Survival and Flourishing
.Fund (SFF)

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SFF-2022-H2 S-Process Recommendations Announcement

In the second half of this year (2022-H2), six people participated as “Recommenders” in a single round of a grant-recommendation process for funder Jaan Tallinn. The following Recommenders in this round agreed to have their identities made public:

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 value functions. Recommenders specified a marginal value function for funding each application, and adjusted those functions through discussions with each other as the round progressed. Similarly, funders specified and adjusted different value 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.

Final recommendations

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:

  1. Some of the grants below might not happen if they are logistically difficult or time-consuming for the funder to finalize for some reason.
  2. Some additional grants might also appear on this list later as more details about them become clear.
Source Organization Amount Receiving Charity Purpose
Jaan Tallinn AI Impacts $546,000 Machine Intelligence Research Institute General Support of AI Impacts
Jaan Tallinn Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters (ALLFED) $427,000 Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters (ALLFED) General Support
Jaan Tallinn Technical Alignment Impossibility Proofs $170,000 Ronin Institute for Independent Scholarship Incorporated General Support of Technical Alignment Impossibility Proofs
Jaan Tallinn Alignment Research Center $2,179,000 Alignment Research Center General Support
Jaan Tallinn BERI-ALL Collaboration $150,000 Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative General Support of BERI-ALL Collaboration
Jaan Tallinn BERI-CHAI collaboration $168,000 Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative General Support of BERI-CHAI collaboration
Jaan Tallinn Constructive Dialogue Institute (formerly called OpenMind Platform) $196,000 Constructive Dialogue Institute Inc. General Support
Jaan Tallinn Centre for Enabling EA Learning & Research (CEEALAR) [formerly the EA Hotel] $224,000 Centre for Enabling EA Learning & Research General Support
Jaan Tallinn Center for Applied Rationality (CFAR) $450,000 Center for Applied Rationality (CFAR) General Support
Jaan Tallinn The Center for Election Science $437,000 ($50,000)† The Center for Election Science General Support
Jaan Tallinn Fund for Alignment Research (FAR) $524,000 FAR AI, Inc. General Support
Jaan Tallinn The Future Society $84,000 The Future Society General Support
Jaan Tallinn Legal Priorities Project $115,000 Legal Priorities Inc. General Support
Jaan Tallinn Lightcone Infrastructure $1,000,000 ($400,000)† Center for Applied Rationality General Support of Lightcone Infrastructure
Jaan Tallinn Longview Philanthropy $200,000 Effective Ventures Foundation General Support of Effective Ventures Foundation
Jaan Tallinn Elizabeth Van Nostrand c/o Lightcone $25,000 ($13,680)† Center for Applied Rationality General Support of Elizabeth Van Nostrand c/o Lightcone
Jaan Tallinn Modeling Cooperation $83,000 Convergence Analysis General Support of Modeling Cooperation
Jaan Tallinn Oxford China Policy Lab $10,000 ($13,645)† Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative General Support of Oxford China Policy Lab
Jaan Tallinn PARPA, Inc. $200,000 PARPA, Inc. General Support
Jaan Tallinn $482,000 (50,000)† Pragmatist Foundation General Support of
Jaan Tallinn Rationality Meetups $140,000 ($140,000)† Center for Applied Rationality General Support of Rationality Meetups
Jaan Tallinn SaferAI $214,000 SaferAI General Support
Jaan Tallinn Scholarship Workshop $100,000 Players Philanthropy Fund (PPF) General Support of Scholarship Workshop
Jaan Tallinn The Society Library $50,000 The Benjamin Franklin Society Library Inc. General Support of The Society Library
Jaan Tallinn Topos Institute $653,000 Topos Institute General Support
Jaan Tallinn University of Wisconsin - Madison $309,000 University of Wisconsin Foundation General Support of University of Wisconsin - Madison
Jaan Tallinn Unite America Institute $68,000 Unite America Institute Inc. General Support
Jaan Tallinn Whylome, Inc. $345,000 Whylome, Inc General Support

† Parentheses indicate speculation grant awarded to certain grantees, prior to the completion of the S-process round. If the speculation grant amount was higher than the S-process recommendation, it subsumed the S-process recommendation, so only the speculation grant amount is meant to be granted. If the speculation grant was less, it was deducted from the S-process recommendation, so the total granted is meant to be the amount of the S-process recommendation.

“*” Asterisks demarcate grants that were “controversial” in that one or more recommenders wished to publically disendorse the grant. Multiple asterisks correspond to multiple disendorsements. (There were no asterisks this round.)

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.

Also note that additional grants may appear on this announcement as SFF continues to confirm their details.

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.