Eliezer Yudkowsky

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Eliezer Yudkowsky
Eliezer Yudkowsky, Stanford 2006 (square crop).jpg
Eliezer Yudkowsky at the 2006 Stanford Singularity Summit
Born (1979-09-11) September 11, 1979 (age 34)
Nationality American
Fields Machine ethics
Institutions Machine Intelligence Research Institute
Known for Writings on friendly AI, Harry Potter fan fiction
Influences Judea Pearl, Vernor Vinge, E.T. Jaynes, I. J. Good[citation needed]

Eliezer Shlomo Yudkowsky (born September 11, 1979[citation needed]) is an American blogger, writer, and advocate for friendly artificial intelligence.


Yudkowsky is a resident of Berkeley, California. Largely self-educated [1]:38, he co-founded the nonprofit Machine Intelligence Research Institute (formerly the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence) in 2000 and continues to be employed there as a full-time Research Fellow.[2]:599 James Miller cites an email to a mailing list in which Yudkowsky wrote that he scored a 1410 on the SAT at age eleven[3] and Damien Broderick wrote that he received a perfect 1600 four years later.[4]


Yudkowsky's interests focus on Artificial Intelligence theory for self-awareness, self-modification, and recursive self-improvement, and on artificial-intelligence architectures and decision theories for stable motivational structures (Friendly AI and Coherent Extrapolated Volition in particular).[2]:420 Yudkowsky's most recent work is on decision theory for problems of self-modification and Newcomblike problems.

Yudkowsky was, along with Robin Hanson, one of the principal contributors to the blog Overcoming Bias[5] sponsored by the Future of Humanity Institute of Oxford University. In early 2009[citation needed], he helped to found LessWrong, a "community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality".[1]:37 LessWrong has been covered in depth in Business Insider.[6] Core concepts from LessWrong have been referenced in columns in The Guardian.[7][8] LessWrong has been mentioned briefly in articles related to the technological singularity and the work of the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (formerly called the Singularity Institute).[9] It has also been mentioned in articles about online monarchists and neo-reactionaries.[10]

Yudkowsky contributed two chapters to Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom's and Milan Ćirković's edited volume Global Catastrophic Risks.[11]

Fan fiction[edit]

Yudkowsky has also written several works[12] of science fiction and other fiction. His wide-ranging Harry Potter fan fiction story Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality illustrates topics in cognitive science and rationality.[1]:37[13][14][15][16][17][18]The New Yorker described it as "recast[ing] the original story in an attempt to explain Harry's wizardry through the scientific method."[19]


  1. ^ a b c Singularity Rising, by James Miller
  2. ^ a b Kurzweil, Ray (2005). The Singularity Is Near. New York, US: Viking Penguin. ISBN 0-670-03384-7. 
  3. ^ Singularity Rising, by James Miller, page 38 citing an email at [1]
  4. ^ The Spike, by Damien Broderick, page 265
  5. ^ "Overcoming Bias: About". Robin Hanson. Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  6. ^ Miller, James (July 28, 2011). "You Can Learn How To Become More Rational". Business Insider. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  7. ^ Burkeman, Oliver (July 8, 2011). "This column will change your life: Feel the ugh and do it anyway. Can the psychological flinch mechanism be beaten?". The Guardian. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  8. ^ Burkeman, Oliver (March 9, 2012). "This column will change your life: asked a tricky question? Answer an easier one. We all do it, all the time. So how can we get rid of this eccentricity?". The Guardian. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  9. ^ Tiku, Natasha (July 25, 2012). "Faith, Hope, and Singularity: Entering the Matrix with New York's Futurist Set It's the end of the world as we know it, and they feel fine.". BetaBeat. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  10. ^ Finley, Klint (November 22, 2013). "Geeks for Monarchy: The Rise of the Neoreactionaries". TechCrunch. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  11. ^ Bostrom, Nick; Ćirković, Milan M., eds. (2008). Global Catastrophic Risks. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 91–119, 308–345. ISBN 978-0-19-857050-9. 
  12. ^ [2]
  13. ^ David Brin (2010-06-21). "CONTRARY BRIN: A secret of college life... plus controversies and science!". Davidbrin.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-08-31. "'Harry Potter' and the Key to Immortality", Daniel Snyder, The Atlantic
  14. ^ Authors (2012-04-02). "Rachel Aaron interview (April 2012)". Fantasybookreview.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-08-31. 
  15. ^ "Civilian Reader: An Interview with Rachel Aaron". Civilian-reader.blogspot.com. 2011-05-04. Retrieved 2012-08-31. 
  16. ^ Hanson, Robin (2010-10-31). "Hyper-Rational Harry". Overcoming Bias. Retrieved 2012-08-31. 
  17. ^ Swartz, Aaron. "The 2011 Review of Books (Aaron Swartz's Raw Thought)". archive.org. Retrieved 2013-04-10. 
  18. ^ "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality". Esr.ibiblio.org. 2010-07-06. Retrieved 2012-08-31. 
  19. ^ pg 54, "No Death, No Taxes: The libertarian futurism of a Silicon Valley billionaire"


Further reading[edit]

  • Our Molecular Future: How Nanotechnology, Robotics, Genetics and Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Our World by Douglas Mulhall, 2002, p. 321.
  • The Spike: How Our Lives Are Being Transformed By Rapidly Advancing Technologies by Damien Broderick, 2001, pp. 236, 265–272, 289, 321, 324, 326, 337–339, 345, 353, 370.

External links[edit]