Center on Long-Term Risk

Our goal is to address worst-case risks from the development and deployment of advanced AI systems. We are currently focused on conflict scenarios as well as technical and philosophical aspects of cooperation.

We do interdisciplinary research, make and recommend grants, and build a community of professionals and other researchers around our priorities.

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Cooperation, Conflict, and Transformative Artificial Intelligence: A Research Agenda

Note: This research agenda was published in January 2020. For an update on our work in multi-agent systems as of March 2021, see this post. Author: Jesse Clifton The Center on Long-Term Risk's research agenda on Cooperation, Conflict, and Transformative Artificial Intelligence outlines what we think are the most promising avenues for developing technical and governance interventions aimed at avoiding conflict between transformative AI systems. We draw on international relations, game theory, behavioral economics, machine learning, decision theory, and formal epistemology. While our research agenda captures many topics we are interested in, the focus of CLR's research is broader. We appreciate all comments and questions. We're also looking for people to work on the questions we outline. So if you're interested […]

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Reducing long-term risks from malevolent actors

Summary Dictators who exhibited highly narcissistic, psychopathic, or sadistic traits were involved in some of the greatest catastrophes in human history.  Malevolent individuals in positions of power could negatively affect humanity’s long-term trajectory by, for example, exacerbating international conflict or other broad risk factors. Malevolent humans with access to advanced technology—such as whole brain emulation or other forms of transformative AI—could cause serious existential risks and suffering risks. We therefore consider interventions to reduce the expected influence of malevolent humans on the long-term future. The development of manipulation-proof measures of malevolence seems valuable, since they could be used to screen for malevolent humans in high-impact settings, such as heads of government or CEOs. We also explore possible future technologies that […]

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From our blog

When is intent alignment sufficient or necessary to reduce AGI conflict?

In this post, we look at conditions under which Intent Alignment isn't Sufficient or Intent Alignment isn't Necessary for interventions on AGI systems to reduce the risks of (unendorsed) conflict to be effective. We then conclude this sequence by listing what we currently think are relatively promising directions for technical research and intervention to reduce AGI conflict. Intent alignment is not sufficient to prevent unendorsed conflict In the previous post, we outlined possible causes of conflict and directions for intervening on those causes. Many of the causes of conflict seem like they would be addressed by successful AI alignment. For example: if AIs acquire conflict-prone preferences from their training data when we didn’t want them to, that is a clear case of misalignment. […]

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When would AGIs engage in conflict?

Here we will look at two of the claims introduced in the previous post: AGIs might not avoid conflict that is costly by their lights (Capabilities aren’t Sufficient) and conflict that is costly by our lights might not be costly by the AGIs’ (Conflict isn’t Costly).  Explaining costly conflict First we’ll focus on conflict that is costly by the AGIs’ lights. We’ll define “costly conflict” as (ex post) inefficiency: There is an outcome that all of the agents involved in the interaction prefer to the one that obtains. This raises the inefficiency puzzle of war: Why would intelligent, rational actors behave in a way that leaves them all worse off than they could be?  We’ll operationalize “rational and intelligent” actors […]

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When does technical work to reduce AGI conflict make a difference?: Introduction

This is a pared-down version of a longer draft report. We went with a more concise version to get it out faster, so it ended up being more of an overview of definitions and concepts, and is thin on concrete examples and details. Hopefully subsequent work will help fill those gaps. Sequence Summary Some researchers are focused on reducing the risks of conflict between AGIs. In this sequence, we’ll present several necessary conditions for technical work on AGI conflict reduction to be effective, and survey circumstances under which these conditions hold. We’ll also present some tentative thoughts on promising directions for research and intervention to prevent AGI conflict. This post We give a breakdown of necessary conditions for technical work […]

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