AI Alignment "Scaffolding" Project Ideas (Request for Advice)


I believe that AI Alignment is almost certainly the most pressing issue for the future of humanity. It seems to me that the greatest thing that could happen for AI alignment research is probably receiving a whole lot more brains and money and political sponsorship. The public benefit is extraordinary, and the potential for private profit very small, and so this will need substantial private or government subsidy in order to receive optimal resource allocation.

In order to start thinking about strategies for achieving this, I picture scientific work as a sort of signalling system between research, the educational system, government, and industry, as diagrammed below. I want to apply the neglected/tractable/important framework to this diagram to explore potential projects.

The Technical Side

a) Professional technical work on AI alignment

b) Amateur and student learning contributing or leading to technical work

c) Meta-analysis of the state of the art, risks and rewards, milestones, and big questions of AI and AI alignment, via surveys, forecasts, overviews of different perspectives, etc.

d) Awareness-raising discussion and expert advice for policy-makers, the public, and potential career changers/donors

e) Laws, regulations, and projects created by legislators, public policy makers, and private institutions

f) Pressure by industry lobbyists and geopolitical tension to soften AI alignment concerns and go full steam ahead with AI development.

The Political Side


1) Do any of the following exist?

  • A comprehensive AI alignment introductory web hub that could serve as a "funnel" to turn the curious into the aware, the aware into amateur learners, amateurs into formal machine learning PhD students, and PhDs into professional AI alignment researchers. I'm imagining one that does a great job of organizing books, blogs, videos, curriculum, forums, institutions, MOOCs, career advising, and so on working on machine learning and AI alignment.
  • A formal curriculum of any kind on AI alignment
  • A department or even a single outspokenly sympathetic official in any government of any industrialized nation
  • Any government sponsorship of AI alignment research whatsoever
  • A list of concrete and detailed policy proposals related to AI alignment

2) I am organizing an online community for older career changers, and several of us are interested in working on this issue on either the policy or technical side. It seems to me that in the process of educating ourselves, we could probably work toward creating one or more of these projects if any of them are indeed neglected. Would this be valuable, and which resource would it be most useful to create?