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I am looking for advice on whether I should do what I've outlined below (is it valuable or generally a waste of time) and, if so, how I should go about doing it. If there is support for something like this, I may apply for funding and do this sometime during Q4 2023. 

  • Go to a frequented environment in NYC (e.g., Time Square; I use NYC because I live close to this city and presumably would be the one doing the actions I'm describing)
  • Bring a notepad / clipboard and don an official or professional appearance (e.g., a suit)
  • Bring a sign with some message akin to:
    • "Quick, Paid Survey About Humanity"
    • "$10 for 10 Minutes, Survey"
    • "Questions About Our Future"
  • Bring a camera w/ tripod and other necessary recording equipment, maybe a mic
  • Being recording short interviews (~3-10 minutes). 
  • For person 1 to ~100:
    • Ask if they'd be willing to answer some questions about humanity (3-10 minutes) for $10 and be recorded on video
    • Record person speaking, and then ask some or all of the following questions or those similar to the following:
      • If you had 10 billion USD to help the world, how would you spend it?
      • What are the most important problems for humanity to address right now?
      • What might be the important problems for humanity to address in 2050?
      • What are the most important issues for the USA right now? 
      • If you had to send a short message to humanity in 2100, what would it be? 
      • Rank these in terms of how risky them seem (have these on the clipboard):
        • [nuclear war], [space weather / collisions], [climate change], [pandemics], [artificial intelligence], [global conflict]
      • How are you altruistic, and how altruistic should people be? 
      • What does this picture [pale blue dot] make you think about?
      • [Maybe some question about human enhancement / treatment via gene-editing]
    • Ask some or all of the following demographic questions
      • Where did you grow up? 
      • How much school have you received?
      • Are you happy? 
      • How wealthy do you consider yourself?
      • What ethnicity or race do you consider yourself?
    • Pay individual $10 USD and thank them for their time

General Goal / Motivation: I think action-sequence would be an interesting window into what a sample (biased, out of convenience) of "ordinary" Westerners have to say about the near and long-term future of humanity. If a verbal survey like the one I have outlined above is done well, I imagine that it could serve as a gateway for the people questioned and for those who watch it (if posted to YouTube, LW, EAF) to think more about humanity's future and as a gauge of what some Westerners believe are humanity's most pressing issues. I am unaware of anything like this that may have been done, but think there is some value to it; on this point, I am interested in hearing your take.





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