It's frankly quite concerning that usually technical specifications are only worked on by Working Groups after high-level qualitative goals are set by policymakers- seems to open a can of worms for different interpretations and safety washing.
After talking and working for some time with non-EA organisations in the AI Policy space, I believe that we need to give more credence to the here-and-now of AI safety policy as well to get the attention of policymakers and get our foot in the door. That also gives us space to collaborate with other think tanks and organisations outside of the x-risk space that are proactive and committed to AI policy. Right now, a lot of those people also see X-risks as being fringe and radical(and these are people who are supposed to be on our side).
Governments tend to move slowly, with due process, and in small increments(think, "We are going to first maybe do some risk monitoring, only then auditing"). Policymakers are only visionaries with horizons until the end of their terms(hmm, no surprise). Usually, broad strokes in policy require precedents of a similar size for it to be feasible within a policymakers' agenda and the Overton window.
Every group that comes to a policy meeting thinks that their agenda item is the most pressing because, by definition, most of the time, contacting and getting meetings with policymakers means that you are proactive and have done your homework.
I want to see more EAs respond to Public Voice Opportunities, for instance- something I rarely hear on the EA forum or via EA channels/material.
So, some high-level suggestions based on my interactions with other people I have are:
I find the Biden chip export controls a step in the right direction, and it also made me update my world model of compute governance being an impactful lever. However, I am concerned that our goals aren't aligned with theirs; US policymakers' incentive right now is to curb China's tech growth and fun trade war reasons, not pause AI.
This optimization for different incentives is probably going to create some split between US policymakers and AI safety folks as time goes on.
It also makes China more likely to treat this as a tech race which sets up interesting competitive race dynamics between the US and China which I don't see talked about enough.
We as a movement do a terrible job of communicating just how hard it might be to get a job in AI Safety and honestly cause people to anchor/rely too much on EA resources which sets unrealistic expectations and also not being fair
Nice synthesis! Going forward, I think it's going to be important to see how other major players in the global market, like the EU, Japan, and South Korea, respond to the U.S.-China semiconductor rivalry.I'm curious about what technological, economic, and logistical challenges China must overcome to create a self-reliant semiconductor industry? I think something we forget from an AI risk point of view is how much algorithmic efficiency or other tech breakthroughs(eg, emerging technologies that might reduce dependence on traditional semiconductor manufacturing processes) might make the question of chips redundant.There is almost this feedback loop where geopolitics is fueling this chip trade war which forces everyone to become more advanced and makes states pick sides which fuels tech advancement which goes into capabilities and then concerns which bring about more trade wars.
Nice summarization post!On the point of non-EA funders coming into the space, it's important to consider messaging -we don't want to come off as being alarmist, overly patronizing or too sure certain of ourselves, but rather as a constructive dialogue that builds some shared understanding of the stakes involved. There also needs to be incentive alignment, which in the short-term might also mean collaborating with people on things that aren't directly X-risk related, like promoting ethical AI, enhancing transparency in AI development, etc.
This is cool! Good luck on the program
This post is so valuable; I remember flinching and trying to "save" my call for multiple months until a friend at an EA fellowship literally told me, " You do know that they give you the stuff to prep with if you are accepted, right?" - I applied the very same night and probably thought about some aspect of my call nearly every other week of my summer intern.
What are the biggest bottlenecks and/or inefficiencies that impedes 80K from having more impact?