space and games

August 31, 2009

Summer Research, Singularity Summit

Filed under: Decision Theory, General — Peter de Blanc @ 3:43 pm

This summer, I was involved in a summer research program at the Singularity Institute. Here we are:

SIAI Lunge

While I was there, I wrote a follow-up to my old Expected Utility paper. The new paper says basically the same thing as the old paper, but for repeated decisions rather than one-off decisions.

Roko Mijic and I have also started a paper about the problem of generalizing utility functions to new models – the sort of problem I call an “ontological crisis.” These situations arise for humans when we discover that the goals and values which we ascribe to ourselves do not correspond to objects in reality. Obvious examples include god, souls, and free will, but we’re just as interested in how AIs can deal with more mundane problems such as generalizing the notion of “temperature” from a classical to a quantum model. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to finish the paper this summer, but you can expect to see it soon.

Towards the end of the summer, I made a few resolutions for the new year (as a grad student, my year starts in late August). In particular, I’ve resolved to write a popular blog. In the short term this will mean reducing the quality of my posts in exchange for much greater quantity, but in the long term I expect quality to rise again as I gain more experience writing. I’ll probably write about some of my less serious projects, such as the computer game I’ve been developing on and off for the past year.

In other news, the Singularity Summit will be in New York this year, on October 3-4. Anyone who wants to chat me up can do so at the summit, if you can find me among the horde of attendees. See you there!


  1. “In particular, I’ve resolved to write a popular blog.”

    You could write a bit about what you were doing this summer at SIAI. Just a suggestion. :)

    Comment by Androzoan — September 1, 2009 @ 5:53 am

  2. I second Androzoan’s suggestion.

    Comment by Kaj Sotala — September 2, 2009 @ 5:41 am

  3. Well, I did mention some papers I worked on at SIAI. That was most of what I did. I can (and will – soon) also write about some of the work that the other guys did.

    Comment by Peter de Blanc — September 2, 2009 @ 8:40 pm

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