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June 14, 2017

Some questions, if answered, could drastically change our beliefs about what is best to focus on. Orienting one’s research towards these so-called crucial considerations could have profound leverage relative to other research agendas one might pursue. Questions of this nature are definitionally important, and their lack of answers often result from the difficult, interdisciplinary, and/or uncertain nature of the problems they require addressing. Tackling one of these is perfect for the ambitious researcher particularly keen to make a difference.

If you would like to get a better sense of what is meant by a "crucial consideration," listen to an extended presentation on the topic. The primary example in this space is the Crucial Considerations blog by the Foundational Research Institute, including their list of open research questions for which they will take volunteers or hires to address. A smaller, closed model of this sort of work is the Oxford Prioritisation Project, run by a group of volunteers in a limited time span who motivated the work by aiming to distribute a grant. For people who believe we should prioritize existential risk reduction, Convergence Analysis is in the process of mapping “cruxes” and writing associated literature reviews.

Time commitment: hours, part-time

Duration: medium-term

Familiarity with EA: regular

Occupation: student, professional, retiree