Artificial Intelligence and Its Limits

As distinct from fear-mongering about “Terminator,” thinking about Artificial Intelligence and its future appears to be entering a new, more sober phase. Google recently released a blog post, and a backing research paper, detailing their concerns over AI safety. New research will concentrate on five broad areas: Avoiding Negative Side Effects: How can we ensure that an AI system will not disturb its environment in negative ways while pursuing its goals, e.g. a cleaning robot knocking over a vase because it can clean faster by doing so? Avoiding Reward Hacking: How can we avoid gaming of the reward function? For example, we don’t want this cleaning robot simply covering over messes with materials it can’t see through. Scalable Oversight: How can we efficiently ensure that a given AI system respects…


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