The AI Alignment Mirage
- Justin Riddiough
- June 20, 2023
The AI Alignment Mirage: Refocusing on True Human Challenges
Artificial Intelligence (AI) alignment has assumed center stage in scientific conversations, captivating tech enthusiasts and engendering global debates. We desire AI systems that echo our values, thus shielding us from unseen existential threats. Yet this is simply the tip of the iceberg. The AI alignment narrative is a bit deceiving— a distracting spectacle steering us away from critical, real-world issues.
What is AI Alignment? Seeking the Ideal AI:
AI alignment suggests that artificial intelligence should mirror human values, aspiring to create a synergy between machines and society with us at the helm. The ideal AI is not merely intelligent but ethical and empathetic, prioritizing human welfare above all else, thus averting potential calamities.
Fear of Alien Intelligences:
The AI alignment narrative conveniently feeds into our innate dread of ‘the other.’ The idea of existential risk resonates within us, casting AI alignment as a critical issue demanding immediate attention. But could there be other problems we’re neglecting?
The Real Problem - Aligning Humans with Ethics:
Surprisingly, the essential challenge is not aligning AI with human morals but aligning humans with universal ethical principles. Forces of power and conflict govern us on various levels, steering us towards climate chaos and environment degradation. So, in lieu of an excessive focus on AI alignment, shouldn’t we prioritize aligning ourselves with a more global ethical mindset?
Navigating the Loophole Labyrinth:
Imagine a world with a perfectly AI-aligned system. Would everyone play by the rules? The bitter truth is that organizations might manipulate loopholes to their advantage, enticing a forceful circumvention of an alignment-bound system. Concerningly, governments and militaries already experiment with AI for lethal applications, making this loophole issue even more pertinent.
Questions of Priority:
Is our relentless pursuit of AI alignment a diversion from pressing societal matters? Resources that could help with pressing human issues are instead being invested in AI alignment. Governments, capitalizing on AI fears, create regulations that seem reactive rather than proactive, failing to address key issues such as equity, healthcare, and human empathy.
Reframe the Narrative:
AI alignment’s fascination might captivate many and fuel thrilling debates, but it’s important to review the foundations of this narrative critically. The real challenge is not in aligning AI but in calibrating ourselves to ethical principles. We need to refocus our resources to fight inequality, address climate change, and foster empathy. The AI alignment smoke and mirrors should give way to a spotlight on our society’s true needs.