Funding chains in the x-risk/AI safety ecosystem

post by riceissa · 2019-09-09T02:56:30.568Z · score: 19 (10 votes) · EA · GW · 18 comments

I made a graph of funding chains in the x-risk/AI safety ecosystem. In the graph below, an edge means that has provided funding to .

The data used to generate the graph comes from the Donations List Website [EA · GW]. I originally made a graph (not shown) by restricting to donations in AI safety, existential risks, and global catastrophic risks. However, this included donations from individual donors, which made the resulting graph incomprehensibly large. I therefore manually created a whitelist of a small number of organizations and individuals. Finally, I collected all the donations involving the organizations/individuals in this whitelist (regardless of the cause area) and made a graph; this is the one that is shown above.

Source code for generating the graph can be found in this GitHub Gist.

For now, I don't have anything deep to say about this graph; I just found the existence of long chains and numerous connections interesting. If anybody has more thoughts about this, I would be curious to hear them.

GIGO warning: the graph is only as good as the data that was fed into it, so errors made in data entry would affect the graph.

Acknowledgments: Thanks to Vipul Naik [EA · GW] for the observation that there are some long funding chains, which prompted me to make the graph, and for creating Donations List Website, which made it possible to make the graph.

18 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by RyanCarey · 2019-09-09T08:53:40.007Z · score: 16 (15 votes) · EA · GW

This is interesting. However, this graph is also fairly misleading by putting OpenPhil on the same footing as an individual ETG-funder, although OpenPhil is disbursing wholly 1000x more funds. Maybe you could set edge-widths to correspond to funding volumes? Also, do you think by moving the nodes around you could reduce the extent to which lines cross over each other, to increase clarity?

comment by Ozzie Gooen (oagr) · 2019-09-09T15:38:09.869Z · score: 9 (6 votes) · EA · GW

The same thing about the edge-widths came to my mind. More specifically, I suggest adding labels to the edges to state a rough number of funding. Perhaps it would ideally be an interactive application.

Also, just curious; was there any reason for having Patrick in particular on the top of this? I imagine there were other donors who gave to many of these things.

comment by Milan_Griffes · 2019-09-09T16:46:36.548Z · score: 13 (8 votes) · EA · GW

Yeah, at a glance the current presentation really makes AI safety look like Patrick's empire.

comment by Patrick · 2019-09-15T02:32:11.350Z · score: 9 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I have to say I found this all very funny.

comment by riceissa · 2019-09-09T21:57:17.057Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I suggest adding labels to the edges to state a rough number of funding

I find that remembering the typical grant/donation size of a donor is easier than remembering all the connections between different donors and donees, so having the edges visually represented (without further decorating the edges) captures most of the value of the exercise. I realize that others who don't follow the EA granting space as closely as I do may feel differently.

Perhaps it would ideally be an interactive application

I don't have experience making such applications, so I will let someone else do this.

was there any reason for having Patrick in particular on the top of this?

The node positions were chosen by Graphviz, so I didn't choose to put Patrick on top. I included Patrick because Vipul suggested doing this (I would guess because Patrick was the most available example of an ETG donor who has given to many x-risk charities).

comment by Milan_Griffes · 2019-09-09T16:50:07.884Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

+1

The EA funding map I'd most want see would focus on current funding volumes and potential funding volumes:

  • Giant circle for Open Phil
  • Small circles for Jaan, Thiel, and Ben Delo (and maybe Vitalik?)
  • Cloud of tiny circles representing everyone else
comment by riceissa · 2019-09-09T22:20:30.427Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

this graph is also fairly misleading by putting OpenPhil on the same footing as an individual ETG-funder, although OpenPhil is disbursing wholly 1000x more funds

See my reply to Ozzie.

Also, do you think by moving the nodes around you could reduce the extent to which lines cross over each other, to increase clarity?

I added three additional graphs that use different layout algorithms in here. I don't know if they're any better.

comment by elle · 2019-09-10T05:44:20.403Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Personal opinion: the circular layout seems more useful. I like that it more clearly demonstrates a) entities that are connected to only one other entity in the graph (example: Inst. Phil. Research is only connected to BERI, Thiel is only connected to MIRI), and b) how many arrows are going into each node (example: it's easier to see that MIRI has the widest range of supporters of this group, followed by CEA and CFAR).

comment by Larks · 2019-09-10T16:48:58.756Z · score: 8 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Looks like the (joint) longest chain is:

  • Patrick
  • EA Funds
  • BERI
  • Survival and Flourishing
  • FLI
  • CEA
  • AI Safety Camp

I am pleased to see there do not seem to be any cycles!

comment by Halffull · 2019-09-10T20:16:13.305Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I timeboxed 30 minutes to manually transfer this to yED. I'm fairly certain there's one or two missing edges here's what I got:

https://www.evernote.com/shard/s8/sh/1c1071e2-1ab0-47e8-a4f8-6560139e9cac/a31dd7a67e852f1b/res/8c016672-4d26-4bb9-b85d-a99f381ab1e6/FundingImage.png

Here's the yED file, if anyone wants to try their hand at other layout algorithms:

https://www.evernote.com/shard/s8/client/snv?noteGuid=1c1071e2-1ab0-47e8-a4f8-6560139e9cac&noteKey=a31dd7a67e852f1b&sn=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.evernote.com%2Fshard%2Fs8%2Fsh%2F1c1071e2-1ab0-47e8-a4f8-6560139e9cac%2Fa31dd7a67e852f1b&title=FundingImage.png

comment by Ben Pace · 2019-09-10T20:58:29.843Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Do I have to make an evernote account to see that? Pretty sure this trivial inconvenience will prevent most lurkers from seeing it.

comment by Halffull · 2019-09-10T21:37:55.874Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

You shouldn't, it's an evernote public sharing link that doesn't require sign in. Note also that I tried to embed the image directly in my comment, but apparently the markdown for images doesn't work in comments?

comment by Ben Pace · 2019-09-10T22:31:14.754Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Firsts link does, second link doesn't, but I gave up when first link wouldn't let me through.

Indeed, I cannot get the markdown to work in comments. Alas.

comment by Halffull · 2019-09-10T22:33:09.267Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Hmm that's odd, I tested both in incognito mode and they seemed to work.

comment by Ben Pace · 2019-09-10T23:35:36.090Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

It is quite odd, as the first link also works for me in incognito, but not in normal. Perhaps has something to do with me once having an evernote account? Or me being logged into google? Who knows.

comment by Halffull · 2019-09-10T16:01:39.139Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Small suggestion for future projects like this. I used to use graphviz for diagramming, but since found yED and never looked back. Its edge-routing and placement algorithms are much better, and can be tweaked with WYSIWYG editing after the fact.

comment by elle · 2019-09-10T05:37:10.227Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Isn't EA Grants part of CEA? Perhaps there should be an arrow from CEA to EA Grants if so.

comment by HaydnBelfield · 2019-09-11T01:36:36.615Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Jaan has given to CSER