Do you think x-risks are the most pressing problem even for non-longtermists?
(Personal views, not representing 80k)
My basic answer is “yes”.
I think this depends what you mean.
By “longtermism”, I mean the idea that improving the long-run future is a key moral priority. By “longtermist” I mean someone who personally identifies with belief in longtermism.
I think x-risks are the most pressing problems from a cause-neutral perspective (although I’m not confident about this, there are a number of plausible alternatives, including factory farming).
I think longtermism is also (approximately) true from a cause neutral perspective (I’m also not confident about this).
The implication between these two beliefs could go either way, depending on how you structure the argument. You could first argue that x-risks are pressing, which in turn implies that protecting the long-run future is a priority. Or you could argue the other way, that improving the long-run future is important and reducing x-risks are a tractable way of doing so.
Most importantly though, I think you can believe that x-risks are the most pressing issue, and indeed believe that improving the long-run future is a key moral priority of our time, without identifying as a “longtermist”.
Indeed, I think that there’s sufficient objectivity in the normative claims underlying the pressing-ness of x-risks that, according to my current meta-ethical and empirical beliefs, I just believe it’s true that x-risks are the most pressing problems (again, I’m not hugely confident in this claim). The truth of this statement is independent of the identity of the actor, hence my answer “yes”.
If, by your question, you mean “Do you think working on x-risks is the best thing to do for non-longtermists?” the answer is “sometimes, but often no”. This is because a problem being pressing on average doesn’t imply that all work on that problem is equally valuable: personal fit, and the choice of intervention both play an important role. I’d guess that it would be best for someone with lots of experience working on a particularly cost-effective animal welfare intervention to work on that intervention rather than move into x-risks.