I actually got directed to your article by another person before this! Congrats on creating something that people actually reference!
On hindsight, yeah, project based learning is nor what I meant nor a good alternative to traditional learning; if you can use cheat codes to speed up your learning using the experience from somebody else you should do so without a doubt.
The generator of this post is a combination of the following observations:
1) I see a lot of people who keep waiting for a call to adventure
2) Most knowledge I have acquired through life has turned out to be useless, non transferable and/or fades out very quickly
3) It makes sense to think that people get a better grasp of what skills they need to solve a problem (such as producing high quality AI Alignment research) after they have grappled with the problem. This feels specially true when you are in the edge of a new field, because there is no one else you can turn to who would be able to compress their experience in a digestible format.
4) People (specially in mathematics) have a tendency to wander around aimlessly picking up topics, and then use very few of what they learn. Here I am standing on not very solid ground, because conventional wisdom is that you need to wander around to “see the connections”, but I feel like that might be just confirmation bias creeping in.
Put that in your post! I got what you’re saying way better after reading that.