I'm a third year undergrad in cognitive science from Germany.

Currently interning at a cognitive science lab

I also run the German EA-ish podcast "Gutes Einfach Tun"

Topic Contributions


Naive vs. sophisticated consequentialism

This seems a bit inaccurate to me in a few ways, but I'm unsure how accurate we want to be here.

First, when the entry talks about "consequentialism" it seems to identify it with a decision procedure:  "Consequentialists are supposed to estimate all of the effects of their actions, and then add them up appropriately". In the literature, there is usually a distinction made between consequentialism as a criterion of rightness and a decision procedure, and it seems to me like many endorse the latter and not the former. 

Secondly, it seems to identify consequentialism with act-consequentialism, because it only refers to consequences of individual actions as the criterion for evaluation. 

$100 bounty for the best ideas to red team

Red team: is it actually rational to have imprecise credences in possible longrun/indirect effects of our actions rather than precise ones?

Why: my understanding from Greaves (2016) and Mogensen (2020) is that this has been necessary to argue for the cluelessness worry.

Announcing the Future Fund

Thanks! :) And great to hear that you are working on a documentary film for EA, excited to see that!

Announcing the Future Fund

Re: EA-aligned Movies and Documentaries 

I happen to know a well-established documentary filmmaker, whos areas of interest overlap with EA topics. I want to pitch him to work on a movie about x-risks. Do you have any further info about the kinds of documentaries you'd like to fund? Anything that's not obvious from the website.  

Apply to CLR as a researcher or summer research fellow!

Hey! I wonder how flexible the starting date is. My semester ends mid-July, so I couldn't start before. This is probably the case for most students from Germany. Is that too late?

Thanks for the post!

Does this apply at all to undergrads or graduate students who haven't  published any research yet?


A list of EA-related podcasts

There is a German EA Podcast that Lia Rodehorst and I created, called "Gutes Einfach Tun". 
Here is the link.

Also, Sarah Emminghaus recently launched a German EA Podcast called "WirklichGut" (link here).

On GiveWell's estimates of the cost of saving a life

Hey Pablo,

Thanks a lot for the answer, I appreciate you taking the time! I think I now have a much better idea of how these calculations work (and much more skeptical tbh because there are so many effects which are not captured in the expected value calculations that might make a big difference).

Also thanks for the link to Holdens post!

Hi Johannes!

I appreciate you taking the time.

"Linch's comment on FP funding is roughly right, for FP it is more that a lot of FP members do not have liquidity yet"

I see, my mistake! But is my estimate sufficiently off to overturn my conclusion?

" There were also lots of other external experts consulted." 

Great! Do you agree that it would be useful to make this public? 

"There isn't, as of now, an agreed-to-methodology on how to evaluate advocacy charities, you can't hire an expert for this." 

And the same ist true for evaluating cost-effectiveness  analyses of advocacy charities (e.g. yours on CATF)?

"So the fact that you can be much more cost-effective when you are risk-neutral and leverage several impact multipliers (advocacy, policy change, technological change, increased diffusion) is hard to explain and not intuitively plausible." 

Sure, thats what I would argue as well. Thats why its important to counter this skepticism by signalling very strongly that your research is trustworthy (e.g. through publishing expert reviews).

"The way I did my reviewing was to check the major assumptions and calculations and see if those made sense. But where a report, say, took information from academic studies, I wouldn't necessarily delve into those or see if they had been interpreted correctly. "

>> Thanks for clarifying! I wonder if it would be even better if the review was done by people outside the EA community. Maybe the sympathy of belonging to the same social group and shared, distinctive assumptions (assuming they exist), make people less likely to spot errors? This is pretty speculative, but wouldn't surprise me. 

"Re making things public, that's a bit trickier than it sounds. Usually I'd leave a bunch of comments in a google doc as I went, which wouldn't be that easy for a reader to follow. You could ask someone to write a prose evaluation - basically like an academic journal review report - but that's quite a lot more effort and not something I've been asked to do."

>> I see, interesting! This might be a silly idea, but what do you think about setting up a competition where there is a cash-prize of a few thousand dollars for the person who spots an important mistake? If you manage to attract the attention of a lot of phd students in the relevant area, you might really get a lot of competent people trying hard to find your mistakes. 

"it's like you're sending the message "you shouldn't take our word for it, but there's this academic who we've chosen and paid to evaluate us - take their word for it"."

>> Maybe that would be weird for some people. I would be surprised though if the majority of people wouldn't interpret a positive expert review as a signal that your research is trustworthy (even if its not actually a signal because you chose and paid that expert). 

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