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Robin Hanson on the futurist focus on AI
By Asya Bergal, 13 November 2019
Robert Long and I recently talked to Robin Hanson—GMU economist, prolific blogger, and longtime thinker on the future of AI—about the amount of futurist effort going into thinking about AI risk.
It was noteworthy to me that Robin thinks human-level AI is a century, perhaps multiple centuries away— much longer than the 50-year number given by AI researchers. I think these longer timelines are the source of a lot of his disagreement with the AI risk community about how much of futurist thought should be put into AI.
Robin is particularly interested in the notion of ‘lumpiness’-- how much AI is likely to be furthered by a few big improvements as opposed to a slow and steady trickle of progress. If, as Robin believes, most academic progress and AI in particular are not likely to be ‘lumpy’, he thinks we shouldn’t think things will happen without a lot of warning.
The full recording and transcript of our conversation can be found here.