Thanks, I fixed those typos.I guess my basic reason for thinking so is because there is around six order of magnitude difference in how much meat a cow provides and how much meat a cricket provides. But if you think about which attributes provide evidence of consciousness, I don’t think you’ll find that cows do not have vastly more of these than do crickets and cricket consciousness seems like a reasonable hypothesis.
It’s true that their minds are more divergent from ours, but I think that tends to mean there is more uncertainty about what they feel stress in response to, not that they feel less environmentally induced stress. Also, as I say in the post, the uncertainty makes it harder to improve their welfare.I probably should have paid more attention to arguments about how they could have net positive welfare to have a more balanced post. Though I have seen a real bias in favour of eating insects (at least outside the EA community), and so I still see this post as contributing to a more balanced discussion of the issue. And for the reasons I given the post I still view it is unlikely that they have net positive welfare.
My impression is that experts are divided as to whether or not insects have phenomenal consciousness. Some people seem to have strong intuitions one way, and others have strong intuitions the other way. Ultimately I don’t think we know enough about the subject for anyone to be too confident one way or the other, and given this uncertainty we should take precautions.I didn’t think it was worth getting into the question how likely it is that insects are conscious because it’s something that I’ve written about extensively elsewhere (mostly in a forthcoming report). And there are other posts on the question. In hindsight maybe a paragraph on it would have been good.
Haha, oh, I didn’t know you wrote that page :) That’s good enough for the future.
Yeah, I think this is a worry for his view. I do also personally assign a somewhat higher likelihood to invertebrate consciousness than modern AI consciousness because of evolutionary relatedness, greater structural homology, and because they probably satisfy more of the criteria for consciousness that I would use. You might be interested in my next interview on this subject which will be with someone who discusses modern AI and robotics findings in the context of invertebrate consciousness, and comes to a more sceptical conclusion based on that.
I think he may be answering the question in terms of sensory pain rather than affective pain. I was mainly interested in affective pain, I probably should have specified that in the question. In terms of sensory pain it seems to me like his answer make sense and is right because it makes sense that more nociceptors would give you a richer and more complex sensory pain. But it doesn’t make sense in terms of affective pain.I agree with Siebe that he is using ‘suffering’ in a nonstandard way. He seems to be using ‘pain’ to refer to ‘acute pain” and ‘suffering’ to refer to ‘long-lasting, non-acute pain.’
Yeah, fair enough. I wish you good luck with your group and project :)
Thank you!Yes, I remember hearing in the 80K podcast about how you prefer it, and I was quite interested in that. I still find it quite frustrating to use sometimes because of crashes and software incompatibility, but I guess if you can choose when to use Dragon and when to use a keyboard, you can just stop using it when it’s being problematic.I’m a bit reserved in my recommendation of it because I worry that it might take people to long to become good enough at it. I worry that people might either recover or quit using it in frustration before they start using it at a competitive speed.
Thanks! Hopefully it’s not too derivative of your work. I want to look into this more in the future and hopefully be able to say some more novel and insightful things.I mainly relied on the FAO sourcebook on edible insects which claims higher efficiency for crickets. It seems like most articles on the subject claim higher efficiency, but I haven’t looked into it deeply enough to be able to determine that. I should probably have just relied on your article on that subject.Yeah, I’m not sure about freezing. I mostly think we just don’t know enough about it and the Wikipedia page seems pretty sceptical about freezing as a method of killing.Sometimes when it’s cold and I’m trying to sleep (like when I’m camping) I will manage a sort of sleep state, but one where I’m still feeling an unpleasant amount of cold. I guess I imagine that an insect’s response to freezing could be like that for some portion of the time.I guess it wouldn’t make sense for the nervous system to send “avoid this” messages to the animal while the animal wasn’t able to avoid the situation because it was too cold, but the nervous system can’t get everything right in all circumstances.
This might not seem like the most natural post for the EA forum, but I think it makes sense given the number of EA’s I know who have some problems with repetitive strain injuries.
Thanks Jamie!Nice article. Thanks for the link.I don’t think I agree with your claim in the article that degrees of sentience has been scientifically demonstrated. Is there a source you have in mind for that? I’ve been looking at the literature on the topic and it seems like the arguments that there do exist degrees of sentience are based in philosophy and none are that strong.I guess the reason you are using sentientism rather than hedonistic utilitarianism is because you think the term sounds better/has a better framing?
Re: 1) I’m not sure. I would say that the number of people who might be considered experts on the subject of invertebrate consciousness is very low. I can’t remember reading anything by these experts about who they consider to be the leading experts on the subject. Re: 2) I have talked to him about it yet, but may do so at some point in the future. I doubt that anyone else has.
Thank you!Great, I hadn’t noticed that article. Reading it now
I think you may be right that I should pivot more in that direction. Research on degrees of sentience (including if that idea makes sense) and what degree of sentience different invertebrates have might still be relevant despite the argument that you’re quoting.
Thanks for the link! I’m a pretty big fan of that book.