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[1804.04268] Incomplete Contracting and AI Alignment
We suggest that the analysis of incomplete contracting developed by law and economics researchers can provide a useful framework for understanding the AI alignment problem and help to generate a systematic approach to finding solutions. We first provide an overview of the incomplete contracting literature and explore parallels between this work and the problem of AI alignment. As we emphasize, misalignment between principal and agent is a core focus of economic analysis. We highlight some technical results from the economics literature on incomplete contracts that may provide insights for AI alignment researchers. Our core contribution, however, is to bring to bear an insight that economists have been urged to absorb from legal scholars and other behavioral scientists: the fact that human contracting is supported by substantial amounts of external structure, such as generally available institutions (culture, law) that can supply implied terms to fill the gaps in incomplete contracts. We propose a research agenda for AI alignment work that focuses on the problem of how to build AI that can replicate the human cognitive processes that connect individual incomplete contracts with this supporting external structure.
nibble  preprint  org:mat  papers  ai  ai-control  alignment  coordination  contracts  law  economics  interests  culture  institutions  number  context  behavioral-econ  composition-decomposition  rent-seeking  whole-partial-many 
7 days ago by nhaliday
Elinor Ostrom's Rules for Radicals: Cooperative Alternatives Beyond Markets and States, Wall
"Elinor Ostrom was both a groundbreaking thinker and one of the foremost economists of our age. The first and only woman to win the Nobel Prize for Economics, her revolutionary theorizing of the commons opened the way for non-capitalist economic alternatives on a massive scale. And yet, astonishingly, most modern radicals know little about her.
"Elinor Ostrom's Rules for Radicals fixes that injustice, revealing the indispensability of her work on green politics, alternative economics, and radical democracy. Derek Wall’s analysis of her theses addresses some of the common misconceptions of her work and reveals her strong commitment to a radical ideological framework. This helpful guide will engage scholars and activists across a range of disciplines, including political economy, political science, and ecology, as well as those keen to implement her work in practice. As activists continue to reject traditional models of centralized power, Ostrom’s theories will become even more crucial in creating economies that exist beyond markets and states."
to:NB  books:noted  economics  institutions  progressive_forces  political_economy  ostrom.elinor 
8 days ago by cshalizi
Surveil things, not people – The sideways view
Technology may reach a point where free use of one person’s share of humanity’s resources is enough to easily destroy the world. I think society needs to make significant changes to cope with that scenario.

Mass surveillance is a natural response, and sometimes people think of it as the only response. I find mass surveillance pretty unappealing, but I think we can capture almost all of the value by surveilling things rather than surveilling people. This approach avoids some of the worst problems of mass surveillance; while it still has unattractive features it’s my favorite option so far.


The idea
We’ll choose a set of artifacts to surveil and restrict. I’ll call these heavy technology and everything else light technology. Our goal is to restrict as few things as possible, but we want to make sure that someone can’t cause unacceptable destruction with only light technology. By default something is light technology if it can be easily acquired by an individual or small group in 2017, and heavy technology otherwise (though we may need to make some exceptions, e.g. certain biological materials or equipment).

Heavy technology is subject to two rules:

1. You can’t use heavy technology in a way that is unacceptably destructive.
2. You can’t use heavy technology to undermine the machinery that enforces these two rules.

To enforce these rules, all heavy technology is under surveillance, and is situated such that it cannot be unilaterally used by any individual or small group. That is, individuals can own heavy technology, but they cannot have unmonitored physical access to that technology.


This proposal does give states a de facto monopoly on heavy technology, and would eventually make armed resistance totally impossible. But it’s already the case that states have a massive advantage in armed conflict, and it seems almost inevitable that progress in AI will make this advantage larger (and enable states to do much more with it). Realistically I’m not convinced this proposal makes things much worse than the default.

This proposal definitely expands regulators’ nominal authority and seems prone to abuses. But amongst candidates for handling a future with cheap and destructive dual-use technology, I feel this is the best of many bad options with respect to the potential for abuse.
ratty  acmtariat  clever-rats  risk  existence  futurism  technology  policy  alt-inst  proposal  government  intel  authoritarianism  orwellian  tricks  leviathan  security  civilization  ai  ai-control  arms  defense  cybernetics  institutions  law  unintended-consequences  civil-liberty  volo-avolo  power  constraint-satisfaction  alignment 
8 days ago by nhaliday
The People Who Make Organizations Go—or Stop
First, there are central connectors, who link most people in an informal network with one another. They aren’t usually the formal leaders within a unit or department, but they know who can provide critical information or expertise that the entire network draws on to get work done. Then there are boundary spanners, who connect an informal network with other parts of the company or with similar networks in other organizations. They take the time to consult with and advise individuals from many different departments—marketing, production, or R&D, for instance—regardless of their own affiliations. Information brokers keep the different subgroups in an informal network together. If they didn’t communicate across the subgroups, the network as a whole would splinter into smaller, less-effective segments. Finally, there are peripheral specialists, who anyone in an informal network can turn to for specialized expertise.
hbr  leadership  institutions  change 
12 days ago by edsonm
What “S’Up”? Using Triads to Develop Tribal Leadership
A 2002 Harvard Business Review article proposed three new categories of successful individuals at non-managerial levels of the organization: connectors, boundary spanners, and peripheral specialists.
leadership  institutions  change  gli 
12 days ago by edsonm
Imagine there’s no Congress - The Washington Post
- Adrian Vermeule

In the spirit of John Lennon, let’s imagine, all starry-eyed, that there’s no U.S. Congress. In this thought experiment, the presidency and the Supreme Court would be the only federal institutions, along with whatever subordinate agencies the president chose to create. The court would hold judicial power, while the president would make and execute laws. The president would be bound by elections and individual constitutional rights, but there would be no separation of legislative from executive power.

Would such a system be better or worse than our current system? How different would it be, anyway?
news  org:rec  rhetoric  contrarianism  usa  government  elections  democracy  antidemos  alt-inst  proposal  institutions  axioms  law  leviathan  leadership  obama  nascent-state  counter-revolution  journos-pundits  douthatish  responsibility  the-founding  benevolence 
14 days ago by nhaliday
More arguments against blockchain, most of all about trust - Marginal REVOLUTION
Auditing software is hard! The most-heavily scrutinized smart contract in history had a small bug that nobody noticed — that is, until someone did notice it, and used it to steal fifty million dollars. If cryptocurrency enthusiasts putting together a $150m investment fund can’t properly audit the software, how confident are you in your e-book audit? Perhaps you would rather write your own counteroffer software contract, in case this e-book author has hidden a recursion bug in their version to drain your ethereum wallet of all your life savings?

It’s a complicated way to buy a book! It’s not trustless, you’re trusting in the software (and your ability to defend yourself in a software-driven world), instead of trusting other people.
econotariat  marginal-rev  links  commentary  quotes  bitcoin  cryptocurrency  blockchain  crypto  trust  money  monetary-fiscal  technology  software  institutions  government  comparison  cost-benefit  primitivism  eden-heaven 
15 days ago by nhaliday

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