There seems to be a lot of debate about whether it would be more dangerous for big corporations/governments to run/build AGI or the like than to have powerful AI be open source (I posted a question about this the other month). It seems like a lot of people in favor of open-source trust the masses more than the people who might be in charge (this Reddit thread from this morning was yet another reminder).

It leads me to feel like, if you are in favor of a more top-down control of AI (or are afraid of it being open sourced), you/we have to do a lot better of a job of getting people to trust institutions. And I realize that's an extremely difficult challenge, one that liberals are facing across the world as populists claim that govt can't be trusted etc., and it's one that has been a debate in society for a while, but I suppose I would call on people working in the space of AI policy to think about what we can do to make people start trusting institutions more. Shedding a light on people working in AI, i.e. getting to know them through videos/interviews? Explaining why the people who work in these fields are well-intentioned and smart and qualified? In fact, whatever the solutions, this seems to be the kind of thing that many of us who don't have technical AI chops (and may or may not feel slightly inadequate about ourselves for it) could very much contribute to, in case anyone is looking for research ideas.

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I think what this means in part is that we need to also work to create institutions that are actually trustworthy around ai.

That's definitely important. Though a more extreme take that I might even be agreeable to is that even a poorly run institution, corrupt even, in charge of AI would be better than AI for the masses. Maybe I'm realizing the disagreement on this issue isn't as much about whether you think institutions are frequently corruptible/incompetent, but rather whether that is so off-putting (I grant that there is something almost viscerally repulsive about the idea of a small, secretive, and selfish or incompetent group of individuals in any circumstance, particularly when the stakes are high like in this case) that it's even worse than an even more likely chance of total annihilation. I would say the small group is still better, because I think that while people may not necessarily be altruistic, they don't actively want to harm others if they gain nothing from doing so, and all else equal they'd be happy to help others (except for sociopaths and a few others, who presumably would be screened out by an exclusive board or committee). Feel free to share where you might disagree though!

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