April 2, 2011 8:43 PM Subscribe
posted by escabeche (47 comments total)
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John Baez (mathematical physicist and master popularizer, former operator of This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics, current promoter of the idea that physicists should start pitching in on saving the world
) interviews Eliezer Yudkowsky (singularitarian, author of "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality,"
promoter of the idea that human life faces a near-term existential threat from unfriendly artificial intelligence, and that people can live better lives by evading their cognitive biases) about the future, academia, rationality, altruism, expected utility, self-improvement by humans and machines, and the relative merit of battling climate change and developing friendly AIs that will forstall our otherwise inevitable doom. Part I
. Part II. Part III.
To give the flavor, here's Yudkowsky: "My long-term goals are the same as ever: I’d like human-originating intelligent life in the Solar System to survive, thrive, and not lose its values in the process. And I still think the best means is self-improving AI. But that’s a bit of a large project for one person, and after a few years of beating my head against the wall trying to get other people involved, I realized that I really did have to go back to the beginning, start over, and explain all the basics that people needed to know before they could follow the advanced arguments. Saving the world via AI research simply can’t compete against the Society for Treating Rare Diseases in Cute Kittens unless your audience knows about things like scope insensitivity and the affect heuristic and the concept of marginal expected utility, so they can see why the intuitively more appealing option is the wrong one."