Nobody understands what makes people snap into AI safety
Getting even slightly interested in AI safety is hard. You need to not dismiss it as a silly science fiction idea. You need to have a mind that can understand other important things like cryonics/anti-aging, Tegmark multiverse, confusing things like free will, consciousness, personal identity, etc. But even given that you understand those things and understand the value of AI safety, it still sure seems like something extra is required to get people to actually drop everything else to work on AI safety. Cue all the rationalists who "believe in AI safety" but don't do anything about it.
It is so easy to say "ah, but you see, it's not my comparative advantage" or "but it seems impossible!"
What is the name of the thing that finally makes someone snap out of whatever the fuck they were doing, to devote their life to AI safety? How do we get more people to experience/see/acquire that thing? What is the difference between the droves of people contacting 80,000 Hours about AI safety, and the people who are actually spending their full-time attention on AI safety? I think this is a very important question, and I don't think anybody understands this well. For example, in 2016 I don't think I had this thing. But by 2019 I think I did have this thing.
- https://patrickcollison.com/questions e.g. "How do people decide to make major life changes?", "Why is there no canon for life's most important questions?"