AlexanderSaeri

Co-founder @ Ready Research; Research Fellow @ BehaviourWorks Australia, Monash University
Working (6-15 years of experience)
311Joined Sep 2019
www.readyresearch.org

Comments
27

Thanks Jacques, I'll need to check this out. Appreciate the pointer and keen to hear more about an LLM layer on this (e.g., identifying action items or summarising key decision points in a meeting, etc). 

I had wondered if it was too hyperbolic to claim that this was an example of proto- or early-PASTA. My earlier draft hedged and said that the next version of these tools would be something like an early PASTA. I would characterise Holden Karnovsky's post introducing PASTA as describing an agentic system that could improve by making copies of itself and improving itself. 

However, when he first introduces the idea of 'explosive' scientific and technological advancement, it's through the thought experiment of creating digital people, which mean that many more minds can be allocated to different research problems.

I would argue that using Whisper or GPT-3 in the way I've described in this article is applying a kind of information processing system that in a very limited sense, is similar to allocating another mind to the research problem of capturing and analysing speech & text data - because it essentially replaced me or another researcher doing the task. This is especially the case when chaining tools together with (for now) human supervision. This allows Whisper (language processing module) and GPT-3 with prompting (summarisation and analysis module) to combine for more useful 'mind-replacement' than either alone. 

Thanks for this Jakub! One thing I've seen students / participants ask for is more concrete actions that they could take alongside or after AGISF, so I think this will be a useful resource.

Thanks for the update. 

I'd like to recommend that part of the process review for providing travel grant funding includes consideration of the application process timing for CEA-run or supported events. In my experience, key dates in the process (open, consideration/decision, notification of acceptance, notification of travel grant funding) happen much closer to the date  of the event than other academic or trade conferences. 

For example, in 2022, several Australian EAs I know applied ~90 days in advance of EAG London or EAG SF, but were accepted only around 30-40 days before the event. 

A slow application process creates several issues for international attendees:

  1. Notice is needed for employment leave. Prospective attendees who are employed usually need to submit an application for leave with 1+ months notice, especially for a trip of ~1 week or longer needed for international travel. Shorter notice can create conflict or ill-feeling between the employee and employer.
  2. Flight prices increase as the travel date approaches. An Australian report recommended booking international flights 6 months ahead of the date of travel. A Google report recommended booking international travel (US<>Europe) at least 50-180 days [~2-6 months] ahead of the date of travel. By 30 days out - when my colleagues received notice of acceptance - flights were much more expensive, and some of the most convenient travel dates were unavailable.
  3. Fit with other commitments and needs. For parents, people with caring responsibilities, or people with disabilities, a slow process can lead to stress and conflict about whether to accept the invitation and how to make arrangements to support attendance at short notice.
  4. Visa issues. Visa applications can take weeks or months to approve by the destination country.

Providing travel grant funding can help to "smooth over" some of these issues, e.g., by subsidising the increase in flight costs, offsetting the (literal or emotional) costs of navigating / negotiating commitments and needs. It is not a panacea - the application process itself also needs to be reviewed to reduce these issues. If the travel grant funding is significantly reduced but no change is made to the application process, there may be an unintended consequence of fewer international attendees who would otherwise be a good fit for events.

I support a review of travel grant funding processes. I ask that you also consider the application process (especially timing) and its relationship with the travel grant funding process, to improve the experience for international attendees so that the flagship events of EA Global can continue to live up to their name.

Thanks Peter! I appreciate the work you've put in to synthesising a large and growing set of activities.

Nicholas Moes and Caroline Jeanmaire wrote a piece, A Map to Navigate AI Governance, which set out Strategy as 'upstream' of typical governance activities. Michael Aird in a shortform post about x-risk policy 'pipelines' also set (macro)strategy upstream of other policy research, development, and advocacy activities.

One thing that could be interesting to explore is the current and ideal relationships between the work groups you describe here. 

For example, in your government analogy, you describe Strategy as the executive branch, and each of the other work groups as agencies, departments, or specific functions (e.g., HR), which would be subordinate. 

Does this reflect your thinking as well? Should AI strategy worker / organisations be deferred to by AI governance workers / organisations?

Thanks for the plausible explanation!

Re: adding images to your post, I literally just copy and paste. But you could also read a longer post on how to enable advanced editing features such as tables and images.

Thanks for pointing this out, Peter. As I understand it, you found this by searching for "effective altruism" and then sorting by date, not relevance.

I did not see any results for "less wrong"

But I did see similar results to your observation for "alignment forum"

Thanks for this detailed write-up, Ninell. I'll be applying several of the principles for organisation and roles to a version of AGISF I'm facilitating in Australia in late 2022.

This was great fun, and I enjoyed contributing to it!

I'm really excited to see this survey idea getting developed. Congratulations to the Rethink team on securing funding for this! 

A few questions on design, content and purpose:

  • Who are the users for this survey, how will they be involved with the design, and how will findings be communicated with them?
    • In previous living / repeated survey work that I've done (SCRUB COVID-19), having research users involved in the design was crucial for it to influence their decision-making. This also got complex when the survey became successful and there were different groups of research users, all of whom had different needs
    • Because "what gets measured, gets managed", there is a risk / opportunity in who decides which questions should be included in order to measure "awareness and attitudes towards EA and longtermism". 
  • Will data, materials, code and documentation from the survey be made available for replication, international adaptation, and secondary analysis? 
    • This could include anonymised data, Qualtrics survey instruments, R code, Google docs of data documentation, etc
    • Secondary analysis could significantly boost the current and long-term value of the project by opening it up to other interested researchers to explore hypotheses relevant to EA
    • Providing materials and good code & documentation can help international replication and adapation. 
  • Was there a particular reason to choose a monthly cycle for the survey? Do you have an end date in mind or are you hoping to continue indefinitely?
    • Do you anticipate that attitudes and beliefs would change that rapidly? In other successful 'pulse' style national surveys, it's more common to see yearly or even less frequent measurement (here's one great example of a longitudinal values survey from New Zealand)
    • Is there capacity to effectively design, conduct, analyse, and communicate at this pace? In previous work I've found that this cycle - especially in communicating with / managing research users, survey panel companies, etc - can become exhausting, especially if the idea is to run the survey indefinitely. 

 

In terms of specific questions to add, my main thought is to include behavioural items, not just attitudes and beliefs. 

  • Ways of measuring this  could include "investigated the effectiveness of a charity before donating on the last occasion you had a chance", or "donated to effective charity in past 12 months", or "number of days in the past week that you ate only plant-based products (no meat, seafood, dairy or eggs)

 

Through the SCRUB COVID-19 project, we (several of us at Ready) ran a survey of 1700 Australians every 3 weeks for about 15 months (2020-2021) in close consultation with state policymakers and their research users. Please reach out if you'd like to discuss / share experiences.

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