Peter Wildeford
Co-CEOatRethink Priorities
Working (6-15 years of experience)

Along with my co-founder, Marcus A. Davis, I run Rethink Priorities. I'm also a Grant Manager for the Effective Altruism Infrastructure Fund and a top forecaster on Metaculus. Previously, I was a professional data scientist.

How others can help me

My goal is to scalably employ many well-qualified researchers to work on the world's most important problems.

Topic Contributions


Announcing Epoch: A research organization investigating the road to Transformative AI

Thanks! We’re very excited to be both an accelerant and a partner for Epoch’s work

Red-teaming Holden Karnofsky's AI timelines

Thanks for putting this together! I think more scrutiny on these ideas is incredibly important so I'm delighted to see you approach it.

So meta to red team a red team, but some things I want to comment on:

  • Your median estimate for the conservative and aggressive bioanchor reports in your table are accidentally flipped (2090 is the conservative median, not the aggressive one - and vice versa for 2040).

  • Looking literally at Cotra's sheet the median year occurs is 2053. Though in Cotra's report, you're right that she rounds this to 2050 and reports this as her official median year. So I think the only differences between your interpretation and Holden's interpretation is just different rounding.

  • I do agree more precise definitions would be helpful.

  • I don't think it makes sense to deviate from Cotra's best guess and create a mean out of aggregating between the conservative and aggressive estimates. We shouldn't assume these estimates are symmetric where the mean lies in the middle using some aggregation method, instead I think we should take Cotra's report literally where the mean of the distribution is where she says it is (it is her distribution to define how she wants), which would be the "best guess". In particular, her aggressive vs. conservative range does not represent any sort of formal confidence interval so we can't interpret it that way. I have some unpublished work where I re-run a version of Cotra's model where the variables are defined by formal confidence intervals - I think that would be the next step for this analysis.

  • The "Representativeness" section is very interesting and I'd love to see more timelines analyzed concretely and included in aggregations. For more reviews and analysis that include AI timelines, you should also look to "Reviews of “Is power-seeking AI an existential risk?”". I also liked this LessWrong thread where multiple people stated their timelines.

Save the date: EAGxVirtual 2022

I’m super excited for this! I love the in person conferences but I think virtual conferences also fill an important void for people who for a variety of reasons can’t easily travel to the US or UK.

Preventing a US-China war as a policy priority

If you have time, could you (or someone else) explain strategic ambiguity with regard to the US against China? I never really understood it because my understanding is that deterrence relies on clear communication and a lot of wars arise from miscalculations around how likely an adversary is to engage.

Notes on "A World Without Email", plus my practical implementation

Sounds exciting!

I’m curious how that will work for people who aren’t self-employed teams of one?

Critiques of EA that I want to read

Right now the thing we are most interested in is finding a strong candidate to work on the Insect Welfare Project full-time:

Donations would also be helpful. This kind of stuff can be harder to find financial support for than other things in EA.

Emphasize Vegetarian Retention
  • More time periods
  • Better question wording
  • 2.8x bigger sample size
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Co-CEOatRethink Priorities
Working (6-15 years of experience)