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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Probably the most attention-grabbing startup thought I’ve seen not too long ago: AI for epistemics

This was initially posted on benjamintodd.substack.com.

If transformative AI may come quickly and also you need to assist that go properly, one technique you may undertake is constructing one thing helpful that may enhance as AI will get extra succesful.

That means if AI accelerates, your capacity to assist accelerates too.

Right here’s an instance: organisations that use AI to enhance epistemics — our capacity to know what’s true — and make higher choices on that foundation.

This was probably the most attention-grabbing impact-oriented entrepreneurial thought I got here throughout after I visited the San Francisco Bay space in February. (Thanks to Carl Shulman who first urged it.)

Navigating the deployment of AI goes to contain efficiently making many loopy onerous judgement calls, corresponding to “what’s the likelihood this method isn’t aligned” and “what may the financial results of deployment be?”

A few of these judgement calls will have to be made underneath numerous time stress — particularly if we’re seeing 100 years of technological progress in underneath 5.

Having the ability to make these varieties of selections a bit bit higher may subsequently be price an enormous quantity. And that’s true given nearly any future situation.

Higher decision-making can even probably assist with all different trigger areas, which is why 80,000 Hours recommends it as a trigger space impartial from AI.

So the concept is to arrange organisations that use AI to enhance forecasting and decision-making in methods that may be finally utilized to those sorts of questions.

Within the brief time period, you possibly can apply these techniques to traditional issues, probably within the for-profit sector, like finance. We appear to be simply approaching the purpose the place AI techniques may be capable of assist (e.g. a current paper discovered GPT-4 was fairly good at forecasting if fine-tuned). Beginning right here permits you to achieve scale, credibility and sources.

A forecasting bot made by the AI firm FutureSearch is making revenue on the forecasting platform Manifold. The y-axis reveals revenue. This implies it’s higher even than the collective predictions of present human forecasters.

However not like what a purely profit-motivated entrepreneur would do, you can even attempt to design your instruments in order that in an AI crunch second, they’re capable of assist.

For instance, you might develop a free-to-use model for political leaders, in order that if an enormous choice about AI regulation out of the blue must be made, they’re already utilizing the device for different questions.

There are already a handful of tasks on this area, nevertheless it may finally be an enormous space, so it nonetheless looks like very early days.

These tasks may have many varieties:

  • One instance of a concrete proposal is utilizing AI to make higher forecasts or in any other case enhance truthfinding in necessary domains. On the extra qualitative aspect, we may think about an AI “choice coach” or advisor that goals to reinforce human decision-making. Any methods to make it simpler to extract the reality from AI techniques may additionally depend, corresponding to related sorts of interpretability analysis and the AI debate or weak-to-strong generalisation approaches to AI alignment.
  • I may think about tasks on this space beginning in some ways, together with at a analysis service inside a hedge fund, in a analysis group inside an AI firm (e.g. centered on optimising techniques for truth-telling and accuracy), at an AI-enabled consultancy (making an attempt to undercut the Large 3), or as a non-profit centered on policy-making.
  • Probably, you’d attempt to effective tune and construct scaffolding round present main LLMs, although there are additionally proposals to construct LLMs from the bottom-up for forecasting. For instance, you might create an LLM that solely has information as much as 2023, after which prepare it to foretell what occurs in 2024.
  • There’s a trade-off to be managed between sustaining independence and trustworthiness, vs. getting access to main fashions and decision-makers in AI firm and creating wealth.
  • Some concepts may additionally advance frontier capabilities, so that you’d need to think twice about how you can keep away from that. You may persist with concepts that differentially increase extra safety-enhancing elements of the know-how. In any other case, you have to be assured any contribution a venture makes to common capabilities is outweighed by different advantages. (It is a controversial subject with a lot of disagreement, so watch out to hunt out and think about one of the best counterarguments to your conclusion.) To be a bit extra concrete: discovering methods to inform when present frontier fashions are telling the reality appears much less dangerous than growing new sorts of frontier fashions which are optimised for forecasting.
  • You’ll must attempt to develop an method that gained’t be made out of date by the following technology of main fashions however can as an alternative profit from additional progress on the innovative.

I don’t have a fleshed out proposal, this publish is extra an invite to discover the area.

The perfect founding crew would cowl the bases of: (i) forecasting / decision-making experience (ii) AI experience (iii) product and entrepreneurial expertise and (iv) data of an preliminary user-type. Although keep in mind that if in case you have a spot in one in every of these areas now, you might in all probability fill it inside a yr.

For those who already see an angle on this concept, it could possibly be finest simply to strive it on a small scale after which iterate from there.

If not, then my regular recommendation could be to get began by becoming a member of an present venture in the identical or an adjoining space (e.g. a forecasting organisation, an AI purposes firm) that may expose you to concepts and other people with related expertise. Then preserve your eyes out for a extra concrete downside you might resolve. One of the best startup concepts normally emerge organically over time in promising areas.

Present tasks:

Study extra:

For those who’re on this thought, I counsel speaking to the 80,000 Hours crew:


I’m writing about AI, doing good and utilizing analysis to have a nicer life. Subscribe to my Substack to get all my posts.

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