Offer of collaboration and/or mentorship

byVanessa Kosoy2mo16th May 201912 comments

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Crossposted from the AI Alignment Forum. May contain more technical jargon than usual.

UPDATE: Offer of mentorship is closed, since I received sufficiently many candidates for now. Offer of collaboration remains open for experienced researchers (i.e. researchers that (i) have some track record of original math / theoretical compsci research, and (ii) are able to take on concrete open problems without much guidance).


I have two motivations for making this offer. First, there have been discussions regarding the lack of mentorship in the AI alignment community, and that beginners find it difficult to enter the field since the experienced researchers are too busy working on their research to provide guidance. Second, I have my own research programme which has a significant number of shovel ready open problems and only one person working on it (me). The way I see it, my research programme is a very promising approach that attacks the very core of the AI alignment problem.

Therefore, I am looking for people who would like to either receive mentorship in AI alignment relevant topics from me, or collaborate with me on my research programme, or both.

Mentorship

I am planning to allocate about 4 hours / week to mentorship, which can be done over Skype, Discord, email or any other means of remote communication. For people who happen to be located in Israel, we can do in person sessions. The mathematical topics in which I feel qualified to provide guidance include: linear algebra, calculus, functional analysis, probability theory, game theory, computability theory, computational complexity theory, statistical/computational learning theory. I am also more or less familiar with the state of the art in the various approaches other people pursue to AI alignment.

Naturally, people who are interested in working on my own research programme are those who would benefit the most from my guidance. People who want to work on empirical ML approaches (which seem to be dominant in OpenAI, DeepMind and CHAI) would benefit somewhat from my guidance, since many theoretical insights from computational learning theory in general and my own research in particular, are to some extent applicable even to deep learning algorithms whose theoretical understanding is far from complete. People who want to work on MIRI's core research agenda would also benefit somewhat from my guidance but I am less knowledgeable or interested in formal logic and approaches based on formal logic.

Collaboration

People who want to collaborate on problems within the learning-theoretic research programme might receive a significantly larger fraction of my time, depending on details. The communication would still be mostly remote (unless the collaborator is in Israel), but physical meetings involving flights are also an option.

The original essay about the learning-theoretic programme does mention a number of more or less concrete research directions, but since then more shovel ready problems joined the list (and also, there are a couple of new results). Interested people are advised to contact me to hear about those problems and discuss the details.

Contact

Anyone who wants to contact me regarding the above should email me at vanessa.kosoy@intelligence.org, and give me a brief intro about emself, including knowledge in math / theoretical compsci and previous research if relevant. Conversely, you are welcome to browse my writing on this forum to form an impression of my abilities. If we find each other mutually compatible, we will discuss further details.

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