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Beneficial AI 2017

January 12, 2017
Ariel Conn


In our sequel to the 2015 Puerto Rico AI conference, we brought together an amazing group of AI researchers from academia and industry, and thought leaders in economics, law, ethics, and philosophy for five days dedicated to beneficial AI. We hosted a two-day workshop for our grant recipients to give them an opportunity to highlight and discuss the progress with their grants. We followed that with a 2.5-day conference, in which people from various AI-related fields hashed out opportunities and challenges related to the future of AI and steps we can take to ensure that the technology is beneficial. Honoring the FrieNDA for the conference, we are only posting videos and slides below with approval of the speaker. Learn more about the Asilomar AI Principles that resulted from the conference, the process involved in developing them, and the resulting discussion about each principle. (It looks like we’ll be posting almost everything, but please be patient while we finish editing and uploading videos, etc.)

Conference Schedule

Thursday January 5

All afternoon: registration open; come chill & meet old and new friends!
1800-2100: Welcome reception

Friday January 6

0730-0900: Breakfast
0900-1200: Opening keynotes on AI, economics & law: Progress since Puerto Rico 2015

  • Welcome Remarks by Max Tegmark (video)
  • Talks:
    • Erik Brynjolfsson (MIT) (pdf) (video)
    • Yoshua Bengio (Montreal) (pdf) (video)
    • Viktoriya Krakovna (DeepMind/FLI) (pdf) (video)
    • Stuart Russell (Berkeley) (pdf) (video)
    • Ryan Calo (U. Washington) (video)
  • Group photo

1200-1300: Lunch
1300-1500: Breakout sessions
1500-1800: Economics: How can we grow our prosperity through automation without leaving people lacking income or purpose?

  • Talk: Daniela Rus (MIT) (video)
  • Panel with Daniela Rus (MIT), Andrew Ng (Baidu), Mustafa Suleyman (DeepMind), Moshe Vardi (Rice) & Peter Norvig (Google): How AI is automating and augmenting work (video)
  • Talks:
  • Panel with Andrew McAfee (MIT), Jeffrey Sachs (Columbia), Eric Schmidt (Google) & Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn): Implications of AI for the Economy and Society (video)
  • Fireside chat with Daniel Kahneman: What makes people happy? (video)

1800-2100: Dinner

Saturday January 7

0730-0900: Breakfast
0900-1200: Creating human-level AI: Will it happen, and if so, when and how? What key remaining obstacles can be identified? How can we make future AI systems more robust than today’s, so that they do what we want without crashing, malfunctioning or getting hacked?

  • Talks:
    • Demis Hassabis (DeepMind) (video)
    • Ray Kurzweil (Google) (video)
    • Yann LeCun (Facebook/NYU) (pdf) (video)
  • Panel with Anca Dragan (Berkeley), Demis Hassabis (DeepMind), Guru Banavar (IBM), Oren Etzioni (Allen Institute), Tom Gruber (Apple), Jürgen Schmidhuber (Swiss AI Lab), Yann LeCun (Facebook/NYU), Yoshua Bengio (Montreal) (video)

1200-1300: Lunch
1300-1500: Breakout sessions
1500-1800: Superintelligence: Science or fiction? If human level general AI is developed, then what are likely outcomes? What can we do now to maximize the probability of a positive outcome? (video)

  • Talks:
    • Shane Legg (DeepMind)
    • Nick Bostrom (Oxford) (pdf) (video)
    • Jaan Tallinn (CSER/FLI) (pdf) (video)
  • Panel with Bart Selman (Cornell), David Chalmers (NYU), Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX), Jaan Tallinn (CSER/FLI), Nick Bostrom (FHI), Ray Kurzweil (Google), Stuart Russell (Berkeley), Sam Harris, Demis Hassabis (DeepMind): If we succeed in building human-level AGI, then what are likely outcomes? What would we like to happen? (video)
  • Panel with Dario Amodei (OpenAI), Nate Soares (MIRI), Shane Legg (DeepMind), Richard Mallah (FLI), Stefano Ermon (Stanford), Viktoriya Krakovna (DeepMind/FLI): Technical research agenda: What can we do now to maximize the chances of a good outcome? (video)

1800-2200: Banquet

Sunday January 8

0730-0900: Breakfast
0900-1200: Law, policy & ethics: How can we update legal systems, international treaties and algorithms to be more fair, ethical and efficient and to keep pace with AI?

  • Talks:
    • Matt Scherer (pdf) (video)
    • Heather Roff-Perkins (Oxford)
  • Panel with Martin Rees (CSER/Cambridge), Heather Roff-Perkins, Jason Matheny (IARPA), Steve Goose (HRW), Irakli Beridze (UNICRI), Rao Kambhampati (AAAI, ASU), Anthony Romero (ACLU): Policy & Governance (video)
  • Panel with Kate Crawford (Microsoft/MIT), Matt Scherer, Ryan Calo (U. Washington), Kent Walker (Google), Sam Altman (OpenAI): AI & Law (video)
  • Panel with Kay Firth-Butterfield (IEEE, Austin-AI), Wendell Wallach (Yale), Francesca Rossi (IBM/Padova), Huw Price (Cambridge, CFI), Margaret Boden (Sussex): AI & Ethics (video)

1200-1300: Lunch
1300: Depart

Read the 23 Asilomar AI Principles

Workshop Schedule

Tuesday January 3

All afternoon: workshop registration open; come chill & meet old and new friends!
1800-2100: Welcome reception, breakout session sign-up

Wednesday January 4

0730-0900: Breakfast
0900-1200: Talks & discussions

  • Grant-winner talks on value learning: Stuart Russell (Berkeley) (pdf), Francesca Rossi (IBM/Padova) (pdf), Owain Evans (FHI) (pdf), Adrian Weller (Cambridge), Vincent Conitzer (Duke) (pdf)
  • Panel with above speakers: Future directions in value learning
  • Panel with Tom Dietterich, Manuela Veloso, Bart Selman & Jürgen Schmidhuber: Will we ever build human-level AI?

1200-1300: Lunch
1300-1400: Lightning talks: Dario Amodei (OpenAI) (pdf), Catherine Olsson (OpenAI) (pdf), Andrew Critch (CHCAI/MIRI) (link), Eric
Drexler (MIT), Allan Dafoe (Yale), Jürgen Schmidhuber (Swiss AI Lab) (pdf), Toby Walsh (UNSW) (pdf)
1400-1500: Breakout session A
1500-1800: Talks & discussions

  • Grant-winner talks on verification, safe self-modification, and complexity: Bart Selman (Cornell) (pdf), Stefano Ermon (Stanford) (pdf), Katja Grace (MIRI), Andrew Critch (CHCAI/MIRI) (pdf), Ramana Kumar (Data61/CSIRO/UNSW) (pdf) & Bas Steunebrink (IDSIA) (pdf)
  • Panel with above speakers: Future directions in these areas
  • Panel with above speakers and Toby Walsh: Recursive self-improvement: fast takeoff, slow takeoff or no takeoff?

1800-2100: Dinner

Thursday January 5

0730-0900: Breakfast
0900-1200: Talks & discussions

  • Grant-winner talks on control, uncertainty identification & management: Thomas Dietterich (OSU) (pdf), Manuela Veloso (Carnegie Mellon) (pdf), Percy Liang (Stanford) (pdf), Long Ouyang (pdf), Paul Christiano (OpenAI) (pdf), Fuxin Li (OSU) (pdf) & Brian Ziebart (U. Chicago) (pdf)
  • Panel with above speakers: Future directions in these areas
  • “Red-team” Panel with Dario Amodei (OpenAI), Eric Drexler (MIT), Jan Leike (FHI/DeepMind), Percy Liang (Stanford) & Eliezer Yudkowsky (MIRI): What could go wrong with AGI and how can these problems be avoided?

1200-1300: Lunch
1300-1400: Breakout session B
1400-1500: Breakout session C
1500-1800: Talks & discussions

  • Grant-winner talks on governance & ethics: Nick Bostrom (Oxford), Wendell Wallach (Yale) (pdf), Heather Roff Perkins (Oxford/ASU) (pdf), Peter Asaro (New School) (pdf) & Moshe Vardi (Rice) (pdf)
  • Grant-winner talks on education: Anna Salamon (CFAR) & Paul Christiano (OpenAI) (pdf)
  • Panel with Anna Salamon (CFAR) & Paul Christiano (OpenAI): Educating and mentoring AI safety researchers (Moderator: Andrew Critch)
  • Grant-winner talk: Owen Cotton-Barratt (GPP) (pdf)
  • Panel with Allan Dafoe (Yale), Anthony Aguirre (FLI) & Owen Cotton-Barratt (GPP): Prediction (Moderator: Jaan Tallinn (FLI/CSER))

1800-2100: Welcome reception for Beneficial AI 2017 conference

Scientific Organizing Committee

Erik Brynjolfsson, MIT, Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, co-author of The Second Machine Age
Eric Horvitz, Microsoft, co-chair of the AAAI presidential panel on long-term AI futures
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, IBM,  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
Max Tegmark, MIT, Professor of Physics

Local Organizers

Anthony Aguirre, Meia Chita-Tegmark, Ariel Conn, Tucker Davey, Lucas Perry, Viktoriya Krakovna, Janos Kramar, Richard Mallah, Max Tegmark.


A special thank you to our generous sponsors: Alexander Tamas; The Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines; Elon Musk; Jaan Tallinn; and The Open Philanthropy Project.

Bios for the attendees and participants can be found here.

Standing Row: Patrick Lin, Daniel Weld, Ariel Conn, Nancy Chang, Tom Mitchell, Ray Kurzweil, Daniel Dewey, Margaret Boden, Peter Norvig, Nick Hay, Moshe Vardi, Scott Siskind, Nick Bostrom, Francesca Rossi, Shane Legg, Manuela Veloso, David Marble, Katja Grace, Irakli Beridze, Marty Tenenbaum, Gill Pratt, Martin Rees, Joshua Greene, Matt Scherer, Angela Kane, Amara Angelica, Jeff Mohr, Mustafa Suleyman, Steve Omohundro, Kate Crawford, Vitalik Buterin, Yutaka Matsuo, Stefano Ermon, Michael Wellman, Bas Steunebrink, Wendell Wallach, Allan Dafoe, Toby Ord, Thomas Dietterich, Daniel Kahneman, Dario Amodei, Eric Drexler, Tomaso Poggio, Eric Schmidt, Pedro Ortega, David Leake, Sean O’Heigeartaigh, Owain Evans, Jaan Tallinn, Anca Dragan, Sean Legassick, Toby Walsh, Peter Asaro, Kay Firth-Butterfield, Philip Sabes, Paul Merolla, Bart Selman, Tucker Davey, ?, Jacob Steinhardt, Moshe Looks, Josh Tenenbaum, Tom Gruber, Andrew Ng, Kareem Ayoub, Craig Calhoun, Percy Liang, Helen Toner, David Chalmers, Richard Sutton, Claudia Passos-Ferriera, Janos Kramar, William MacAskill, Eliezer Yudkowsky, Brian Ziebart, Huw Price, Carl Shulman, Neil Lawrence, Richard Mallah, Jurgen Schmidhuber, Dileep George, Jonathan Rothberg, Noah Rothberg

Sitting Row: Anthony Aguirre, Sonia Sachs, Lucas Perry, Jeffrey Sachs, Vincent Conitzer, Steve Goose, Victoria Krakovna, Owen Cotton-Barratt, Daniela Rus, Dylan Hadfield-Menell, Verity Harding, Shivon Zilis, Laurent Orseau, Ramana Kumar, Nate Soares, Andrew McAfee, Jack Clark, Anna Salamon, Long Ouyang, Andrew Critch, Paul Christiano, Yoshua Bengio, David Sanford, Catherine Olsson, Jessica Taylor, Martina Kunz, Kristinn Thorisson, Stuart Armstrong, Yann LeCun, Alexander Tamas, Roman Yampolskiy, Marin Soljacic, Lawrence Krauss, Stuart Russell, Eric Brynjolfsson, Ryan Calo, ShaoLan Hsueh, Meia Chita-Tegmark, Kent Walker, Heather Roff, Meredith Whittaker, Max Tegmark, Adrian Weller, Jose Hernandez-Orallo, Andrew Maynard, John Hering, Abram Demski, Nicolas Berggruen, Gregory Bonnet, Sam Harris, Tim Hwang, Andrew Snyder-Beattie, Marta Halina, Sebastian Farquhar, Stephen Cave, Jan Leike, Tasha McCauley, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Not in photo: Guru Banavar, Sam Teller, Anthony Romero, Elon Musk, Larry Page, Sam Altman, Oren Etzioni, Chelsea Finn, Ian Goodfellow, Reid Hoffman, Holden Karnofsky, Sergey Levine, Fuxin Li, Jason Matheny, Andrew Serazin, Ilya Sutskever

Read the 23 Asilomar AI Principles

The view from the conference

This content was first published at on January 12, 2017.

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