Misalignment, AI & Moloch
“Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental Moloch! Moloch the heavy judger of men!
Moloch the incomprehensible prison! Moloch the crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows! Moloch whose buildings are judgment! Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stunned governments!
Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies! Moloch whose breast is a cannibal dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb!
Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows! Moloch whose skyscrapers stand in the long streets like endless Jehovahs! Moloch whose factories dream and croak in the fog! Moloch whose smokestacks and antennae crown the cities!
Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch whose soul is electricity and banks! Moloch whose poverty is the specter of genius! Moloch whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen! Moloch whose name is the Mind!”
from Allen Ginsburg’s famous poem on Moloch
In this video Liv Boeree, a champion poker player with a background in astrophysics, who has made a number of YouTube videos about Moloch, and thinker and founding member of the Consilience Project, Daniel Schmachtenberger, discuss the phenomenon of Moloch and AI.
The potential benefits and perils posed by AI extend far beyond the boundaries of our imagination. But we know enough to be sure it has the capability to enable extraordinary breakthroughs in multiple domains. If we intend, however, to consider what the objective of AI should be, and how to regulate its development, we had better do it soon…that is, before it becomes fully autonomous itself.
What we appreciate about this conversation is that that in using Alan Ginsburg’s concept of Moloch, Boeree and Schmachtenberger put Al into its current real context. Namely, the global system we have created; a system that has been built and runs on its own perverse logic with its incentives of profit and zero-sum game theory. Fully autonomous, nobody is able to stop it. And this is the system that is developing AI.
To quote Daniel Schmachtenberger from the video, “Nobody wants the worst to happen, but everybody is making it happen.”