Me too. Perhaps we should create a mutual support group ourselves? The “mid-career You can Save”?
However, I’m not so sure about what you guys mean by “harder” in this context. Yes, it might be easier to spot some really promising 22-year-old Ivy League graduates and advise them, and, since they have so many options left, general advice might be good enough. But it doesn’t seem so hard to nudge some mid-career professionals towards optimal options, precisely because there are less alternatives. And wouldn’t it be more scalable? E.g. what’s more likely, that we can advice the right young graduate to get a job in the government, or that we could talk to many potential candidates and convert at least one of them into EA goals?
True, but people are already competing to invest in THC providers. Why wouldn’t they do it for psychedelics?
Agree. I kind of regret mentioning QALY in my argument, but do notice that I was trying to be healthy skeptical when I mentioned “I still don’t think that donating for this cause would result, in the margin, in more QALY than donating to GD, in general”. I never said I was confident that GD would result in more QALYs than supporting psychedelics.
First, I’m not referring GD as our best charity, but just as a minimal standard for EA causes.
Second, last time I checked (please, update if I’m wrong):
GD was considered to be saving 1 life per U$7000 on nov 2016 by GW: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1KiWfiAGX_QZhRbC9xkzf3I8IqsXC5kkr-nwY_feVlcM/edit#gid=1034883018
GW considered 1 life = 35 QALY. So, I estimate GD results in U$200/QALY
(Actually, there are huge uncertainties over this estimate, and GW is not conclusive about GDs effectiveness in terms of lives and QALY. But one could pick AMF or SCI instead as a standard)
I’m assuming DALY = 1 - QALY
Enthea’s estimate of psychedelics liberalization is of $472/DALY.
I do agree that QALY is biased towards some interventions, and that mental health is usually underestimated by healthy people (I suspect they are unduly led by the lack of physical and apparent symptoms). I do think we should find out how to treat depression properly (maybe some neglected, cheap and scalable solution end up becoming an EA-like charity).
However, I don’t believe Enthea poll is free of biases, either; particularly, it seems to me that people in developed countries consistently underestimate the burden of disease and poverty in the 3o world, screwing the comparison in the opposite way.
Notwithstanding, my main point is not so much about impact, but about neglectedness; 32 million people had experimented with psychedelics only in US by 2010 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3917651/). If each of them donated an average of U$ 1 for this cause, they would match all of GDs transfers in 2017. I do believe we should liberalize psychedelics—and probably we will, eventually,since many people with considerable purchase power are interested in it.
You have a good point: if a big pharma can’t have IP over a psychedelic product, at least in our current system, it has no incentives to invest on risky R&D. However, we do observe increasing private funding for psychedelic research and a lot of recent exposure; and the war on drugs explains enough of the halt in psychedelics research in the 70′s. So, despite updating my priors, I still don’t think that donating for this cause would result, in the margin, in more QALY than donating to GD, in general.
Epistemic status: >50%
(I hope SSC is wrong and Griffe is right, and I’d like to see more research , too—but I think it’s way more likely that psychedelics end up being provided by big companies than by startups or non-profits)
I feel tempted to invoke epistemic (and financial) modesty: depression (and mental health) is not a very neglected disease which only affects a small or poor population; there’s a lot of money to be made in this area by pharmaceutical research, and I see no coordination problem or similar obstacle. If big companies such as Bayer or Pfizer (more capable of providing adequate funding, research and lobby) are not willing to bet on that, why should we?
P.S.: I didn’t read every other comment, but I searched a little bit and concluded that only GnomeGnostic mentioned big pharma. His argument is sound.
I wonder if the results of this salience manipulation can be explained as some kind of framing effect of loss-gain asymmetry.
I think you should warn your reader, in the first or second paragraph, that your intent is not so straightforward. Do not assume everyone will read it up to the end otherwise.
This is not a solution/answer, but someone should design a clever way for us to be constantly searching for cause x. I think a general contest could help, such as an “Effective Thesis Prize”, to reward good works aligned with EA goals; perhaps cause x could be the aim of a contest of its own.
If it was feasible (and I’m a little bit skeptical), a ‘social safety bugs’ program rewarding people for sharing destructive ideas could be useful even if the ‘bugs’ were hard fix, by identifying them beforehand, by raising awareness of this problem of dangerous information, and perhaps even by using the frequency of repetitions of an idea as a proxy to measure how spread it is among the population.
Couldn’t it misfire? I mean, do dangerous people know they could be more effective if they researched a little bit more on new ways to do harm? Wouldn’t they start crowdsourcing it or something, if they knew it? If they don’t, the problem of dangerous info is a dangerous info, and we should be careful with raising awareness of it, too.
If a romance gives an idea easy to prevent, they might be overall helpful by raising awareness about this problem, so making it common knowledge.
Does this include 9/11? I mean, hijacking planes to use them as bombers was an available strategy way before 9/11.
Nassim Taleb begins a book (Black Swan?) imagining what would have happened if a legislator had passed a bill that would avoid it before 2001… We would never realize how many lives it’d have spared. And that’s the most tragic to me: a wrongdoer needs only to get a new idea for an effective way of spreading destruction, but we would have a hard time to convince people that Tylenol poisoning is an eminent threat before many people died.
Perhaps we could mitigate this risk if there were an institution to gather those destructive ideas, analyze them, and recommend strategies to authorities for mitigating those risks.
Also, I think it’s implicit, but maybe it should be openly stated: internet has made this problem worse, since it’s made it easy to spread widely this type of idea.
And prizes wouldn’t have to be super expensive. I mean, graduate students don’t need too much additional incentives to write a good thesis; the main one is to be acknowledged as “Effective Thesis of the year”
I think it’d still need a previous filter, and a good one would use many opinions of others. Maybe something lik crowdsource decision-making, as in your Metis project.
I’d contribute to that, especially if the theses were open for reading or download.
(Maybe we could for the right of voting on a thesis in a pre-selection phase. E.g., I’d be willing to pay U$50 to get access to them and vote on my favorite ones. But I haven’t really thought a lot about it)
I do agree with the premise/problem description (your first claim), but not with the solution/EA hotel—mostly because there might be more efficient ways to reduce the gap (e.g., the project evaluation platform). My main point is that, even if the EA hotel is the best way of supporting/incenting productive EAs in the beginning of their careers, it doesn’t solve the problem of selecting the best projects—the main cause of the Chasm; and even if someone has a great idea, they might not be the most capable of implementing them. More than the EA hotel, we need a platform to elicit project ideas and information, spread them among a community of people interested in evaluating them, and then support EA hotel guests interested in giving some of these ideas a try, or assign them to the best fit for implementation. Possible ways to fill this part of the chasm: hiring/training superforecasters, using prediction markets, contests, or maybe even just creating something like a voting system kind of incentive compatible (or just a particular forum) only for that.
Is there any charity/project/company/research trying to effectively improve people’s mental health by encouraging them to frequent green spaces?
Please, don’t misunderstand me, I’m no green activist, but I’ve seen so many mentions to increasing anxiety and depression (I’m not sure if it’s true), and so many diagnoses (it’s the internet, the economy, the culture...), and its rebuttals (“actually, everything is getting better, according to this graph...”), and Michael Plant has written many convincing pieces about the importance and neglectedness of mental health… but almost no one mentions that we’re the first (maybe the second) generation to spend most of our lives indoors. I could provide some anecdotal evidence, but I guess the link between green spaces and happiness is very plausible and generally not contested by literature.
(I wouldn’t say it could cure depression, but it might improve welfare. Our bodies and brains were designed by evolution to run on savannah and hunt big game… I mean, even people i know that went through stressful situations in the wild actually use to treasure these memories with joy; I mean, I know I was tired and and wet and trying not to freeze to death… but it seems like I was having fun. I don’t think anyone needs to get into the middle of the jungle to get the benefits of green spaces; we should probably observe some positive effect if we could just get young people from cold climates to go to a park a little bit during winter, instead of closing themselves at home for four months)
Is there any charity/project/company trying to effectively improve people’s mental health by encouraging them to frequent green spaces?
Please, don’t misunderstand me, I’m no green activist, but I’ve seen so many mentions to increasing anxiety and depression (I’m not sure if it’s true), and so many diagnoses (it’s the internet, the economy, the culture...)… but almost no one mentions that we’re the first (maybe the second) generation to spend most of our lives indoors. I could provide some anecdotal evidence, but I guess the link between green spaces and happiness is very plausible and generally not contested by literature.
Actually, Forethought launched this one week ago: https://www.forethought.org/undergraduate-thesis-prize
Thanks for this summary. Just on comment: wouldn’t it be useful to have a kind of Effective Thesis prize? It might be convenient for advancing the idea among professors.
(This is the third − 1st in Open Thread #43, 2nd in a facebook comment—and last time I make this suggestion. Sorry if it’s getting boring)