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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Strawberry Fields Eternally – O’Reilly


Tim O’Reilly forwarded a wonderful article concerning the OpenAI cleaning soap opera to me: Matt Levine’s “Cash Stuff: Who Controls Open AI.” I’ll skip most of it, however one thing caught my eye. Towards the top, Levine writes about Elon Musk’s model of Nick Bostrom’s AI that decides to show the world to paperclips:

[Elon] Musk gave an instance of a man-made intelligence that’s given the duty of choosing strawberries. It appears innocent sufficient, however because the AI redesigns itself to be simpler, it’d determine that one of the best ways to maximise its output could be to destroy civilization and convert the whole floor of the Earth into strawberry fields.


Be taught sooner. Dig deeper. See farther.

That will get me, however not in the best way you assume. It’s personally poignant, for causes solely completely different from the AI-doomerism cults that Musk, Bostrom, and others are propagating.

Once I was a graduate pupil at Stanford, I used to be driving round with a buddy by way of the countless maze of parking tons and strip malls in that nondescript a part of Silicon Valley the place Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, and Cupertino come collectively. My buddy identified the window and mentioned, “That’s the place my father’s farm was.” I requested what his father grew; it was very tough to think about a farm at that location. He grew strawberries. And what occurred to the farm? His father misplaced it when he was put right into a World Battle II internment camp for Japanese. An actual property investor ended up with it. My buddy’s father finally dedicated suicide. The farm grew to become a parking zone.

This will get me again to an argument that I’ve made in older Radar articles: Our fears of AI are actually fears of ourselves, fears that AI will act as badly as people have repeatedly acted. We don’t want AI to show the world into strawberries any greater than we’d like it to show the world into parking tons. We’re already turning the world into parking tons, and doing so with out regard to the human value. We’re already spewing CO2 at a fee that can quickly make the world uninhabitable for all however the few who can insulate themselves from the implications. If we’re going to resolve these issues, it gained’t be by way of expertise. It’s by way of discovering higher people than Elon and, I worry, Sam Altman. We don’t have an opportunity to resolve the AI drawback if we will’t remedy the human drawback. And if we don’t remedy the human drawback, the AI drawback is irrelevant.

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