This post is part of a series of rough posts on nuclear risk research ideas. I strongly recommend that, before you read this post, you read the series’ summary & introduction post for context, caveats, and to see the list of other ideas. One caveat that’s especially worth flagging here is that I drafted this in late 2021 and haven’t updated it much since. I’m grateful to Will Aldred for help with this series.One reason I'm publishing this now is to serve as one menu of research project ideas for upcoming summer research fellowships.
Some tentative bottom-line views about this project idea
What is this idea? How could it be tackled?
I feel unsure what version of this project would be (most) useful, partly because I haven’t carefully looked at all the relevant things that already exist. But the sort of thing I have in mind includes:
- Simply compiling a list of the NGOs/think tanks, funders, and perhaps other actors with a substantial interest in nuclear risk reduction or related areas/activities
- Relevant other actors could include key experts, key policymakers, government departments, and international organisations
- Gathering basic information on these actors and stakeholders, in terms of their size, location, activities, priorities, or other variables deemed relevant
- Presenting this information in a useful and accessible way, which would likely require working out what information to show prominently and what to not show at all, how to organise the information, etc.
Relevant things that already exist include:
- Open Philanthropy’s (2015) section on “Who else is working on [nuclear weapons policy]?
- McIntrye’s (2016) section on “Who is working on [nuclear security]?”, for 80,000 Hours
- Peace and Security Funders Group’s members list and funding map
- My Database of orgs relevant to longtermist/x-risk work
This project could involve updating, expanding, synthesising, and/or filling in gaps left by those things.
I’ve very quickly sketched a possible template and starting point for this sort of overview here.
One could potentially find additional actors worth listing by looking at what relevant funders have funded, and could potentially find additional funders worth listing by looking at who has funded relevant actors.
I think that this project could be thought of as something similar to “stakeholder analysis” or “stakeholder mapping”, but I don’t actually know much about those concepts.
The project could take a similar approach (though of course a different scope) to Fitzgerald, Boddy, and Baum’s (2020) “2020 Survey of Artificial General Intelligence Projects for Ethics, Risk, and Policy”.
Why might this research be useful?
This project could aid in:
- Conducting projects on “How should EAs react to funders pulling out of the nuclear risk space?” and/or “Impact assessment of various organisations, programmes, movements, etc.”
- Developing a longlist of actors and stakeholders to consider funding, seeking funding from, working with, seeking advice from, influencing, etc., and providing initial info to aid in those decisions
- Providing career advice (e.g., 80,000 Hours could perhaps use this overview when having coaching calls with people who are potentially interested in working to reduce nuclear risk)
- Adding to a longlist of possible intermediate goals and interventions (see Aird & Aldred, 2022) by noticing additional things existing actors and stakeholders are interested in
- Determining how neglected/crowded nuclear risk as a whole or specific areas, approaches, etc. are, including identifying gaps