(Cross posted from our alumni mailing list)

Hey everyone!

As 2017 comes to a close, I wanted to share some news about what we’ve done over the last quarter, and about what we plan to do next.

Note: our fundraiser is currently live! You can find our 2017 retrospective here, and read more about our plans for 2018 here.

What We Did

Mainline Workshops - We ran three of our mainline intro workshops this quarter. Two of them were in Prague; both went excellently despite the distance, thanks to the help of some amazing local EAs (Daniel Hnyk, Blanka Havlickova, Jan Kulveit, Naďa Bednárová, Filip Štědronský, Honza Klenha, Premek Paska, and Michal Pokorny). We also ran a local workshop at our usual venue in October.

Metrics - Dan Keys led an intensive effort to evaluate and measure CFAR’s impact, and compiled a report outlining his findings.

MIRI/CFAR Collaboration Workshop - MIRI and CFAR held a 5-day attempted mind-meld in November. Both organizations are trying to figure out how rational agents should act, albeit obviously from different angles, and so we thought we might be able to teach each other something. CFAR staff came away with numerous interesting questions and insights, which among other things helped shape the curriculum for our second Tier II workshop.

Tier II Workshop - We held our second-ever Tier II workshop in December. This workshop is still young, and isn’t yet as coherent as our mainline workshops. But participants did seem to benefit, and our some of our instructors found it extremely helpful to trial new classes in this context.

Rationalist House Games - Elizabeth Garrett spearheaded a competition between rationalist houses which concluded last week. Congratulations to The Bailey on winning, and on receiving a notably cool rationalist-forged sword.

Permanent Venue - We are currently in escrow on a property in Bodega Bay, at which we hope to host all of our future workshops. Unfortunately, it remains possible that financing or permitting hang-ups could sink the deal, forcing us to keep searching.

Alumni Community Disputes Council - Max Harms, Kenzi Amodei, and Elizabeth Garrett have set up a council to mediate disputes between alumni, and to govern its community resources (e.g. access to the CFAR common space, alumni events, and the listserv). ACDC has a legal status closer to a group of trusted friends than to a court, so please report crimes to the police, and remember that we don’t have legally privileged status with regards to confidential information, etc. That said, if someone is a public menace or is actively causing harm in the community, please feel free to email ACDC about it.

Open House - We held an open house last week at our office in Berkeley, featuring Christmas lights, sugar, and question-answering from myself, Anna, Duncan and Val.

What We Plan to Do

Our plans for the coming year depend significantly on how much we raise in our fundraiser, and on how quickly (and at what cost) we’re able to secure a permanent venue; you can find a full description of the relevant possibility-space here. But we will of course run some events regardless, including:

January Workshop - A regular intro workshop from January 24-28. Apply here (for the waitlist)!

Other Workshops - We will run various other intro and advanced workshops as usual, details TBD.

Staff IDC on X-Risk - A surprising amount of CFAR’s impact has come from helping participants Internal Double Crux about existential risk, so our staff plan to spend a few days practicing the skill on each other from January 12-15.

Community Events - Check our Facebook page and the alumni mailing list to stay up to date!

All the best,