Most individuals are heavily constrained by income. They're spending the majority of their time and energy on generating an income, which is usually low-impact. Meanwhile, as EA grows, the inferential distance one needs to cover to become able to contribute is growing.
By "bridging the inferential gap", I don't just mean learning the basics of EA, but also putting in the time to find highly impactful ideas for projects and learning the skills required to execute them. I would wager that it is many times easier to bridge this gap if someone is working on it full-time. For the sake of simplicity, I'd like to focus on individuals who are self-starting, i.e. all they need is an income and they can take care of the rest.
So let's divide self-starting EA's into three buckets.
A) the ones who are already working on effective projects full-time through employment or a grant
B) the ones who are not working on effective projects, but would put themselves in that position through self-study if they had a year's runway
C) the ones who would not be able to work on effective projects even after a year of self-study
I have three related questions:
- How large is bucket B? How large is it relative to bucket A?
- How can we identify individuals that belong in bucket B?
- If we do identify such an individual, under what conditions is it cost-effective to throw a year's salary at them to let them figure things out?