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Thursday, August 13th 2020
Thu, Aug 13th 2020

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11Max_Daniel2d[EA's focus on marginal individual action over structure is a poor fit for dealing with info hazards.] I tend to think that EAs sometimes are too focused on optimizing the marginal utility of individual actions as opposed to improving larger-scale structures. For example, I think it'd be good if there was much content and cultural awareness on how to build good organizations as there is on how to improve individual cognition. - Think about how often you've heard of "self improvement" or "rationality" as opposed to things like "organizational development". (Yes, this is similar to the good old 'systemic change' objection aimed at "what EAs tend to do in practice" rather than "what is implied by EAs' normative views".) It occurred to me that one instance where this might bite in particular are info hazards. I often see individual researchers agonizing about whether they can publish something they have written, which of several framings to use, and even which ideas are safe to mention in public. I do think that this can sometimes be really important, and that there are areas with a predictably high concentration of such cases, e.g. bio. However, in many cases I feel like these concerns are far-fetched and poorly targeted. * They are far-fetched when they overestimate the effects a marginal publication by a non-prominent person can have on the world. E.g. the US government isn't going to start an AGI project because you posted a thought on AI timelines on LessWrong. * They are poorly targeted when they focus on the immediate effects of marginal individual action. E.g., how much does my paper contribute to 'AI capabilities'? What connotations will readers read into different terms I could use for the same concept? On the other hand, in such cases often there are important info hazards in the areas researchers are working about. For example, I think it's at least plausible that there is true information on, say, the prospects and paths to tra

Tuesday, August 11th 2020
Tue, Aug 11th 2020

Shortform
2MichaelA3dThe old debate over "giving now vs later" is now sometimes phrased as a debate about "patient philanthropy". 80,000 Hours recently wrote a post [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/Eey2kTy3bAjNwG8b5/the-emerging-school-of-patient-longtermism] using the term "patient longtermism", which seems intended to: * focus only on how the debate over patient philanthropy applies to longtermists [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/qZyshHCNkjs3TvSem/longtermism] * generalise the debate to also include questions about work (e.g., should I do a directly useful job now, or build career capital and do directly useful work later?) They contrast this against the term "urgent longtermism", to describe the view that favours doing more donations and work sooner. I think the terms "patient longtermism" and "urgent longtermism" are both useful. One reason I think "urgent longtermism" is useful is that it doesn't sound pejorative, whereas "impatient longtermism" would. I suggest we also use three additional terms: 1. Patient altruism [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/tag/patient-altruism] 1. Like "patient philanthropy" and unlike "patient longtermism", this term is cause-neutral. 2. But like "patient longtermism" and unlike "patient philanthropy", this term clearly relates to both work and donations, not merely to donations. 1. Discussions about "patient philanthropy" do often make some reference to optimal timing of work, but it's not usually central. Also, the term "philanthropy" is typically used just for donations. 2. Urgent altruism 1. Again, this is partly to avoid negative connotations, as is my next suggestion. 3. Urgent philanthropy

Sunday, August 9th 2020
Sun, Aug 9th 2020

No posts for August 9th 2020

Friday, August 7th 2020
Fri, Aug 7th 2020

Shortform
4timunderwood8dDoes anyone know about research on the influence of fiction on changing elite/public behaviors and opinions? The context of the question is that I'm a self published novelist, and I've decided that I want to focus the half of my time that I'm focusing on less commercial projects on writing books that might be directly useful in EA terms, probably by making certain ideas about AI more widely known. I at some point decided it might be a good idea to learn more about examples of literature actually making an important difference beyond the examples that immediately came to my mind -- which were Uncle Tom's Cabin, Atlas Shrugged, Methods of Rationality and the way the LGBTQ movement probably gained a lot of its present acceptance through fictional representation. I've found some stuff through academia.edu searches (like this journal article [https://read.dukeupress.edu/environmental-humanities/article/10/2/473/136689/The-Influence-of-Climate-FictionAn-Empirical] describing the results of a survey of readers of climate change fiction), but it seems like there is a good chance that the community might be able to point me in useful directions that I won't quickly find on my own.

Thursday, August 6th 2020
Thu, Aug 6th 2020

Shortform
3wjaynay8d<medium-term lurker, first time poster; also, Epistemic Status = spitballing> Has anyone encountered the idea of 'direct payment' philanthropy in the form of investment portfolios? Some background: * this idea is acknowledged to be out of scope in terms of the central question of maximizing altruistic impact, in the traditional EA sense; * also, while inspired in part by the 'Direct Payment' model of poverty reduction, [https://www.givedirectly.org/] the notion is on a fundamentally different tack and would clearly not address profound poverty directly. It might hope to mitigate 'poverty in the future' for families whose margins do not admit retirement planning and the like; * in this instance, the idea was initially conceived as an attempt to promote equity and increase representation among public investors by giving charitable gifts in the form of investment portfolios to under-represented households in the hope of reducing barriers of entry to participation in equity markets, particularly those resulting from the legacy of racial inequality, as well as to multiply whatever small power public investors have in addressing that legacy through engagement with companies by increasing the proportion of investors who prioritize racial justice (N.B. there are a variety of opinions on how 'impact investment' can work [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/Rkr2W8ADSGwWXfRBF/effective-impact-investing] and, indeed, whether it can at all [https://lets-fund.org/impact-investing/] ). My initial searches and direct queries did not turn up any examples or discussions of the idea, and several of my correspondents suggested that I solicit feedback in this forum. If you have heard of any discussion or example of a similar program, I'd be glad to know it. If this post belongs better elsewhere on the site, or not on it at all, I apologize.

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