Do emergency universal pass/fail policies improve or worsen student well-being and future career prospects?
I think a natural experiment is in order. Many colleges are adopting universal pass/fail grading for this semester in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, while others aren't. Someone should study the impact this will have on students to inform future university pandemic response policy.
Maybe a better question for late May or early June, when classes are over.
tl;dr I think it's "another million years", or slightly longer, but I'm not sure.
In The Precipice, Toby Ord writes:
How much of this future might we live to see? The fossil record provides some useful guidance. Mammalian species typically survive for around one million years before they go extinct; our close relative, Homo erectus, survived for almost two million. If we think of one mi
If I were to read one of EA-related books (e.g. Doing Good Better, The Most Good You Can Do, The Life You Can Save, The Precipice, Superintelligence, etc.), I would consider writing/improving a summary of the book in wikipedia while reading it, in a way that conveys main points well. It could help you to digest the book better and help others to understand the ideas a bit. You could do it in english as well as maybe in some other language. To see whether it’s worth putting in the effort, you can check out Wikipedia pageview statistics of the books I mentio
Category: Intervention idea
Epistemic status: speculative; arm-chair thinking; non-expert idea; unfleshed idea
Proposal: Have nuclear powers insure each other that they won't nuke each other for mutually assure destruction (ie. destroying my infrastructure means you will destroy your economy). Not accepting an offered of mutual insurances should be seen as extremely hostile and uncooperative, and possible even be severely sanctioned internationally.
Good point. My implicit idea was to have the money in an independent trust, so that the "punishment" is easier to enforce.
Does anyone have any idea / info on what proportion of the infected cases are getting Covid19 inside hospitals?
(Epistemic status: low, but I didin't find any research on that, so the hypothesis deserves a bit more of attention)
1. Nosocomial infections are serious business. Hospitals are basically big buildings full of dying people and the stressed personel who goes from one bed to another try to avoid it. Throw a deadly and very contagious virus in it, and it becomes a slaughterhouse.
2. Previous coronavirus were rapidly spread in hospitals and other c... (read more)
The Good Judgement Open forecasting tournament gives a 66% chance for the answer to "Will the UN declare that a famine exists in any part of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, or Uganda in 2020?"
I think that the 66% is a slight overestimate. But nonetheless, if a famine does hit, it would be terrible, as other countries might not be able to spare enough attention due to the current pandem
Did you mean to post this using the Markdown editor? Currently, the formatting looks a bit odd from a reader's perspective.
The Precipice - Toby Ord (Chapter 5 has a full section on Dystopian Scenarios)
The Totalitarian Threat - Bryan Caplan (a link to a Word doc version can be found on this page) (some related discussion on the 80k podcast here; use the "find" function)
The Centre for the Governance of AI’s research agenda - Allan Dafoe (this contains discussion of "robust totalitarianism", and related matters)
A shift in arguments for AI risk - Tom Sittler (this has a brie... (read more)
[Epistemic status: fairly speculative. Practicing throwing out less-polished ideas as shortform. Might tidy up and promote this to a frontpage post in the future.]
I'm hardly the first to note that COVID-19 is a disease of ageing: from the beginning of the outbreak it's been clear that older people were dramatically more likely to experience severe illness or die as a result of infection, while death rates among under-30s have been extremely low. In an important sense, COVID-19 falls in
Mind-readers as a neglected life extension strategy
Last updated: 2020-03-30
Status: idea to integrate in a longer article
It seems like a potentially really important and neglected intervention is improving mind readers as this is by far the most important part of our experience that isn't / can't be captured at the moment.
We don't actually need to be able to read the mind right now, just to be able to record the mind with sufficiently high resolution (plau... (read more)
I thought The Precipice was a fantastic book; I'd highly recommend it. And I agree with a lot about Chivers' review of it for The Spectator. I think Chivers captures a lot of the important points and nuances of the book, often with impressive brevity and accessibility for a general audience. (I've also heard good things about Chivers' own book.)
But there are three parts of Chivers' review that seem to me to like they're somewhat un-nuanced, or overstate/ove... (read more)
These seem to often be examples of hedge drift, and their potential consequences seem like examples of memetic downside risks.
Questions: Is a change in the offence-defence balance part of why interstate (and intrastate?) conflict appears to have become less common? Does this have implications for the likelihood and trajectories of conflict in future (and perhaps by extension x-risks)?
Epistemic status: This post is unpolished, un-researched, and quickly written. I haven't looked into whether existing work has already explored questions like these; if you know of any such work, please commen... (read more)
Should reducing partisanship be a higher priority cause area (for me)?
I think political polarization in the US produces a whole heap of really bad societal/policy outcomes and makes otherwise good policy outcomes ~impossible. It has always seemed relatively important to me, because when things go wrong in the US, they often have global consequences. I haven't put that many of my actual resources here though because it's a draining cause to work on and didn't feel that tractable. I also suspected myself of motivated reasoning: I get deep joy ... (read more)
Something else in the vein of "things EAs and rationalists should be paying attention to in regards to Corona."
There's a common failure mode in large human systems where one outlier causes us to create a rule that is a worse equilibrium. In the PersonalMBA, Josh Kaufman talks about someone taking advantage of a "buy any book you want" rule that a company has - so you make it so that you can no longer get any free books.
This same pattern has happened before in the US, after 9-11 - We created a whole bunch of security theater, that c... (read more)
I've been thinking more lately about how I should be thinking about causal effects for cost-effectiveness estimates, in order to clarify my own skepticism of more speculative causes, especially longtermist ones, and better understand how skeptical I ought to be. Maybe I'm far too skeptical. Maybe I just haven't come across a full model for causal effects that's convincing since I haven't been specifically looking. I've been referred to this in the past, and plan to get through it, since it might provide some missing pieces for... (read more)
I think EA hasn't sufficiently explored the use of different types of empirical studies from which we can rigorously estimate causal effects, other than randomized controlled trials (or other experiments). This leaves us either relying heavily on subjective estimates of the magnitudes of causal effects based on weak evidence, anecdotes, expert opinion or basically guesses, or being skeptical of interventions whose cost-effectiveness estimates don't come from RCTs. I'd say I'm pretty skeptical, but not so skeptical that I think we need R... (read more)
Fehige defends the asymmetry between preference satisfaction and frustration on rationality grounds. This is my take:
Let's consider a given preference from the point of view of a given outcome after choosing it, in which the preference either exists or does not, by cases:
1. The preference exists:
a. If there's an outcome in which the preference exists and is more satisfied, and all else is equal, it would have been irrational to have chosen this one (over it, and at all).
b. If there's an outcome in which the preference exists and is less sat... (read more)
I also think that antifrustrationism in some sense overrides interests less than symmetric views. Consider the following two options for interests within one individual:
A. Interest 1 exists and is fully satisfied
B. Interest 1 exists and is not fully satisfied, and interest 2 exists and is (fully) satisfied.
A symmetric view would sometimes choose B, so that the creation of interests can take priority over interests that would exist regardless. In particular, the proposed benefit comes from satisfying an interest that would not have existed in the alternativ... (read more)
Movement collapse scenarios - Rebecca Baron
Why do social movements fail: Two concrete examples. - NunoSempere
What the EA community can learn from the rise of the neoliberals - Kerry Vaughan
Some of the Sentience Institute's research, such as its "social movement case studies" and the post How tractable is changing the course of history?
These aren't quite "EA analyses", but Slate Star Codex has several relevant book reviews and other pos... (read more)
[Epistemic status: speculation based on priors about international organizations. I know next to nothing about the WHO specifically.]
[On the WHO declaring COVID-19 a pandemic only (?) on March 12th. Prompted by this Facebook discussion on epistemic modesty on COVID-19.]
- [ETA: this point is likely wrong, cf. Khorton's comment below. However, I believe the conclusion that the timing of WHO declarations by itself doesn't provide a significant argument against epistemic modesty still stands, as I explain in a follow-up comment below.] The WHO declar... (read more)
For example, to me, the WHO taking until ~March 12 to call this a pandemic*, when the informed amateurs I listen to were all pretty convinced that this will be pretty bad since at least early March, is at least some evidence that trusting informed amateurs has some value over entirely trusting people usually perceived as experts.
Also, predicting that something will be pretty bad or will be a pandemic is not the same as saying it is now a pandemic. When did it become a pandemic according to the WHO's definition?
Expanding a quote I found on the wiki pag... (read more)
[CN: Death and suffering. Crossposted from Facebook.]
As the flow of coronavirus death stories in the UK has gradually increased over the past month, I've been trying to make some positive use of the identifiable victim effect: looking at the faces, feeling how sorry I am for those people and their families, and trying to generalise that empathy to the rest of the world.
So many people are already suffering and dying because of this virus. So many more will suffer and die around the world before this is over. The burden of this disease will be vast. The burd
Was thinking a bit about the how to make it real for people that the quarantine depressing the economy kills people just like Coronavirus does.
Was thinking about finding a simple good enough correlation between economic depression and death, then creating a "flattening the curve" graphic that shows how many deaths we would save from stopping the economic freefall at different points. Combining this was clear narratives about recession could be quite effective.
On the other hand, I think it's quite plausible that this particular problem will ... (read more)
It's been pointed out to me on Lesswrong that depressions actually save lives. Which makes the "two curves" narrative much harder to make.