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AI safety conference in Puerto Rico

October 12, 2015


The Future of AI: Opportunities and Challenges

This conference brought together the world’s leading AI builders from academia and industry to engage with each other and experts in economics, law and ethics. The goal was to identify promising research directions that can help maximize the future benefits of AI while avoiding pitfalls (see this open letter and this list of research priorities). To facilitate candid and constructive discussions, there was no media present and Chatham House Rules: nobody’s talks or statements will be shared without their permission.
Where? San Juan, Puerto Rico
When? Arrive by evening of Friday January 2, depart after lunch on Monday January 5 (see program below)


Scientific organizing committee

  • Erik Brynjolfsson, MIT, Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, co-author of The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies
  • Demis Hassabis, Founder, DeepMind
  • Eric Horvitz, Microsoft, co-chair of the AAAI presidential panel on long-term AI futures
  • Shane Legg, Founder, DeepMind
  • Peter Norvig, Google, Director of Research, co-author of the standard textbook Artificial Intelligence: a Modern Approach.
  • Francesca Rossi, Univ. Padova, Professor of Computer Science, President of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence
  • Stuart Russell, UC Berkeley, Professor of Computer Science, director of the Center for Intelligent Systems, and co-author of the standard textbook Artificial Intelligence: a Modern Approach.
  • Bart Selman, Cornell University, Professor of Computer Science, co-chair of the AAAI presidential panel on long-term AI futures
  • Murray Shanahan, Imperial College, Professor of Cognitive Robotics
  • Mustafa Suleyman, Founder, DeepMind
  • Max Tegmark, MIT, Professor of physics, author of Our Mathematical Universe

Local Organizers

Anthony Aguirre, Meia Chita-Tegmark, Viktoriya Krakovna, Janos Kramar, Richard Mallah, Max Tegmark, Susan Young

Support: Funding and organizational support for this conference is provided by Skype-founder Jaan Tallinnthe Future of Life Institute and the Center for the Study of Existential Risk.


Friday January 2

1600-late: Registration open
1930-2130: Welcome reception (Las Olas Terrace)

Saturday January 3

0800-0900: Breakfast
0900-1200: Overview (one review talk on each of the four conference themes)
• Welcome
• Ryan Calo (Univ. Washington): AI and the law
• Erik Brynjolfsson (MIT): AI and economics (pdf)
• Richard Sutton (Alberta): Creating human-level AI: how and when? (pdf)
• Stuart Russell (Berkeley): The long-term future of (artificial) intelligence (pdf)
1200-1300: Lunch
1300-1515: Free play/breakout sessions on the beach
1515-1545: Coffee & snacks
1545-1600: Breakout session reports
1600-1900: Optimizing the economic impact of AI
(A typical 3-hour session consists of a few 20-minute talks followed by a discussion panel where the panelists who haven’t already given talks get to give brief introductory remarks before the general discussion ensues.)
What can we do now to maximize the chances of reaping the economic bounty from AI while minimizing unwanted side-effects on the labor market?
• Andrew McAfee, MIT (pdf)
• James Manyika, McKinsey (pdf)
• Michael Osborne, Oxford (pdf)
Panelists include Ajay Agrawal (Toronto), Erik Brynjolfsson (MIT), Robin Hanson (GMU), Scott Phoenix (Vicarious)
1900: dinner

Sunday January 4

0800-0900: Breakfast
0900-1200: Creating human-level AI: how and when?
Short talks followed by panel discussion: will it happen, and if so, when? Via engineered solution, whole brain emulation, or other means? (We defer until the 4pm session questions regarding what will happen, about whether machines will have goals, about ethics, etc.)
• Demis Hassabis, Google/DeepMind
• Dileep George, Vicarious (pdf)
• Tom Mitchell, CMU (pdf)
Panelists include Joscha Bach (MIT), Francesca Rossi (Padova), Richard Mallah (Cambridge Semantics), Richard Sutton (Alberta)
1200-1300: Lunch
1300-1515: Free play/breakout sessions on the beach
1515-1545: Coffee & snacks
1545-1600: Breakout session reports
1600-1900: Intelligence explosion: science or fiction?
If an intelligence explosion happens, then what are likely outcomes? What can we do now to maximize the probability of a positive outcome? Containment problem? Is “friendly AI” possible? Feasible? Likely to happen?
• Nick Bostrom, Oxford (pdf)
• Bart Selman, Cornell (pdf)
• Jaan Tallinn, Skype founder (pdf)
• Elon Musk, SpaceX, Tesla Motors
Panelists include Shane Legg (Google/DeepMind), Murray Shanahan (Imperial), Vernor Vinge (San Diego), Eliezer Yudkowsky (MIRI)
1930: banquet (outside by beach)

Monday January 5

0800-0900: Breakfast
0900-1200: Law & ethics: Improving the legal framework for autonomous systems
How should legislation be improved to best protect the AI industry and consumers? If self-driving cars cut the 32000 annual US traffic fatalities in half, the car makers won’t get 16000 thank-you notes, but 16000 lawsuits. How can we ensure that autonomous systems do what we want? And who should be held liable if things go wrong? How tackle criminal AI? AI ethics? AI ethics/legal framework for military systems & financial systems?
• Joshua Greene, Harvard (pdf)
• Heather Roff Perkins, Univ. Denver (pdf)
• David Vladeck, Georgetown
Panelists include Ryan Calo (Univ. Washington), Tom Dietterich (Oregon State, AAAI president), Kent Walker (General Counsel, Google)
1200: Lunch, depart


You’ll find a list of participants and their bios here.

conference150104 hires

Back row, from left to right: Tom Mitchell, Seán Ó hÉigeartaigh, Huw Price, Shamil Chandaria, Jaan Tallinn, Stuart Russell, Bill Hibbard, Blaise Agüera y Arcas, Anders Sandberg, Daniel Dewey, Stuart Armstrong, Luke Muehlhauser, Tom Dietterich, Michael Osborne, James Manyika, Ajay Agrawal, Richard Mallah, Nancy Chang, Matthew Putman
Other standing, left to right: Marilyn Thompson, Rich Sutton, Alex Wissner-Gross, Sam Teller, Toby Ord, Joscha Bach, Katja Grace, Adrian Weller, Heather Roff-Perkins, Dileep George, Shane Legg, Demis Hassabis, Wendell Wallach, Charina Choi, Ilya Sutskever, Kent Walker, Cecilia Tilli, Nick Bostrom, Erik Brynjolfsson, Steve Crossan, Mustafa Suleyman, Scott Phoenix, Neil Jacobstein, Murray Shanahan, Robin Hanson, Francesca Rossi, Nate Soares, Elon Musk, Andrew McAfee, Bart Selman, Michele Reilly, Aaron VanDevender, Max Tegmark, Margaret Boden, Joshua Greene, Paul Christiano, Eliezer Yudkowsky, David Parkes, Laurent Orseau, JB Straubel, James Moor, Sean Legassick, Mason Hartman, Howie Lempel, David Vladeck, Jacob Steinhardt, Michael Vassar, Ryan Calo, Susan Young, Owain Evans, Riva-Melissa Tez, János Kramár, Geoff Anders, Vernor Vinge, Anthony Aguirre
Seated: Sam Harris, Tomaso Poggio, Marin Soljačić, Viktoriya Krakovna, Meia Chita-Tegmark
Behind the camera: Anthony Aguirre (and also photoshopped in by the human-level intelligence on his left)
Click here for a full resolution version.

This content was first published at on October 12, 2015.

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