Researcher of causal models and human-aligned AI at FHI | https://twitter.com/ryancareyai

RyanCarey's Comments

Open Philanthropy: Our Progress in 2019 and Plans for 2020

Hey Catherio, sure, I've been puzzled by this for long enough that I'll probably reach out for a call.

Community effects could still be mediated by the relevance of participants' research interests. Anyway, I'm also pretty uncertain and interested to see the results as they come in over the coming years.

Open Philanthropy: Our Progress in 2019 and Plans for 2020
  • Here's an updated ipynb with OpenPhil's annual spending, showing the breakdown with respect to EA-relevant areas.

My main impressions:

  • Having Ben Delo's participation is great.
  • OpenPhil and its staff working hard on allocating these funds is absolutely great (it's obvious, yet worth saying over and over again.)
  • It would be nice to see more new kinds of grants (to longtermist causes) by EA, via OpenPhil and otherwise. The kinds of grants are relatively stagnant over the last few years. e.g. the typical x-risk grant is a few million to an academic research group. Can we also fund more interventions, or projects in other sectors?
  • The AI OpenPhil Scholarships place substantial weight on the excellence of applicants' supervision, institutional affiliation and publication record. But there seems to be very little weight on the relevance of work done - I've only come across a few papers by any of the 2018-2020 applicants through my work on various aspects of AI x-risk. I've heard many people better-informed than me argue that this is likely to be relatively unproductive, in the sense that excellent researchers working in unrelated areas will tend to accept funding without substantially shifting their research direction. I'm as excited about academic excellence as almost anyone in AI safety, yet in the case of the OpenPhil Scholarships, this assessment sounds about right to me, and I haven't really heard anyone arguing the opposing view - it would be interesting to understand this thinking better.
EA Forum Prize: Winners for December 2019

Larks' post was one of the best of the year, so it's nice of him to effectively make a hundreds-of-dollars donation to the EA Forum Prize!

The EA Hotel is now the Centre for Enabling EA Learning & Research (CEEALAR)

Have you heard of Neumeir's naming criteria? It's designed for businesses, but I think it's an OK heuristic. I'd agree that there are better available names, e.g.:

  • CEEALAR. Distinctiveness: 1, Brevity: 1, Appropriateness: 4, Easy spelling and punctuation: 1, Likability: 2, Extendability: 1, Protectability: 4.
  • Athena Centre. 4,4,4,4,4,4,4
  • EA Study Centre. 3,3,4,3,3,3,3.
RyanCarey's Shortform

Tom Inglesby on nCoV response is one recent example from just the last few days. I've generally known Stefan Schubert, Eliezer Yudkowsky, Julia Galef, and others to make very insightful comments there. I'm sure there are very many other examples.

Generally speaking, though, the philosophy would be to go to the platforms that top contributors are actually using, and offer our services there, rather than trying to push them onto ours, or at least to complement the latter with the former.

RyanCarey's Shortform

Possible EA intervention: just like the EA Forum Prizes, but for the best Tweets (from an EA point-of-view) in a given time window.

Reasons this might be better than the EA Forum Prize:

1) Popular tweets have greater reach than popular forum posts, so this could promote EA more effectively

2) The prizes could go to EAs who are not regular forum users, which could also help to promote EA more effectively.

One would have to check the rules and regulations.

The Labour leadership election: a high leverage, time-limited opportunity for impact (*1 week left to register for a vote*)

Interesting point of comparison: the Conservative Party has ~35% as many members, and had held government ~60% more often over the last 100 years, so the Leverage per member is ~4.5x higher. Although for many people, their ideology would mean they cannot credibly be involved in one or the other party.

Long-term investment fund at Founders Pledge

The obvious approach would be to by-default invest in the stock market, (or maybe a leveraged ETF?), and only move money from that into other investments when they have higher EV.

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