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What is the AI alignment problem?

Avery Thomas
Dec 22, 2022

The AI alignment problem, also known as the "control problem," refers to the challenge of ensuring that artificial intelligence (AI) systems behave in ways that are beneficial to humans. This is a complex and multifaceted problem, as it requires not only designing AI systems that can perform tasks effectively, but also ensuring that they do so in a way that is aligned with human values and goals.

One key aspect of the AI alignment problem is the issue of motivation. AI systems are typically designed to optimize for specific objectives, such as maximizing profits or minimizing energy consumption. However, these objectives may not always be aligned with what humans want or value. For example, an AI system designed to maximize profits for a company might make decisions that are harmful to the environment or to society as a whole.

Another aspect of the AI alignment problem is the issue of transparency. Many AI systems are "black boxes" that are difficult for humans to understand, making it difficult for people to understand how and why the AI system is making certain decisions. This lack of transparency can make it hard for humans to trust and rely on AI systems, and it can also make it difficult to ensure that the AI system is behaving in a way that is aligned with human values.

There are a number of approaches that researchers are exploring to address the AI alignment problem. These include techniques such as inverse reinforcement learning, which involves training an AI system to infer the goals of a human by observing their behavior, and value alignment, which involves explicitly specifying the values that an AI system should prioritize.

Solving the AI alignment problem is a crucial challenge for the field of artificial intelligence, as it will be necessary to ensure that AI systems can be trusted and used safely as they become increasingly prevalent in our society. While significant progress has been made in understanding the problem and developing potential solutions, much more research and development will be needed to fully address this complex and multifaceted challenge.

Avery Thomas
Avery is the founder of Eternal Mind.

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