Q&A with new Executive Director of Singularity Institute

To­day I was ap­pointed the new Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor of Sin­gu­lar­ity In­sti­tute.

Be­cause I care about trans­parency, one of my first pro­jects as an in­tern was to be­gin work on the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s first Strate­gic Plan. I re­searched how to write a strate­gic plan, tracked down the strate­gic plans of similar or­ga­ni­za­tions, and met with each staff mem­ber, pro­gres­sively iter­at­ing the doc­u­ment un­til it was some­thing ev­ery­one could get be­hind.

I quickly learned why there isn’t more of this kind of thing: trans­parency is a lot of work! 100+ hours of work later, plus dozens of hours from oth­ers, and the strate­gic plan was fi­nally finished and rat­ified by the board. It doesn’t ac­com­plish much by it­self, but it’s one im­por­tant step­ping stone in build­ing an or­ga­ni­za­tion that is more pro­duc­tive, more trusted, and more likely to help solve the world’s biggest prob­lems.

I spent two months as a re­searcher, and was then ap­pointed Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor.

In fur­ther pur­suit of trans­parency, I’d like to an­swer (on video) sub­mit­ted ques­tions from the Less Wrong com­mu­nity just as Eliezer did two years ago.

The Rules

1) One ques­tion per com­ment (to al­low vot­ing to carry more in­for­ma­tion about peo­ple’s prefer­ences).

2) Try to be as clear and con­cise as pos­si­ble. If your ques­tion can’t be con­densed into one para­graph, you should prob­a­bly ask in a sep­a­rate post. Make sure you have an ac­tual ques­tion some­where in there (you can bold it to make it eas­ier to scan).

3) I will gen­er­ally an­swer the top-voted ques­tions, but will skip some of them. I will tend to se­lect ques­tions about Sin­gu­lar­ity In­sti­tute as an or­ga­ni­za­tion, not about the tech­ni­cal de­tails of some bit of re­search. You can read some of the de­tails of the Friendly AI re­search pro­gram in my in­ter­view with Michael Anis­si­mov.

4) If you refer­ence cer­tain things that are on­line in your ques­tion, provide a link.

5) This thread will be open to ques­tions and votes for 7 days, at which time I will de­cide which ques­tions to be­gin record­ing video re­sponses for.

I might re­spond to cer­tain ques­tions within the com­ments thread and not on video; for ex­am­ple, when there is a one-word an­swer.