AI Safety Research

Anna Salamon

Executive Director and Cofounder

Center for Applied Rationality

Project: Specialized rationality skills for the AI research community

Amount Recommended:    $111,757

Project Summary

It is crucial for AI researchers to be able to reason carefully about the potential risks of AI, and about how to maximize the odds that any superintelligence that develops remains aligned with human values (in what the Future of Life Institute refers to as the “AI alignment problem”).

Unfortunately, cognitive science research has demonstrated that even very high-IQ humans are subject to many biases that are especially likely to impact their judgment on AI alignment. Leaders in the nascent field of AI alignment have found that a deep familiarity with cognitive bias research, and practice overcoming those biases, has been crucial to progress in the field.

We therefore propose to help spread key reasoning skills and community norms throughout the AI community, via the following:

  1. In 2016, we will hold a workshop for 45 of the most promising AI students (graduate, undergraduate, and postdocs), in which we train them in the thinking skills most relevant to AI alignment.
  2. We will maintain contact with AI students after the workshop, helping them to stay in contact with the alignment issue and collaborate with each other to spread useful skills throughout the community and discover new ones themselves.