GavrielK avatar
Gavriel Kleinwaks

@GavrielK

regrantor

Project manager at 1Day Sooner. Focused on biosecurity and policy.

linkedin.com/in/gavriel-kleinwaks-6a5398b0/
$8,400total balance
$5,000charity balance
$0cash balance

$3,400 in pending offers

About Me

I am most interested in projects that aim to promote human flourishing through reducing catastrophic biorisk and/or improving social fabric and public policy.

My central interest in my work is finding policy and economic avenues for pandemic prevention. I currently focus on indoor air quality to mitigate pandemic risk and market shaping mechanisms to accelerate vaccine development, and have been involved in assessing clinical research in order to recommend grants. I have also been increasingly interested in the use of forecasting for institutional decision-making and societal trust.

Outgoing donations

Comments

GavrielK avatar

@joel_bkr Sorry for missing this before! In response to "Could you possibly expand on what roping in dedicated policy advocates would involve?": Yes, looks like writing a policy report, possibly including reasonable policy recommendations, and socializing the report/publishing it in a place that media and policymakers are more likely to see. To be fair, any possible partners would have existing priorities and I can understand the difficulty of finding anyone who has serious time to dedicate to this.

GavrielK avatar

Offering a grant at this point after Vivian reached out to me and told me about a couple of customers for the estimate that are excited to have this sooner rather than later.

None of the possible conflicts of interest really gave me reservations but for the sake of disclosure: Joel and I are friends, and (although Vivian and Richard aren't the direct recipients), Vivian and I collaborate closely, and I am likely to begin working with Richard soon on a related project. As mentioned in my comment below, this estimate is, in fact, something that I might wind up using.

GavrielK avatar

Preemptively pledging $5k for when Greg accepts the transfer and I'm able to add to Joel's existing offer (at which point I'll write up my thoughts in more detail).

GavrielK avatar

Gavriel Kleinwaks

about 1 month ago

Props to Austin for filling the minimum funding before I had a chance to ask any questions, haha. But for the sake of future/>min funding and general clarity:

Initial thoughts:

  • Qally's seems like a good thing to exist, and re: Nuño's comment, I like the "bespoke" model you seem to be pursuing; I think that does actually make more sense for something like this than a large-scale operating lump sum. (I can see the risk of people leaving Qally's to pursue other, more stable projects, but this is such a contractor-friendly model.)

  • Also, I'm not a decision-maker, but as a member of a fellow advocacy team, I am a potential customer for this information! Of course I'm very interested in Nuño's question about whether there are actual decision-makers who could use this more directly.

  • Concur with Austin--this is a trustworthy team that are suited for the project. (Aside from Joel and Viv, I'm familiar with Richard's work.)

  • I've personally received conflicting opinions from people in the field about how much policymakers care about/pay attention to in-depth analyses that they didn't actually commission. I like that this analysis format will result in a solid headline number that can be communicated simply.

Questions:

  • I'm sort of surprised that this needed to be pursued through independent funding--this is such a think-tank-friendly project! Richard works at the Center for Health Security and even produced an analysis in collaboration with Institute for Progress that seems super related to this! What's the missing expertise that Qally's brings to the table, and why isn't CHS backing this piece of the project?

    • The think-tank-friendliness of it reduces the failure risk from the team not having time to write up results--possibly could rope in the dedicated policy advocates at IfP or Rethink for advocacy-style writing?

  • Are you also considering long-term costs of other viruses? Just curious--I know this is much more speculative, but my impression is that COVID just had the most attention on it for a while and now there's increasing scientific interest in possible long-term effects of flu. That would also emphasize the importance of endemic disease. But could be way too complicated, just wondering if it was discussed!

  • You reference researching other contributions to disease burden as a possible extension of this project--what contributions would those be, if the bulk of the project has already been completed?

GavrielK avatar

Gavriel Kleinwaks

3 months ago

Hi Jonas, similarly to Joel, I am not well-versed in AI and don't feel I have an informed assessment of your project--I am primarily focusing on biosecurity and policy.

GavrielK avatar

Gavriel Kleinwaks

4 months ago

Strongly seconding Joel's question. Also just want to clarify as to why you have such a low minimum. What happens if you receive much less than you're asking for--you just make up the difference with runway? Or would you scale down at all?

GavrielK avatar

Gavriel Kleinwaks

4 months ago

Hi Keith, as Austin says, I don't think this project is the best fit for regrantors here, so feel free not to spend time answering this, but I do think your application is very under-detailed: what are the actual water infrastructure problems you are aiming to solve, and what type of research and collaboration with industry experts will solve them?

GavrielK avatar

Gavriel Kleinwaks

4 months ago

@K-Tiffany Go ahead and email me, gavriel.kleinwaks@1daysooner.org (and share relevant docs with that email, of course).

GavrielK avatar

Gavriel Kleinwaks

4 months ago

@joel_bkr Makes sense, thanks for the feedback!

1) ~nothing negative to say: I think I instinctively made this sound a little too "nice" and also once I made up my mind, had a bias toward sounding confident, both of which probably disguise how negatively I weighed that key uncertainty referenced at the end of my writeup. Reading it back, it doesn't convey my real level of concern--it gave me serious pause that there's basically one person tackling this whole list, for an October deadline, who's also trying to handle immigration, and no clear person to pick up the ball. I think of this project as falling very much into the philosophy of hits-based giving, which makes that particular timeline problem more acceptable to me as a risk...but probably if I didn't already have some level of trust toward the people involved, I would have been harsher toward that aspect of the project. Even then, I think it would have been a stronger application if CR were able to say they had another person who could help Miti, or had a handoff process as backup, or some other method to ensure the ball isn't dropped.

2) other bio opportunities: For starters, there's very little else I've seen so far in the category of biosecurity specifically; almost all biosecurity/pandemic preparedness projects I know of are beyond my funding capacity, including the one other explicitly biosecurity-focused project posted on Manifund. Although I am not absolutely locked into funding biosecurity projects, I did want to start there, and I wanted to make sure I could fully fund at least one thing in case nobody else was interested in biosecurity. This project is also much more urgent than others, with a faster feedback loop--we'll know how it went within a few months. (Another project I was interested in isn't even ready to go yet, although I'd love to help that person find funding in the future). Beyond biosec, without getting too into the weeds of each individual project I looked at, most projects posted to Manifund just strike me as a) much more speculative or b) less valuable or c) not within my capacity to both evaluate and fund.

GavrielK avatar

Gavriel Kleinwaks

4 months ago

One quick part of the response from something Joel posted in Discord a while back: "It isn't funded by Convergent already because : 1. Time, they need the data asap and time asap. 2. Logistics, CR is not incorporated in the UK and the intermediary employers cost a lot of overhead for them vs me applying for independent grants that will let me work here." Otherwise will let Miti respond.

GavrielK avatar

Gavriel Kleinwaks

4 months ago

@K-Tiffany Hey Tiffany, I'm a random regrantor. I agreed that this proposal is hard to parse and thought Rachel had good feedback, but I'm chiming in now since the connection between this proposal's current phrasing and transparent AI research is really unclear to me AND I watched Bruce's entire YouTube video explaining the project (from a few years back), so the proposal could do with even more clarification than I thought when I first read it. Really sorry if that sounds harsh, trying to explain my context.

What does transparent AI mean and how is it related to distributed models? If "transparent AI" is "AI whose motives you can totally understand," I get why it would be safe but not how this proposal gets there. But if it means "open-source AI," I don't get why it would be safe. Can you get into that a bit more?

I can't speak to formal grant-writing support, but I can help out with more detailed feedback if you're redrafting.

GavrielK avatar

Gavriel Kleinwaks

4 months ago

(Would appreciate feedback on the clarity/usefulness of this writeup if others happen to have notes!)

GavrielK avatar

Gavriel Kleinwaks

4 months ago

I had a great conversation with Miti and Convergent’s Aleš Flidr about this grant, and will be fully funding it.

General:

  • I am explicitly looking for projects aimed at biosecurity/pandemic prevention, since I feel better equipped to understand what is valuable in that field than in AI. I also worry that biosecurity is underserved by the current quick-grants structure, relative to AI.

  • This is exactly the type of project Manifund is best poised to serve: the turnaround needs to be really fast, since Miti is targeting an October deadline, and it’s for a small enough amount that at my $50k regranting budget I can fully fund it.

Specific:

  • From my conversation with Miti and Aleš, it sounded as though there was a pretty good chance to unlock UK government buy-in for an important biosecurity apparatus, through the relatively inexpensive/short-term investment of a proposal submitted to the government. Biosecurity doesn’t have a lot of opportunities for cheap wins as far as I normally see, so this is really exciting. 

  • Even if this project doesn’t unlock that buy-in, the project deliverables look really useful, and I would like for them to exist and be accessible to others. 

  • Miti has worked at several different points in the chain of biosecurity-relevant roles, so seems especially well-positioned to come up with the listed deliverables and write a proposal to the UK government.

Reason for amount: The project is on a very tight timeline and Miti is assuming a very reasonable 3-month salary for herself in her budget. I don’t want to cut into it and cause financial pressure to take attention away from the project or for her to need to seek additional contract work.


Key uncertainties: The list of deliverables is a lot for one person for three months. It would be amazing if Miti actually got through the whole thing, but she and Aleš were forthright about the possibility that not all of the deliverables would come through, and that they were uncertain about how the project would be able to move forward after the October deadline. They did agree that there was value in the project beyond the deadline, and it would be ideal to continue it if circumstances allowed, so we were on the same page about that. I still consider the project to be well worth pursuing, as whatever information is gained will still be useful and accessible after the deadline.

GavrielK avatar

Gavriel Kleinwaks

5 months ago

Hey Allison, I'm interested in this idea and it's very much in my wheelhouse. A few questions:

  • What results have you seen from the previous cybersecurity/AI workshops, aside from continued participation—have you seen signs that staffers are bringing what they’ve learned to their offices and impacting policy?

  • How are the participating staffers chosen/recruited? (Are you targeting offices strategically?)

  • What would you do if you only hit your minimum funding target of $75k?

  • How did you decide that quarterly workshops would be the ideal frequency?

    • I worry that quarterly workshops will saturate busy staffers’ interest and that you'd get diminishing returns from both your own time commitment in organizing this, and for asking for so much time from others. Intuitively I would’ve assumed that 2/yr would be better, especially considering events in the same general realm that other organizations, such as the Center for Health Security, run. (Incidentally, have you been in touch with CHS about this? Just curious if you'd considered a collab, not a criticism if not.)

For other regrantors' context, I have a strong positive impression of this proposal, because it resonates with my understanding of the field and shows thoughtfulness in many key points:

  • Policy is very relational and driven by attention; the line about maintaining involvement and interest in a biosec community really inspires my confidence.

  • The biosecurity field is in an odd place, attention-wise—there’s been a combination of momentum from some parties and (COVID) fatigue from others. I think the timing is good for an effort like this one, aimed at building core understanding of biosec outside of COVID.

  • Colleagues and partner organizations I know have been very pleased with the outcomes of workshops. (Eg my boss made a major strategy update for our whole org based on success he saw with a workshop.)

  • I initially thought that some other organization would have covered a project like this, but to my surprise, when I considered the (outside of government) biosec organizations I know of, nobody really is handling such a general information-sharing effort.

  • The angle (Congressional staffers) is a little under-approached, to my understanding. (I've been hearing more about targeting the executive branch, but this just could be a coincidence.)

  • The research-policymaker connection is vital but breaking out of silos/getting people's attention/finding the right levers is always difficult; targeting that goal in particular is very thoughtful and valuable.