Having read much of Brian Tomasik’s work, I think the idea that wild animals have net negative lives is plausible, and I don’t think habitat destruction would be ludicrous. However, that does seem to be a more extreme position than most wild animal welfare organizations are willing to commit to, and I suggest that the framework proposed here is not well-suited for answering those sorts of questions.
To clarify, are you asserting that wild rats, fish, and bugs have net negative lives, on the order of half of the suffering of a factory farmed animal? That seems like a fairly controversial point, since it suggests that, e.g., habitat destruction is a good thing wherever the damage to the ecosystem would not be catastrophic.
Although you’ve said that a score of 0 is supposed to represent uncertainty about whether the animal’s life is net positive or net negative, it doesn’t seem to me that the metrics are well-designed for that. Most of them seem best for capturing negative utility, rather than positive. For instance, when a score of “5 to 15” is assigned to a death with “quick or low pain,” I assume that doesn’t mean that the act of dying itself has positive utility, so where does the positive utility come from? It seems you’d have to implicitly weigh the suffering from death with the lifespan of the animal and its welfare over the course of its life, but it seems wrong to include that all in a quality of death metric. For instance, if we had two groups of animals that were had the same scores on all of these metrics, including how painful their death was, but one had a much shorter lifespan than the other, then the shorter-lived group would have much more pain, even though their scores under this system would be equal. (This might be captured by the death rate figure – if so, could you explain what a “10%” or “50%” death rate means?)
I’d add in a bit about browser extensions that automatically redirect you from Amazon to Amazon Smile, like Smile Always (Chrome) and Amazon Smiley (Firefox).
The impact is honestly depressing low: over the past years of Amazon shopping, I’ve only generated $4.27 (apparently after $854 of purchases).
Just a few comments on the website:
Clicking on the “Feel better. Fast”, “Science-based”, or “Free & easy to use” link to a “/undefined” page, which leads to a 404 error.
The “Science” link the navigation bar scrolls down to “See how you’re doing, develop over time”, which isn’t really about science.
Overall, claiming being “scientifically proven” without references to actual studies and the use of first name–only testimonials pattern-matches to the sample pseudoscientific websites that my Psych 101 textbook presents. If I had not read this post, I would be quite hesitant to try out the app. I think it would be helpful to have a page about the scientific support for meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, etc., and Mind Ease itself as you did here. It might be difficult to have quotes that are less anonymous (e.g., by providing their full name, photo, and occupation), given the stigma surrounding anxiety, but if it’s feasible, I think it would increase the credibility.
If I were suffering intensely, it wouldn’t be comforting to me that there are other people who were just like me at one point but are now very happy – that feels like a completely different person to me. I’d rather there be someone completely happy than someone who had to undergo unnecessary suffering just to be more similar to me. Insofar as I care about personal identity, I care about whether it is a continuation of my brain, not whether it has similar experiences as me.
Also, “saving” people using this method and having “benevolent AIs [...] distribute parts of the task between each other using randomness” seems indistinguishable from randomly torturing people, and that’s very unappealing for me.
For what it’s worth, I felt a bit alienated by the other Discord, not because I don’t support far-future causes or that it was even discussing the far future, but because I didn’t find the conversation interesting. I think this Discord might help me engage more with EAs, because I find the discourse more interesting, and I happen to like the way Thing of Thing discusses things. I think it’s good to have a variety of groups with different cultures and conversation styles, to appeal to a broader base of people. That said, I do have some reservations about fragmenting EA along ideological lines.
Sheon Han made something called Awesome Effective Altruism about a year ago, although I don’t see it anymore. Is this related to that?
EDIT: looks like someone made a copy of it at https://github.com/ShriSamson/awesome-effective-altruism
As long as you use a good adblocker (such as uBlock Origin) to get rid of any sketchy ads, I’m fairly confident that the site is pretty safe. If you’re unsure if the file you downloaded is safe, you can upload it to virustotal.com. If you’re using Chrome and that’s what’s blocking the download, apparently you can go to your downloads list and click “Recover malicious file.”
Sorry, should have said that I was using Microsoft Edge. It works fine on Firefox and Chrome. On Internet Explorer it’s just a blank white page, but that’s because the entire domain (observablehq.com) is just a blank white page on IE.
I’m getting “Error: Unexpected call to method or property access.” for the first two code snippets.
Are there new terms for EA and x-risk in Chinese besides 有效利他主义 and 生存危机, by the way?
Are further results out yet? (e.g., where Tim Telleen-Lawton donated, or whether Michael Nielsen got the $60K)
“According to the median GiveWell staff member, averting the death of a child under 5 averts about 8 DALYs (“Bed Nets”, B57)”
“each 5-or-over death prevented gets a weight of 4 “young life equivalent” units (“Bed Nets”, B62)”
“averting 1 DALY is equivalent to increasing ln(consumption) by one unit for three years (“Bed Nets”, B72)”
I think this “young life equivalent” is the same as what GiveWell calls in other places the “life equivalent.”
What are the answers to the snap quiz btw?
Justified text is kind of bad when the line width is narrow (as it is phones), because it leads to awkwardly wide spaces. http://designforhackers.com/blog/never-justify-type-on-the-web/
Dunno if you fixed this already, but changing from portrait to landscape sort of zooms in instead of keeping the text size the same and making the page wider.
The link “View test writeup” seems broken. It brings me to a login page rather than the actual joke post. Did they take it down?
By the way, I just noticed that I have to be at least 18 to sign the affidavit in this will.
Did you change the wordmark and the color of the logo? I’m curious as to the thought process behind that.
The link to the beta tester form currently leads to docs.google.com/forms/ [...] qilM/prefill (which says you need permission), but it should instead lead to docs.google.com/forms/ [...] qilM.