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by Paul Christiano 27 days ago | Jessica Taylor likes this | link | parent

It seems relatively plausible that it’s “daemons all the way down,” and that a sophisticated agent from the daemon-distribution accepts this as the price of doing business (it loses value from being overtaken by its daemons, but gains the same amount of value on average from overtaking others). The main concern of such an agent would be defecting daemons that building anti-daemon immune systems, so that they can increase their influence by taking over parents but avoid being taken over themselves. However, if we have a sufficiently competitive internal environment then those defectors will be outcompeted anyway.

In this case, if we also have fractal immune systems causing log(complexity) overhead, then the orthogonality thesis is probably not true. The result would be that agents end up pursuing a “grand bargain” of whatever distribution of values efficient daemons have, rather than including a large component in the bargain for values like ours, and there would be no way for humans to subvert this directly (we may be able to subvert it indirectly by coordinating and then trading, i.e. only building an efficient but daemon-prone agent after confirming that daemon-values pay us enough to make it worth our while. But this kind of thing seems radically confusing and is unlikely to be sorted out by humans.) The process of internal value shifting amongst daemons would continue in some abstract sense, though they would eventually end up pursuing the convergent bargain of their values (in the same way that a hyperbolic discounter ends up behaving consistently after reflection).

I think this is the most likely way the orthogonality thesis could fail. When there was an arbital poll on this question a few years ago, I had by far the lowest probability on the orthogonality thesis and was quite surprised by other commenters’ confidence.

Fortunately, even if there is logarithmic overhead, it currently looks quite unlikely to me that the constants are bad enough for this to be an unrecoverable problem for us today. But as you say, it would be a dealbreaker for any attempt to prove asymptotic efficiency.





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