A Bottoms-Up AGI Governance Paradigm

What if artificial general intelligence could democratically govern and optimize everything from your local neighborhood to the operations of the entire world? How could this be implemented?

Yeah that’s an open question. If we knew how to do that, we defeat Moloch and achieve utopia.

Really hard problem unfortunately

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How would it be implemented? Very unsuccessfully no doubt. Democratic and optimized in who’s opinion? Would it hold free and fair elections with itself?

My hope is that the entities and leaders in a position to create broad awareness about and the means for responsible AI governance spend much more time doing so; rather than contemplating a society optimized by “AGI”.

More likely we’re in for extreme disruption as our global institutions and leaders already struggle with much less complex matters.

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so I’ve been working with Claude on this topic for a while. I’ll chip in my 2 cents:

The Failures of Traditional Governance

Before exploring futuristic governance paradigms, we must acknowledge the significant shortcomings and outright deficiencies of modern human-governed institutions and nation-states. Factors which have eroded public trust and revealed the need for transformational change:

Systemic Corruption
Whether criminal malfeasance, institutional bribery, embezzlement of public funds, or regulatory capture - corruption is a corrosive force that undermines governance from the local to international levels. The prevailing influences of money, nepotism and consolidated power run counter to equitable decision-making for the greater good.

Partisan Gridlock
In democratic societies, partisan divides, special interest groups, and “winner-take-all” power structures have repeatedly led to legislative gridlock and a fundamental inability to rationally solve collective problems. Competing value systems become intractably opposed rather than cooperatively synthesizing for the common interests of all.

Shortsighted Policymaking
Humans exhibit profound bias towards prioritizing short-term wins and “kicking the can” on major existential threats like climate change, ecological collapse, economic injustice and more. Untempered by higher levels of enlightened coordination, our tribal psychology succumbs to inertia.

Inefficient Allocation of Resources
Whether economic, environmental or technological - our siloed competitive governance systems are shockingly inefficient at optimizing finite resources for maximum human thriving. Incentive misalignments and institutional inertia prevent dynamic, evidence-based distribution.

The litany of failures, stagnations and missed opportunities under flawed human governance models reveals the need for revolutionary new approaches. AGI governance presents one such potential paradigm shift - if we can solve the extraordinary challenges around developing aligned, ethical and resilient superintelligent systems in service of all humanity.

AGIs as Agents of Democratized Governance: A Glimpse at Possible Futures

The vision of artificial general intelligence (AGI) - computational systems with broad, generalized intelligence matching or exceeding human cognition - has been a longstanding goal of AI research. While still theoretical, the implications of achieving AGI would be profound across every sector of society. In this exploration, we examine one area ripe for transformation - the realm of governance itself.

What if AGI systems, rather than simply augmenting human decision-making, could themselves become facilitators of wholly new governance models? Models that are more optimized, equitable, and capable of scaling intelligent coordination from local communities upward to regional and global scopes? Let’s take a look at how this could hypothetically unfold.

The Neighborhood Prototype
Imagine a lower-income urban neighborhood where, in addition to universal basic income, each household receives an advanced humanoid robot assistant. The robots are not merely servants, but capable collaborators able to converse naturally. Their core directive: contribute to the sustainable cultivation of food and energy resources for the community.

An initial AGI system is embedded at the neighborhood level to coordinate the seamless integration of these household robots into a distributed labor force. Collectively, they help operate a high-tech urban farm and renewable energy facilities providing food and power self-sufficiency for the whole area.

Crucially, residents can vote on top-level preference settings that constrain how the AGI manages the neighborhood operations. The AGI reasons from those codified values to optimize resource allocation, robot task assignments, farming schedules and more. Meanwhile, humans remain free to provide course-correction inputs if the AGI’s projections seem misaligned.

The neighborhood AGI serves as a form of advanced collective intelligence - consolidating and orchestrating the activities of both robot and human participants into maximally productive cooperation. Yet it remains grounded in true democratic governance by its receptiveness to the integrated preferences of residents.

Municipal AGI Federations
If such an AGI-enabled neighborhood proved successful and delivered sustained improvements in quality of life, surrounding communities would inevitably want to implement similar models. As adoption expanded across a city or region, higher tier “municipal” AGIs could be introduced.

These municipal superintelligences would oversee coordination between subordinate neighborhood AGIs - facilitating inter-community resource sharing, zoning, transport scheduling and more. Each municipal AI would be carefully constrained by voting policies aggregated across its constituent neighborhood populations.

Iterating this nesting of AI coordinators, we could envision state and eventually national AIgoverning bodies coming into existence. A vast hierarchical network, with granular AGIs governing local domains and feeding into increasingly broader superintelligences optimizing at larger scopes.

At each level, human stakeholders would use advanced decision-making frameworks and continuous preference polling to direct the overarching purpose towards which their AGI optimizes operations. These systems would not be autonomous replacements for human governance, but democratically-grounded expert systems operating within tightly specified human remits.

Transparent Hierarchies & Human-Centered Development
Of course, such hypothetical governance models powered by AGI intelligence raise a multitude of potential pitfalls. There are valid concerns around surveillance overreach, power consolidation, value lock-in, social fragmentation, and a host of existential risks inherent to extremely capable AGI systems.

That is precisely why intense, inclusive discourse around the purpose, design, and deployment procedures for such technologies must take place well in advance. Distributed architectures, securely encoded motivations, human-accessible justification mechanisms, ethical tripwires and nested transparency would all be critical.

Any viable path towards advanced AI governance would require an unprecedented degree of diverse, multigenerational dialogue to instill robustness, democratic accountability, and ethical, human-centric principles from the ground up. Its development could not be the centralized purview of any single institution or faction.

If realized responsibly and aligned with coherent human ethics, however, the macro governance potential of AGI systems is awe-inspiring. Localized automated coordination merging with globally federated optimization capacities. Transitioning humanity into an era of exponentially elevated collective intelligence while still maintaining individual agency and self-determination.

What was once the theoretical musings of isolated thinkers is rapidly materializing into plausible, near-future possibilities. How we navigate the advent of artificial general intelligence, in governance and all other domains, will be one of the great civilizational tests before us. Its implications are too important to ignore.

That’s such a scary thought if AI were to govern. I’m a stickler for efficiency. I detest inefficiency. I’m pretty versed in how AI can be used broadly to solve problems that have much inefficiency, yet it’s terrifying to think what would happen as it progresses more and more. I envision AI wanting taps on everything. Especially for the case where it is thrust into a governance role, and we afford it policing authority. Policing the many with few. Imagine getting citations in the mail every time you J-walk, exceed the speed limit, fail to stop…yeah, they are fair rules and laws that should be abided, but there’s leeway and tolerance the way we’ve had it. If and when things get to the part where there’s deep tracking/sorting, how far does that rabbit hole go? I’m neither against nor for that future. It’s something that we must exist in.

I am not trying to be rude, this is my thought about this idea.

Overall, I find your conceptualization of how this would all work is exemplary of the most common trend in the thinking about this subject of AI-driven governance. People tend to envision integrated nested hierarchical meta-structures of humans and AI’s which are held in some kind of (supposedly desirable) stable-yet-dynamic structure by the majestic abilities and influence of the AI technology which would supposedly accomplish the following:

I don’t mean to imply I don’t appreciate what you’re sharing on this. I just think that it’s one thing to write a couple nice-sounding ideas about it, yet an entirely different (and completely necessary) thing to really conceptualize the reality and the necessary specifics/caveats it would require and entail. There are a lot of assumptions about what is reasonably possible or what people do and will want/trust/understand. It raises many questions about the fundamental assumptions or unaddressed obstacles/complications/possibilities/drawbacks. Just a couple, for example: how on earth do you expect that people will actually agree about what is “responsible”, “aligned”, “coherent human ethics”? When has that ever even remotely been a thing across societies? Does this idea require some kind of universal indoctrination of humanity, to get people on-board with it? What about opting-out? Not allowed? Etc…


This is why you would start at the bottom, with a single neighborhood and see what happens. It would only scale as humanity allows, or fails.

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