Thanks for the informative post as usual.
Full-disclosure: I’m a researcher at UC Berkeley financially supported by CHAI, one of the organisations reviewed in this post. However, this comment is just my personal opinion.
Re: location, I certainly agree that an organization does not need to be in the Bay Area to do great work, but I do think location is important. In particular, there’s a significant advantage to working in or near a major AI hub. The Bay Area is one such place (Berkeley, Stanford, Google Brain, OpenAI, FAIR) but not the only one; e.g. London (DeepMind, UCL) and Montreal (MILA, Brain, et al) are also very strong.
I also want to push back a bit on the assumption that people working for AI alignment organisations will be involved with EA and rationalist communities. While it may be true in many cases, at CHAI I think it’s only around 50% of staff. So whether these communities are thriving or not in a particular area doesn’t seem that relevant to me for organisational location decisions.
I definitely being near AI hubs is helpful, and I’d be interested in supporting any credible new groups that started in other hubs.
Thanks for that extra info on CHAI staff. In general my objections to the bay area are partly about the EA/LW culture there, and partly about the broader culture. I did end up donating to CHAI despite this!