Manage episode 363678131 series 3477139
Originally released in August 2022.
Today’s release is a professional reading of our new problem profile on preventing an AI-related catastrophe, written by Benjamin Hilton.
We expect that there will be substantial progress in AI in the next few decades, potentially even to the point where machines come to outperform humans in many, if not all, tasks. This could have enormous benefits, helping to solve currently intractable global problems, but could also pose severe risks. These risks could arise accidentally (for example, if we don’t find technical solutions to concerns about the safety of AI systems), or deliberately (for example, if AI systems worsen geopolitical conflict). We think more work needs to be done to reduce these risks.
Some of these risks from advanced AI could be existential — meaning they could cause human extinction, or an equally permanent and severe disempowerment of humanity. There have not yet been any satisfying answers to concerns about how this rapidly approaching, transformative technology can be safely developed and integrated into our society. Finding answers to these concerns is very neglected, and may well be tractable. We estimate that there are around 300 people worldwide working directly on this. As a result, the possibility of AI-related catastrophe may be the world’s most pressing problem — and the best thing to work on for those who are well-placed to contribute.
Promising options for working on this problem include technical research on how to create safe AI systems, strategy research into the particular risks AI might pose, and policy research into ways in which companies and governments could mitigate these risks. If worthwhile policies are developed, we’ll need people to put them in place and implement them. There are also many opportunities to have a big impact in a variety of complementary roles, such as operations management, journalism, earning to give, and more.
If you want to check out the links, footnotes and figures in today’s article, you can find those here.
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Producer: Keiran Harris
Editing and narration: Perrin Walker and Shaun Acker
Audio proofing: Katy Moore