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Would you vote YES or NO to bring a superintelligence to life?

agi immortality

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Poll: Would you vote YES or NO to bring a superintelligence to life? (6 member(s) have cast votes)

Would you vote 'switch on' a super-AI?

  1. yes (2 votes [33.33%])

    Percentage of vote: 33.33%

  2. no (4 votes [66.67%])

    Percentage of vote: 66.67%

  3. abstain (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

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#1 lkiannn

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Posted 16 September 2021 - 08:52 AM

I am shoked by the results of yesterday's (actually, still lingering) opinion poll on Reddit's r/transumanity subcommunity. The question was formulated as follows:


"Imagine there is a powerful super computer in an AI research lab. Once the computer is switched on, a artificial superintelligence will come to life! The outcome of the experiment is uncertain, it might be beneficial for humanity or not. There is a worldwide election to switch the machine on, or to leave it off. How would you vote? Edit: there is no way back; once it is started you cannot turn it off; the result is uncertain."


By the margin of more than 2:1, that community voted YES. Even if you are young (as most their members are), how can you be so reckless, given the well-argumented dangers (https://vivekpravat.com/) and horrors (https://m.media-amaz...41Lq0vHRzrS.jpg) of uncoltrollable AGI, and very plausible safe ways (see, e.g., https://thetransfer1....wordpress.com/) toward transhumanity/immortality?


I would be very much interested to hear the opinions from this (hopefully, more mature) community.

Edited by caliban, 16 September 2021 - 06:40 PM.
added a poll and changed title (was "horrible statistics")

#2 caliban

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Posted 16 September 2021 - 06:34 PM

I would be very much interested to hear the opinions from this (hopefully, more mature) community.


Editorial :happy::

Almost 20 years ago, (some years before Reddit even existed) LongeCity members had similar surveys (poll1: poll2).

When Reddit was launched, it was a simple social media site where you could announce that you 'read it' to your friends and the world. Since then, facebook et al obliterated the ecosystem of independent forums (like LongeCity). 

Like the Super-AI you fear, Reddit quickly adapted to fill a need for forum-like discussions and because it wasn't niche-specific it soon became 'the' dominant go-to-place for threaded discussions.

The poll you mention has 1.5K votes currently. There has never been a poll on LongeCity with that many votes. It is not fair nor useful to compare let alone pit one 'community' against the other. LongeCity does its own thing, keeping its independence and focus, with a different way of recording discussions that we think is more in keeping with our mission. 'Hopefully' always navigating the path between childlike enthusiasm and maturity.      




Re your actual topic :happy: :


1) since you wanted a comparison, I hope you don't mind that I have turned the topic into a poll.  


2) what strange references! How are these two novels the best examples of arguing "dangers" and "horrors" respectively?  I do you mean that the SAI's (Raphael and Klara) in those novels are not 'happy'? But the questioner themselves seems to focus on the benefit/risk to humanity. Surely in the vast realms on AI-based-extinction literature dating back to the dawn of scifi, and including more scientific treatises there are better examples as to how AI could be dangerous and horrific and better arguments why this is a real risk? 

I also don't understand the juxtaposition with uploading as a 'safe' option. People who want to birth the AGI may have very different objectives than 'immortality'. 


3) personally, in my limited interactions with all these arguments I have yet to find one that convinces me that a "superintelligence" can easily transform into a "superhero" or "-villain". Intelligence # power?. 


4) the Redditors seem to have voted in favour of creating advanced life, born in a context of collective responsibility over supressing  its creation (which would inevitably and realistically just defer it to another decision by a clandestine few?).  While the precautionary principle has a role in immortalist philosophy, arguing against its over-abundance is a mainstay of transhumanism, which strongly supports unlimited lifespans.

In short, I wouldn't be distraught if LongeCity members and guest were as 'immature' as Reddit users on this occasion. 


5) However interesting and stimulating all of this 'Singularity' stuff is, of course, daydreaming nonsense (Poll 3)     ;)

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#3 lkiannn

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 10:33 AM

Dear caliban,


Thank you for your detailed reply to this topic. Not wasting any time on any further discussion of the Reddit kindergarten, let me jump on your 5 points on the essence.


1) Thank you for generating the new opinion poll, but I would prefer it if the hypothetical situation it implies was formulated more definitely - as they were on the Reddit poll. The two most important of them are that (i) we do not know what sort of superintelligence that would be, and (ii) that it would be impossible to kill it after it has come to life. 


2) I am sorry that in the horror of seeing the Reddit poll results I grabbed the first handy references; some philosophical discussions of these issues are probably more convincing. Let me, however, defend a little bit the legitimacy of SERIOUS science fiction authors to participate in this discussion - and the cited books are quite serious. Indeed, Zeroglyph by Vance Pravat has a list of almost a hundred references to non-sci-fi books and papers, The Transfer by Vera Tinych has 25 technical footnotes, and I have not seen a better discussion of robot slavery horrors than the one given by Kazuo Ishiguro in his Klara and the Sun. Anyway, I am sure that is easy for you and members of your community to complement my list with the sources they know - I just wanted to mark the themes.


3-4) I am NOT confident that AGI superintelligence (when/if created) will become a super-villain, but the precautionary principle you have cited should be sufficient for everybody to vote NO on the Reddit poll. Hence, I share your hope that this community is more mature and thoughtful.


5) I cannot, however, share your opinion of the Singularity as of "daydreaming nonsense", and the opinion polls of 20 years ago are not convincing. That was the time when convolutional neuromorphic networks struggled to classify even the simplest MNIST dataset. Since that time, the revolution of 2012 has turned them into powerful ("deep") pattern classifiers that are in the core of innumerable applications enabling multi-$100B markets. Moreover, the 2017 invention of "transformers" has enabled connections of such classifiers (which arguably belong to the narrow-AI class) into very large automata whose real capabilities are still far from being clear. So, there is a real (if small) chance that AGI would spontaneously arise in these systems. So, laughing together with you on technically-illiterate prophets like Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzwell, I believe that we all should be very vigilant, and would much prefer moving toward Transhumanity along the path outlined by Vera Tinyc. (By the way, she describes the mind's "transfer", not "upload" - a conceptual difference, which turns wishful thinking into a plausible opportunity.)


Sorry for being so long (no time to make it short :-), and thanks again.

Edited by lkiannn, 17 September 2021 - 10:57 AM.

#4 Avatar of Horus

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Posted 29 September 2021 - 07:23 PM

Some concerns were discussed in this topic:

DeepMind’s Breakthrough AlphaStar Signifies Unprecedented Progress Towards AGI - AI & Singularity



#5 lkiannn

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Posted 29 September 2021 - 08:06 PM

Thank you! I will certainly have a look.

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#6 orion22

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Posted 30 September 2021 - 12:46 PM

maybe is smarter to vote yes if you vote yes the future ai might kill you fast if you voted no he might torture you before killing you  there is always that risk 

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