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zdgroff comments on Ideological engineering and social control: A neglected topic in AI safety research? - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: zdgroff 01 September 2017 10:08:49PM 3 points [-]

This seems like a more specific case of a general problem with nearly all research on persuasion, marketing, and advocacy. Whenever you do research on how to change people's minds, you increase the chances of mind control. And yet, many EAs seem to do this: at least in the animal area, a lot of research pertains to how we advocate, research that can be used by industry as well as effective animal advocates. The AI case is definitely more extreme, but I think it depends on a resolution to this problem.

I resolve the problem in my own head (as someone who plans on doing such research in the future) through the view that people likely to use the evidence most are the more evidence-based people (and I think there's some evidence of this in electoral politics) and that the evidence will likely pertain more to EA types than others (a study on how to make people more empathetic will probably be more helpful to animal advocates, who are trying to make people empathetic, than industry, which wants to reduce empathy). These are fragile explanations, though, and one would think an AI would be completely evidence-based and a priori have as much evidence available to it as those trying to resist would have available to them.

Also, this article on nationalizing tech companies to prevent unsafe AI may speak to this issue to some degree: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/30/nationalise-google-facebook-amazon-data-monopoly-platform-public-interest