Alex Mallen

I'm a sophomore computer science student at the University of Washington. I started EA at UW in early 2022, and I'm leaning towards going into AI safety.

Topic Contributions


Open Thread: Spring 2022

Yes, I have a group going now!

[PSA] Threat of future pandemics from DEEP VZN

To what extent are there already similarly dangerous pathogen genomes on the internet? I'm guessing that things like smallpox are less of a worry because we already have a vaccine for them, but if many novel, certified pandemic-grade pathogen genomes are already available then adding more seems significantly less harmful.

Are there any current students at University of Washington?

I was wondering how Rohin tried starting the group. If he was doing it remotely, then it seems like that may have been a factor in why it failed the second time (because it would be hard to form a community). Thanks for suggesting messaging the people who most recently joined the UW EA Facebook group--I didn't think there were any new people, but there are a few!

Are there any current students at University of Washington?

I did get in contact with Jessica McCurdy  from CEA, who I plan to talk to soon about getting started and the fall accelerator program, and I just filled out the interest form. I'll keep looking for EAs on Reddit--thanks for the suggestion! I think it would be valuable to have a chat with you as well.

Open Thread: Spring 2022

Hey everyone, I'm also new to the forum and to EA as of summer 2021. I found EA mostly through Lex Fridman's old podcast with Will MacAskill, which I watched after being reminded of EA by a friend. Then I read some articles on 80,000 hours and was pretty convinced.

I'm a sophomore computer science student at the University of Washington. I'm currently doing research with UW Applied Math on machine learning for science and engineering. It seems like my most likely career is in research in AI or brain-computer interfacing, but I'm still deciding and have an appointment with 80,000 hours advising.

Something else I'm interested in is joining (and possibly building) an EA community at UW. To my knowledge, the group has mostly died away since COVID, but there may still be some remaining UW EAs to link up with.

Looking forward to engaging in discussion on the forum!

A New X-Risk Factor: Brain-Computer Interfaces

I wonder if the probability L = 90% is an overestimate of the likelihood of lasting indefinitely. It seems reasonable that the regime could end because of a global catastrophe that is not existential, reverting us to preindustrial society.  For example, nuclear war could end regimes if/while there are multiple states, or climate change could cause massive famine. On the other hand, is it reasonable to think that BCI would create so much stability that even the death of a significant proportion of its populace would not be able to end it?