537 karmaJoined Aug 2021



Sure, I'm not objecting to policing language in general (there are certainly types of language that are inappropriate) or you making a specific suggestion of (gentle) language policying. (I just disagree with your specific suggestion on this - and I assume others do as well - and my point is that connecting it with you other suggestion - that I think more people will agree with - is suboptimal.)


This post somehow connects two  things for (in my opinion) no good reason:

  • Trying to get people to actually bet (which I think is probably a good thing)
  • Trying to police people's language by asking them to not use 'I bet' in a non-literal sense (which I think is a bad thing)

I don't really understand why you think the latter is necessary to achieve the former.


As an affiliate, though, not as an employee. (And they seem to have lots of affiliates, so not clear what this actually means.)


While this is a data point that shows that in principle it's currently possible to currently work with the University, GPI has quite a different strategy compared to FHI that aligns significantly more with traditional academia, so it doesn't necessarily prove that it would be currently possible for FHI. 

However, I think a stronger existence proof for it being possible to work with the University is that FHI managed to do that in some way reasonably for at least 10+ years. (They were established in 2005) - for comparison, GPI is only 5 years old. 


Thanks for pointing out the FHI/GPI mistake, I've corrected that.

I also thought Drexler was still at FHI, but I checked and this doesn't seem to be the case: He's not mentioned  on the team page and his website at FHI has been taken down.


It seems that your comment is mainly about successes  by Bostrom in the (medium to more distant) past, while the post is about experience in the more recent past and expectations for the future. I would say that the expectations for the future are what is relevant to evaluate whether it's a good thing or not for Bostrom to step down as Director (?)

Just mentioning some examples:

Bostrom has succeeded at this, and the group of people (especially the early FHI cast including Anders Sandberg, Eric Drexler, Andrew Snyder Beattie, Owain Evans, and Stuart Armstrong) he has assembled under the core FHI research team have made great contributions to many really important questions that I care about, and I cannot think of any other individual who would have been able to do the same

All of the people mentioned joined a long time ago and all but Sandberg have left FHI. Is there anyone of a comparable quality that joined in the last 5 years?

For core FHI work, like "Eternity in Six Hours" (one of the papers that's been most influential on my world view) I see what seems to me genuine interest in figuring out the truth and to answer the big questions, instead of secretly trying to trick me into supporting them, or get me to buy into their ideology, or support their favorite political cause or social movement, or to suspiciously shy away from a conclusion whenever that conclusion would be too hard to defend publicly to people who only want to spend 5 minutes on this question.

The paper you mentioned was written 10 years ago. Are there any comparable more recent examples?

I think it would be bad to let it fall in the hands of someone interested in making FHI into just another talent funnel, or another machine for producing prestige for Effective Altruism or AI Alignment or the people running FHI, while using up the credibility and intellectual integrity of Bostrom and many other core researchers who have created one of the highest integrity research institutions in the world. 

It's not clear to me why this is a point in favour of Bostrom rather than against: In  the last five years (until the hiring freeze started) it seems that is roughly what FHI (minus the macro strategy group) started to become under his leadership.


Overall, it looks to me that even if one agrees with all your statements about past successes and value of Bostrom as a leader of FHI, it doesn't really make a case for Bostrom staying on as FHI Director now . (Though I guess it still makes the case for shutting down FHI rather than having it continue under new leadership.)

EDIT: Corrected a GPI/FHI typo.


Thanks for writing this post. I strongly agree with the need for more concrete proposals for reform rather than the more broad and more wide ranging (and more controversial) ones raised at other places.

That being said, I'm slightly confused what your proposal here is. It feels like mainly it's "let's think about more concrete proposals?". This feels to me a little bit like the famous "this is an important problems and these are good idea, let's create a committee to think about it ..." approach.


Might be worth noting that OpenPhil is kind of split up in this way already and has two equal co-CEOs for the two areas.

(And I think this at least partially contradicts your point "Longtermists control the flow of money" as the main funding org in EA is split between longtermist and non-longtermist funding with neither of the parts controlling the other.)


I disagree with the concern: In the proposed solution, we are not going to zero community posts, they are just at a different tab or place at the frontpage but clearly accessible. I would actually be in favour of this change even without any of the concerns regarding 'negativity' from community post, it's a minor change to make the forum better readable!

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