Systematically under explored project areas?

byRomeoStevens3y28th Sep 201518 comments


One of the reasons highly useful projects don't get discovered quickly is that they are in under explored spaces. Certain areas are systematically under explored due to biases in peoples' search heuristics. Several examples of such biases are:

1) Schlep blindness: named by Paul Graham, posits that difficult projects are under explored.

2) Low-status blindness: projects which are not predicted to bring the project lead prestige are under explored.

3) High-variance blindness: projects which are unlikely to succeed but that have a positive expected value anyway are under explored.

4) Already invented blindness: projects that cover areas that have already been explored by others are assumed to have been competently explored.

5) Not obviously scalable blindness: projects that don't have an obvious route to scaling are under explored.

Are there other biases in what EAs pay attention to?

I believe this is useful because a project checking a lot of boxes in this space is *some* evidence that it is worth pursuit: few others will be interested in it giving you a comparative advantage.