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SFF-2021-H2 S-process Recommendations Announcement
In the first half of this year (2021-H2), six people participated as “Recommenders” in a single round of a grant-recommendation process for the funders Jaan Tallinn (independent), Jed McCaleb (independent), and The Casey and Family Foundation. The following Recommenders in this round agreed to have their identities made public:
- Beth Barnes
- Oliver Habryka
- Zvi Mowshowitz
How final grant amounts were determined: The “S-process”
We call the recommendation process used in this grant round the “S-process”, for “Simulation Process”, because it involves allowing the Recommenders and funders to simulate a large number of counterfactual delegation scenarios using a table of marginal utility functions. Recommenders specified marginal utility functions for funding each application, and adjusted those functions through discussions with each other as the round progressed. Similarly, funders specified and adjusted different utility functions for deferring to each Recommender. In this round, the process also allowed the funders to make some final adjustments to decide on their final intended grant amounts.
The S-process app is still being developed for broader use.
Most of the final endorsed recommendations of this round of the S-process are listed below. These numbers have resulted from numerical inputs from both funders and Recommenders, which represented estimates of the marginal utility of granting to each organization. Note that:
- Some of the grants below might not happen if they are logistically difficult or time-consuming for the funders (Jaan Tallinn, Jed McCaleb, The Casey and Family Foundation) to finalize for some reason.
- Some additional grants might also appear on this list later as more details about them become clear.
|Jaan Tallinn||Long-Term Future Fund||$1,417,000||Center For Effective Altruism||General support of Long-Term Future Fund|
|Jaan Tallinn||Center on Long-Term Risk||$1,218,000||Effective Altruism Foundation, Inc.||General support of Center on Long-Term Risk|
|Jaan Tallinn||Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters||$979,000||Players Philanthropy Fund||General support of Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters|
|Jaan Tallinn||Alpenglow Group Limited||$885,000||The Centre for Effective Altruism||General support of Alpenglow Group Limited|
|Jaan Tallinn||Lightcone Infrastructure||$380,000||Center for Applied Rationality||General support of Lightcone Infrastructure|
|The Casey and Family Foundation||Lightcone Infrastructure||$500,000||Center for Applied Rationality||General support of Lightcone Infrastructure|
|Jaan Tallinn||EA Infrastructure Fund||$699,000||Centre For Effective Altruism Usa Inc.||General support of EA Infrastructure Fund|
|Jaan Tallinn||Centre for the Governance of AI.||$591,000||Centre for Effective Altruism||General support of Centre for the Governance of AI|
|Jaan Tallinn||Ought Inc.||$542,000||Ought Inc.||General support|
|Jaan Tallinn||New Science Research, Inc.||$500,000||New Science Research, Inc.||General support|
|Jaan Tallinn||BERI-CHAI Collaboration||$248,000||Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative||General support of BERI-CHAI Collaboration|
|Jed McCaleb||BERI-CHAI Collaboration||$250,000||Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative||General support of BERI-CHAI Collaboration|
|Jaan Tallinn||AI Objectives Institute||$485,000||Foresight Institutee||General support of AI Objectives Institute|
|Jaan Tallinn||Topos Institute||$450,000||Topos Institute||General support|
|Jaan Tallinn||AI Safety Camp||$130,000||Rethink Charity||General support of AI Safety Camp|
|Jaan Tallinn||Emergent Ventures India||$115,000||The Mercatus Center||General support of Emergent Ventures India|
|Jaan Tallinn||European Biostasis Foundation||$103,000||European Biostasis Foundation||General support|
|Jaan Tallinn||Modeling Cooperation||$83,000||Convergence Analysis||General support of Modeling Cooperation|
|Jaan Tallinn||Research on AI & International Relations||$34,000||Convergence Analysis||General support of Research on AI & International Relations||`|
Note that the S-process system is designed to generally favor funding things that at least one recommender is excited to fund, rather than things that every recommender is excited to fund. As such, the grant recommendations above do not especially represent the “average” opinion of the group in any sense.
Freedoms compatible with the S-process
The S-process is designed to allow a lot of freedom and autonomy for the Recommenders and the funders. Funders retain the right and freedom to make and/or recommend grants that the S-process, as a whole, did not endorse, based on information the funders learn from the S-process. As well, the Recommenders and funders are free to communicate with each other as much as they want outside of the S-process structure. As such, while the S-process might be useful in helping the funders learn about grant-making opportunities and opinions, the funders need not be limited by the outputs of the S-process in order for it to function.
Sharing of recommender input documents
Each Recommender’s own inputs to the process (both initial and final versions) are free for that Recommender to share privately or publicly in any form and for any use-case, as long as they anonymize any other Recommenders who have requested anonymity, and respect the privacy of the organizations who applied to the round. In particular, the S-process does not require Recommenders to avoid sharing their own (appropriately anonymized) inputs, even when sharing some documents might make it somewhat easier in principle for an adversary to reverse-engineer the inputs of other Recommenders. The spirit of the S-process is, however, to discourage this sort of intentionally adversarial de-anonymization, as it is disrespectful of the Recommenders who contributed their time and effort under the conditions of anonymity.