Due to a special grant, there has been a devoted tranche of Emergent Ventures to individuals, typically scholars and public intellectuals, studying the nature and causes of progress.
Nine grantees, including one working on X-risk:
Leopold Aschenbrenner, 17 year old economics prodigy, to spend the next summer in the Bay Area and for general career development. Here is his paper on existential risk.
I sometimes think about what would happen if EAs were completely aligned with one another, there was absolute trust and familiarity, and moral trade was easy and comprehensive. A world in which information flows easily and updates the "EA Worldview". A world in which if someone finds a projects which seems like the most important, it would be extremely simple to use one another to make that happen. A world in which people in EA work on what they can contribute most to, irrespective of their favored cause.
You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
And having great self-directed infrastructure. Coaching and psychological assistance, best learning materials and methods, easier funding for individuals
How about an option to transfer Karma directly to posts/comments? Perhaps to have the transfer be public (part of the information of the karma of the comment). This may allow some interesting "trades" such as giving prizes for answers (say, like in stackexchange) or have people display more strongly support for a comment.
Damn.. As stated, when people can pay to put Karma in posts, there is a problematic "attack" against it. left as an exercise :)
I still think that Karma transfer between people and prizes on comments/posts can be very interesting
We Might Soon Build AI Who Deserve Rights
Talk for Notre Dame, November 19:
Abstract: Within a few decades, we will likely create AI that a substantial proportion of people believe, whether rightly or wrongly, deserve human-like rights. Given the chaotic state of consciousness science, it will be genuinely difficult to know whether and when machines that seem to deserve human-like moral status actually do deserve human-like moral status. This creates a dilemma: Either give such ambiguous machines human-like rights or don't. Both option
Statisticians Without Borders is a volunteer Outreach Group of the American Statistical Association that provides pro bono services in statistics and data science. Their focus is mostly on developing countries.
They have about 800 Volunteers.
Their Executive Committee consists of volunteers democratically elected from within the volunteer community every two years.
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Integrity, Accountability and Group Rationality
I think there are particular reasons that EA should strive, not just to have exceptionally high integrity, but exceptionally high understanding of how integrity works.
Some background reading for my current thoughts includes habryka's post on Integrity and my own comment here on competition.
What about Paul's Integrity for Consequentialists?
"Veil-of-ignorance reasoning favors the greater good", by Karen Huang, Joshua Greene, and Max Bazerman (all at Harvard).
The “veil of ignorance” is a moral reasoning device designed to promote impartial decision making by denying decision makers access to potentially biasing information about who will benefit most or least from the available options. Veil-of-ignorance reasoning was originally applied by philosophers and economists to foundational questions concerning the overall organization of society. Here, we apply veil-of-ignoran
AMF's cost of nets is decreasing over time due to economies of scale and competition between net manufacturers. https://www.againstmalaria.com/DollarsPerNet.aspx
The new Forum turns 1 year old today.
🎵Happy Birthday to us 🎶
I started donating regularly but following the thought process:
Some amount of money exists which is small enough that I wouldn't notice not having it.
This is clearly a lower bound on how much I am morally obligated to donate, because not having it costs me 0 utility, but giving it awa generates positive utility for someone else.
I ended up donating £1/month, but committing never to cancel this and periodically review it. I now donate much, much more.
Compare the benefits of encouraging other people to take a similar approach with the potentia... (Read more)(Click to expand thread. ⌘F to Expand All)Cmd/Ctrl F to expand all comments on this post
New paper in Personality and Individual Differences finds that:
Timegiving behaviors (i.e. caregiving, volunteering, giving support) and prosocial traits were associated with a lower mortality risk in older adults, but giving money was not.
Given the probably existence of several catastrophic "tipping points" in climate change, as well as feedback loops more generally such as melting ice reducing solar reflectivity, it seems likely that averting CO2 emissions in the future is less valuable than doing so today.
To do: Figure out an appropriate discount rate to account for this.
I like the idea:word ratio in this post.
If we think
1. it's always better to improve the welfare of an existing person (or someone who would exist anyway) than to bring others into existence, all else equal, and
2. two outcomes are (comparable and) equivalent if they have the same distribution of welfare levels (but possibly different identities) (this is often called Anonymity),
then not only would we reject Mere Addition (the claim that adding good lives, even those which are barely worth living but still worth living, is never bad), but the following would be true:
Given any two nonempty ... (Read more)(Click to expand thread. ⌘F to Expand All)Cmd/Ctrl F to expand all comments on this post
If welfare is real-valued (specifically from an interval I⊆R), then Maximin (maximize the welfare of the worst off individual) and theories which assign negative value to the addition of individuals with non-maximal welfare satisfy the properties above.
Furthermore, if the following two properties also hold:
1. Extended Continuity, a modest definition of continuity for a theory comparing populations with real-valued welfares which must be satisfied by any order representable by a real-valued function that is continuous with respect to the welfares of ... (Read more)(Click to expand thread. ⌘F to Expand All)Cmd/Ctrl F to expand all comments on this post
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)(Click to expand thread. ⌘F to Expand All)Cmd/Ctrl F to expand all comments on this post
I also think this argument isn't specific to preferences, but could be extended to any interests, values or normative standards that are necessarily held by individuals (or other objects), including basically everything people value (see here for a non-exhaustive list). See Johann Frick’s paper and thesis which defend the procreation asymmetry, and my other post here.
Local group idea:
What about donor coalitions instead of donor lotteries?
Instead of 50 people putting $2000 into a lottery, you could have groups of 5-10 putting $2000 into a pot that they jointly agree where to distribute.
-People might be more invested in the decision, but wouldn't have to do all the research by themselves.
-Might build an even stronger sense of community. The donor coalition could meet regularly before the donation to decide where to give, and meet up after the donation for updates from the charity.
-Avoids the unilateralist's curse.
Vox's Future Perfect recommended this volume on mindfulness in the Current Issues in Psychology Journal. Most of it will be closed access by Oct 30th.
This journal seems incredible anyway. Each volume is supposed to present the state of the art in different domains of psychology.
Why don't we have an "Effective App"?
See, e.g., Ribon - an app that gives you points (“ribons”) for reading positive news (e.g. “handicapped walks again thanks to exoskeleton”) sponsored by corporations; then you choose one of the TLYCS charities, and your points are converted into a donation.
Ribon is a Brazilian for-profit; they claim to donate 70% of what they receive from sponsors, but I haven’t found precise stats. It has skyrocketed this year: from their informed impact, I estimate they have donated ... (Read more)(Click to expand thread. ⌘F to Expand All)Cmd/Ctrl F to expand all comments on this post
I love Momentum - to me, it's like a kind of cosmic pigouvian tax ("someone has to pay when Trump tweets, and this time it's gonna be me"); it still demands some kind of committment, though. Ribon is completely different, it's not an app that only altruistic people use; actually, that's why I didn't really like it at first, because it didn't ask people to give anything or to be effective... but then, perhaps that's why it scales well - particularly in societies without an altruistic culture. It's a low-hang... (Read more)(Click to expand thread. ⌘F to Expand All)Cmd/Ctrl F to expand all comments on this post
Philosophy Contest: Write a Philosophical Argument That Convinces Research Participants to Donate to Charity
Can you write a philosophical argument that effectively convinces research participants to donate money to charity?
Prize: $1000 ($500 directly to the winner, $500 to the winner's choice of charity)
Preliminary research from Eric Schwitzgebel's laboratory suggests that abstract philosophical arguments may not be effective at convincing research participants to give a surprise bonus award to charity. In contrast, emotionally moving n
Assessing the impact of Brazilian donors and EA community
We’re thinking about testing if our actions for promoting EA in this year (translations, meetings, networking...) have led to an observable increase in donations from Brazil - particularly outside the group of more "engaged" members. Even if we haven't observed an increase in high-quality engagement (such as GWWC pledges), we do see an increase in some "cheaper signals", such as the number of Facebook group members and the amount of donations to AMF (which, curious... (Read more)(Click to expand thread. ⌘F to Expand All)Cmd/Ctrl F to expand all comments on this post
I think that Point 1 will be difficult to test in this way. What you want to do sounds a bit like a regression discontinuity analysis, but (as I understand it) there isn't really a sharp time point for when you started promoting EA more; the translations/meetings etc. increased steadily since Oct 2018, right? I think this will make it harder to see the effect during the first year that you are scaling up outreach (particularly if compared by month, as there is probably seasonal variation in both donation and outreach). Brazil has also had a ... (Read more)(Click to expand thread. ⌘F to Expand All)Cmd/Ctrl F to expand all comments on this post