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has anyone seen many of these? i’m trying to put together a list

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    I doubt that this response is exactly what you were looking for, but if you’re at all interested in “doing the most good possible with your career”, a la the effective altruism movement, then AI safety research in academia or at a nonprofit like MIRI, OpenAI, or Ought.org, or even at a for-profit org like DeepMind seems like a pretty good bet in expectation, if you can swing it. You can check out an overview of this idea and possible ways of getting involved here.

    And if you’re looking for something slightly less sci-fi (/more near-term) (but still something like “doing a lot of good with your career”), I think working on self-driving cars is one of the most high-impact things you can do right now. It’s still a relatively small field, and if you can counterfactually bring the advent of ubiquitous self-driving cars nearer by one day (admittedly this is quite difficult), that corresponds to roughly one thousand lives saved.

    Disclaimer: I currently work at MIRI, and used to work at the autonomous car company Cruise (in both cases, because I take this line of argument very seriously). I don’t speak for either employer. I also don’t think that this line of reasoning is necessarily the right way for most people to go about choosing a career, and I mainly mention it in case you find it interesting or useful.

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      Out of curiosity, why do you not think getting a career to “do the most good” is a good line of reasoning? (Or am I misreading you) I’m currently thinking of moving into a more socially impactful career myself.

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        It’s not that I don’t think it’s a good line of reasoning - I do; I just also don’t want to imply that I think everyone is obligated to think that way.

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          I just also don’t want to imply that I think everyone is obligated to think that way.

          A radical thought in itself. 🙂

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          Not GP, but it seems pretty well settled that in most circumstances (probably not autonomous cars though, which I imagine pay pretty well) the best way to aid it with your career is to make a boatload of cash however you can, and use the cash to fund the work you feel should be done.

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          and if you can counterfactually bring the advent of ubiquitous self-driving cars nearer by one day (admittedly this is quite difficult), that corresponds to roughly one thousand lives saved.

          This is a completely ridiculous statement. There’s no evidence whatsoever that self-driving cars would be any safer than real cars which actually exist. And if you were good enough to actually make a difference to such a field, you’re smart enough to make an impact somewhere that actually has a bat’s chance in hell of ever actually going anywhere.

          The self-driving car hype is absurd.

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            There’s no evidence whatsoever that self-driving cars would be any safer than real cars which actually exist.

            This is pretty obviously false, conditioning on self driving cars working at all. See, e.g., https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812115

            And as someone with experience of the current state of the art, I’d bet at 4:1 odds (with some better operationalization, and up to a limit of around $200; PM me) that we’ll start seeing widespread adoption of self-driving cars within this decade, conditional on no major economic disasters.

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          Not a company, but an example of using ML/AI to de-spam the FCC Net Neutrality comments (surprise surprise, all the humans supported keeping the regulation): https://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/files/blogs/FilteringOutTheBotsUniqueNetNeutralityComments.pdf

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            Facebook, Twitter, and Google are using it to push us toward a more dystopian, but convenient, future. Their number of users and developers indicates that’s the most popular path right now.

            The other side is mainly nonprofits, small businesses, coops, and startups. If you’re interested, I’ve found lots of opportunities looking at batches of startups in general or search for them using AI. A subset of them will be analyzing data in ways that can do social benefit. In this example and this, a few of their companies arguably could have social benefit using machine learning or just number crunching:

            1. Vinsight. More mouths to feed all the time, food production needs to keep up, it has to stay cheap, and farmers been hit hard by weather, too. Anything that helps them helps everyone, esp poor people.

            2. Sterblue. Uses drones with automated analysis to inspect power lines, wind turbines, etc. I could see this used both to maintain critical infrastructure but also expanding to disaster response. Reducing maintenance costs of wind or solar might also increase renewable use.

            3. AskMyClass. Anything that helps teachers, esp in underfunded schools, is a social benefit in my book. Most of them don’t use machine learning so much just better software, materials, organization, etc. This did use AI.

            4. Qurasense and Higia. These are neat, early-detection and analysis products for women. If they aren’t using AI, they’ll likely benefit from it.

            There’s more on the list. I’m sure you get the idea by now, though. Even more when you don’t need AI since just better apps/interfaces without price-gouging can do tons of public good. You can crank them out faster and cheaper, too. I always keep an eye on these startup batches looking for ideas for public benefit. Given the VC-funded incentives, these startups will probably turn bad at IPO or acquisition time. However, every one of those pitches are also ideas other people can turn into non-profits or bootstrap into public-benefit companies. I say assess which ones you might have resources (esp time/money) to do, pick one that is either easiest or matters most, decide if you can go for it, and if so go for it. :)

            Btw, I’ll save the best for last even though it wasn’t AI: AnnieCannons. I wish them luck!

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              Vinsight. More mouths to feed all the time, food production needs to keep up, it has to stay cheap, and farmers been hit hard by weather, too. Anything that helps them helps everyone, esp poor people.

              The problem hasn’t been whether or not the world produces enough food for decades if not longer. The world is more than capable of feeding people technologically. It annoys me a lot when people act like you can fix poverty with technology. You can’t. We had the technology to solve poverty a hundred years ago.

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                Ive advocated here in threads, some you were in, for solving our problems through voter action, unions, charitable giving, personal sacrifices to boost worthy people, incentive structures, media attention, and occasionally technology. OP wanted to see technological solutions. So i gave them.

                Your comment severely misrepresents what I advocate on this site while delivering no examples of your own to the OP. Got any good examples on tech side with AI/ML?

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                  More mouths to feed all the time, food production needs to keep up,

                  You said this. That you sometimes say other things as well doesn’t change that this is what you said and it’s misleading.

                  Your comment severely misrepresents what I advocate on this site while delivering no examples of your own to the OP. Got any good examples on tech side with AI/ML?

                  No, I don’t, because I don’t think they exist. I think ‘AI/ML’ is just at the stage in the hype cycle where people think it fixes all of society’s problems even though it’s probably done more harm than good (allowing people to shift the blame for bias from humans onto unreviewable, unknowable, ununderstandable ‘algorithms’ so that they can ‘scale up’ and/or cut costs without having to employ people to do things like youtube video content review, copyright infringement review, parole reviews, etc. is both harmful to employment and harmful to the people being reviewed).

                  Also “voter action” is pointless and will always be completely pointless in a world where so many people are all but mind-controlled by the mass media, “unions” have been impotent for decades because they’ve been rendered impotent by changes to labour laws across the world and “charitable giving” is a tax on conscience. I don’t relaly know what you mean by “personal sacrifices to boost worthy people”, but if you mean what a lot of people seem to mean with that kind of statement which is basically “all bow down to [Elon Musk or some other billionaire with a good marketing department] for he is our savior” then I disagree (although I doubt that’s what you mean), because the world cannot be changed and will not be changed for the better by billionaires, who are literally the people causing the problems in the first place. The media is controlled by people that benefit greatly from the public political consciousness being practically nonexistent, so I don’t know why media attention could solve that.

                  The internet was supposed to bring people together and become an educational resource for billions. Which it is, but it’s also given the powers that be greater control over peoples’ lives than they’ve ever had before. Not worth the tradeoff, if you ask me. Unlike (it seems) most people in the tech industry, I do not see technology has ultimately a positive thing unless I actually see some evidence of it having a positive impact on the world that outweighs its enormous negative impact (mental health, corporate control of society, etc. etc.).