Hi! I really liked this post and think there should be more discussions about these algorithms on here. I just wanted to point out what he writes in the penultimate paragraph:
One particular cause dear to me personally is what I call “entrepreneurial public goods”: public goods that in the present only a few people believe are important but in the future many more people will value. In the 19th century, contributing to abolition of slavery may have been one example; in the 21st century I can’t give examples that will satisfy every reader because it’s the nature of these goods that their importance will only become common knowledge later down the road, but I would point to life extension and AI risk research as two possible examples.
What he says here is almost the same as what we mean when we talk about the search for “Cause X”. In this lingo, cause X is a public good which is currently underfunded.
Maybe a mechanism like quadratic funding could even help us with allocating funds to researchers working on niche topics? An example could be insect suffering: Suppose that many people think that there is some chance that insect suffering might be a big deal, but very few people care deeply about it (I guess insects are hard to relate to because they are so different from us).
It would cost very little to all those people who think there is a small chance of importance, because initially the funding is cheap. Yet due to the nature of the algorithm, research into insect suffering would receive a strong subsidy.
Am I getting this right?
Yeah, it sounds right to me.