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Epistemic transparency: Confidence in conclusions varies throughout. I give rough indicators of my confidence at the section level by indicating the amount of time I spent researching/thinking about each particular subtopic, plus a qualitative description of the types of sources I rely on. In general, I consider it a first step toward understanding this threat from civilizational collapse — not a final or decisive one.

Note: I'm taking a break from civilizational collapse over the holidays, but I look forward to reading and responding to comments in early/mid-January!

Acknowledgements

This research was funded by the Forethought Foundation. It was written by Luisa Rodriguez under the supervision of Arden Koehler and Lewis Dartnell. Thanks to Arden Koehler, Max Daniel, Michael Aird, Matthew van der Merwe, Rob Wiblin, Howie Lempel, and Kit Harris who provided valuable comments. Thanks also to William MacAskill for providing guidance and feedback on the larger project.

Summary

In this post, I explore...

I am still waiting for an analysis comparing the Brian Toon article on nuclear winter and the Los Alamos nuclear winter paper that predicts much smaller cooling effects.

I'd also be keen to see additional work on the climate, agricultural, and famine effects of nuclear war, perhaps ideally by a third team which isn't connected to either of those teams. I may soon write a (not super in-depth or groundbreaking) set of summaries/analyses of the limited work that does exist, for posting on the Forum. In the meantime, you may find the back-and-forth between the ... (read more)

3SamClarke2hFYI, broken link here:
2MichaelA2hOh, good catch, thanks! I accidentally linked to the title rather than the url [https://blog.givewell.org/2015/08/13/the-long-term-significance-of-reducing-global-catastrophic-risks/] . Now fixed.

Introduction

The last few years have seen a proliferation of forecasting platforms. These platforms differ in many ways, and provide different experiences, filters, and incentives for forecasters. Some platforms like Metaculus and Hypermind use volunteers with prizes, others, like PredictIt and Smarkets are formal betting markets. 

Forecasting is a public good, providing information to the public. While the diversity among platforms has been great for experimentation, it also fragments information, making the outputs of forecasting far less useful. For instance, different platforms ask similar questions using different wordings. The questions may or may not be organized, and the outputs may be distributions, odds, or probabilities.

Fortunately, most of these platforms either have APIs or can be scraped. We’ve experimented with pulling their data to put together a listing of most of the active forecasting questions and most of their current estimates in a coherent and more easily accessible platform.

Metaforecast

Metaforecast is a free &...

This is unlikely, but  one could imagine a browser extension that tries to guess what forecasts are relevant to any news article one might be reading and show that to users.

At first glance, it seems to me like that might not be too hard to create an ok version of, which would be used by at least let's say 100 people. Do you mean that this being used by (say) millions of people is unlikely? 

Also, I think somewhat related ideas were proposed and discussed in the post Incentivizing forecasting via social media. (Though I've only read the summary.)

2MichaelA1hTo check I understand, are the following statements roughly accurate: "Ideally, you'd want the star ratings to be based on the calibration and resolution that now-resolved questions from that platform (or of that type, or similar) have tended to have in the past. But there's not yet enough data to allow that. So you asked people who know about each platform to give their best guess as to how each platform has historically compared in calibration and resolution." Or maybe people gave their best guess as to how the platforms will compare on those fronts, based on who uses each platform, what incentives it has, etc.?
2MichaelA1hTo check I understand, is the main thing you have in mind as a problem here that a similar topic might be asked about in a very different way by two different questions, such that it's hard for an aggregator/search tool to pick up both questions together? Or just that it can be hard to actually tell what a question is about from the name itself, without reading the details in the description? Or something else? And could you say a bit about what sort of norms or guidelines you'd prefer to see followed by the writers of forecasting questions? I'm not sure I know what you mean by "public dashboards" in this context. Do you mean other aggregators and search tools, similar but inferior to Metaforecast?

If you follow the news, you will have observed a recent coup in Myanmar. Myanmar had been a military dictatorship for 22 years until a semi-transition in 2011. Unlike the other autocracies of the region, the autocracy had elite support only in the military (no middle classes, communal or economic elites (Slater)). Myanmar’s regime was one of the most predatory in the world, relying on natural resources such as diamonds and brutally neglecting its people, restraining their collective action capacity to challenge the military (De Mesquita, political survival). The military regime once responded to a hurricane once by dispersing refugee camps and banning humanitarians to restrain collective action (Ibid).

Acemoglu and Robinson’s model provides a parsimonious description of the democratization game. De facto power fluctuates between the pre-democracy selectorate (PDS) and the pre-democracy ejectorate (PDE). Because power fluctuates, when the PDS is challenged by a revolution they cannot credibly commit...

1Timothy_Liptrot8hSelectorate: People who select the leader Ejectorate: People who don't. In the Soviet Union, the selectorate was the Politburo Standing Committee. In Egypt and Myanmar the selectorate is a group of generals. In the US the selectorate are voters in swing states. Thanks for the feedback.

I was under the impression that 'Ejectorate' refereed to people who had some ability to remove leaders, e.g. through coups?

You may have read recent reports that the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Department of Justice have filed charges (announcements here and here) against the cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX and several people involved with the company. This includes Ben Delo, a major EA donor and a cofounder of BitMEX.

CEA, Effective Giving UK, and 80,000 Hours became aware of the charges yesterday, when the news was first reported. No findings have been made about these charges at this point. We will continue to watch how things unfold and learn more, and will continue to update the EA community.

Following up on this: I had a conversation that updated me to believe that CEA is doing the right thing here. Unfortunately I can't disclose much about that conversation, but I am posting this here for accountability.

We are in the process of implementing a major project on the Forum — turning our current system of tags into a full-fledged “EA wiki”.

Under this system, many of the tags used for posts will also serve as articles in the wiki. Many articles in the Wiki will also serve as tags that can be applied to articles.

However, there are exceptions in both directions. Some tags don’t make sense as wiki articles (for example, “EA London Update”). And some articles are too narrow to be useful tags (for example, Abhijit Banerjee). These will be marked as “wiki only” — they can be found with the Forum’s search engine, but can’t be used to tag posts.

The project is made possible by the work of Pablo Stafforini, who received an EA Infrastructure Fund grant to create an initial set of articles.

Why is an EA wiki useful?

EA content mostly takes the form of...

Thanks! Responded there.

6Pablo7hHi Anonymous, Thank you for your thoughtful and extended feedback. I appreciate the time you have taken to raise a number of valid concerns. I will just respond to a few of your points, since much of what you say is in reply to Aaron's previous comment, and I don't want to interfere with that conversation. I think the worry that the Wiki may fail due to insufficient contributions is very real. As you note, none of the previous attempts to build something like what we are trying to accomplish here have succeeded. And it appears that this is a common phenomenon with general efforts to create specialist wikis. Forecasting is one of my hobbies, and I'm well aware that the base rates aren't in our favor. This was is fact my primary concern back when I was considering this project for a grant application. The reason I eventually decided to go ahead—besides feeling that I had a somewhat higher shot at success than my predecessors based on my experience editing Wikipedia and the insight this experience gave me about my capacity to feel motivated long-term by a project of this nature—was that I thought I could gain more information by just trying things out for a few months. The money costs for EA Grants were relatively modest, as were the time costs for me: at the time I didn't have any other project I felt excited about, and I don't think I would have spent those months very productively otherwise. Fortunately, the experiment was a success: by the time the grant was over, I had not only produced more content than I had promised, but had discovered that I found writing these articles a more enjoyable experience than I had anticipated. Since then, I have continued to work on the project, and all the direct evidence indicates that lack of motivation will not be a serious impediment. This may still be insufficient to warrant an update from the naive prior to the point that I feel super confident that I will either continue to work on this project full-time for at least the
1AnonymousEAForumAccount13hGlad to hear the EA Concept content was leveraged! I've consolidate my responses to a few comments including the rest of yours here [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/X6SyxmhYEo4SofyAL/our-plans-for-hosting-an-ea-wiki-on-the-forum?commentId=Bcq3LR7sni2HeSbqF] .

Starting a conversation about the name “Effective Altruism” for local and university groups.

Abstract: most EA groups’ names follow the recipe “Effective Altruism + [location/university]”. In 2020 we founded a university EA group who’s name does not include the words “Effective Altruism”. We have grown rapidly, and it now seems more and more likely that our organization will stick around in years to come. We think our name played a non-negligible part in that. In fact, we believe that choosing an alternative name is one of the most cost-effective things you can do to make your group grow. In this article we argue that more (potential) groups should consider an alternative name. We propose a method for coming up with that name. Lastly, we propose that “part of the EA network” could serve as a common subtitle to unite all EA groups despite their various names.  Scroll down to ‘summary’ for

...

But the answers to a survey like that wouldn't be easy interpret. We should give the same message under organization names to group A and group B and see which group is then more likely to endorse the EA movement or commit to taking a concrete altruistic action.

The greatest challenge of my PhD is the distant deadlines and the lack of immediate structure and accountability. Working on a single project for years with little extrinsic rewards is really hard for me, and most humans. This plagues long solo projects like academic research, but is less common in the normal working world. Rob Wiblin has pointed out that in normal companies weekly meetings with a line manager actually resolve this problem by giving a semiformal context for people to think through the mundane issues of productivity and planning. I have a link to the podcast below.

I'm seeking another PhD student to try out mutual line managing. We would meet once weekly for half an hour. We would each describe our progress, plan for next week, and discuss emerging problems and strategies. Taking turns sounds easiest, perhaps with timers. I'd prefer someone in the social sciences and in Eastern Standard Time. And the format is super flexible. Message me on EAForum and I'll be in touch.

Inspired by this 80k episode from 27:02 "so I like your idea of a line manager" to 43:23 "let's pivot...". https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cDovL2ZlZWRzLnNvdW5kY2xvdWQuY29tL3VzZXJzL3NvdW5kY2xvdWQ6dXNlcnM6MTk0MjgyNjgyL3NvdW5kcy5yc3M/episode/NTM5NTVmY2EtNTVjMy0xMWViLTk4ZDctMGUyYTQ3ZjVmMjU5?sa=X&ved=0CA0QkfYCahcKEwi4l86rmLXuAhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQAQ

I am looking for any reasonable estimate of the total amount of funding controlled by the EA movement on a yearly basis. It is fine to operationalize this question in any reasonable way. I would be interested in any estimates people have as long as they are clear about their assumptions. I do want to be clear that I am not interested in 'how much total money goes to EA charities'. I am only interested in the total amount of funding that comes from EA sources. So please focus on the sources of funding, not just the targets. I am aware these numbers have changed year to year.

I estimate $263 Million as of 2020.

Slate Star Codex had an interesting review on the Fabian Society and how advocacy can backfire.

Open Philanthropy Project has an interesting review of the Center for Global Development.

Hi everyone, I'm Giang Nguyen, born and bred in Vietnam. I have been part of EA York for the last 3 years and involved in (too) many EA events and retreats. If you are interested in chatting more about Effective Altruism Vietnam please get in touch. We only have a Google Site and a brief plan but nothing much!  

My email is chugianganh@gmail.com. Thank you and take care. 

You should add this group to EA Hub!

1BrianTan1dThis is 9 months late but I think this is their website: https://sites.google.com/view/effectivealtruism-vietnam/ [https://sites.google.com/view/effectivealtruism-vietnam/]