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[Week 0] “A short introduction to machine learning” by Richard Ngo

AGI Safety Fundamentals: Alignment

Readings from the AI Safety Fundamentals: Alignment course.



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Despite the current popularity of machine learning, I haven’t found any short introductions to it which quite match the way I prefer to introduce people to the field. So here’s my own. Compared with other introductions, I’ve focused less on explaining each concept in detail, and more on explaining how they relate to other important concepts in AI, especially in diagram form. If you're new to machine learning, you shouldn't expect to fully understand most of the concepts explained here just after reading this post - the goal is instead to provide a broad framework which will contextualise more detailed explanations you'll receive from elsewhere. I'm aware that high-level taxonomies can be controversial, and also that it's easy to fall into the illusion of transparency when trying to introduce a field; so suggestions for improvements are very welcome! The key ideas are contained in this summary diagram: First, some quick clarifications: None of the boxes are meant to be comprehensive; we could add more items to any of them. So you should picture each list ending with “and others”. The distinction between tasks and techniques is not a firm or standard categorisation; it’s just the best way I’ve found so far to lay things out. The summary is explicitly from an AI-centric perspective. For example, statistical modeling and optimization are fields in their own right; but for our current purposes we can think of them as machine learning techniques.

Original text:


Narrated for AGI Safety Fundamentals by Perrin Walker of TYPE III AUDIO.

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