EF34 Show Notes

(EF34) AMA-EF11: On Perfection the AI Alignment Problem and Possibility of Quantum Leaps of Creativity Ask Me Anything for Episode EF11


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Spoiler alert: You’re about to listen to an Ask Me Anything  (AMA) of Episode EF11, which was Season 1, Episode 9 of the Evolve Faster Podcast titled When the Lights Go Out: The Blinding Light of an Artificial Future.  The driving question of this episode (and this AMA) for you to think through is … Can machines think, be creative or fall in love? It’s a fascinating question that actually has surprisingly little research or philosophical investigation.

As a reminder about Episode EF11: Aldford Herbert, a famous science fiction writer, is on the brink of finishing his latest novel about a realistic, dark future of artificial intelligence. A stroke of luck provides him with an opportunity to talk to Cynthia Butler, the mastermind behind the world’s most bleeding edge AI company. Aldford sees this as the perfect opportunity to secretly learn how precise his fictional predictions might be. What he doesn’t know is that Cynthia might just have a mysterious, and even more insidious agenda than his own.

The ninth episode of the first season of the Evolve Faster Podcast Episode is driven by the big question Can machines think, be creative or fall in love? Although they still don’t think or love as humans do, AI is learning how to be creative while humanity is stuck in the same point for almost a millennia.

To peek behind the curtain of Episode EF11, we’ll dissect the following submitted questions:

  • Why haven’t humans ever made quantum leaps in creativity?
  • Is it possible for AI to create art like music?
  • What are your thoughts on the AI alignment problem?
  • What is perfection? Does it exist? Is there an objective perfection?
  • Is human intelligence like a light bulb to the AI’s sun?
  • Are we on the brink of what you call the next evolution?
  • You have a couple of funny trolley scenarios like the Woody Allen one. Are these trolley scenarios real/possible?
  • Is Hebbian learning the same as machine learning?
  • And more…


DEDICATION:  Episode EF11 is dedicated to Elon Musk, one of the technology leaders of the modern world. Besides Tesla and SpaceX, his third company Neuralink focuses on brain-computer interfaces which could play a huge role in the transhumanism movement. Musk’s work directly influences where the world goes next. He’s pioneering a path to a new era for humanity, into which most will go kicking and screaming. Luckily, we have Musk and not the anti-hero of Episode EF11.

Starting during the Internet boom, Musk sold his first company Zip2 for a hefty amount, enabling him to co-found x.com (which later evolved into PayPal). After selling PayPal to eBay in 2002, Musk founded SpaceX and ten years later launched Falcon 9, the first spacecraft launched into space by a private company.

It’s impossible to summarize all of Musk’s success and contributions into a short summary. He’s a unique breed of entrepreneur who not only invents the future but has the organizational skill to create and manage huge companies to bring these visions to scale. Usually, entrepreneurs possess only one of those two abilities, such as a Nikola Tesla who was a great inventor but mostly failed at personally bringing any of his inventions to scale. We are witnessing a massive turning point in humanity’s development and evolution, and Elon Musk is one of society’s key chess pieces in this transformation.

Having such an important role, unfortunately, comes at a price. Human nature, like it or not, loves to bring down anyone on top. Some of it is likely justified as you can’t change the world without ruffling feathers or pushing your teams to their limits. Nevertheless, Musk is continuously evolving us forward to carve a potentially better future not just for humanity, but the planet as a whole.


When writing Episode EF11, I needed a genius and bold entrepreneur and Musk served as a suitable inspiration. It would be a spoiler to reveal anything deeper about his particular choice as a dedication so for that, you’ll have to listen to the episode.

Although the fictional character ended up being quite different than Musk, the heart of their shared identity is cut from the same visionary cloth. With intense vision can come unexpected blind spots and we can only hope Musk doesn’t suffer any on the scale that Cynthia from EF11 does.

Instead of reading the half-baked and speculative news about Musk that constantly sprouts up in media about him, I suggest you follow him directly and discover more from his companies’ websites and talks he’s given:


INSPIRATIONS: Max Tegmark, a physicist currently researching the potential danger of AI to ensure the World doesn’t go Skynet. Ben Goertzel, a veteran in AI research and development with a more positive outlook on the AI future than most of his peers. Philippa Foot, a philosopher who modernized the Trolley problem and whom the innocent AI (or human) might have to kill. Alex Garland, whose debut movie, Ex Machina, introduced the AI problem to the 21st century mainstream. Episode EF11 was further inspired by Sam Harris, Woody Allen, Siegrid Löwel, Nick Bostrom, Peter Thiel, Albert Einstein, Clement Hamani, Donald O. Hebb, Rene Descartes, J.K. Rowling, Incandescent light bulb. For a full list of data and references please see Episode EF11 Show Notes.


Annie Palmer, Waymo reveals its Phoenix self-driving cars have been attacked by people wielding rocks, guns and knives nearly two dozen times, www.dailymail.co.uk. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6544975/Waymos-self-driving-cars-attacked-people-rocks-knives-nearly-two-dozen-times.html (Accessed: Feb 22, 2019).

Bartu Kaleagasi, A New AI Can Write Music as Well as a Human Composer, futurism.com. https://futurism.com/a-new-ai-can-write-music-as-well-as-a-human-composer  (Accessed: Feb 22, 2019).

Natasha Bernal, AI can now create life-like human faces from scratch, www.telegraph.co.uk. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2018/12/18/ai-can-now-create-100-per-cent-lifelike-human-faces-scratch/  (Accessed: Feb 22, 2019).

Oisin Lunny, ‘You’re Probably Going To Be Replaced’ Digital Music Pioneer Issues A Stark Warning For The Industry, www.forbes.com. https://www.forbes.com/sites/oisinlunny/2019/01/28/youre-probably-going-to-be-replaced-digital-music-pioneer-issues-a-stark-warning-for-the-industry/#4d89fb057b58 (Accessed: Feb 22, 2019).

Rob Bensinger, Sam Harris and Eliezer Yudkowsky on “AI: Racing Toward the Brink”, intelligence.org. https://intelligence.org/2018/02/28/sam-harris-and-eliezer-yudkowsky/   (Accessed: Feb 22, 2019).

episode quotes

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(EF34) AMA-EF11: On Perfection the AI Alignment Problem and Possibility of Quantum Leaps of Creativity Ask Me Anything for Episode EF11

Some people might look at AI as the next step in the evolution; but what if we are blindly hoping to find perfection in something that’s just different, not better?

(EF34) AMA-EF11: On Perfection the AI Alignment Problem and Possibility of Quantum Leaps of Creativity Ask Me Anything for Episode EF11

Even if the first general AI is a clever cobbling of every narrow AI ever built, it will likely appear to be a conscious superintelligence as far as our ape-like minds are concerned.

(EF34) AMA-EF11: On Perfection the AI Alignment Problem and Possibility of Quantum Leaps of Creativity Ask Me Anything for Episode EF11

Even if humanity gets annihilated by AI, at least we’re the ones watching it from the first row. If you take into consideration the short time we’re alive and how rarely revolutionary events happen, it’s almost like winning some kind of twisted lottery.

(EF34) AMA-EF11: On Perfection the AI Alignment Problem and Possibility of Quantum Leaps of Creativity Ask Me Anything for Episode EF11

It would seem we are trying so hard to evolve outside who we are that we might have convinced ourselves it’s impossible to do it any other way.