All of matt's Comments + Replies

Long-Term Future Fund AMA

(That’s two questions, Peter. I’ll answer the first and Oli the second, in separate comments for discussion threading.)

Do you plan to continue soliciting projects via application? How else do you plan to source projects?

Yes, we do plan to continue soliciting projects via application (applicants can email us at ealongtermfuture@gmail.com). We also all travel in circles that expose us to granting-suitable projects. Closer to our next funding round (February) we will more actively seek applications.

Long-Term Future Fund AMA

We’re absolutely open to (and all interested in) catastrophic risks other than artificial intelligence. The fund is the long term future fund, and we believe that catastrophic risks are highly relevant to our long term future.

Trying to infer the motivation for the question I can add that in my own modelling getting AGI right seems highly important, and is the thing I’m most worried about, but I’m far from certain that another of the catastrophic risks we face won’t be catastrophic enough to threaten our existence or to delay progress toward AGI until civil

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Long-Term Future Fund AMA

We’re open to both. My personal opinion is that there are some excellent existing orgs in the long term future space, and that that’s the effectiveness hurdle that smaller projects have to get over to justify funding, but that there are many smaller things that should be done that don’t require as much funding as the existing larger orgs, and their smaller funding needs can have a higher expected value than those marginal dollars going to one of the existing orgs. I expect our future funding to split 50-70% larger orgs / 30-50% smaller projects (note Habryka's different estimate of the split).

Long-Term Future Fund AMA

This is the sort of question I could easily spend a lot of time trying to forge a perfect answer to, so I’m going to instead provide a faster and probably less satisfying first try, and time permitting come back and clarify.

I see significant justification for the existence of the fund being pooling funds from several sources to justify more research than individual donors would justify given the size of their donations (there are other good reasons for the fund to exist; this is one of them). I’d like to have the expert team spend as much time as the size

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What do you mean by 'expert team' in this regard? In particular, if you consider yourself or the other fund managers to be experts, would you being willing to qualify or operationalize that expertise?

I ask because when the EA Fund management teams were first announced, there was a question about why there weren't 'experts' in the traditional sense on the team, i.e., what makes you think you'd be as good as managing the Long-Term Future Fund as a Ph.D. in AI, biosecurity, or nuclear security (assuming when we talk about 'l... (read more)

Announcing new EA Funds management teams

Hi Dunja, I'm Matt Fallshaw, Chair of the fund. This response is an attempt to be helpful, but I'm not entirely sure what, in answer to your question, would qualify as a qualification; perhaps it's relevant that I've been following the field for over 10 years, I've been an advisor to MIRI (I joined their Board of Directors in 2014 (a position I recently had to give up) and currently spend approaching half of my time working on MIRI projects) and I'm an advisor to BERI. I chose the expert team (in consultation with Marek Duda), and I chose them for (among o... (read more)

1Dunja4y
Update: this is all the more important in view of common ways one may accidentally cause harm by trying to do good [https://80000hours.org/articles/accidental-harm/], which I've just learned about through DavidNash's post [http://effective-altruism.com/ea/1uz/latest_research_and_updates_for_october/] ). As the article points out, having an informed opinion of experts, and a dense network with them can decrease chances of harmful impacts, such as reputational harm or locking in on suboptimal choices.

Hi Matt, thanks a lot for the reply! I appreciate your approach, but I do have worries, which Jonas, for instance, is very well aware of (I have been a strong critic of EAF policy and implementation of research grants, including those directed at MIRI and FRI).

My main worry is that evaluating grants aimed at research cannot be done without having them assessed by expert researchers in the given domain, that is, people who have a proven track-record in the given field of research. I think the best way to see why this matters is to take any other scientific ... (read more)