AI Impacts key questions of interest

Updated Dec 17, 2020

This is a list of questions that AI Impacts focuses on answering.


We are interested in understanding how the development of advanced AI will proceed and how it may affect humanity, especially insofar as these are relevant to efforts to improve the outcomes. This is a list of questions within this topic that we currently consider particularly important to answer.


  • AI RISK: What type and degree of risk will be posed to humanity by advanced AI systems?
  • CHARACTER: What will early advanced AI systems be like?
    • ARCHITECTURE: What types of algorithms will advanced AI systems use?
    • AGENCY: Will the bulk of advanced AI systems be in the form of ‘agents’? (If so, in what sense? Will they pursue ‘goals’? Can we say anything about the nature the goals or the pursuit?)
    • PRICE: How much will the first human-level AI systems cost?
  • TIMELINES: When will human-level AI be developed? (When will other important AI milestones take place?)
  • TAKE-OFF SPEED: How rapid is the development of AI likely to be near human-level?
    • DISCONTINUITY: Will there be abrupt progress in AI development at around human-level performance?
    • INTELLIGENCE EXPLOSION: How much will AI development be accelerated by feedback from AI-based automation of the process?
  • PRE-AI DEVELOPMENTS: What developments will take place before advanced AI is developed?
    • PATHS TO HLAI: By what methods is advanced AI likely to come about? (e.g. will human-level AI be developed via brain emulation before it is developed via machine learning? Will neuroscientific understanding play a large role in development?)
    • CONTEMPORARY EVENTS: How will the world be relevantly different at the time that advanced AI is developed?
    • WARNING SIGNS: Should we expect advance notice of disruptive change from AI? (What would it look like?)
  • POST-AI SOCIETY: If advanced AI transforms the world, what will the world look like afterwards? (e.g. What will the economic impacts be? Will humans flourish? What roles will AI systems play in society?)
  • ACTIONS: What can we say about the impact of contemporary choices on long-term outcomes?

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