Following a successful pilot in 2022, we are announcing the Prague Fall Season 2023, which is a program run by Epistea, happening from September 1 to December 10 at FIXED POINT in Prague, Czech Republic. In this time, FIXED POINT will host a variety of programs, projects, events and individuals in the areas of existential security, rationality, epistemics, and effective altruism. We will announce specific events and programs as we confirm them but for now, our flagship program is the 10-week Epistea Residency Program for teams working on projects related to epistemics and rationality. We are now seeking expressions of interest from potential Epistea residents and mentors.
What is a season?
The main benefit of doing a season is having a dedicated limited time to create an increased density of people in one place. This creates more opportunities for people to collaborate, co-create and co-work on important projects - sometimes in a new location. This happens to some extent naturally around major EA conferences in London or San Francisco - many people are there at the same time which creates opportunities for additional events and collaborations. However, the timeframe is quite short and it is not clearly communicated that there are benefits in staying in the area longer and there is not a lot of infrastructure in place to support that.
We ran the pilot project Prague Fall Season last autumn: Along with 25 long-term residents, we hosted over 300 international visitors between September and December 2022. We provided comprehensive support through funding, venue operations, technical and personal development programs, social gatherings, and additional events, such as the CFAR workshop series. Based on the feedback we received and our own experience with the program, we decided to produce another edition of Prague Fall Season this year with a couple of changes:
- We are narrowing the scope of the program primarily to existential security, epistemics, and rationality.
- We ask that participants of the season help us share the cost of running the FIXED POINT house. We may be able to offer financial aid on a case by case basis but the expectation is that when you visit, you can cover at least some part of the cost.
- We are seeking event organizers who would like to make their events part of the season.
We will be sharing more information about how to get involved soon. For now, our priority is launching the Epistea Residency program.
The Epistea Residency 2023
The backbone of the Prague Fall Season 2023 will once again be a 10-week residency program. This year, we are looking for 6-10 teams of 3-5 members each working on specific projects related to areas of rationality, epistemics, group rationality, and civilizational sanity, and delivering tangible outcomes. A residency project can be:
- Research on a relevant topic (examples of what we would be excited about are broad in some directions and include abstract foundations like geometric rationality or Modal Fixpoint Cooperation without Löb's Theorem, research and development of applied rationality techniques like Internal communication framework, research on the use of AI to improve human rationality like "automated Double-Crux aid" and more);
- Distillation, communication, and publishing (writing and publishing a series of explanatory posts, video production, writing a textbook or course materials, etc.);
- Program development (events, workshops, etc.);
- Anything else that will provide value to this space.
Teams will have the option to apply to work on a specific topic (to be announced soon) or propose their own project. The selected teams will work on their projects in person at FIXED POINT from September 18 to November 25 while actively engaging with each other and cross-pollinating ideas. We expect all team members to dedicate at least 0.5 FTE (20 hours per week) to the residency, granting them the possibility to maintain their regular work commitments if necessary. By the end of their residency, teams are expected to present a project output (e.g. organizing a workshop, publishing a paper, etc.) or reach a project milestone.
As part of the Epistea Residency, we will support the teams with:
- Infrastructure (fully equipped co-working office space for each team, meeting rooms, office supplies, access to and maintenance of the house facilities, daily lunch catering, drinks, and snacks);
- Administrative support (assistance with booking flights and/or accommodation and settling in Prague, operations for any projects or events organized within the scope of Prague Fall Season);
- Targeted mentoring by leading experts in the field of each team’s project;
- Option of coaching by Tee Barnett and his trainee cohort;
- At least one out-of-Prague retreat for the Epistea residents;
- Possibly funding for travel expenses, accommodation, and salaries (to be determined depending on funding availability).
One way how to think about the Fellowship is as a program somewhat similar to SERI-MATS or PIBBSS, but focused on advancing epistemics and applied rationality, rather than AI alignment. (This does not preclude projects which advance both rationality and alignment)
The applications for Epistea Residency will open in June 2023. We plan to finalize the admission decisions in early July; teams will arrive in Prague in September.
How to get involved
We are now soliciting inquiries for the Epistea Residency, both from potential participants/teams as well as from experts who would like to serve as mentors, shaping the selection of research questions and guiding the teams in the process. If you are interested in participating, or if you know somebody who would be a great fit for the residency, please briefly let us know through this short, low-stakes form.
If you would like to join us at Fixed Point during Prague Fall Season in another capacity, please fill out this form.
We look forward to welcoming you to Prague soon!
We are currently in the process of securing funding for this program (this includes travel reimbursements, financial aid for housing, staff salaries, a small stipend for residents etc.). If you think this is a good fit for your organization or you know of someone who would be interested in supporting this project, please let us know at email@example.com.
Excellent news! Looking forward to it and kudos to Irena and the team that worked so hard to make it happen.