The AI Does Not Hate You is a haphazard intellectual history of our times. The AI thought experiments are great — terrifying and readable. The pace flags a bit in the sections that concern infighting among prominent rationalists and aspects of rationalist culture such as polyamory and a crowd-funded baby. Only time will tell whether this stuff will seem like a fascinating insight into a group of intellectual pioneers, or just a curious glimpse at a crowd of intriguing but misguided dreamers. As I said, I hope they’re right. Bring on the AI utopia and please don’t torture me!
If the world is ultimately saved, Chivers believes humanity will owe much to the Rationalists who took the “niche, practically dystopian-science-fiction idea of AI risk and made people take it seriously”. In the meantime, he writes movingly about his insecurities over what the future will bring, telling the head of CFAR, “I’m scared for my children” before “apologis[ing] because I found that I was crying”. It is a resonant moment, fittingly articulated in the past tense.