What Might We Be Missing? More to explore

by EA Handbook1 min read1st Jan 2021No comments



Criticism of EA

Effective altruism is self-recommending

  • Argues that organizations like GiveWell and Open Philanthropy haven't done much auditing of their own recommendations, and that others' trust in their research may not be justified. (20 mins.)

How sure are we about this AI stuff?

  • Contends that some of the standard arguments for the importance of AI risk haven't gotten enough attention, and may be less compelling than some people believe. (Video — 30 mins.)

AI alignment, philosophical pluralism, and the relevance of non-Western philosophy

  • Considers how non-Western philosophies, and philosophical pluralism in general, could provide insight into key problems in AI alignment. (Video — 18 mins.)

Help me find the crux between EA/XR and Progress Studies

  • A "progress studies" scholar tries to understand how people with concerns about existential risks think about the risk/benefit tradeoffs of technological progress. (Very brief, but the comments are most of the substance.)

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Issues in moral philosophy

The Repugnant Conclusion

  • Discusses a potential problem for "total utilitarianism" — that this view calls for preferring a world with a huge number of people (whose lives are barely worth living) to a world with just a few people (whose lives are wonderful), because the first world has higher total utility. (Video — 6 mins.)

Utility monster

  • Discusses another way in which trying to maximize total well-being might have counterintuitive implications. (5 mins.)

Making decisions under moral uncertainty

  • Placing credence in multiple ethical systems leads to questions of moral uncertainty when those systems disagree. This post summarizes the problem and suggests ways to resolve such issues. (16 mins.)

Responses to criticism

Philosophical Critiques of Effective Altruism

  • Describes weaknesses in certain critiques of the EA movement, and argues that many critics fail to engage seriously with the movement's ideas. (20 mins.)

The lack of controversy over well-targeted aid

  • Argues that several supposed "critics" of foreign aid are actually targeting forms of aid that GiveWell (and the EA movement at large) does not support. (10 mins.)

How not to be a “white in shining armor”

  • How GiveWell (as of 2012) tries to avoid “developed-world savior” interventions that don’t take local context into account. (3 mins.)


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