Building the Epistemic Community of AI Safety

14 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2023

See all articles by Shazeda Ahmed

Shazeda Ahmed

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Klaudia Jaźwińska

Princeton University

Archana Ahlawat

Princeton University - Princeton University

Amy Winecoff

Princeton University

Mona Wang

Princeton University

Date Written: November 22, 2023

Abstract

The emerging field of "AI safety" has attracted public attention and large infusions of capital to support its implied promise: the ability to deploy advanced artificial intelligence (AI) while reducing its gravest risks. Ideas from effective altruism, longtermism, and the study of existential risk are foundational to this new field. In this paper, we contend that overlapping communities interested in these ideas have merged into what we refer to as the broader "AI safety epistemic community," which is sustained through its mutually reinforcing community-building and knowledge production practices. We support this assertion through an analysis of four core sites in this community’s epistemic culture: 1) online community-building through web forums and career advising; 2) AI forecasting; 3) AI safety research; and 4) prize competitions. The dispersal of this epistemic community’s members throughout the tech industry, academia, and policy organizations ensures their continued input into global discourse about AI. Understanding the epistemic culture that fuses their moral convictions and knowledge claims is crucial to evaluating these claims, which are gaining influence in critical, rapidly changing debates about the harms of AI and how to mitigate them

Keywords: AI safety, epistemic culture, existential risk, effective altruism

Suggested Citation

Ahmed, Shazeda and Jaźwińska, Klaudia and Ahlawat, Archana and Winecoff, Amy and Wang, Mona, Building the Epistemic Community of AI Safety (November 22, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4641526 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4641526

Shazeda Ahmed (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

Klaudia Jaźwińska

Princeton University ( email )

United States

Archana Ahlawat

Princeton University - Princeton University ( email )

Joseph Henry House
Princeton, NJ 08542
United States

Amy Winecoff

Princeton University ( email )

United States

Mona Wang

Princeton University ( email )

United States

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