over­whelm­ingly fast, be­ing lost in hor­rible con­fu­sion. I imag­ined the joy of idea gen­er­a­tion be­ing my bot­tle­neck, in­stead of bor­ing ex­e­cu­tion.

And it all came back. The fire lit. My be­liefs paid rent again.

Do yours?