Thank you so much for this extremely important and brilliant post, Andrew! I really appreciate it.
I completely agree that the degree to which autonomous general-capabilities research is outpacing alignment research needs to be reduced (most likely via recruitment and social opinion dynamics), and that this seems neglected relative to its importance.
I wrote a post on a related topic recently, and it would be really great to hear what you think! (https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/juhMehg89FrLX9pTj/a-grand-strategy-to-recruit-ai-capabilities-researchers-into)
Thank you so much for this extremely important and helpful guide on EA messaging, Julia! I really appreciate it, and hope all EAs read it asap.
Social opinion dynamics seem to have the property where some action (or some inaction) can cause EA to move into a different equilibrium, with a potentially permanent increase or decrease in EA’s outreach and influence capacity. We should therefore tread carefully.
Unfortunately, social opinion dynamics are also extremely mysterious. Nobody knows precisely what action or what inaction possesses the risk of permanently closing some doors to additional outreach and influence. Part of the system is likely inherently unpredictable, but people are almost certainly not near the optimal level of knowledge about predicting such social opinion dynamics.
But perhaps EA movement-builders are already using and improving a cutting-edge model of social opinion dynamics!
Thanks so much for this extremely important and well-written post, Theo! I really appreciate it.
My main takeaway from this post (among many takeaways!) is that EA outreach and movement-building could be significantly better. I’m not sure yet on the clear next steps, but perhaps outreach could be even more individualized and epistemically humble.
One devil’s-advocate point on your point that “while it may be true that there are certain characteristics which predict that people are more likely to become HEAs, it does not follow that a larger EA community made up of such people would automatically be better than this one.” Despite Goodhart’s Law, I think that there is some definition of HEA such that maximizing the number of HEAs is the best practical strategy for cooperative movement-building. Having a lot of dedicated people in a cooperative group is very important, perhaps the most important factor in determining the success of the group. More complicated goals/guidelines for movement-builders are harder to use, both for individuals and for group coordination.
Thanks so much for your kind words on our post, Nick! I really appreciate it.
One of the non-governmental barriers to relocation for international folks is the general non-accessibility of relevant information. Even something as basic as finding an apartment to rent in a foreign city could present a quite high barrier (and certainly a perceived barrier) to relocation.
This is such an incredibly useful resource, Vael! Thank you so much for your hard work on this project.
I really hope this project continues to go strong!
Thank you so much for this extremely helpful suggestion, Linch! I really appreciate it.
A thought: Especially when enabled by technology, people are very capable. In theory, a person can easily offset the negative impact of their greenhouse gas emissions and have a lot of time and resouces left over to pursue positive impact. For example, by donating a fraction of their money to carbon offsetting projects and not having a polluting lifestyle, the median American can easily have a net reducing effect on global greenhouse gas emissions throughout their lifetime. Also, I think the median person in the world can in theory achieve a net reducing effect as well, by devoting a fraction of their time and resources to planting trees (nature's baseline technology for carbon capture).
So perhaps the right framing isn't "Should you have children despite climate change?" One alternative framing is: suppose you want to influence the next generation, who will either capably help the world or capably harm the world. Should you do it by parenting and influencing your own children, or by influencing other people's children?
I think most EAs favor the latter option, and indeed there is a compelling argument in favor of it. Humans are perhaps the only species whose primary mode of phenotypic inheritance is learning knowledge and values from group members: including not only parents, but also a lot of other people. This is why we are so adaptable and capable.
But for EAs who derive a lot of pleasure from parenting and are high-fidelity influencers as parents (i.e., have a high guarantee of influencing their children to have similar values as them), I think parenting can be an excellent use of their time and resources. I think optimal parenting is a domain which is quite neglected by EAs, and hope that this changes moving forward.
That makes sense! Shoes are probably more expensive than malaria nets.But it might still be a better intervention point than antivenom+improving diagnosis+increasing people's willingness to go to the hospital.
What about something they can wear on their leg to prevent the snakebite?
Thank you so much for your kind words, Max! I'm extremely grateful.I completely agree that if (a big if!) we could identify and recruit AI capabilities researchers who could quickly "plug in" to the current AI safety field, and ideally could even contribute novel and promising directions for "finding structure/good questions/useful framing", that would be extremely effective. Perhaps a maximally effective use of time and resources for many people. I also completely agree that experiential learning on how to talent-scout and recruit AI capabilities researchers is likely to be also helpful for recruiting for the AI safety field in general. The transfer will be quite high. (And of course, recruiting junior research talent, etc. will be "easy mode" compared to recruiting AI capabilities researchers.)