Epistemic Status: Personal view about longtermism and its critics.
Recently, there have been a series of attacks on longtermism. These largely focus on the (indisputable) fact that avoiding X-risks can be tied to racist or eugenic historical precedents. This should be worrying; a largely white. educated, western, and male group talking about how to fix everything should raise flags. And neglecting to address the roots of futurism is worrying - though I suspect that highlighting them and attempting apologetics would have been an even larger red flag to many critics.
At the same time, attacks on new ideas like longtermism are inevitable. New ideas, whether good or bad, are usually controversial. Moreover, any approaches or solutions that are proposed will have drawbacks, and when they are compared to the...
Rethink Priorities is working on a project called ‘Defense in Depth Against Catastrophic AI Failures’. “Defense in depth” refers to the use of multiple redundant layers of safety and/or security measures such that each layer reduces the chance of catastrophe. Our project is intended to (1) make the case for taking a defense in depth approach to ensuring safety when deploying near-term, high-stakes AI systems and (2) identify many defense layers/measures that may be useful for this purpose.
If you can think of any possible layers, please mention them below. We’re hoping to collect a very long list of such layers, either for inclusion in our main output or for potentially investigating further in future, so please err on the side of commenting even if the ideas are...
In his speech at EAG London 2021 Benjamin Todd, the Founder and CEO of 80,000 hours, said that EA organisations tend to have talent bottlenecks in some roles, but that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily easier to find a job. Unless you are very lucky, you’re likely to go through multiple application rounds and spend at least a couple of months before you get an offer you’re happy with. However, for some reason, the moment we get a job we forget just how hard it was to land one. When we decide to look for another role a couple of years later, it takes us by surprise. No wonder – job search is a skill that everyone should improve and keep up-to-date, as practices change every year.
We're expanding the SoGive analytical team and are looking to hire one or two new analysts to evaluate charities. Please see this link for more details, and feel free to contact me at email@example.com if you want to discuss further
I have a surprising number of friends, or friends of friends, who believe the world as we know it will likely end in the next 20 or 30 years.
They believe that transformative artificial intelligence will eventually either: a) solve most human problems, allowing humans to live forever, or b) kill/enslave everyone.
A lot of people honestly aren't sure of the timelines, but they're sure that this is the future. People who believe there's a good chance of transformative AI in the next 20-30 years are called people with "short timelines."
There are a lot of parallels between people with short AI timelines and the early Christian church. Early Christians believed that Jesus was going to come back within their lifetimes. A lot of early Christians were quitting their jobs...
The titular database includes >130 organizations that are relevant to people working on longtermism- or existential-risk-related issues, along with info on:
I aimed for (but likely missed) comprehensive coverage of orgs that are substantially focused on longtermist/x-risk-related issues and are part of the EA community.
I also included
This post interrupts the Has Life Gotten Better? series to talk a bit about why it matters what long-run trends in quality of life look like.
I think different people have radically different pictures of what it means to "work toward a better world." I think this explains a number of the biggest chasms between people who think of themselves as well-meaning but don't see the other side that way, and I think different pictures of "where the world is heading by default" are key to the disagreements.
Imagine that the world is a ship. Here are five very different ways one might try to do one's part in "working toward a better...