Prague Fall Season

We invite the broader EA/Rationality community to spend fall 2023 in Prague. There will be a lot to do:

Epistea Residency 2023

The backbone of the Prague Fall Season 2023 will once again be a 10-week residency program. This year, we are looking for 6-10 teams of 3-5 members each working on specific projects related to areas of rationality, epistemics, group rationality and civilizational sanity, and delivering tangible outcomes. A residency project can be:

  • Research on a relevant topic (examples of what we would be excited about are broad in some directions and include abstract foundations like geometric rationality or Modal Fixpoint Cooperation without Löb’s Theorem, research and development of applied rationality techniques like Internal communication framework, research on use of AI to improve human rationality like “automated Double-Crux aid” and more);
  • Distillation, communication and publishing (writing and publishing a series of explanatory posts, video production, writing a textbook or course materials, etc.);
  • Program development (events, workshops, etc.);
  • Anything else that will provide value to this space.

Teams will have the option to apply to work on a specific topic (to be announced soon) or propose their own project. The selected teams will work on their projects in person at FIXED POINT from September 18 to November 25 while actively engaging with each other and cross-pollinating ideas. We expect all team members to dedicate at least 0.5 FTE (20 hours per week) to the residency, granting them the possibility to maintain their regular work commitments if necessary. By the end of their residency, teams are expected to present a project output (e.g. organizing a workshop, publishing a paper, etc.) or reach a project milestone.

As part of the Epistea Residency, we will support the teams with:

  • Infrastructure (fully equipped co-working office space for each team, meeting rooms, office supplies, access to and maintenance of the house facilities, daily lunch catering, drinks and snacks);
  • Administrative support (assistance with booking flights and/or accommodation and settling in Prague, operations for any projects or events organized within the scope of Prague Fall Season);
  • Targeted mentoring by leading experts in the field of each team’s project;
  • Option of coaching by Tee Barnett and his trainee cohort;
  • At least one out-of-Prague retreat for the Epistea residents;
  • Possibly funding for travel expenses, accommodation, and salaries (to be determined depending on funding availability).

One way how to think about the Fellowship is as a program somewhat similar to SERI-MATS or PIBBSS, but focused on advancing epistemics and applied rationality, rather than AI alignment. (This does not preclude projects which advance both rationality and alignment)

Current mentors for the program are: Anna Salamon, Jan Kulveit, Nora Ammann, Eli Tyre, Gavin Leech, Raymond Douglas and Damon Sasi

Differences from last year:

  • We are narrowing the scope of the program primarily to existential security, epistemics, and rationality.
  • We ask that participants of the season help us share the cost of running the FIXED POINT house. We may be able to offer financial aid on a case by case basis but the expectation is that when you visit, you can cover at least some part of the cost.
  • We are seeking event organizers who would like to make their events part of the season.

Teams will arrive in Prague in September.

More events

Just like last year, in addition to the residency, we are planning a series of events, conferences and retreats for the wider EA & rationality communities. Join our newsletter for more info.

Cowork here or visit us

We welcome people working on important projects for shorter and longer visits because we want the Season to be the place you go when you want to meet people and get inspired.
 

We have a new coworking office space Fixed Point for up to 50 people located at Koperníkova 6 (map). Because of our limited capacity, we recommend to apply ahead of time.

Fixed Point has a good number of small office spaces (each office for 1-8 people), many common areas for eating meals or hanging out, multiple meeting rooms, a large common space for events, a garden, and of course, a tea room. It is also right by Grébovka, one of Prague’s popular parks.

We can provide accommodation, but it has limited capacity and we may reject applications, especially during the Season. You can apply for accomodation here and see more info here.

For both short and long-term visits:

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To get notified about news about Prague Fall Season.

Why seasons?

The events happening in Prague this autumn provide a Schelling point.

The main benefit of participating in a season is having a dedicated, limited time to create an increased density of people in one place. This creates more opportunities for people to collaborate, co-create and cowork on important projects in a new location – different from their usual space. This happens to some extent naturally around major EA conferences in London or San Francisco – many people are there at the same time which creates opportunities for additional events and collaborations. However, the timeframe is quite short and it is not clearly communicated that there are benefits in staying in the area longer and there is not a lot of infrastructure in place to support that.

A dedicated season improves coordination and creates incentives for people to concentrate at a particular place in the world for a limited period of time allowing to both get the benefits of being in a hub, and the flexibility of living where people prefer. Hopefully, more places also have their seasons at various times of the year that make it easier to coordinate and decide where people spend their time – for example, we believe a couple of months in the Bay (possibly in winter) could become one of the seasons. Especially as people’s baselines of their environment vary and so it is useful to have options for working all over the world in various cities and cultures with different vibes and aesthetics. As a side-effect, seasons could lead to reduced amount of air travel, time lost to jetlag, and similar costs to the core members of the community which currently travel a lot.

Why Prague?

Prague is a second-tier EA Hub, smaller than London or the Bay Area but comparable to or larger than probably any other city in continental Europe. Prague has a thriving local EA community, a newly established alignment research group, ~20 fulltime people working in/with high-impact organizations (eg Metaculus, CEA, ESPR, ALLFED, CFAR), and about a hundred people in the broader EA and rationalist communities. We aim for the season to bring in on average additional 30-60 people staying for longer, and a few hundreds of shorter-time visitors, who will participate in some event and stay for few days before or after.