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How would you define "disentanglement research"?

by nonzerosum 1 min read22nd Jun 20195 comments


I've found myself referring to the concept of disentanglement research quite a bit lately.

As best as I can tell, it was first mentioned rather casually in this EA post: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/RCvetzfDnBNFX7pLH/personal-thoughts-on-careers-in-ai-policy-and-strategy#rxAi3ssD8DtSHJtMG

It might be useful to have a focused place to be able to link people to efficiently convey what disentanglement research is.

How would you define it?

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Another possible answer (and an example of where the term is being used!): "What is needed in an early stage is disentanglement- structuring the research field, identifying the central questions, and clarifying concepts." https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/oovy5XXdCL3TPwgLE/a-case-for-strategy-research-what-it-is-and-why-we-need-more

Answer from Helen Toner: "structuring concrete agendas out of an amorphous blob of worries" https://twitter.com/Effect_Altruism/status/927219486201085957

Answer from carrickflynn who originally used the term: "This is a squishy made-up term I am using only for this post that is sort of trying to gesture at a type of research that involves disentangling ideas and questions in a “pre-paradigmatic” area where the core concepts, questions, and methodologies are under-defined. (Nick Bostrom is a fantastic example of someone who is excellent at this type of research.)" https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/RCvetzfDnBNFX7pLH/personal-thoughts-on-careers-in-ai-policy-and-strategy#rxAi3ssD8DtSHJtMG

Possible answer: It's taking a space and answering questions like – what's possible, what could & what should our goals be, main hypotheses and things that would inform what the best directions are, etc.