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[Week 3] “AI Governance: Opportunity and Theory of Impact” by Allan Dafoe

AGI Safety Fundamentals: Governance

Readings from the AI Safety Fundamentals: Governance course.



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AI governance concerns how humanity can best navigate the transition to a world with advanced AI systems. It relates to how decisions are made about AI, and what institutions and arrangements would help those decisions to be made well. I believe advances in AI are likely to be among the most impactful global developments in the coming decades, and that AI governance will become among the most important global issue areas. AI governance is a new field and is relatively neglected. I’ll explain here how I think about this as a cause area and my perspective on how best to pursue positive impact in this space. The value of investing in this field can be appreciated whether one is primarily concerned with contemporary policy challenges or long-term risks and opportunities (“longtermism”); this piece is primarily aimed at a longtermist perspective. Differing from some other longtermist work on AI, I emphasize the importance of also preparing for more conventional scenarios of AI development.

Contemporary Policy Challenges AI systems are increasingly being deployed in important domains: for many kinds of surveillance; by authoritarian governments to shape online discourse; for autonomous weapons systems; for cyber tools and autonomous cyber capabilities; to aid and make consequential decisions such as for employment, loans, and criminal sentencing; in advertising; in education and testing; in self-driving cars and navigation; in social media. Society and policy makers are rapidly trying to catch up, to adapt, to create norms and policies to guide these new areas. We see this scramble in contemporary international tax law, competition/antitrust policy, innovation policy, and national security motivated controls on trade and investment. To understand and advise contemporary policymaking, one needs to develop expertise in specific policy areas (such as antitrust/competition policy or international security) as well as in the relevant technical aspects of AI.

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Narrated for the Effective Altruism Forum by TYPE III AUDIO.

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