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Points of failure: direct specification in AGI alignment
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 18:00 authored by Elias Dokos
Some have critiqued the strategy of explicitly formalising and implementing a value structure in the design of ethical Artificial General Intelligences (AGIs). I build on these critiques by providing a conceptual account of the issues with direct specification, demonstrating its in-principle unviability when compared to implicit and indirect approaches. I begin with a consideration of the factors involved in AGI risk, and the need for risk mitigation. The design of AGIs which are motivated towards ethical behaviour is a key element in risk mitigation. A natural approach to this problem is to directly specify values for the AGI, but this approach necessitates two fatal consequences: an axiological gap between any potential AGIs and humans, and the immutability of this gap. Indirect approaches evade both of these consequences. I construct an account of the axiological gap and argue for its inevitability under direct specification.