During the last 2.5 or 3 years, I have been trying to learn and get experience on AI Safety so that when I finish my PhD in Physics I might be able to contribute to the AI Safety community efforts. During these years I have noticed that:
- There seem to be large groups of potential junior researchers, and the community has several programs in place for them such as the AI Safety Camp or AI Safety Research Program.
- Funding is growing, but still largely concentrated in a handful of places such as CHAI, FHI, CSER or institutes not affiliated to universities (eg Center for Long Term Risks); and a few companies (DeepMind, OpenAI, Anthropic). But it seems to me that there are still great places out there where research could happen and is currently not.
So, given that the existence of more senior researchers seems to be a bottleneck: what can the community do to get them more interested in this topic? I read somewhere that there are two ways to get people involved:
- Telling them this is an important problem.
- Telling them this is an interesting problem.
I think it may be worth trying out a combination of both, eg: "hey, this is an interesting problem that could be important to make systems reliable". I really don't think one needs to convince them about longtermism as a previous step.
In any case, I wanted to use this question to generate concrete actions such that people such as the EA Long Term Fund managers could put money to solve this bottleneck. The only time I have seen that something similar is the "Claudia Shi ($5,000): Organizing a "Human-Aligned AI” event at NeurIPS." donation registered in https://funds.effectivealtruism.org/funds/payouts/september-2020-long-term-future-fund-grants.
There might also be other ways, but I don't think I know academic dynamics so well to know. In any case, I am aware that publication of technical AI Safety in these conferences does not seem to be an issue, so I believe the bottleneck is in getting them to be genuinely interested on the topic.