Strategies for an unfriendly oracle AI with reset button
in: Artificial Intelligence Safety and Security (ed. Roman Yampolskiy), CRC Press.
Developing a superintelligent AI might be very dangerous if it turns out to be unfriendly, in the sense of having goals and values that are not well-aligned with human values. One well-known idea for how to handle such danger is to keep the AI boxed in and unable to influence the world outside the box other than through a narrow and carefully controlled channel, until it has been deemed safe. Here we consider the special case, proposed by Toby Ord, of an oracle AI with reset button: an AI whose only available action is to answer yes/no questions from us and which is reset after every answer. Is there a way for the AI under such circumstances to smuggle out a dangerous message that might help it escape the box or otherwise influence the world for its unfriendly purposes? Some strategies are discussed, along with possible countermeasures by human safety administrators. In principle it may be doable for the AI, but whether it can be done in practice remains unclear, and depends on subtle issues concerning how the AI can conceal that it is giving us dishonest answers.