Useful Things Volunteers Can Do Right Now

by lukeprog 1 min read24th Sep 201126 comments


Per Kaj's suggestion, I'm posting my list of useful things volunteers can do right now. Without help, most of these things won't occur, because I need to be spending my time writing papers, promoting the Singularity Summit, collaborating with other researchers, improving Singularity Institute's transparency, etc.

Previously, I tried to have volunteers contact me so that I could assign people tasks, but that has become too time consuming (as Eliezer predicted), largely because (in my experience) the odds that a volunteer will actually perform a task given that they've agreed to perform it are very low.

So, I'll post my list here and hope that a few people self-organize to get some of them done. It's worth a shot! My sincere thanks to anyone completes any task on this list.

  • Translate the Singularity FAQ into other languages, besides English and Italian.
  • I have about 8 fashion photos each from 3 minicampers, which need to be shown in random order to 5 straight females (in meatspace) who will judge which they prefer. I have the exact experimental design and the photos. Please email me [lukeprog at gmail] if you'd like to do this; it's perfect for somebody social.
  • Begin to develop a list of AI technology predictions; a step on this path is to create a list of sources for AI technology predictions. We want to eventually be able to write up a report of correlates between predictions and the properties of prediction-makers at the time of their predictions.
  • Find out how much money the U.S. government/military has spent researching machine ethics (e.g. via Ronald Arkin), and how much of that money was given to whom and for which projects (citing sources along the way).
  • Work with XiXiDu to interview (via email) more AI researchers about AI risks; see here.
  • Come up with ways to illustrate the idea of an intelligence explosion or friendly ai with a static graphic or a very short animation; create those graphics or animations if possible.
  • Make a list of additional media for (e.g. summit videos).
  • Find a free tool that backs up all your Google Docs, and is available for Mac, Linux, or PC. (thanks Dreaded_Anomaly!)
  • Research nootropics for rationality, especially for increasing cognitive reflectiveness / need for cognition. Make a list of recent, useful papers on the topic.
  • Join the Less Wrong Public Goods Team google group and work on, for example, the project of making it much easier to add features to Less Wrong.
  • There is no end to the useful things that you can do at

If you live in Berkeley and want to work directly with me on tasks, even better. I have a bottomless need for in-person personal assistants who want to do things that decrease existential risk, and you'll get to see the inner workings of an org currently making a run at being the world's leading independent transhumanist organization.