During his time as a MIRI research fellow, Carl Shulman contributed to a paper now available as an FHI technical report: Racing to the Precipice: a Model of Artificial Intelligence Development.
This paper presents a simple model of an AI arms race, where several development teams race to build the first AI. Under the assumption that the first AI will be very powerful and transformative, each team is incentivized to finish first — by skimping on safety precautions if need be. This paper presents the Nash equilibrium of this process, where each team takes the correct amount of safety precautions in the arms race. Having extra development teams and extra enmity between teams can increase the danger of an AI-disaster, especially if risk taking is more important than skill in developing the AI. Surprisingly, information also increases the risks: the more teams know about each others’ capabilities (and about their own), the more the danger increases.
Update: As of July 2015, this paper has been published in the journal AI & Society.