Sorry for the late reply here, but thanks Austin! (Oh and to clarify, Clark set up the prediction market, not Kriz!)
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Hi Renan, we really appreciate your decision to give us a regrant! Thanks also for sharing your thoughts about our project. We're taking your challenges/concerns into account, and we're already coming up with concrete plans to mitigate them.
Hi Gaurav, thanks for weighing in on our project! Here are our thoughts on what you said, written mainly by Clark:
We agree there’s value in visiting Berkeley if people had the means, but we think it’s important there be more alignment hubs in various regions. We think that a good number of potential AIS researchers in Southeast Asia would find it costly and/or hard to visit or move to Berkeley (especially in the current funding landscape), as compared to visiting or working in Manila / SE Asia.
On research sprints to solve COPs: there are nuances to speed. Optimising for paper writing speed for example doesn't make sense, nor would treating the problems as Leetcode puzzles you can grind. The kind of speed we're optimizing for is closer to rate of exploration: how can we reduce our key uncertainties in a topic as quickly as possible? Can we discover all the mistakes and dead-ends ASAP to crystallize the topic's boundaries rapidly? Can we factor the open question into two dozen subquestions, each clearly doable in one sitting, and if so, how many of them can we do in a given timeframe? The crucial point is this: moving around produces information. We want to ruminate on questions in the middle of coding them up, develop the habit of thinking through problems in the space of a Jupyter notebook, and shrink this loop until it becomes second-nature. We have also emailed Neel Nanda and Joseph Bloom about our project and aim to get their advice, so we won't veer too far off course while still learning to walk on our own.
On mentorship, we expect to do well enough in the training phase, but we likely need more mentorship in the research phase. That's why we're going to get a research adviser. During the research phase, the students will (mostly) get advice from Clark and Kriz, while we take advice from a research adviser. The goal is eventually to train ourselves and/or get enough people on our team so that we can confidently do the advising ourselves. This is also why we're adopting the flipped classroom model: we'll only have to produce/curate the learning materials once, and then just focus on getting them to do exercises. We're quite confident this is doable as Clark has taught classes of more than 40 people before.
Let us know if you have more thoughts or questions!