First, basics: I'm a first-year Informatics student. At The University of Edinburgh, where I study, Informatics broadly encompasses Computer Science, AI, and Cognitive Science. I initially started this programme to go into AI safety research later and bc of good personal fit and all that. Ik it's a long time in the future and my plan will likely change, but it's good to have plans, right?
I subscribe to the belief that we should maximise for "positive conscious experience" of all beings. Additionally, over the past few months I've grown more and more intrigued with the riddle consciousness poses. My intention has subtly changed from becoming an AI safety researcher to becoming a consciousness researcher by means of AI/Cognitive Science.
Here's my conundrum: Researching consciousness does make sense as to verify the very basis of my EA beliefs. However, it has practically no real altruistic impact. I also only have a very narrow view of its pressingness/tractability/replacability etcetc as it is not widely discussed, e.g., has no career profile on 80,000 hours. All my information basically comes from the people at Qualia Research Institute who are really excited about the issue (which admittedly is quite infectious).
So what I'm saying is I need more views on this! What do you think? How important is solidifying the concept of consciousness for EA? If I don't do it, would someone else do it instead? What are your thoughts on a career in this field?
Thanks if anyone actually read this :)))) And even more thanks for any replies!