Overview

Last updated October 1st, 2020

As of September 2020, we have been running for 28 months. Many grantees are still at a relatively early stage with their work and careers. Below we have collated a list of outputs that people have volunteered to share thus far.

This should not be interpreted as an exhaustive list of everything of value that the Centre for Enabling EA Learning & Research (CEEALAR) has produced. We have only included things for which the value can be independently verified. This list likely captures less than half of the actual value.

Total expenses

Money: So far ~£164,000* has been spent on hosting our residents, of which ~£24,000 was contributed by residents. Everything below is a result of that funding.

Time: ~11,300 person-days spent at CEEALAR.

Summary of Outputs

  • The incubation of 3 EA projects with potential for scaling (including CEEALAR);
  • 23 online course modules followed;
  • 2.5 online course modules produced;
  • 102 posts on the EA Forum, Less Wrong and the AI Alignment Forum (with a total of ~2500 karma);
  • 5 papers published, 2 preprints, 1 submission and 1 revision;
  • 23 other pieces of writing, including blogs, reports and talks;
  • 5 code repositories contributed to;
  • 5 AI Safety / X-risk events, 1 rationality workshop and 2 EA retreats organised and hosted; 2 EA retreats organised;
  • 3 internships and 5 jobs earned at EA organisations; 2 PhD places earned.
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Full list of outputs below.

Key:

AI Safety related

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Events hosted:
(Note that these will appear again below under the main organizers/lecturers’ names)

  • AI Safety Learning By Doing Workshop (August 2019)
  • AI Safety Technical Unconference (August 2019) (retrospective written by a participant)
  • AI Safety Learning By Doing Workshop (October 2019)
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Rafe Kennedy:
A job at the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI) (following a 3 month work trial).

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Road to AI Safety Excellence (RAISE):
Nearly the entirety of this online course was created by grantees.

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Davide Zagami:

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Linda Linsefors:
“I think the biggest impact EA Hotel did for me, was about self growth. I got a lot of help to improve, but also the time and freedom to explore. I tried some projects that did not lead anywhere, like Code to Give. But getting to explore was necessary for me to figure out what to do. I finally landed on organising, which I’m still doing. AI Safety Support probably would not have existed with out the hotel.”

  • Optimization Regularization through Time Penalty [0%] (12; 6) (“This post resulted from conversations at the EA Hotel [CEEALAR] and would not therefore not have happened without the hotel.”)
  • The Game Theory of Blackmail (23; 6) (“I don’t remember where the ideas behind this post came from, so it is hard for me to say what the counterfactual would have been. However, I did get help improving the post from other residents, so it would at least be less well written without the hotel.“)
  • Organized the AI Safety Learning By Doing Workshop (August and October 2019)
  • Organized the AI Safety Technical Unconference (August 2019) (retrospective written by a participant)
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Chris Leong:
“I’ve still got a few more posts on infinity to write up, but here’s the posts I’ve made on LessWrong since arriving [with estimates of how likely they were to be written had I not been at the hotel [CEEALAR]]”:

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John Maxwell:
“At the hotel [CEEALAR], I was working on projects and self-study to prep for seeking a machine learning job. I think the 6 months I spent there helped my resume & skills become significantly stronger for this kind of job than they would’ve been otherwise. I also optimized for acquiring ML knowledge relevant to AI Safety and EA-related machine learning project ideas of mine, and this effort felt pretty successful. After my stay, I was unexpectedly offered a high-paying remote job which let me set my own hours, but didn’t have anything to do with machine learning. After extensive consideration of the pros & cons, I took the job. I’m now planning to do that part-time from a low cost of living location, and spend the rest of my time studying ML with a stronger AI Safety focus, plus writing up some ideas of mine related to AI Safety. Although the things I did at the hotel didn’t help me get this sweet remote job, the learning and thinking I did felt quite valuable on its own. My time spent at the hotel provided further evidence to me that I’m capable of self-directed study & research. I also decided that further direct optimization for industry career capital won’t help me a lot in thinking about AI Safety better–this was part of why I didn’t go for a machine learning role as originally planned. I’ve donated thousands of dollars to the hotel, and I’m happy to chat with donors considering donations of $1000 or greater regarding the pros & cons of the hotel as a giving opportunity.”

Courses taken:

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Anonymous 1:

Courses:

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Anonymous 2:

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Luminita Bogatean:

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Samuel Knoche:

  • Code for Style Transfer, Deep Dream and Pix2Pix implementation [5%]
  • Code for lightweight Python deep learning library [5%]
  • NLP implementations [5%]

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Michele Campolo:

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Global Catastrophic Risks related

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Markus Salmela:

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David Kristoffersson:

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Justin Shovelain:

  • Got non-profit status for Convergence Analysis and established it legally [90%]
  • Published or provided the primarily ideas for and directed the publishing of 19 EA/LW forum posts (see our publications document for more details: Convergence publications) [80%] (~30 average)

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Michael Aird:
(First two with coauthors; first and third mostly written before arriving at CEEALAR.)

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Aron Mill:

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Rationality or community building related

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Events hosted:
(Note that these will appear again below under the main organizers/lecturers’ name)

  • EA London Retreats: Life Review Weekend (Aug. 24th – 27th 2018); Careers Week (Aug. 27th – 31st 2018); Holiday/EA Unconference (Aug. 31st – Sept. 3rd 2018)\
  • EA Glasgow (March 2019)
  • Athena Rationality Workshop (June 2019) (retrospective)
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Denisa Pop:

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Toon Alfrink:

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Matt Goldenberg:

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Samuel Knoche:

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Global health, development and welfare related

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Anders Huitfeldt

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Ali Merali:
Even though I only spent 2-3 weeks at the EA Hotel [CEEALAR], I found my time there to be extremely valuable in thinking more deeply about particular areas of EA, discussing potential career plans/ paths to impact with other guests and to make some progress on my research work. Aside from being a particularly enjoyable and productive time personally, I’ve since gone on to start a PhD in game theory/ mechanism design related to longtermist considerations as well as spending time conducting research at three different EA organisations and I think this was all made substantially more likely (i.e. at least 20% more likely) due to my brief stay at the hotel.”

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Derek Foster:

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Kris Gulati:
“All together I spent approximately 9/10 months in total at the Hotel [CEEALAR] (I had appendicitis and had a few breaks during my stay). The time at the Hotel was incredibly valuable to me. I completed the first year of a Maths degree via The Open University (with Distinction). On top of this, I self-studied Maths and Statistics (a mixture of Open University and MIT Opencourseware resources), covering pre-calculus, single-variable calculus, multivariable calculus, linear algebra, real analysis, probability theory, and statistical theory/applied statistics. This provided me with the mathematics/statistics knowledge to complete the coursework components at top-tier Economics PhD programmes.

The Hotel [CEEALAR] also gave me the time to apply for PhD programmes. Sadly, I didn’t succeed in obtaining scholarships for my target school – The London School of Economics. However, I did receive a fully funded offer to study a two-year MRes in Economics at The University of Glasgow. Conditional upon doing well at Glasgow, the two-year MRes enables me to apply to top-tier PhD programmes afterwards. During my stay, I worked on some academic research (my MSc thesis, and an old anthropology paper), which will help my later PhD applications. I applied for a variety of large grants at OpenPhil and other EA organisations (which weren’t successful). I also applied to a fellowship at Wasteland Research (I reached the final round), which I couldn’t follow up on due to other work commitments (although I hope to apply in the future). Finally, I developed a few research ideas while at the Hotel. I’m now working on obtaining socio-economic data on academic Economists. I’m also planning on running/hosting an experiment that tries to find the most convincing argument for long-termism. These ideas were conceived at the Hotel and I received a lot of feedback/help from current and previous residents.

Counterfactually – if I wasn’t at the Hotel [CEEALAR] – I would have probably only been able to complete half of the Maths/Stats I learned. I probably wouldn’t have applied to any of the scholarships/grants/fellowships because I heard about them via residents at the Hotel. I also probably wouldn’t have had time to focus on completing my older research papers. Similarly, discussions with other residents spurred the new research ideas I’m working on.”

  • Distinctions in MU123, MST124, MST125 (Mathematics modules) and M140 (Statistics), The Open University.
  • Completed ‘Justice’ (Harvard MOOC; Verified Certificate).
  • Completed GV100 (Intro to Political Theory) and MA100 (Mathematical Methods), London School of Economics, [auditing modules].
  • Audited M208 (Pure Maths) Linear Algebra and Real Analysis, The Open University.
  • Applied to a number of PhD programmes in Economics, and took up a place at Glasgow University
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Animal welfare related

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Max Carpendale:

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Rhys Southan

  • Edited and partially rewrote a book on meat, treatment of farmed animals, and alternatives to factory farming (as a paid job). Can’t yet name the book or its author due to non-disclosure agreement. [70%]
  • Published an essay, Re-Orientation, about some of the possible personal and societal implications of sexual orientation conversion drugs that actually work. [90%]
  • Wrote an academic philosophy essay about a problem for David Benatar’s pessimism about life and death, and submitted it to an academic journal. It is currently awaiting scores from reviewers. [10%]
  • “I got a paid job writing an index for a book by a well-known moral philosopher. This job will help me continue to financially contribute to the EA Hotel [CEEALAR].” [20%]
  • Accepted to give a talk and a poster to the academic session of EAG 2020 in San Francisco.
  • Applied to a number of PhD programs in Philosophy and took up a place at Oxford University (Researching “Personal Identity, Value, and Ethics for Animals and AIs”). [40%]

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Frederik Bechtold:

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Saulius Šimčikas:

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Magnus Vinding:

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Nix Goldowsky-Dill:

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Next steps for departing grantees

*this is the total cost of the project to date (1 October 2020), not including the purchase of the building (£132,276.95 including building survey and conveyancing).

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