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One thing I'm noticing in EA is that the future tends to be imagined in extremes. Either we get to the stars long term or we go extinct.

Now I get why these scenarios are focused on in EA, they have both surprisingly high probabilities relative to expectations, and they matter far more than the business as usual future conditional on it happening.

But how should EA react to a future that is more business as usual in 50-100 years?

Specifically, in this world, the following points hold:

  1. AGI happens but isn't as transformative as EA/LW expects, and there are still vast numbers of human workers.

  2. The human body and brain remain more or less unchanged. Specifically, mind uploading, nanotechnology, or genetic engineering hasn't advanced that much compared to the 21st century.

  3. The renewables transition has been essentially complete in the world.

  4. The world still grows at a 2-3% rate each year.

What could EAs do to prepare for a more boring future?




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I think most neartermist organizations basically work under the assumption of business as usual as you describe it, at least for the next decade. So, most global health and poverty and animal welfare orgs.

Some other options that seem promising under business as usual scenarios (not necessarily to the exclusion of more unusual scenarios) that come to mind are patient philanthropy/altruism, capacity/movement building and institutional reform.

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