With the incredible growth of machine learning (ML) over recent years has come an increasing concern about whether ML systems’ objectives truly capture their human designers’ intent: the so-called “alignment problem.” Over the last five years, these questions of both ethics and safety have moved from the margins of the field to become arguably its most central concerns. The result is something of a movement: a vibrant, multifaceted, interdisciplinary effort to address the alignment problem head-on, which is producing some of the most exciting research happening today. Brian Christian, visiting scholar at CITRIS and author of the acclaimed bestsellers “The Most Human Human” and “Algorithms to Live By,” will survey this landscape of recent progress and the frontier of open questions that remain.
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