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[Week 1] “Future ML Systems Will Be Qualitatively Different” by Jacob Steinhardt

AGI Safety Fundamentals: Alignment

Readings from the AI Safety Fundamentals: Alignment course.



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In 1972, the Nobel prize-winning physicist Philip Anderson wrote the essay "More Is Different". In it, he argues that quantitative changes can lead to qualitatively different and unexpected phenomena. While he focused on physics, one can find many examples of More is Different in other domains as well, including biology, economics, and computer science. Some examples of More is Different include: Uranium. With a bit of uranium, nothing special happens; with a large amount of uranium packed densely enough, you get a nuclear reaction. DNA. Given only small molecules such as calcium, you can’t meaningfully encode useful information; given larger molecules such as DNA, you can encode a genome. Water. Individual water molecules aren’t wet. Wetness only occurs due to the interaction forces between many water molecules interspersed throughout a fabric (or other material).

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