Negative Side Effects#

Negative side effects are an important safety issue in AI system that considers all possible unintended harm that is caused as a secondary effect of the AI system’s operation. An agent can disrupt or break other systems around, or damage third parties, including humans, or can exhaust resources, or a combination of all this. This usually happens because many things the system should not do are not included in its specification. In the case of AI systems, this is even more poignant as written specifications are usually replaced by an optimisation or loss function, in which it is even more difficult to express these things the system should not do, as they frequently rely on ‘common sense’.

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