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[Week 1] “Visualizing the deep learning revolution” by Richard Ngo

AGI Safety Fundamentals: Alignment

Readings from the AI Safety Fundamentals: Alignment course.



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The field of AI has undergone a revolution over the last decade, driven by the success of deep learning techniques. This post aims to convey three ideas using a series of illustrative examples:

  • There have been huge jumps in the capabilities of AIs over the last decade, to the point where it’s becoming hard to specify tasks that AIs can’t do.
  • This progress has been primarily driven by scaling up a handful of relatively simple algorithms (rather than by developing a more principled or scientific understanding of deep learning).
  • Very few people predicted that progress would be anywhere near this fast; but many of those who did also predict that we might face existential risk from AGI in the coming decades.

I’ll focus on four domains: vision, games, language-based tasks, and science. The first two have more limited real-world applications, but provide particularly graphic and intuitive examples of the pace of progress.

Original article:

Richard Ngo

This article is featured on the AGI Safety Fundamentals: Alignment course curriculum.

Narrated by TYPE III AUDIO on behalf of BlueDot Impact.

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