Future of Life Institute Podcast
Future of Life Institute Podcast
Future of Life Institute
The Future of Life Institute (FLI) is a nonprofit working to reduce global catastrophic and existential risk from powerful technologies. In particular, FLI focuses on risks from artificial intelligence (AI), biotechnology, nuclear weapons and climate change. The Institute's work is made up of three main strands: grantmaking for risk reduction, educational outreach, and advocacy within the United Nations, US government and European Union institutions. FLI has become one of the world's leading voices on the governance of AI having created one of the earliest and most influential sets of governance principles: the Asilomar AI Principles.
Sneha Revanur on the Social Effects of AI
Sneha Revanur joins the podcast to discuss the social effects of AI, the illusory divide between AI ethics and AI safety, the importance of humans in the loop, the different effects of AI on younger and older people, and the importance of AIs identifying as AIs. You can read more about Sneha's work at https://encodejustice.org Timestamps: 00:00 Encode Justice 06:11 AI ethics and AI safety 15:49 Humans in the loop 23:59 AI in social media 30:42 Deteriorating social skills? 36:00 AIs identifying as AIs 43:36 AI influence in elections 50:32 AIs interacting with human systems
Feb 16
57 min
Roman Yampolskiy on Shoggoth, Scaling Laws, and Evidence for AI being Uncontrollable
Roman Yampolskiy joins the podcast again to discuss whether AI is like a Shoggoth, whether scaling laws will hold for more agent-like AIs, evidence that AI is uncontrollable, and whether designing human-like AI would be safer than the current development path. You can read more about Roman's work at http://cecs.louisville.edu/ry/ Timestamps: 00:00 Is AI like a Shoggoth? 09:50 Scaling laws 16:41 Are humans more general than AIs? 21:54 Are AI models explainable? 27:49 Using AI to explain AI 32:36 Evidence for AI being uncontrollable 40:29 AI verifiability 46:08 Will AI be aligned by default? 54:29 Creating human-like AI 1:03:41 Robotics and safety 1:09:01 Obstacles to AI in the economy 1:18:00 AI innovation with current models 1:23:55 AI accidents in the past and future
Feb 2
1 hr 31 min
Special: Flo Crivello on AI as a New Form of Life
On this special episode of the podcast, Flo Crivello talks with Nathan Labenz about AI as a new form of life, whether attempts to regulate AI risks regulatory capture, how a GPU kill switch could work, and why Flo expects AGI in 2-8 years. Timestamps: 00:00 Technological progress 07:59 Regulatory capture and AI 11:53 AI as a new form of life 15:44 Can AI development be paused? 20:12 Biden's executive order on AI 22:54 How would a GPU kill switch work? 27:00 Regulating models or applications? 32:13 AGI in 2-8 years 42:00 China and US collaboration on AI
Jan 19
47 min
Carl Robichaud on Preventing Nuclear War
Carl Robichaud joins the podcast to discuss the new nuclear arms race, how much world leaders and ideologies matter for nuclear risk, and how to reach a stable, low-risk era. You can learn more about Carl's work here: https://www.longview.org/about/carl-robichaud/ Timestamps: 00:00 A new nuclear arms race 08:07 How much do world leaders matter? 18:04 How much does ideology matter? 22:14 Do nuclear weapons cause stable peace? 31:29 North Korea 34:01 Have we overestimated nuclear risk? 43:24 Time pressure in nuclear decisions 52:00 Why so many nuclear warheads? 1:02:17 Has containment been successful? 1:11:34 Coordination mechanisms 1:16:31 Technological innovations 1:25:57 Public perception of nuclear risk 1:29:52 Easier access to nuclear weapons 1:33:31 Reaching a stable, low-risk era
Jan 6
1 hr 39 min
Frank Sauer on Autonomous Weapon Systems
Frank Sauer joins the podcast to discuss autonomy in weapon systems, killer drones, low-tech defenses against drones, the flaws and unpredictability of autonomous weapon systems, and the political possibilities of regulating such systems. You can learn more about Frank's work here: https://metis.unibw.de/en/ Timestamps: 00:00 Autonomy in weapon systems 12:19 Balance of offense and defense 20:05 Killer drone systems 28:53 Is autonomy like nuclear weapons? 37:20 Low-tech defenses against drones 48:29 Autonomy and power balance 1:00:24 Tricking autonomous systems 1:07:53 Unpredictability of autonomous systems 1:13:16 Will we trust autonomous systems too much? 1:27:28 Legal terminology 1:32:12 Political possibilities
Dec 14, 2023
1 hr 42 min
Darren McKee on Uncontrollable Superintelligence
Darren McKee joins the podcast to discuss how AI might be difficult to control, which goals and traits AI systems will develop, and whether there's a unified solution to AI alignment. Timestamps: 00:00 Uncontrollable superintelligence 16:41 AI goals and the "virus analogy" 28:36 Speed of AI cognition 39:25 Narrow AI and autonomy 52:23 Reliability of current and future AI 1:02:33 Planning for multiple AI scenarios 1:18:57 Will AIs seek self-preservation? 1:27:57 Is there a unified solution to AI alignment? 1:30:26 Concrete AI safety proposals
Dec 1, 2023
1 hr 40 min
Mark Brakel on the UK AI Summit and the Future of AI Policy
Mark Brakel (Director of Policy at the Future of Life Institute) joins the podcast to discuss the AI Safety Summit in Bletchley Park, objections to AI policy, AI regulation in the EU and US, global institutions for safe AI, and autonomy in weapon systems. Timestamps: 00:00 AI Safety Summit in the UK 12:18 Are officials up to date on AI? 23:22 Objections to AI policy 31:27 The EU AI Act 43:37 The right level of regulation 57:11 Risks and regulatory tools 1:04:44 Open-source AI 1:14:56 Subsidising AI safety research 1:26:29 Global institutions for safe AI 1:34:34 Autonomy in weapon systems
Nov 17, 2023
1 hr 48 min
Dan Hendrycks on Catastrophic AI Risks
Dan Hendrycks joins the podcast again to discuss X.ai, how AI risk thinking has evolved, malicious use of AI, AI race dynamics between companies and between militaries, making AI organizations safer, and how representation engineering could help us understand AI traits like deception. You can learn more about Dan's work at https://www.safe.ai Timestamps: 00:00 X.ai - Elon Musk's new AI venture 02:41 How AI risk thinking has evolved 12:58 AI bioengeneering 19:16 AI agents 24:55 Preventing autocracy 34:11 AI race - corporations and militaries 48:04 Bulletproofing AI organizations 1:07:51 Open-source models 1:15:35 Dan's textbook on AI safety 1:22:58 Rogue AI 1:28:09 LLMs and value specification 1:33:14 AI goal drift 1:41:10 Power-seeking AI 1:52:07 AI deception 1:57:53 Representation engineering
Nov 3, 2023
2 hr 7 min
Samuel Hammond on AGI and Institutional Disruption
Samuel Hammond joins the podcast to discuss how AGI will transform economies, governments, institutions, and other power structures. You can read Samuel's blog at https://www.secondbest.ca Timestamps: 00:00 Is AGI close? 06:56 Compute versus data 09:59 Information theory 20:36 Universality of learning 24:53 Hards steps in evolution 30:30 Governments and advanced AI 40:33 How will AI transform the economy? 55:26 How will AI change transaction costs? 1:00:31 Isolated thinking about AI 1:09:43 AI and Leviathan 1:13:01 Informational resolution 1:18:36 Open-source AI 1:21:24 AI will decrease state power 1:33:17 Timeline of a techno-feudalist future 1:40:28 Alignment difficulty and AI scale 1:45:19 Solving robotics 1:54:40 A constrained Leviathan 1:57:41 An Apollo Project for AI safety 2:04:29 Secure "gain-of-function" AI research 2:06:43 Is the market expecting AGI soon?
Oct 20, 2023
2 hr 14 min
Imagine A World: What if AI advisors helped us make better decisions?
Are we doomed to a future of loneliness and unfulfilling online interactions? What if technology made us feel more connected instead? Imagine a World is a podcast exploring a range of plausible and positive futures with advanced AI, produced by the Future of Life Institute. We interview the creators of 8 diverse and thought provoking imagined futures that we received as part of the worldbuilding contest FLI ran last year In the eighth and final episode of Imagine A World we explore the fictional worldbuild titled 'Computing Counsel', one of the third place winners of FLI’s worldbuilding contest. Guillaume Riesen talks to Mark L, one of the three members of the team behind 'Computing Counsel', a third-place winner of the FLI Worldbuilding Contest. Mark is a machine learning expert with a chemical engineering degree, as well as an amateur writer. His teammates are Patrick B, a mechanical engineer and graphic designer, and Natalia C, a biological anthropologist and amateur programmer. This world paints a vivid, nuanced picture of how emerging technologies shape society. We have advertisers competing with ad-filtering technologies and an escalating arms race that eventually puts an end to the internet as we know it. There is AI-generated art so personalized that it becomes addictive to some consumers, while others boycott media technologies altogether. And corporations begin to throw each other under the bus in an effort to redistribute the wealth of their competitors to their own customers. While these conflicts are messy, they generally end up empowering and enriching the lives of the people in this world. New kinds of AI systems give them better data, better advice, and eventually the opportunity for genuine relationships with the beings these tools have become. The impact of any technology on society is complex and multifaceted. This world does a great job of capturing that. While social networking technologies become ever more powerful, the networks of people they connect don't necessarily just get wider and shallower. Instead, they tend to be smaller and more intimately interconnected. The world's inhabitants also have nuanced attitudes towards A.I. tools, embracing or avoiding their applications based on their religious or philosophical beliefs. Please note: This episode explores the ideas created as part of FLI’s worldbuilding contest, and our hope is that this series sparks discussion about the kinds of futures we want. The ideas present in these imagined worlds and in our podcast are not to be taken as FLI endorsed positions. Explore this worldbuild: https://worldbuild.ai/computing-counsel The podcast is produced by the Future of Life Institute (FLI), a non-profit dedicated to guiding transformative technologies for humanity's benefit and reducing existential risks. To achieve this we engage in policy advocacy, grantmaking and educational outreach across three major areas: artificial intelligence, nuclear weapons, and biotechnology. If you are a storyteller, FLI can support you with scientific insights and help you understand the incredible narrative potential of these world-changing technologies. If you would like to learn more, or are interested in collaborating with the teams featured in our episodes, please email worldbuild@futureoflife.org. You can find more about our work at www.futureoflife.org, or subscribe to our newsletter to get updates on all our projects.
Oct 17, 2023
59 min
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