EA* Hotel with free accommodation and board for 2 years. Buildings in the run-down seaside holiday resort of Blackpool (UK) are really cheap. I’ve bought a 17 bedroom hotel with dining room, lounge and bar for £130k. Assuming a 7% rental yield, this works out at about £45 per person per month rent. Factoring in bills, catering, and a modest stipend/entertainment budget, living costs should be as low as £5700/person/year (or lower for people sharing rooms).
The idea is to invite people to live here, with all their expenses covered by donors for say, 2 years to start with (obviously people are also welcome to stay for a shorter amount of time). Funding is in place for the first year of operations. The project will be managed by someone who lives on site and deals with all the admin/finances, shopping/cooking/cleaning, socials/events and morale – they will also have free living expenses, and be paid a modest salary. Note that this should be considered as a potential high impact, high prestige supporting role, for those excited to be involved in such a capacity on an EA mission. Guests will be free from concerns of material survival, and be able to have prolonged and uninterrupted focus on whatever projects they are working on. Obviously these will be largely limited to purely desk-based, or remote work. Potential people suited to being guests are those who want to:
– self-study economics, philosophy, science, AI, programming etc, in order to contribute to future efforts in various EA cause areas, without having to worry about – or waste time – getting (mostly irrelevant or menial) paid work in order to fund themselves
– immerse themselves in desk-based research/writing on an EA-related subject without having to worry about fundraising, a job, grants, teaching, tenure etc.
– work on a mostly software or research based start-up/project(/phase of a project) without having to worry about runway (be it for profit with a view to earning to give, or an EA-aligned charity)
Whilst some kind of pledge to work on useful EA things is required (“I pledge to work towards doing the most good that I can whilst staying at the hotel”), there is no formal requirement for people to produce more value than is put in to help them. Given the low costs involved, it’s a fairly low bar to clear anyhow. And just one major success will make the whole thing worth it. A useful analogy might be a catered and managed university residence (paid for by a grant), or perhaps even New York’s Chelsea Hotel, which produced billions of dollars worth of art, despite many guests not paying rent (and was an inspiration for this project).
Regarding quality of life, Blackpool may be fairly dull most of the year (outside holiday season), but given ~10-20 EAs living together, a vibrant community can be built around the hotel itself (some rooms will be left for short term visitors). More detail here.
See the wiki for information for guests.
Greg Colbourn, July 2018.