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In recent couple of years we've been focusing quite heavily on machine
intelligence
partly because it it seems to
raise some significant existentialist down the road
part also because relatively little attention has been given to this
risk so you when we are prioritizing what we want to spend our time
researching then one variable that we take into account is how important is
this topic
that we could research - but another is how many other people are there
who are already studying it? Because the more people already studying it - the
smaller the difference
that having a few extra minds focusing on that topic.
So, say the topic of
peace and war and how you can try to
avoid international conflict is a very important topic -
and many existential risks will be reduced
if there is more global corporation. However it also
hard to see how are very small group of people
could make a substantial difference today risk of
arms races and wars. There is a big
interest involved in this and so many people already working
either on disarmament and peace and/or military strength
that it's an area where it would be great make a change but it's hard to make a
change if there are a
smaller people by contrast with something like the risk from
machine intelligence and the risk of superintelligence.
Only been a relatively small number of people have been thinking about this
and there might be some low-hanging fruit there -
some insights that might make a big difference. So that's
one of the criteria. Now we are also looking at other existential risks and we
are also looking at
things other than existential risk like we try to
get a better understanding of what humanity's situation is in the world
and
so we've been thinking some about
the Fermi Paradox for example, some
methodological tools that you need like observation selection theory how you can
reason about these things.
And to some extent also more near term impacts of technology and
of course the opportunities involved in all of this - is that always
worth to remind oneself that although
enormous technological powers will
great new dangers including existential risks they also of course
make it possible to achieve enormous amount of good.
So one should bear in mind this
..the opportunities as well that are
unleashed with technological advance.