People and Things I Would Fund If I Were a Billionairecreated date: ; modified date: ; status: in progress
I believe that one of the highest impact uses of money is to pay individuals to critically assess, summarize, systematize, and put into larger perspective new (and old) scientific knowledge. Examples are:
- Individuals: Rolf Degen’s Twitter, Gwern’s Google Plus
- Journals: Quanta Magazine, Элементы (in Russian)
I would fund the development of new scientific tools, as many scientific discoveries arise from utilizing novel tools. For a recent example of how this can be useful, see Open Philanthropy’s funding of Edward Boyden lab’s expansion microscopy, which was rejected by government funding bodies multiple times.
I would also fund writing “good overviews of large, interesting sectors like logistics, fintech, ecommerce, etc.” and “State of X” papers.
Related: A MIRI position for this in ML: “We would like to hire a person whose job it is to be a living library, a walking index into the current field of AI and ML”.
Sarah Constantin’s The Longevity Research Institute.
Bret Victor’s Dynamicland.
- Fund Gwern (his Patreon).
- Fund a friend who’s a first class economic historian but who works 9-5 because he needs money to do research full-time
- Fund a polymath friend who lives on the edge of poverty due to an executive function disorder
- Fund a friend who writes the best educational materials of all people I’ve ever known, who works 9-5 because he needs money to spend significantly more time writing educational materials
Note: if you want to fund any of my friends mentioned here, do message me
Thiel Fellowship: $100,000 for people under 23
Einstein Fellowship: “a fellowship for outstanding young thinkers who wish to pursue a project in a different field from that of their previous research. “
Speculative businesses / services
- Fund Twitter alternatives. I love Twitter but I want to freaking be able to control my timeline. Also, Mastodon sucks.
- Fund Facebook alternatives. Zuckerberg is immoral and Facebook is evil.
- Fund development of Visual History-like browser extension, which would provide browsing history as a directed-graph.
- Create the new ACLU
Translations from Russian
- Most of Andrei Movchan’s facebook posts (I translated one myself)
- Занимательная Греция, Михаил Гаспаров — this is the best book on Ancient Greece I’ve ever read
- И возвращается ветер, Владимир Буковский — an autobiography of a famous Soviet dissident. There is an English translation but for some reason it skips parts of the book.
- Pay someone to make Hugo generate TOC and render KaTeX simultaneously (right now it’s TOC with .md or KaTeX with .mmark)
- Randomly anonymously donate to people maintaining open source projects (not stating what the donation is for, so that not to mess up their incentives)
- Fund somebody to create a wearable compass à la North Paw / feelSpace