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Canonically answered

What should be marked as a canonical answer on Stampy's Wiki?

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Canonical answers may be served to readers by Stampy, so only answers which have a reasonably high stamp score should be marked as canonical. All canonical answers are open to be collaboratively edited and updated, and they should represent a consensus response (written from the Stampy Point Of View) to a question which is within Stampy's scope.

Answers to YouTube questions should not be marked as canonical, and will generally remain as they were when originally written since they have details which are specific to an idiosyncratic question. YouTube answers may be forked into wiki answers, in order to better respond to a particular question, in which case the YouTube question should have its canonical version field set to the new more widely useful question.

Are there types of advanced AI that would be safer than others?

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We don’t yet know which AI architectures are safe; learning more about this is one of the goals of FLI's grants program. AI researchers are generally very responsible people who want their work to better humanity. If there are certain AI designs that turn out to be unsafe, then AI researchers will want to know this so they can develop alternative AI systems.

What are the style guidelines for writing for Stampy?

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Try to avoid directly referencing the wording of the question in the answer, in order to make the answer more robust to alternate phrasings of the question. For example, that question might be "Can we do X" and the reply is "Yes, if we can manage Y", but then the question might be "Why can't we do X" or "What would happen if we tried to do X" so the answer should be like "We might be able to do X, if we can do Y", which works for all of those.

Linking to external sites is strongly encouraged, one of the most valuable things Stampy can do is help people find other parts of the alignment information ecosystem.

Consider enclosing newly introduced terms, likely to be unfamiliar to many readers, in speech marks. If unsure, Google the term (in speech marks!) and see if it shows up anywhere other than LessWrong, the Alignment Forum, etc. Be judicious, as it's easy to use too many, but used carefully they can psychologically cushion newbies from a lot of unfamiliar terminology - in this context they're saying something like "we get that we're hitting you with a lot of new vocab, and you might not know what this term means yet".

No Oxford commas please! "Snap, Crackle and Pop", NOT "Snap, Crackle, and Pop".


When selecting related questions, there shouldn't be more than four unless there's a really good reason for that (some questions are asking for it, like the "Why can't we just..." question). It's also recommended to include at least one more "enticing" question to draw users in (relating to the more sensational, sci-fi, philosophical/ethical side of things) alongside more bland/neutral questions.

How is AGI different from current AI?

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Current narrow systems are much more domain-specific than AGI. We don’t know what the first AGI will look like, some people think the GPT-3 architecture but scaled up a lot may get us there (GPT-3 is a giant prediction model which when trained on a vast amount of text seems to learn how to learn and do all sorts of crazy-impressive things, a related model can generate pictures from text), some people don’t think scaling this kind of model will get us all the way.

What can I do to contribute to AI safety?

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It’s pretty dependent on what skills you have and what resources you have access to. The largest option is to pursue a career in AI Safety research. Another large option is to pursue a career in AI policy, which you might think is even more important than doing technical research.

Smaller options include donating money to relevant organizations, talking about AI Safety as a plausible career path to other people or considering the problem in your spare time.

It’s possible that your particular set of skills/resources are not suited to this problem. Unluckily, there are many more problems that are of similar levels of importance.

Non-canonical answers

How long will it be until transformative AI is created?

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There have been surveys and opinion polls done. The most comprehensive one was done by The Future of Humanity Institute, where they surveyed 550 of the top experts in AI research. In this survey, when asked "which year do you think the chance of human level artificial intelligence reaches 50%", the mean response was 2081 and the median response was 2040.

How long will it be until superintelligent AI is created?

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Very hard to say. This draft report for the Open Philanthropy Project is perhaps the most careful attempt so far (and generates these graphs), but there have also been expert surveys, and many people have shared various thoughts. Berkeley AI professor Stuart Russell has given his best guess as “sometime in our children’s lifetimes”, and Ray Kurzweil (Google’s director of engineering) predicts human level AI by 2029 and the singularity by 2045. The Metaculus question on publicly known AGI has a median of around 2029 (around 10 years sooner than it was before the GPT-3 AI showed unexpected ability on a broad range of tasks).

The consensus answer is something like: “highly uncertain, maybe not for over a hundred years, maybe in less than 15, with around the middle of the century looking fairly plausible”.