Karma: 1,385

My name is Edo, I’m one of the co-or­ganisers of EA Is­rael. I’m also helping out in mod­er­a­tion for the fo­rum, feel free to reach out if I can help with any­thing.

I have stud­ied math­e­mat­ics, worked as an math­e­mat­i­cal re­searcher in the IDF and was in train­ing and lead­er­ship roles. After that I started a PhD in CS, where I helped to start a re­search cen­ter with the goal of ad­vanc­ing Biolog­i­cal re­search us­ing gen­eral math­e­mat­i­cal ab­strac­tions. After about 6 months I have de­cided to leave the cen­ter and the PhD pro­gram.

Cur­rently, I’m mostly think­ing about im­prov­ing the sci­en­tific ecosys­tem and par­tic­u­larly how one can pri­ori­tize bet­ter within ba­sic sci­ence.

Gen­er­ally, I’m very ex­cited about im­prov­ing pri­ori­ti­sa­tion within EA and how we con­duct our re­search around it and EA causes in gen­eral. I’m also very in­ter­ested in bet­ter co­or­di­na­tion and ini­ti­a­tive sup­port within the EA com­mu­nity. Well, I’m pretty ex­cited about the EA com­mu­nity and ba­si­cally ev­ery­thing else that has to do with do­ing the most good.

My Virtue Ethic brain parts re­ally ap­pre­ci­ates hon­esty and open­ness, cu­ri­os­ity and self-im­prove­ment, car­ing and sup­port­ing, pro­duc­tivity and goal-ori­ent­ed­ness, co­op­er­at­ing as the de­fault op­tion and fix­ing bro­ken sys­tems.

• For some rea­son it felt quite weird for me to write a bio and I avoided do­ing that be­fore, even though I think it’s very im­por­tant for our com­mu­nity to get to know each other more per­son­ally. So I thought I might use this chance to in­tro­duce my­self and fi­nally write a bio ὠA

My name is Edo, I’m one of the co-or­ganisers of EA Is­rael. I’m also helping out in mod­er­a­tion for the fo­rum, feel free to reach out if I can help with any­thing.

I have stud­ied math­e­mat­ics, worked as an math­e­mat­i­cal re­searcher in the IDF and was in train­ing and lead­er­ship roles. After that I started a PhD in CS, where I helped to start a re­search cen­ter with the goal of ad­vanc­ing Biolog­i­cal re­search us­ing gen­eral math­e­mat­i­cal ab­strac­tions. After about 6 months I have de­cided to leave the cen­ter and the PhD pro­gram.

Cur­rently, I’m mostly think­ing about im­prov­ing the sci­en­tific ecosys­tem and par­tic­u­larly how one can pri­ori­tize bet­ter within ba­sic sci­ence.

Gen­er­ally, I’m very ex­cited about im­prov­ing pri­ori­ti­sa­tion within EA and how we con­duct our re­search around it and EA causes in gen­eral. I’m also very in­ter­ested in bet­ter co­or­di­na­tion and ini­ti­a­tive sup­port within the EA com­mu­nity. Well, I’m pretty ex­cited about the EA com­mu­nity and ba­si­cally ev­ery­thing else that has to do with do­ing the most good.

My Virtue Ethic brain parts re­ally ap­pre­ci­ates hon­esty and open­ness, cu­ri­os­ity and self-im­prove­ment, car­ing and sup­port­ing, pro­duc­tivity and goal-ori­ent­ed­ness, co­op­er­at­ing as the de­fault op­tion and fix­ing bro­ken sys­tems.

• This feels good to me. One prob­lem that may have (but I’m not sure about it) is that it might not cap­ture new causes that are con­tained in an­other meta-cause. So for in­stance, the post about M-Risk is re­lated to policy or x-risk, but is clearly a new cause by it­self and yet it may feel in­ap­pro­pri­ate to vote on it as “other causes”.

• Re­gard­ing norms, some in­ter­est­ing notes from the Tag­ging FAQ at LW:

1. The goal of tags is to be used as a cu­rated col­lec­tion over time.

2. Bet­ter to not tag events, as they won’t be rele­vant af­ter a short while.

3. Bet­ter to tag with more spe­cific tags than broad tags.

4. Vote on tags if you think the post is very rele­vant to that tag (and so it will show up ear­lier in the case where peo­ple look up through posts on that tag) and down­vote when it’s less rele­vant.

5. Since tags are mod­er­ated, it is bet­ter to just add many tags and they will be checked for rele­vance and ac­cu­racy. So if you think that some tag would be use­ful, just go about it. (As a mod­er­a­tor here, I think that tags are very im­por­tant and I’ll gladly spend time go­ing over more tags if that causes more tags to be cre­ated)

6. Good tags should have a bal­ance be­tween not be­ing too small to be ir­rele­vant and not be­ing too big so that the list wouldn’t help read­ers go­ing through it and it would take a lot of over­head to tag new posts.

1. I don’t think that we should be that con­cerned with hav­ing a tag that’s too big on the EA fo­rum.

2. Gen­er­ally, one can filter through sev­eral tags, so I’m not sure what to make of it. @Habryka, I’d be in­ter­ested in your opinion on this.

7. Tags should avoid be­ing too near other tags. This can be clar­ified in the de­scrip­tion.

8. Tag evolu­tion:

• The tag­ging sys­tem is col­lec­tively ap­plied which limits its abil­ity to main­tain tags with high-de­grees of sub­jec­tive nu­ance.

• Tags over­all ex­pe­rience pres­sure to be as in­clu­sive as pos­si­ble. If a con­cept is at all loosely con­nected to a topic, some­one will ap­ply it.

• The gen­eral re­sult of the above is that a closely re­lated, al­though the­o­ret­i­cally dis­tinct, con­cepts will end up blurred and hav­ing heavy re­dun­dant post over­lap.

9. Tag names should be as clear as pos­si­ble, even for peo­ple who don’t un­der­stand it in full neuance.

10. It’s perfectly fine to use mul­ti­ple names when is ap­pro­pri­ate.

11. Keep tag names brief. Use or in­stead of . (I should re­name ).

12. Tag de­scrip­tion should have the tag name in bold and link to re­lated tags. (again, I should change things ὠA)

• Cu­ri­ous to know what peo­ple here think about the “un­usual causes” tag.

This comes across to me as a bit de­p­re­cat­ing so I was think­ing that per­haps the name should be changed to some­thing a bit more neu­tral. Per­haps ‘non-stan­dard-causes’. Or even some­thing that might be bi­ased the other way like ‘un­der­dis­cussed-causes’.

Aaron Gertler gave the an­swer that

In my ex­pe­rience, “un­usual” when ap­plied to any­thing other than a per­son is a quite neu­tral term. I’d think of “non-stan­dard” as worse, since “stan­dard” im­plies qual­ity in a way I don’t think “usual” does.

So I’d take his view over mine, since I’m not a na­tive en­glish speaker. Still, in­ter­ested in what you think and what other al­ter­na­tives are there.

Gen­er­ally, I think that this tag could be very im­por­tant for the dis­cov­ery of new causes so I think that an ap­pro­pri­ate name might be important

• By the way, I saw that you didn’t up­vote your own post—that’s un­der­stand­able, but the norm is to just leave it as it is and up­vote your­self :)

• Wel­come to the fo­rum! This is a very im­por­tant ques­tion, and one that I think many of us are strug­gling with or have been at some point. I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate you tak­ing ac­tion on this and ask­ing about re­sources pub­li­cly.

Prob­a­bly my fa­vorite write-ups on this topic is Re­plac­ing Guilt by Nate Soares. The first part ad­dresses “listless-guilt”—that feel­ing that there is some­thing that you should do but you don’t know what and there is no spe­cific mo­ti­va­tion to guide you.

Here is a rele­vant ques­tion that has been asked on the fo­rum pre­vi­ously, and may have fur­ther sources.

I also want to re­mind you that it’s perfectly okay not to feel mo­ti­vated right now. This can come in waves, and you might just ran­domly come across some­thing which would make you mo­ti­vated again. It’s tough to feel mo­ti­vated with­out sup­port­ing com­mu­nity and struc­ture (if that’s the case you’re in). You might also con­sider join­ing the EA Vir­tual Group, or vol­un­teer for an on­go­ing EA pro­ject.

• This is a nice idea which, if de­vel­oped in a par­tic­u­lar way, can lead to micro­cre­dit. This is the con­cept of giv­ing small loans to in­di­vi­d­u­als in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, with com­par­a­tively lit­tle in­ter­est rate (though still larger than what we have at de­vel­oped coun­tries). There has been anal­y­sis by the EA com­mu­nity of micro­cre­dit, such as this re­port by SoGive, which you might be in­ter­ested in.

Another thing that comes to mind is try­ing to sell prod­ucts such as bed­nets di­rectly to lo­cals. They cost about $4-5 per net, which in­cludes all the costs of man­u­fac­tur­ing, dis­tri­bu­tion etc. That means that to get profit and to han­dle sales would (prob­a­bly) cost some more. That’s seems like a good bar­gain, but when the ab­solute poverty line is at about$2 a day, that makes it tough to save up. I imag­ine prob­lems might show up be­cause if you want to have bed­nets in the qual­ity of AMF, these would cost much more than bed­nets of poorer qual­ity and I’m not sure that the con­sumers could re­ally tell the differ­ence. Note that it’s not that bed­nets by them­selves save lives, but rather that they help miti­gate some risks. For peo­ple in ex­treme poverty there is a wide range of risks to man­age and pos­si­bil­ities for in­vest­ments (say a steel roof in­stead of straw or an ox for farm­ing), and it is ac­tu­ally not clear that buy­ing a good bed­net is ac­tu­ally the best use of money or that they un­der­stand it.

From the lit­tle I know of life in ex­treme poverty, the situ­a­tion around loan­ing is com­pli­cated. Gen­er­ally, in­ter­est rates are sky high—some­thing enor­mous like 200% per few weeks, if I re­mem­ber cor­rectly - and there is a big risk that peo­ple can’t pay back. There is also a real difficulty in the in­fras­truc­ture in­volved, and pos­si­ble cor­rup­tion.

I’m in­ter­ested in hear­ing out peo­ple more knowl­edge­able than my­self.

Cri­te­ria for sci­en­tific choice I, II

29 Jul 2020 10:21 UTC
23 points
• Another ar­gu­ment that points to “plea­sure is good” is that peo­ple and many an­i­mals are drawn to things that gives them plea­sure, and that gen­er­ally peo­ple com­mu­ni­cate about their own plea­surable states as good. Given a ran­dom per­son off the street, I’m will­ing to bet that af­ter in­tro­spec­tion they will sug­gest that they value plea­sure in the strong sense. So while this may not be uni­ver­sally ac­cepted, I still think it could hold weight.

Also, a sym­met­ric state­ment can be said re­gard­ing suffer­ing, which I don’t think you’d ac­cept. Peo­ple who say “suffer­ing is bad” claim that we can es­tab­lish this by in­tro­spec­tion about the na­ture of suffer­ing.

From read­ing Tran­quil­ism, I think that you’d re­spond to these as say­ing that peo­ple con­fuse “plea­sure is good” with an in­ter­nal prefer­ence or crav­ing for plea­sure, while suffer­ing is ac­tu­ally in­trin­si­cally bad. But tak­ing an epistem­i­cally mod­est ap­proach would re­quire quite a bit of ev­i­dence for that, es­pe­cially as part of the ar­gu­ment is that in­tro­spec­tion may be flawed.

I’m cu­ri­ous as to how strongly you hold this po­si­tion. (Per­son­ally, I’m to­tally con­fused here but lean to­ward the strong sense of plea­sure is good but think that over­all plea­sure holds lit­tle moral weight)

• Fan­tas­tic, thanks!

I’ve re­quested ac­cess to the doc :)

(Re­gard­ing the plat­form, I think it would help a bit to clar­ify things if I could do some­thing like se­lect­ing a range with the mouse and have the prob­a­bil­ity mass of that in­ter­val dis­played)

• The pur­pose is to see how likely it is to re­main valuable over time (and I hope, and think that’s likely the case, that we will ter­mi­nate it if it stops be­ing cost-effec­tive).

I think that the dis­tri­bu­tion is only in­ter­est­ing for this pur­pose un­til 2030, and then the prob­a­bil­ity of it last­ing to >= 2030 can col­lapse to one point.

• I think that’s a good ex­am­ple of a way that BIP over­lap. Also, in­tel­li­gence and power clearly change benev­olence by chang­ing in­cen­tives or view of life or ca­pa­bil­ity of mak­ing an im­pact. (Say, eco­nomic growth has made peo­ple less vi­o­lent)

Small Re­search Grants Pro­gram in EA Is­rael—Re­quest for feedback

21 Jul 2020 8:35 UTC
24 points