Among those who follow GiveWell, there is some interest in the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence and its mission of lowering the risks associated with the creation of artificial intelligence that “[leaves] human abilities far behind.” We have been asked several times to share our views on its work and the value of a donation given to it.
My only knowledge of this issue, as of now, comes from reading Less Wrong and Overcoming Bias and speaking with the Institute’s President, Michael Vassar. I’m interested in this community partly because it has a lot of people (including Mr. Vassar) who think critically and analytically about how to accomplish as much good as possible, considering all options and putting positive impact above other considerations; in that sense their values overlap strongly with ours.
At this point
- I believe that there are enormous risks and upsides associated with artificial intelligence. Managing these deserves serious discussion, and it’s a shame that many laugh off such discussion.
- I do not feel that the Institute is a strong opportunity for a donor to accomplish good. I sketched my reasons in this comment and will eventually lay out my thoughts more thoroughly.
- I do intend to learn more about this area and am open to changing my mind in either direction.
Consistent with the last point, I will be attending the Singularity Summit this year and encourage others interested in this topic to consider doing the same.