Jan_Kulveit comments on How effective and efficient is the funding policy of Open Philanthropy concerning projects on AI risks? - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Jan_Kulveit 28 February 2018 02:54:25PM 2 points [-]

What I would do when evaluating potentially high-impact, high uncertainty "moonshot type" research project would be to ask some trusted highly knowledgeable researcher to assess the thing. I would not evaluate publication output, but whether the effort looks sensible, people working on it are good, and some progress is made (even if in discovering things which do not work)

Comment author: Dunja 28 February 2018 03:33:35PM *  4 points [-]

OK, but then, why not the following:

  1. why not asking at least 2-3 experts? Surely, one of them could be (unintentionally) biased or misinformed, or she/he may simply omit an important point in the project and assess it too negatively or too positively?
  2. if we don't assess the publication output of the project initiator(s), how do we assure that these very people, rather than some other scholars would pursue the given project most effectively and efficiently? Surely, some criteria will matter: for example, if I have a PhD in philosophy, I will be quite unqualified to conduct a project in the domain of experimental physics. So some competence seems necessary. How do we assure it, and why not care about effectiveness and efficiency in this step?
  3. I agree that negative results are valuable, and that some progress should be made. So what is the progress MIRI has shown over the course of last 3 years, such that this can be identified as efficient and effective research?
  4. Finally, don't you think making an open call for projects on the given topic, and awarding the one(s) that seem most promising is a method that would be more reliable in view of possible errors in judgment than just evaluating whoever is the first to apply for the grant?