Center for Applied Rationality (CFAR)
Center for Applied Rationality is an adult education non-profit working to train effectiveness, discernment, and debiased thinking. They run workshops that help people improve both the quality of their mental tool-kits and their fluency with them, as well as nudging them toward humanity’s most important and under-served problems.
The Center for Applied Rationality hopes to make a dent in the world’s largest problems (such as war, poverty, animal suffering, human longevity, and the development of artificial intelligence) by improving people’s ability to think clearly, communicate cooperatively, act effectively, and plan appropriately. We draw on modern cognitive science, iterated experimentation, and individual case studies to develop models of human behavior and design concrete, practical techniques for building awareness, discernment, mental flexibility, and robust motivation.
Since 2012, our main method of delivering those techniques to people has been a set of immersive applied rationality workshops. Participants come together in cohorts of twenty to forty and spend four days working on their own unique problems and goals while we help them broaden and deepen their mental toolkits. Some of our workshops are general, covering a wide range of topics and skills, and others are deep dives into specific aspects of introspection and cognition, or are focused more on particular problem domains such as developing intuitions around artificial intelligence research. We typically operate out of the Bay Area in California, but have occasionally made it out to intellectual and professional communities in Boston, New York, London, Oxford, Prague, and Melbourne.
Donations to our organization will fund either our research team or our participant scholarship program. Research dollars generally pay staff salary, as our instructors stay up-to-speed on developments in cognitive science, track the impact of our techniques in their current form, and theorize and experiment with new mental algorithms and new strategies for teaching them. Scholarship dollars allow us to avoid charging participants with lots of potential but few resources, such as those in graduate school or working on cutting-edge philanthropic startups.