Comment by Rika on Why is violence against AI labs a taboo? · 2023-05-26T22:52:50.277Z · LW · GW

If someone thinks that violence against AI labs is bad, then they will make it a taboo because they think it is bad, and they don't want violent ideas to spread. 
There are a lot of interesting discussions to be had on why one believes this category of violence to be bad, and you can argue against these perspectives in a fairly neutral-sounding, non-stressful way, quite easily, if you know how to phrase yourself well. 
A lot (although not all) people are fairly open to this.


If someone thinks that violence against AI labs is good, then they probably really wouldn't want you talking about it on a publicly accessible, fairly well-known website. It's a very bad strategy from most pro-violence perspectives.


I'm going to quite strongly suggest, regardless of anyone's perspectives on this topic, that you probably shouldn't discuss it here - there are very few angles from which this could be imagined to be a good thing for any rationalism-associated person/movement. Or at least that you put a lot of thought into how you talk about it. Optics are a real and valuable thing, as annoying as that is.
Even certain styles of discussing anti-violence can come across as optically weird if you phrase yourself in certain ways.

Comment by Rika on Mob and Bailey · 2023-05-26T22:39:08.918Z · LW · GW

Yep this feels right to me! I think we agree on pretty much everything about this.

My main concern is that your post as-is could be misinterpreted as being along the lines of "Don't try to influence groups - only try to influence individuals manually, one at a time". It'd take a pretty extreme misinterpreter to take this to the full extent, but it could still be a negative influence on peoples' ability to deal with groups of people in effective ways.

Perhaps a good way of putting this is;

  • Mob & Bailey scenario: I am talking with X social group, which can consistently be modelled as a person-esque agent
  • Potential misinterpretation of your post: I am talking with individuals one at a time, and modelling these discussions as being part of a broader social structure is bad
  • A modelling I'd propose: I am talking with X social group, which can be modelled as a machine, with components of varying functions, comprised of people
Comment by Rika on Mob and Bailey · 2023-05-26T15:25:11.651Z · LW · GW

This is a great point, and very nicely made - but I do think it avoids the topic of why people end up in these styles of argument in the first place. 
I think there would be more value in discussing How to deal with Mob & Bailey situations once they arise rather than How to stop Mob & Bailey situations from arising.

You point out, correctly, that Mob & Bailey situations tend to occur when one is overly anthropomorphising a group of people, as though that group were an individual person.
The real problem is, that there are situations where it really is useful to act that way for pragmatic reasons.

At least in my experience, Mob & Bailey arguments tend to happen in fairly broad discussions about group behaviours - perhaps about ideologies, or social practices between groups. 
These are situations where it is very useful and important to be able to try and address an entire group's collective behaviour, moreso than addressing how individuals act and rationalise their decisions.

In these cases, what we're really trying to discuss is the mechanics of how groups are organised, rather than any one individual's beliefs. 
If we're arguing with a Tautology Club which breaks university rules, then talking with the club president does make sense. If we're arguing with a military, then talking with the Secretary of Defense isn't a bad place to start - but perhaps investigating middle-management positions would be more practical. 

I'd love to read further ideas more along the lines of "How to deal with Mob & Bailey situations", because I think the results can be quite different depending on which structure of social group you're arguing with.

Comment by Rika on Curiosity as a Solution to AGI Alignment · 2023-02-27T13:50:53.681Z · LW · GW

Interesting idea, but it seems risky.
Would life be the only, or for that matter, even the primary, complex system that such an AI would avoid interfering with?

Further, it seems likely that a curiosity-based AI might intentionally create or seek out complexity, which could be risky.
Think of how kids love to say "I want to go to the moon!" "I want to go to every country in the world!". I mean, I do too and I'm an adult. Surely a curiosity-based AI would attempt to go to fairly extreme limits for the sake of satiating its own curiosity, at the expense of other values.

Maybe such an AGI could have like... an allowance? "Never spend more than 1% of your resources on a single project" or something? But I have absolutely no idea how you could define a consistent idea of a "single project".