Pascal's mugging and AI safety

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Existential risk reduction via work on AI safety has occasionally been compared to Pascal's mugging. The critic of AI safety argues that working on AI safety has a very small probability of a very big payoff, which sounds suspicious.

The standard resolution seems to be:

  • Point out that there are different levels of what "very small probability" means. Some people think 1% is very small, whereas in Pascal's mugging we are dealing with astronomically small probabilities such as 1/3^^^3.
  • Argue that for probabilities like 1%, standard expected value calculations work fine.
  • Argue that reducing x-risk from AI safety is more like a 1% chance than like an astronomically small chance.

Notably, Eliezer Yudkowsky has consistently argued against paying up in Pascal's mugging.

e.g. [1] [2]