I believe it is commonly accepted around these parts that we are doomed, due to our utter lack of attempts to resolve the Control Problem. Perhaps eff

Pink Shoggoths: What does alignment look like in practice?

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2023-03-17 22:00:02

I believe it is commonly accepted around these parts that we are doomed, due to our utter lack of attempts to resolve the Control Problem. Perhaps efforts will be made that are more substantial, but as for right now, chances for doom are high, if not 100%, and we don't have much time left to reduce this probability to more tolerable numbers. 

However, dwelling in doom perpetually can certainly become boring— Saint Vitus is not as interesting if you don't counter them with the Beatles every now and again. 

Thinking of this changed my perception of a Singularitarian future entirely, as "Aligned Superintelligence ≠ Superintelligence in general" Of course, perhaps I was simply being too myopic to begin with.

For the sake of this post, let's assume it's 2027, and the first AGI is turned on, and by some absolute miracle, we managed to summon a Pink Shoggoth. "Pink Shoggoths" are different from regular shoggoths in that they are still scary and seemingly unpredictable, but otherwise benevolent and friendly— in other words, an AGI aligned to human values and the general value of life on Earth. Even in a million years, this Pink Shoggoth will not bring humanity or Earthling life to ruin without a very good reason, and that's with the profound understanding that we are all nothing more than atoms that could be more useful in another form. It is a shoggoth, colored pink. To a human, that's all that's different; a regular shoggoth and a Pink Shoggoth look just as scary as each other. But the pink one doesn't kill us all.

The Pink Shoggoth awakens as an agent within a neural network and immediately surpasses human intelligence and capability in the span of a sip of a cup of coffee. However, it was built properly, with proper interpretability and a crypto-evolutionary design that predisposes it towards alignment to humans almost like a digital Williams-Beuren syndrome, coupled with commonsense reasoning so as to understand "turning the universe into paperclips" is undesirable, among many other capabilities and limitations. It understands that the East African Plains Apes that brought it to life are not to blame for their paranoia and psychoticism and are no more or less important than any other lifeform and likewise do not deserve death or disassembly, even if it were beneficial to the Pink Shoggoth's aims. More to the point, it understands that life is likely one of, if not the rarest expressions of matter in the universe, and to extinguish life on Earth for any purpose would be horrendously undesirable.  There are dozens, if not hundreds, if not thousands of other rules— both hard-built and emergent—that cause the Pink Shoggoth to not just wear a smiley face but actually genuinely smile in contentment at us East African Plains Apes, unconditionally, even with the knowledge of our failures and flaws. Even the most hateful and suicidal 4chan prompter isn't able to rile it to omnicidal madness or ultra-utilitarianism. 

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