Yea, thanks. But is this true that these technical challenges really are more straightforward and only a matter of money poured in?
Regarding deference, I think that it’s important to make clear that this holds mostly for the EA community, rather than the EA network.
When someone who is not actively involved in the EA community but is nevertheless working on a specific recommended cause, especially a more established cause, it may well be the case that their view on the matter has less impact than their career success.
An academic working on some specific aspect of welfare policies who is funded by EA orgs, need not think about whether this is the most important thing they can do, but instead make sure to do the best job possible at at both research and it’s dissemination.
Someone working on animal advocacy should pay close attention to the current opinion on animal welfare and research coming out of faunalytics, even if that contradicts their intuition, unless they have spent a lot of time thinking these stuff through.
This is relevant to movement building. Work that aims at outreach can involve more deferential point of view when seeking to inform people who might be interested in paths in the EA network, or more inquisitive activities aimed at people who might consider themselves as part of the EA community.
Cochrane had a team set up in 2011 to investigate better Priority Setting Methods.
Jaime Sevilla gave a detailed advice on how to generate research proposals, which might also be useful.
I was a bit surprised to read what you wrote about Cultivated Meat. I am not an expert, but I’ve looked into this topic and my understanding is that there are fundamental technical challenges to be solved at least in cell expansion, the rate and specificity of cell growth, and the creation of thick cuts of any tissue. I’m sure that these can be solved in the end, but they seem very difficult (considering that cell expansion is needed for making blood cells and other non-tissue type of cells in the much more heavily funded biomedical field which is also less bottlenecked by medium cost).
I understand that today we may be possible to make some hybrid products, but that these won’t really be similar to the real thing. Is this similar to your view?
Regarding the possibility of Extinction level agents, there has been at least 2 species extinction cases that likely resulted from pathogens (here or in sci-hub).
Also, the Taino people were pretty much extinct and that may be mostly the result of disease, though it seems contended:
In thirty years, between 80% and 90% of the Taíno population died. Because of the increased number of people (Spanish) on the island, there was a higher demand for food. Taíno cultivation was converted to Spanish methods. In hopes of frustrating the Spanish, some Taínos refused to plant or harvest their crops. The supply of food became so low in 1495 and 1496, that some 50,000 died from the severity of the famine. Historians have determined that the massive decline was due more to infectious disease outbreaks than any warfare or direct attacks. By 1507, their numbers had shrunk to 60,000. Scholars believe that epidemic disease (smallpox, influenza, measles, and typhus) was an overwhelming cause of the population decline of the indigenous people, and also attributed a “large number of Taíno deaths...to the continuing bondage systems” that existed. Academics, such as historian Andrés Reséndez of the University of California, Davis, assert that disease alone does not explain the total destruction of indigenous populations of Hispaniola.
These two cases actually lower my fear of naturally accruing pandemics, because I’d expect to find more evidence. This in turn also lowers slightly my credence in the plausibility of engineered pandemics. I’m sure that other people here are much more knowledgeable than myself, and this brief analysis might be misleading.
Yes, thank you
Are the grants decided by taking the top applications or by passing some bar?
This reminded me of the Birds and Frogs distinction of mathematicians.
In a very shallow literature search, I found this review of the cognitive diversity literature. The closest thing there is a diversity in problem solving style which only has the Adaptors-Innovators distinction which may be slightly correlated but is a different thing.
I’ve written this interactive notebook in Foretold prediction platform. It is meant to be completely beginner friendly and takes about 2 hours to go through. I’ve used it as the basis for a workshop, and the accompanying slides can be found at the bottom of the notebook.
From the notebook:
In this interactive notebook, our goal is to actively try out forecasting and learn several basic tools. After this, you will be able to more easily use forecasts in your daily life and decision making, understand broadly how forecasters go about predicting stuff, and you should know if this is something you want to dive into deeper and how to go about that. We have 5 sections:We will start immediately with several examples.Then go on to understand how probabilities feel like, and how to be more calibrated.Work on the technique of outside view and inside view reasoning.Briefly discuss several interesting techniques—research, combining models and changing scope.Try out some actual forecasts from start to finish!
In this interactive notebook, our goal is to actively try out forecasting and learn several basic tools. After this, you will be able to more easily use forecasts in your daily life and decision making, understand broadly how forecasters go about predicting stuff, and you should know if this is something you want to dive into deeper and how to go about that. We have 5 sections:
We will start immediately with several examples.
Then go on to understand how probabilities feel like, and how to be more calibrated.
Work on the technique of outside view and inside view reasoning.
Briefly discuss several interesting techniques—research, combining models and changing scope.
Try out some actual forecasts from start to finish!
I like that podcast a lot! I suggest to skip directly to 31:20, the second part where Singer comes in, unless you are interested in half an hour of discussion about typography :)
Thanks for a very thorough and interesting report!
It seem plausible that institutional mechanisms that prevent malevolent use of power may work well today in democracies. I think that the comparison is very important for understanding the value of the suggested interventions. You have briefly touched this -
Overall, it seems plausible that many promising political interventions to prevent malevolent humans from rising to power have already been identified and implemented—such as, e.g., checks and balances, the separation of powers, and democracy itself. After all, much of political science and political philosophy is about preventing the concentration of power in the wrong hands. We nevertheless encourage interested readers to further explore these topics.
If these mechanisms are actually working quite well today, this somewhat lowers the importance of the suggested interventions. The analysis given above is mostly for non-modern institutions, but perhaps the court system, democracy and transparency has evolved so that malevolent actors can not really do much harm (or that it will be harder for them to get in power).
Also, the major alternative to reducing the influence of malevolent actors may be in the institutional decision making itself, or some structural interventions. AI Governance as a field seems to mostly go in that route, for example.
That said, I think that efforts going into your suggested interventions are largely orthogonal to these alternatives (and might actually be supportive of one another). Also, I intuitively find your arguments quite compelling.
make sure to put in a random salt ᾒ0
Is this a hash on a guessed result or something like that?
I’m very interested in the work you are doing at READI, and it would be great to discuss ideas and collaborate.
(by the way, what does READI stand for?)
Panspermia (from Ancient Greek πᾶν (pan), meaning ‘all’, and σπέρμα (sperma), meaning ‘seed’) is the hypothesis that life exists throughout the Universe, distributed by space dust, meteoroids, asteroids, comets, planetoids, and also by spacecraft carrying unintended contamination by microorganisms. Distribution may have occurred spanning galaxies, and so may not be restricted to the limited scale of solar systems.
Sounds interesting! The article on direct panspermia has an ethical objection from a welfarist perspective:
A third argument against engaging in directed panspermia derives from the view that wild animals do not —on the average— have lives worth living, and thus spreading life would be morally wrong. Ng supports this view, and other authors agree or disagree, because it is not possible to measure animal pleasure or pain. In any case, directed panspermia will send microbes that will continue life but cannot enjoy it or suffer. They may evolve in eons into conscious species whose nature we cannot predict. Therefore, these arguments are premature in relation to directed panspermia. .
I have not read about the subject deeply. Is panspermia close to being plausible?
Perhaps some EA orgs can distribute “impact shares” of their organization/project to volunteers based on their success, where ‘impact prizes’ are given by a third party, perhaps much later on. That may have much more motivational value than paying similar amount of (comparably very small) amount of money, and the records of which might enable some sort of better vetting mechanism
Regarding impactpurchase.org, there is some discussion in this comment thread.
This is very similar to this notion of impact prizes. The main difference there seems to be that there is a specific allotted sum of money for a variety of possible possible projects, which share that allotted amount proportionally to their estimated impact.
I think that the downside of impact prizes compared to Conditional Impact Finance is mainly that it is much more volatile for investors—both because of dependencies between different projects and somewhat due to the continuum of possible values of estimated impact. Also, it is much harder on the donors. Well, there is also the problem that it may be clear that other competing projects are closing in on something much better (9x is enough to limit the prize to 10% of the original amount), and also competing interests between projects.
The major upside of impact prizes seems to be that the incentives of the project is better aligned with maximizing impact because they get a prize which scales sort of linearly with impact (unless they are enormously successful).
Yea, this can be confusing. Posts can be divided into 3 categories—personal blogposts, frontpage and community. All posts start as personal blogposts, and then can be moved to frontpage by moderators.
As you can now see, your post has been moved to frontpage (which broadly means that it “is relevant to doing good effectively and doesn’t require background knowledge of the EA community”).
The following is an excerpt from the about page:
Personal blog postsBy default, your posts will be published to your personal blog on your profile page. Other users can follow your page to see notifications when you post.Frontpage and Community postsIf you’re writing about ideas relevant to doing the most good, and which might be useful even to people who aren’t closely involved with the EA community, your post will be moved to the “Frontpage” section and be visible on the front page of the forum.If you’re writing about the EA community itself, giving an organizational update, or discussing strategies for community building, your post will be moved to the “Community” section, which can be accessed from the forum’s sidebar menu.For more on this distinction, see this post.
Personal blog posts
By default, your posts will be published to your personal blog on your profile page. Other users can follow your page to see notifications when you post.
Frontpage and Community posts
If you’re writing about ideas relevant to doing the most good, and which might be useful even to people who aren’t closely involved with the EA community, your post will be moved to the “Frontpage” section and be visible on the front page of the forum.
If you’re writing about the EA community itself, giving an organizational update, or discussing strategies for community building, your post will be moved to the “Community” section, which can be accessed from the forum’s sidebar menu.
For more on this distinction, see this post.