New report: “Toward Idealized Decision Theory”

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Toward IdealizedToday we release a new technical report by Nate Soares and Benja Fallenstein, “Toward idealized decision theory.” If you’d like to discuss the paper, please do so here.


This paper motivates the study of decision theory as necessary for aligning smarter-than-human artificial systems with human interests. We discuss the shortcomings of two standard formulations of decision theory, and demonstrate that they cannot be used to describe an idealized decision procedure suitable for approximation by artificial systems. We then explore the notions of strategy selection and logical counterfactuals, two recent insights into decision theory that point the way toward promising paths for future research.

This is the 2nd of six new major reports which describe and motivate MIRI’s current research agenda at a high level. The first was our Corrigibility paper, which was accepted to the AI & Ethics workshop at AAAI-2015. We will also soon be releasing a technical agenda overview document and an annotated bibliography for this emerging field of research.