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[Week 2] "Superintelligence: Instrumental convergence" by Nick Bostrom

An Introduction to Nick Bostrom

An introduction to Nick Bostrom's ideas, including: existential risk, wise philanthropy, the ethics of AI, transhumanism, and the case for speeding up some investments in technology while slowing down others.


According to the orthogonality thesis, intelligent agents may have an enormous range of possible final goals. Nevertheless, according to what we may term the “instrumental convergence” thesis, there are some instrumental goals likely to be pursued by almost any intelligent agent, because there are some objectives that are useful intermediaries to the achievement of almost any final goal. We can formulate this thesis as follows:

The instrumental convergence thesis:
"Several instrumental values can be identified which are convergent in the sense that their attainment would increase the chances of the agent’s goal being realized for a wide range of final goals and a wide range of situations, implying that these instrumental values are likely to be pursued by a broad spectrum of situated intelligent agents."

Original article:

Nick Bostrom

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

Narrated by TYPE III AUDIO on behalf of BlueDot Impact.