Geoff Anders

Most plans to improve the world can be substantially improved. I design research programs and help create networks to equip people with the knowledge and resources they need to maximize their positive impact.

About Me

I'm an optimist and a realist. I think we can have a bright future, much sooner than anyone anticipates. But I also think reaching that future involves grappling with difficult realities, including the limitations of our present systems, knowledge, and lifespans. I see a crucial role in this for science and technology, but also for philosophy, history, and the study of human nature.

It took a long time for me to reach my present perspective. I've gone through many different plans and theories, with many of the updates being very hard won. I started with an interest in math and the hard sciences, and might have gone on to study AI. Instead, I fell in love with philosophy, began to explore the mind, and identified humanity's lack of self-understanding as potentially one of the biggest bottlenecks to a better world.

I think about the world as sort of being a huge RPG with a confusing interface. There are skills, often with fairly discrete levels, there are ways things work and ways they don't — and all of this is discoverable through reflection, experimentation, and effort. Accordingly, I spend a lot of my time trying to understand and develop new abilities, developing theories of how things work, and trying to find domino-sequences I can initiate that will drive the world in the right direction.

Spending so much time learning, I've had the opportunity to make a lot of mistakes and learn many lessons. And since reality isn't a game — I don't think we're in a simulation — the stakes are high. I tend to plan on long time horizons, and this affords the possibility of working methodically towards goals that might otherwise seem too daunting. In the past, most of my projects were run privately; now, I'm learning how to engage with the public. It's stressful, but I expect it's going to be a lot of fun.

As far as concrete facts, I have a PhD in philosophy, am divorced, run a research institute, and live in the Bay Area. For 2021, my main focuses are:

  • Identifying bottlenecks in science and technology — through the Bottlenecks Initiative, with Leverage Research

  • Laying the groundwork for better intellectual discourse — various projects, TBA

  • Acclimating to public engagement — Twitter, podcasts, and now, Twitch :D​

 

Below you can read about projects I'm working on, organizations I work with, documents I'm working on, and essays I've written.

Personal Projects

Intellectual Pipeline

There are major problems in the world, and to solve them we need new ideas. Just getting those ideas, however, is probably not enough. We also need to be able to transmit them from their creators to the appropriate places in society. Some of what I do I think of as trying to help improve the "intellectual pipeline," i.e., the means by which ideas are generated, processed, refined, and sent to where they are needed most.

Neglected Sources of Knowledge

I believe there are many legitimate sources of knowledge that people are incorrectly disregarding. Movies, old philosophical texts, and unrecognized experts are just a few. Other people seem to be handling the more well-regarded sources of knowledge (e.g., math, physics), so I focus on picking up the pieces of knowledge others are leaving on the ground.

Philosophy as a Discipline of Knowledge

I very much want philosophy become to be a functional field, whereby people could not only seek wisdom, but have it. Today, most philosophers disagree with each other about most things. Rather than this being inherent to the field, however, I believe it arises from flaws in philosophical practice which can be overcome. I believe overcoming these flaws will require novel insights from theoretical and practical epistemology, as well as the adoption of research practices that enable better communication among philosophers.

Organizations / Initiatives

Leverage Research

I founded Leverage Research in 2011. We run foundational research programs; in the past we studied practical epistemology, human psychology, and group dynamics. More recently, we have been investigating the history of science. In addition to these research programs, which can last a decade or longer, we seek to apply what we have learned to help advance science and technology in a way that contributes to flourishing and prosperity for all.

Bottlenecks Initiative

In collaboration with a growing number of organizations and individuals, Leverage Research is co-organizing the Bottlenecks Initiative, a multi-faceted attempt to identify and break the social, institutional, and technical bottlenecks to progress in science and technology. As part of this, we are organizing researchers to create thoughtful, detailed analyses of the bottlenecks in several fields, and working with funders to create credible long-term commitments to fund projects, individuals, and initiatives.

Paradigm

I co-founded Paradigm in late 2015. Paradigm is a coaching and training business that also offers incubation services. From 2015 through 2019, we explored a business model based on training highly effective researchers and leaders in return for a cut of businesses they founded. More recently, we have worked to offer coaching to a wider range of individuals, seeking to fit closely into each person's individual way of learning and working.

Living Documents

Philosophical Investigation

  • Links to my other documents — pending; expected Saturday, Nov 6th

Coordination Research

Building the Future

Leverage History

Other Works in Progress — to be added

  • Stories from my quest, and lessons learned

    • ...

  • Short essays and pieces​

    • ...

Essays / Talks

 

Here I am planning to share some of my views, theories, research in progress, and reflections on what I've experienced and learned in my life thus far. It is sometimes difficult for me to write — I have previously tried to write things before their proper time. My hope is nevertheless that I will end up populating the below with essays. But no guarantees.

Essay Series

Podcasts

Leverage 1.0 Research Reports

Geoff Anders, 2021

Website by OP Branding

If you'd like to reach out, feel free to DM me on Twitter