Glossary (Value Alignment Theory)

The parent page for the definitions of words that are given a special or unusual meaning inside value alignment theory.

If a word or phrase could be mistaken for ordinary English (e.g. ‘value’ or ‘utility function’), then you should create a glossary page indicating its special meaning inside VAT, and the first use of that word in any potentially confusing context should be linked here. While other special phrases (like Value Alignment Theory) should also be linked to their concept pages for understandability, they do not need glossary definitions apart from their existing concept pages. However, an overloaded word like ‘value’ needs its own brief (or lengthy) page that can be quickly consulted by somebody wondering what that word is taken to mean in the context of VAT.

See also Linguistic conventions in value alignment.


  • Friendly AI

    Old terminology for an AI whose preferences have been successfully aligned with idealized human values.

  • Cognitive domain

    An allegedly compact unit of knowledge, such that ideas inside the unit interact mainly with each other and less with ideas in other domains.

  • 'Concept'

    In the context of Artificial Intelligence, a ‘concept’ is a category, something that identifies thingies as being inside or outside the concept.


  • AI alignment

    The great civilizational problem of creating artificially intelligent computer systems such that running them is a good idea.