I think working on preventing collapse of civilization given loss of electricity/industry due to extreme solar storm, high altitude electromagnetic pulses and narrow AI computer virus is a cause X (disclaimer, co-founder of ALLFED).
I think the UK government study I referred to was saying that even the ~1% chance per year of a 10% global food production shortfall now is increased by the climate change we have had so far. So the delta due to slow climate change could be larger. In general, I think it is a good idea for EA to have something to say to people who are interested in climate change. But the conventional emissions reductions that will cost ~$10 trillion present value is generally not very effective. However, I think there could be neglected opportunities that are effective. I talked about one of targeting neglected energy efficiency policy opportunities that reduce CO2 emissions and save money in that same 80,000 Hours interview (near the end). Carl Shulman notes that OPP has found some leveraged opportunities for climate change. Also, FLI and CSER do some work on climate change. The food system resilience work ALLFED does can also be valuable for abrupt regional climate change, where a region can lose 10°C in a decade, which has happened several times in the ice core record.
Thomas Denkenberger (disclosure: my brother) is a financial advisor and an EA. He has been working with me over the last 10 years to use rationality to exploit irrationalities in the market and enable greater donations. As many EAs have pointed out, one should be risk neutral and maximize returns when it comes to investing to give (though of course he can customize if you are risk averse).
I think alternate foods for catastrophes like nuclear winter is a cause X (disclaimer, co-founder of ALLFED).
Nice post! I don’t think we should assume that AI Moore’s law would be capped by the regular Moore’s law of total compute. If there is a new application of processors that is willing to pay a lot of money for a huge number of processors, I think we would build more chip fabs to keep up with demand. This does not necessarily accelerate the original Moore’s law (transistors per chip), but it would accelerate total compute. This would be consistent with Robin Hanson’s vision of doubling of value (and I believe ~compute) roughly every month. It’s not even clear to me that the chips would be more expensive in such a scenario assuming we actually planned well for it, because generally we have learning where the cost per unit decreases with the cumulative production.
I’m glad it’s back up—I find it useful for connecting with EAs when I travel. Do you have a record of number of people registered over time? Could you please add the Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters (ALLFED) to the list of Organisational Affiliations?
Wow—that is a lot of risk. One would need at least an 11% increase in compensation for negotiation to make sense, even if one were risk neutral. And most people are risk averse, meaning they would need an even bigger payoff, which might not be realistic.
Edit: this is not correct—thanks for people pointing that out!
And why so much focus on math rather than science/engineering?
Right—I’m saying the 2% rescission rate for professor positions is high because of competition (employer has more power), so the rescission rate outside of academia would likely be lower (employee has more power, at least now).
For professor negotiations, this says about 2% of the time you try to bargain, the offer is rescinded. But because university positions are so competitive, I would not be surprised if the general rescinding rate were significantly less than this.
If you would like to talk with more EAs, there is (was?) a program where you would get the contact info of a new EA every month and then you could set up phone/VOIP call with them. I didn’t find the program easily online when I just searched, but I’m pretty sure someone else on the forum would have the info.
Wow – then you will have 3 PhDs? Did you consider trying to get into academia with one of your existing PhDs and pivoting towards high impact research? My impression is that a lot of EAs are switching careers, but typically at a much earlier stage. When I tried to find data on how often people switched careers, I found that the US government doesn’t have a definition of a career switch and therefore has no data. I think it would be very interesting to compose a spectrum of career changes. Some people consider it a career change to stay in the same field, but e.g. switch from academia to industry. Some people see it as a career change to go from mechanical engineering to civil engineering. Most people do not end up in the same field as their college major (or even close to their college major), so then you could say most college-educated people switch careers.
Interesting analysis. You mean a Benefit to Cost Ratio (BCR) of 0.84. Then the Return On Investment (ROI) would be negative.
Perhaps another way of saying this is that EA should have BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals). I think Feeding Everyone No Matter What qualifies, though I might be biased.
“digital minds as such are not mere extensions or associations of entities already bearing rights”
Unless they were ems?
I would think the protein substitutes would be a lot cheaper than farmed mice—is that correct? Then it seems like that could substitute for a lot of the non “spectacle of eating live animals” market.
Thanks very much to CEA for doing the recording, editing, and transcription! Also thanks to CEA for the EA grant that has supported some of this work. Mitigating the impact of catastrophes that would disrupt electricity/industry such as solar storm, high altitude electromagnetic pulse, or narrow AI virus, is a parallel effort within The Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters (ALLFED) that I did not get a chance to talk about in my 80,000 Hours interview. The Guesstimate model I referred to in the workshop can be found here (blank to avoid anchoring). Also, the three papers involving losing electricity/industry are feeding everyone with the loss of industry, providing nonfood needs with the loss of industry, and feeding everyone losing industry and half of sun. We are still working on the paper for the cost-effectiveness from the long-term future perspective of preparing for these catastrophes, so input is welcome.