I don’t have a solid answer to your question, but I do have a suggestion for a way to distinguish between the impactful health tech companies. If it is a health tech company that produces technology that primarily benefits wealthy western people, the direct impact probably does not outweigh the good that could be done by earning more and donating to groups that directly benefit the global poor along health dimensions.
It sounds like you might have a comparative advantage in health tech though that would enable you to do a lot of good working for a health tech organization that produces technology that benefits the global poor. Just a distinction to consider.
Yes I think I messed up the Parfit style argument here. Perhaps the only relevant cases are A, B, and D, because I’m supposing we fail to reach the Long Reflection and asking what the best history line is on utility Longtermist grounds.
If we conclude from this that a biotic hedge is justified on those grounds, then the question would be what is its priority relative to directly preventing x risks, as edcon said.
Great job identifying some relevant uncertainties to investigate. I will think about that some more.
My goal here is not so much to resolve the question of “should we prepare a biotic hedge?” but rather “Does utilitarian Longtermism imply that we should prepare it now, and if faced with a certain threshold of confidence that existential catastrophe is imminent, deploy it?” So I am comfortable not addressing the moral uncertainty arguments against the idea for now. If I become confident that utilitarian Longtermism does imply that we should, I would examine
Thanks for the thoughtful response! I think you do a good job identifying the downsides of directed panspermia. However, in my description of the problem, I want to draw your attention to two claims drawn from Ord’s broader argument.
First, the premise that there is roughly 1/6 probability humanity does not successfully navigate through The Precipice and reach the Long Reflection. Second, the fact that for all we know we might be the universe’s only chance at intelligently flourishing.
My question is whether there is an implication here that directed panspe
Based on NASA’s extensive planetary protection efforts to prevent interplanetary contamination of the explored worlds, I think it is plausible now. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planetary_protection