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Forecasting Thread: AI Timelines
Answer by datscillyAug 23, 202036Ω13

A week ago I recorded a prediction on AI timeline after reading a Vox article on GPT-3 . In general I'm much more spread out in time than the Lesswrong community. Also, I weigh more heavily outside view considerations than detailed inside view information. For example, a main consideration of my prediction is using the heurastic With 50% probability, things will last twice as long as they already have, with the starting time of 1956, the time of the Dartmouth College summer AI conference.
If AGI will definitely happen eventually, then the heuristic gives us [21.3, 64, 192] years at the [25th, 50th, 75th] percentiles of AGI to occur. AGI may never happen, but the chance of that is small enough that adjusting for that here will not make a big difference (I put ~10% that AGI will not happen for 500 years or more, but it already matches that distribution quite well).

A more inside view consideration is: what happens if the current machine learning paradigm scales to AGI? Given that assumption, a 50% confidence interval might be [2028, 2045] (since the current burst of machine learning research began in 2012-2013), which is more in line with the Lesswrong predictions and Metaculus community prediction . Taking the super outside view consideration and the outside view-ish consideration together, I get the prediction I made a week ago.

I adapted my prediction to the timeline of this post [1], and compared it with some other commenters predictions [2].

steven0461's Shortform Feed

I think the Metaculus crowd median is among the highest-quality predictions out there. Especially when someone goes through all the questions where they're confident the median is off, and makes comments pointing this out. I used to do this, some months back when there were more short term questions on Metaculus and more questions where I differed from the community. When you made a bunch of comments of this type a month back on Metaculus, that covered most of the 'holes', in my opinion, and now there are only a few questions where I differ from the median prediction.

Another source of predictions is from the IARPA Geoforecasting Challenge, where if you're competing you have access to hundreds of MTurk human predictions through an API. The quality of the predictions are not as great, and there are some questions where the MTurk crowd is way off. But they do have a question on whether Iran will execute or be targeted in a national military attack.

I agree that it's quite possible to beat the best publicly available forecasts. I've been wanting to work together on a small team to do this (where I imagine the same set of people would debate and make the predictions). If anyone's interested in this, I'm datscilly on Metaculus and can be reached at [my name] at gmail.