Accelerating Future Transhumanism, AI, nanotech, the Singularity, and extinction risk.


Singularity Institute Announces Research Associates Program

From SIAI blog:

The Singularity Institute is proud to announce the expansion of our research efforts with our new Research Associates program!

Research associates are chosen for their excellent thinking ability and their passion for our core mission. Research associates are not salaried staff, but we encourage their Friendly AI-related research outputs by, for example, covering their travel costs for conferences at which they present academic work relevant to our mission.

Our first three research associates are:

Daniel Dewey, an AI researcher, holds a B.S. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University. He is presenting his paper 'Learning What to Value' at the AGI-11 conference this August.

Vladimir Nesov, a decision theory researcher, holds an M.S. in applied mathematics and physics from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. He helped Wei Dai develop updateless decision theory, in pursuit of one of the Singularity Institute core research goals: that of developing a 'reflective decision theory.'

Peter de Blanc, an AI researcher, holds an M.A. in mathematics from Temple University. He has written several papers on goal systems for decision-theoretic agents, including 'Convergence of Expected Utility for Universal AI' and 'Ontological Crises in Artificial Agents' Value Systems.'

We're excited to welcome Peter, Vladimir, and Daniel to our team!

Comments (8) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Michael, I’m afraid your organization will fail because it just isn’t evil enough. These guys have the right idea:

    If you just came out and said: “our organization wants to develop AI that will enable us to rule the universe forever” you would attract smarter, more motivated people and would have a much better chance of succeeding. I don’t really see the appeal of saving the universe or increasing rationality in the abstract; this just seems like religious thinking.

    When it comes to the Singularity, I ask the same question I ask about everything else: “what’s in it for me? How will it help me build my Galactic Empire?”

    P.S. This is a serious question, not a troll, so I thank you in advance for not deleting it.

    • ‘If you just came out and said: “our organization wants to develop AI that will enable us to rule the universe forever” you would attract smarter, more motivated people and would have a much better chance of succeeding.’

      I don’t think so. They might attract a few people; they would look like harmless loonies to anyone else who noticed them; and if they ever managed to make visible progress, they’d now look like dangerous loonies and they would be crushed by the state.

      Even stating that their objective is for “humanity” to rule the universe would raise alarms, though they would still be filed under “harmless loonies”, subcategory “harmless loonies with hubris”.

      But by focusing on the value systems of artificial intelligences, they are bringing up an aspect where there is potentially some interaction with the normal outlook and agenda. “Living forever” is not on the agenda of most people, and “ruling the universe” certainly isn’t, but the idea that there will one day be “artificial people”, and that what they want will depend on their “programming”, ought to be completely comprehensible to the average modern person. The political difficulty is that, once society or the state becomes convinced that artificial intelligence is potentially dangerous, the obvious solution is to ban it completely; destroy anyone who wants to make such blasphemous imitations of humanity. And it’s also obvious that the political path which would actually be pursued is for the state to crush the independent researcher, while trying to secretly make its own pact with AI, somewhere in the depths of the R&D security state.

  2. So does this mean SIAI is going to be publishing and putting out some real visible progress towards AI?

    Does this also mean that we will start to see some progress reports from SIAI and some reports on current activities by any chance?

    I gotta say its about damn time that SIAI started doing something like this. It would be better if they were actually employees of SIAI on the payroll, but better this than nothing.

  3. I /so/ want SIAI or any organization like it to succeed! No matter who does it, this kind of work is potentially of highest impact and therefore of highest importance.

    What could humanity achieve with the money saved by eating one item less of junkfood a week per person? Just imagine the possibilities :/

  4. What is the best way for a not very technical person to judge how much progress the SingInst is making? I tried to read EY’s paper on TDT, but am not qualified to tell how big of a milestone it is.

    p.s.: I just donated $25.

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