Re: Flawed Risk Analysis (was Re: SIAI's flawed friendliness analysis)

From: Samantha (
Date: Mon May 19 2003 - 01:44:57 MDT

On Sunday 18 May 2003 02:31 pm, Bill Hibbard wrote:

> We don't have a way to inspect human brains in the way we will
> inspect AI brains. And even if we could, we don't have the same
> level of motivation to inspect humans. With AIs, inspection is
> critical to the future survival of humanity.

Uh, no. An AI worth the bother of inspecting would have code, even
if it was in human readable form, complex and volumnious enough that
no human or team of humans would be able to understand it that well.
Certainly not well enough to determine motivation, behavior and
likely future behavior to a sufficiently fine level as to satisfy
you. In actuality a true AI will be much more difficult to
understand than a member of your own species.

> I should make it clear that even with a strong effort to
> detect and inspect AIs, there is no guarantee that all AIs
> will be safe. But without that effort, unsafe AIs will be
> guaranteed.

You are not competent to inspect AIs themselves in a way that will do
anything to guarantee safety. This says nothing about your personal
abilities. It is the nature of the problem.

> > b) inspecting an AI will be an incredibly complex and difficult
> > task requiring the intelligence and tracking abilities of a
> > phlanx of highly tallented people with computer support, so it
> > will take a lot of time to complete, rendering such inpections
> > out of date and therefore of little value.

It is worse than that. It is actually impossible for all but the
simplest AIs.

> I never said it would be easy. We must take the time and
> effort to inspect every AI to make sure its design
> conforms to regulations. Regulation certainly slowed down
> construction of nuclear power plants (before construction
> stopped altogether), and it will slow down AI development.
> But there's no reason to rush.

There is every reason to rush. Nuclear power was killed by poorly
informed and politicized implementation of regulations. I am not
willing to have AI be stillborn on some quest to insure our safety
from beings more complex and brighter than ourselves.

> But inspecting designs is different than inspecting operations.
> I'll grant that those inspecting designs may want to estimate
> the intentions of the designers, but the ultimate judgement
> about the design must come from an inspection of the design
> itself.

So you believe that the ethics/behavior of an AI is a matter of the
initial design? If so, why?

> >
> > Correct. But your statement seems to imply that the 'artifact'
> > is unchanging. This is untrue for any of the mind designs I have
> > seen so far, including the human mind. Minds change, and an AI
> > is going to be faster and more capable at changing its mind than
> > humans are.
> We cannot let it outrun our ability to inspect. There will be
> no rush.

That is the most foolish statement I have ever heard. Do you limit
humans to not developing and changing faster than your ability to
sufficiently inspect their thinking processes and psychology? You
are talking about new minds here, minds vastly more capable in
potential than our own. To insist they be limited to what your (no
offense as this applies to all of us) pea brain can encompass and
predict is to oppose the creation of such intelligences utterly.
Hell, teams of very bright humans can barely keep something as
uninspiring as Windows XP running and plug its security holes. The
notion that similar teams can analyze and judge the safety of an AI
beyond a very rudimentary stage is ludicrous

There is no hurry only if we are sufficiently capable to solve the
problems that face us and face us with more complexity and detail day
by day. I do not believe that is the case.

> In the early days, AI technology won't be widely available
> so inspection efforts can focus on the few successful groups.
> No rush. Lets do the first strong AIs slowly, with the public
> insisting on an intensive effort to formulate and enforce
> regulations. Humanity can afford to take its time. It cannot
> afford to get it wrong because of some imagined need to rush.

No! I will become an "outlaw" myself before I will sit back and
watch such a farce unfold.

- samantha

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