Main points in favor of this grant
When I talked with Lisa, she was clearly able to articulate why the project is a good idea. Often people struggle to do this
Lisa is smart and talented and wants to be expanding her impact by leading projects. This seems well worth supporting.
Davidad is fairly well-known to be very insightful and proposed the project before seeing the original results.
Reviewers from Nonlinear Network gave great feedback on funding Lisa for two projects she proposed. She was most excited about this one and, with rare exceptions, when a person has two potential projects, they should do the one they are most excited about.
I think we need to get more tools in our arsenal for attacking alignment. With some early promising results, it seems very good to build out activation vector steering.
Donor's main reservations
I don’t feel I’m a good judge of whether or not this is worth doing. I think I judge talent well, but I don't have nearly enough alignment background or neurotech background to judge this. This is far more of a bet on the people than on the project. I also don't think many people would be qualified to judge the project.
I somewhat worry that Lisa won't be full-time on the project and/or that this might distract her from her other work. She did say she had broad support from her current workplace to pursue this in tandem.
Process for deciding amount
The project is in discussion with Foresight to see if it's possible to do a scaled-down version that isn't as expensive. My $15k should go towards getting the ball rolling with the expectation of a few more people to get this at least to the scaled-down stage but preferably the full proposed project.
Conflicts of interest