lukeprog comments on Which five books would you recommend to an 18 year old? - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: lukeprog 07 September 2017 04:00:23AM 3 points [-]

We got close to doing this when I was at MIRI but just didn't have the outreach capacity to do it. The closest we got was to print a bunch of paperback copies of (the first 17 chapters of) just one book, HPMoR, and we shipped copies of that to contacts at various universities etc. I think we distributed 1000-2000 copies, not sure if more happened after I left.

Comment author: Wei_Dai 07 September 2017 08:10:51AM 2 points [-]

This is a bit tangential, but do you know if anyone has done an assessment of the impact of HPMoR? Cousin_it (Vladimir Slepnev) recently wrote:

The question then becomes, how do we set up a status economy that will encourage research? Peer review is one way, because publications and citations are a status badge desired by many people. Participating in a forum like LW when it's "hot" and frequented by high status folks is another way, but unfortunately we don't have that anymore. From that perspective it's easy to see why the massively popular HPMOR didn't attract many new researchers to AI risk, but attracted people to HPMOR speculation and rational fic writing. People do follow their interests sometimes, but mostly they try to find venues to show off.

Taking this one step further, it seems to me that HPMoR may have done harm by directing people's attentions (including Eliezer's own) away from doing the hard work of making philosophical and practical progress in AI alignment and rationality, towards discussion/speculation of the book and rational fic writing, thereby contributing to the decline of LW. Of course it also helped bring new people into the rationalist/EA communities. What would be a fair assessment of its net impact?

Comment author: lukeprog 09 September 2017 10:14:14PM 2 points [-]

Back in ~2014, I remember doing a survey of top-contributing MIRI donors over the previous 3 years and a substantial fraction (1/4th?) had first encountered MIRI or EA or whatever through HPMoR. Malo might have the actual stats. It might even be in a MIRI blog post footnote somewhere.

But w.r.t. to research impact, someone could make a list of the 25 most useful EA researchers, or the 15 most useful "AI safety" researchers, or whatever kind of research you most care about, and find out what fraction of them were introduced to x-risk/EA/rationality/whatever through HPMoR.

I don't have a good sense for the what the net impact is.

Comment author: riceissa  (EA Profile) 13 September 2017 05:39:32PM 2 points [-]

Re top MIRI donors, there is a 2013 in review post that talks about a survey of "(nearly) every donor who gave more than $3,000 in 2013" with four out of approximately 35 coming into contact via HPMoR. (Not to imply that this is the survey mentioned above, as several details differ.)