"This isn't the case in mode..."


by Paul Christiano May 17 2016

This isn't the case in modern cryptography, except perhaps for the design of ciphers. It seems at best debatable in the case of value alignment.

It seems to matter in the case of ciphers because "we couldn't break it" is generally the best result you can hope for. In most other areas (including the rest of cryptography, and value alignment) we can say much more.


Eliezer Yudkowsky

I don't understand what you mean. In computer security generally, breaking an existing system, especially one in wide use or that had been subject to previous scrutiny, is a source of great prestige and a way of demonstrating competence. This happens far more often than somebody finding a new basic mathematical flaw in a widely used cryptographic system. What did you think Bruce Schneier meant?

Paul Christiano

If you want to demonstrate competence… you should first think in terms of exposing technically demonstrable flaws in existing solutions, rather than solving entire problems yourself

(I don't know Bruce Schneier's view, I was replying to this post.)

Eliezer Yudkowsky

I'm still not clear on what you think is false / what you think is the reality. Computer security and cryptography begin by understanding how to break systems.