Comment author: Nekoinentr 12 March 2018 05:31:45PM 0 points [-]

It's no big deal, but your formatting is a little different from the normal forum formatting - it might be worth requesting .impact provide a button to clear extraneous formatting via the issues link at

Comment author: alexflint 31 March 2018 06:39:21PM *  0 points [-]

Thanks for the note. I'll file an issue. FWIW I originally wrote this in google docs, then the best way I could find to get it here was to export as an HTML file, then copy and past from there to here.

Comment author: Evan_Gaensbauer 14 March 2018 12:04:18AM 3 points [-]

This is great. You might want to cross-post it to LessWrong, since a lot of visitors to that site which may not visit the EA Forum would probably be interested in this information.

Comment author: alexflint 31 March 2018 06:38:05PM 2 points [-]
Comment author: brianwang712 12 March 2018 04:34:30AM *  3 points [-]

To add onto the "platforms matter" point, you could tell a story similar to Bostrom's (build up credibility first, then have impact later) with Max Tegmark's career. He explicitly advocates this strategy to EAs in 25:48 to 29:00 of this video:

Comment author: alexflint 31 March 2018 06:35:50PM 0 points [-]

Thanks for the pointer - noted!

Comment author: rjmk 30 March 2018 12:58:58PM 1 point [-]

This post is excellent. I find the historical work particularly useful, both as a collation of timelines and for the conclusions you tease out of it.

Considering the high quality and usefulness of this post, it is churlish to ask for more, but I'll do so anyway.

Have you given any thought to how donors might identify funding opportunities in the AI safety space? OpenPhil have written about how they found many more giving opportunities after committing to give, but it may be difficult to shop around a more modest personal giving budget.

A fallback here could be the far future EA fund, but I would be keen to hear other ideas

Comment author: alexflint 31 March 2018 06:35:22PM 1 point [-]

Thank you!

In terms of finding opportunities, I don't have a complete framework but I do have some rough heuristics: (1) look for opportunities that the large donors can't find, are too small for them to act on, or for some other reason fail to execute on (2) follow the example of angel investors in the tech community by identifying a funding thesis and then reaching out through personal networks to find people to fund at the very early stage of starting projects/organizations.

In terms of the historical work, I'm considering organizing a much deeper investigation into the history of these organizations. If you or anyone else is interested in working full time / part time on this, do let me know!

Comment author: alexflint 27 March 2018 06:27:55PM 1 point [-]

What advice would you give to a potential OpenPhil hire re how to think about the value of joining OpenPhil full time vs starting an organization that OpenPhil would be likely to fund vs joining an organization that has already received funding from OpenPhil?

Comment author: alexflint 07 September 2015 12:44:35AM 1 point [-]

So we get astronomical stakes by multiplying a large amount of time by a large amount of space to get a large light cone of potential future value. Interventions that work along only one of those dimensions -- say, I bury a single computer that generates one utilon per year deep underground, which continues to run for the life of the universe, or I somehow grant a one-off one utilon to every human alive in the year 1 billion -- are dominated by those interventions that affect the product of space and time (e.g. the interventions you listed here). But if there were just one more dimension to multiply, then interventions that addressed the product of all three might dominate all considerations that we currently think about.

Comment author: alexflint 07 September 2015 12:33:39AM 3 points [-]

Or maybe we could invest in server capacity in readiness of a EM future.

This one seemed out of place to me. Conditioned on the time we start expanding and the rate at which we expand, we're going to have access to some fixed set of resources at a given point in the future, so I don't see how investing in server capacity now affects our server capacity in the far future. (though I do agree that affecting the start time and rate of expansion could be permanent improvements.)

Establishing norms that will protect biological humans and EMs from Hansonian competition - like a right to retire. If uploads are not conscious, it might be important to agree on this before EMs massively outnumber biological humans; after that point it would become much harder.

These seem to be about simply picking the right policies now and locking them in. It might also be important to lock in the right policies vis-a-vis privacy, the death penalty, property rights, etc etc, but why should we think that we can lock such policies in now? This reduces to either "minimize value drift" or "create a singleton", both of which I agree with but you already listed them.

Comment author: alexflint 21 January 2015 04:49:25PM 0 points [-]

I'm going to be in ottawa jan 27 - feb 2. Would anyone be interested in meeting up?

Comment author: vollmer 21 January 2015 08:40:22AM *  3 points [-]

Personal experience: Most considerate housemates ever, and not at all cultish ... though it depends a lot on the people :)

I personally think it's not that helpful to have an additional system for EA housing since it's not so hard to just get in touch via a local group / chapter and look for other interested people there.

Comment author: alexflint 21 January 2015 04:47:45PM 2 points [-]

My experience over the last few days has been that finding potential roommates in the bay area is much harder than it needs to be. There is a lesswrong housing spreadsheet but many EAs are not aware of it. There are many different EA groups and websites where bay area EAs hang out (I have a list of 11). I've reached out to dozens of people directly and been introduced to dozens more, which is super awesome, but it's by no means efficient.

Comment author: alexflint 20 January 2015 11:49:21PM 2 points [-]

Thanks Tom. I've posted at skillshare.

I'd also be interested in whether folks think that a dedicated housing/roommate spreadsheet for EAs would be helpful.

View more: Next