[Question] What’s keeping concerned capabilities gain researchers from leaving the field?

My guess is that there are at least a few capabilities gain researchers who’re concerned about the impact their work will have. My guess is that at least a few of these would like to leave, but haven’t.

My question is: where are these people? What’s stopping them from leaving? And how can I help?

  • How much of it is finance? Capabilities gain pays well. How many researchers are trapped by their ~million dollar a year salary?

  • How much of it is just inertia? Many people think that if someone wanted to leave, they already would have. But trivial costs are not trivial. People delay leaving a job all the time. Some of them are quite likely working in capabilities gain research.

  • How much of it is just. Uncertainty about what else to do. Concerns about whether to it’s better to leave, or to try and steward the ship from the inside. Many, many other things. How many of these other myriad concerns can be resolved?

My suspicion is that a lot of work can be done to simply help people leave the field. In principle: a low friction scholarship can be presented on a silver platter to those wanting to transition away. Potentially useful information, and personalised support can be provided to help people interested in leaving. (AI safety support is trying to work with those interested in entering AI safety; something like that, but for leaving capabilities gain.) A simple conversation can be started, which may prompt people to address that voice of concern in the corner of their mind more head on.

There is a lot of uncertainty about what low hanging fruit exist in simply helping researchers leave. Whether these fruit exist at all. How many. Are they poisonous.

The first step in resolving this uncertainty is to just look for some concerned researchers, and talk to them.

So, dear concerned capabilities gain researcher.

What’s keeping you from leaving?

(DM me if you wish for privacy)