I believe I know some important things you don't, such as that induction is impossible, and that your approach to AGI is incorrect due to epistemological issues which were explained decades ago by Karl Popper. How do you propose to resolve that, if at all?
I think methodology for how to handle disagreements comes prior to the content of the disagreements. I have writing about my proposed methodology, Paths Forward, and about how Less Wrong doesn't work because of the lack of Paths Forward:
Can anyone tell me that I'm mistaken about any of this? Do you have a criticism of Paths Forward? Will any of you take responsibility for doing Paths Forward?
Have any of you written a serious answer to Karl Popper (the philosopher who refuted induction – http://fallibleideas.com/books#popper )? That's important to address, not ignore, since if he's correct then lots of your research approaches are mistakes.
In general, if someone knows a mistake you're making, what are the mechanisms for telling you and having someone take responsibility for addressing the matter well and addressing followup points? Or if someone has comments/questions/criticism, what are the mechanisms available for getting those addressed? Preferably this should be done in public with permalinks at a venue which supports nested quoting. And whatever your answer to this, is it written down in public somewhere?
Do you have public writing detailing your ideas which anyone is taking responsibility for the correctness of? People at Less Wrong often say "read the sequences" but none of them take responsibility for addressing issues with the sequences, including answering questions or publishing fixes if there are problems. Nor do they want to address existing writing (e.g. by David Deutsch – http://fallibleideas.com/books#deutsch ) which contains arguments refuting major aspects of the sequences.
Your forum ( https://agentfoundations.org ) says it's topic-limited to AGI math, so it's not appropriate for discussing criticism of the philosophical assumptions behind your approach (which, if correct, imply the AGI math you're doing is a mistake). And it states ( https://agentfoundations.org/how-to-contribute ):
It’s important for us to keep the forum focused, though; there are other good places to talk about subjects that are more indirectly related to MIRI’s research, and the moderators here may close down discussions on subjects that aren’t a good fit for this forum.
But you do not link those other good places. Can you tell me any Paths-Forward-compatible other places to use, particularly ones where discussion could reasonably result in MIRI changing?
If you disagree with Paths Forward, will you say why? And do you have some alternative approach written in public?
Also, more broadly, whether you will address these issues or not, do you know of anyone that will?
If the answers to these matters are basically "no", then if you're mistaken, won't you stay that way, despite some better ideas being known and people being willing to tell you?
The (Popperian) Fallible Ideas philosophy community ( http://fallibleideas.com ) is set up to facilitate Paths Forward (here is our forum which does this http://fallibleideas.com/discussion-info ), and has knowledge of epistemology which implies you're making big mistakes. We address all known criticisms of our positions (which is achievable without using too much resources like time and attention, as Paths Forward explains); do you?
Update (Dec 2019):
One person from MIRI responded the day I sent out the letter (Nov 9, 2017). He didn't answer anything I asked, but I decided to add the quotes for better completeness and record keeping. Below are Rob Bensinger's 3 emails, quoted, and my replies. After that he stopped responding.
Hi, Elliot. My short answer is that I think Popper is wrong; inductive reasoning works just as well as deductive in principle, though in practice we often have to rely on heuristic approximations of ideal inductive and deductive reasoning. The traditional problems with in-principle inductive reasoning (e.g., infinite hypothesis spaces) are well-addressed by Solomonoff's theory of algorithmic probability (http://world.std.com/~rjs/tributes/rathmannerhutter.pdf).
Have you written a serious and reasonably complete answer to Popper, or do you know of one that you will endorse, take responsibility for (if it's mistaken, you were mistaken), and address questions/criticisms/etc regarding?
And where is the Path Forward if you're mistaken?
I feel comfortable endorsing Solomonoff induction and Garrabrant induction (https://intelligence.org/2016/09/12/new-paper-logical-induction/) as philosophically unproblematic demonstrations that inductive reasoning works well in principle.
So you're disagreeing with Popper, but without addressing his arguments. If you're mistaken, and your mistakes have already been explained decades ago, you'll stay mistaken. No Paths Forward. Right?
I've read Popper before, and I believe the SEP when it says that he considered infinite hypothesis spaces a major underlying problem for induction (if not the core problem):
Popper gave two formulations of the problem of induction; the first is the establishment of the truth of a theory by empirical evidence; the second, slightly weaker, is the justification of a preference for one theory over another as better supported by empirical evidence. Both of these he declared insoluble, on the grounds, roughly put, that scientific theories have infinite scope and no finite evidence can ever adjudicate among them (LSD, 253–254; Grattan-Guiness 2004).
My claim is that Solomonoff induction addresses this problem handily, and that it more generally provides a good formal framework for understanding how and why inductive reasoning works well in practice.
I think we're getting off-topic. Do you agree or disagree with Paths Forward? Why? Do you have alternative written procedures for having issues like this addressed? Do you have e.g. a forum which would be a good place for me to reply to what you've said?
If I point out that you're mistaken about Popper's arguments and how they may be addressed, what happens next? BTW this would be much easier if there was a direct written answer to Popper by you, or by anyone else, that you were willing to take responsibility for. Why isn't there? That would also save effort for both of us – because responding to your unwritten views will require back-and-forth emails where I ask questions to find out what they are and get clarifications on what you're actually claiming. If your reasoning is that Popper is mistaken, so you don't want to bother properly answering him ... then your fallible criticism of Popper isn't itself being exposed to error correction very well.