Center for Applied Rationality
|Type||Nonprofit research institute|
|Legal status||501(c)(3) tax exempt charity|
|Purpose||Research and training in cognitive science, and de-biasing, to alleviate existential risk from artificial general intelligence|
The Center for Applied Rationality (CFAR) is a nonprofit organization based in Berkeley, California that hosts workshops on rationality and cognitive bias. It was founded in 2012 by Julia Galef, Anna Salamon, Michael Smith and Andrew Critch, to improve participants' rationality using "a set of techniques from math and decision theory for forming your beliefs about the world as accurately as possible." It reoriented its mission in December 2016 to provide its workshops to effective altruists, AI and machine learning researchers, and people interested in AI safety. Its president as of 2016 is Anna Salamon.
CFAR's training draws upon fields such as psychology and behavioral economics in an effort to improve people's mental habits. Jennifer Kahn of the New York Times wrote that some aspects seemed "creepy, even cultish", such as a social environment that encouraged groupthink, and that some participants found them "disorienting", although she later felt "productive, open and willing to try new things." CFAR has conducted a survey of participants which indicates that workshops reduce neuroticism and increase perceived efficacy.
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