I see a lot of talk with digital people about making copies but wouldn't a dominant strategy (presuming more compute = more intelligence/ability to multitask) be to just add compute to any given actor? In general, why copy people when you can just make one actor, who you know to be relatively aligned, much more powerful? Seems likely, though not totally clear, that having one mind with 1000 compute units would be strictly better for seeking power than 100 minds with 10 compute units each.
For example, companies might compete with one another to have the sma... (read more)
That seems true for many cases (including some I described) but you could also have a contingent of forward-looking digital people who are optimizing hard for future bliss (a potentially much more appealing prospect than expansion or procreation). Seems unclear that they would necessarily be interested in this being widespread.
Could also be that digital people find that more compute = more bliss without any bounds. Then there is plenty of interest in the rat race with the end goal of monopolizing compute. I guess this could matter more if there were just o... (read more)
One thing that seems interesting to consider for digital people is the possibility of reward hacking. While humans certainly have quite a complex reward function, once we have full understanding of the human mind (having very good understanding could be a prerequisite to digital people anyway) then we should be able to figure out how to game it.
A key idea here is that humans have built-in limiters to their pleasure. I.e. if we eat good food that feeling of pleasure must subside quickly or else we'll just sit around satisfied until we die of hunger. Digital... (read more)
I did my masters' thesis evaluating Kremer's paper from the 90's which makes the case for the more people->more growth->more people feedback loop. It essentially supports Ben's post from awhile ago (https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/CWFn9qAKsRibpCGq8/does-economic-history-point-toward-a-singularity) [fyi I did work with ben on this project] in arguing that, with radiocarbon data (which I hold is much better than the guesstimate data Kremer uses), the more people->more growth relationship doesn't seem to hold. In terms of population it seem... (read more)
Cool thanks for the feedback everyone! I haven't done much thinking about root cause vs symptoms but I agree that especially with mental health it does seem right that 'root cause' isn't really a useful term given the complexity.
I changed up that last recommendation a bunch to get rid of symptom/root cause dichotomy:
"[revised] Try a bunch of other things. There are a lot of medications and pills you can take which have relatively low downsides and which can potentially be game-changers. This includes things like antidepressants, various supplements, nootr... (read more)
Oh thanks! I'll update that
Oh yeah, I think you're right on that! I shouldn't have been so down on symptom-reducing treatment. It does seem clearly better to fix root causes but given they can be so hard to fix it can often be the case that the best solution is to treat symptoms (and in some cases, like mental health, that can help improve root cause as well). I'll change that language so it's more positive on those
Fwiw, for mental health I'm not sure whether therapy is more likely to treat the 'root causes' than medications. You could have a model where some 'chemical thingie' that can be treated by meds is the root cause of mental illness and the actual cognitive thoughts treated by therapy are the symptoms.
In reality, I'm not sure the distinction is even meaningful given all the feedback loops involved.
Hm, I'm a bit unhappy with the framing of symptoms vs. root causes, and am skeptical about whether it captures a real thing (when it comes to mental health and drugs vs. therapy). I'm worried that making the difference between the two contributes to the problems alexrjl pointed out.
Note, I have no clinical expertise and am just spitballing: e.g. I understand the following trajectory as archetypical for what others might call "aha! First a patch and then root causes":
[Low energy --> takes antidepressants --> then has enough energy to do therapy ... (read more)
Yeah, maybe I should change some text... but I guess I have assumption built in that when finding papers which seem relevant you'd be reading the abstract, getting a basic idea of what they're about, and then adjusting search terms.
The reason having a pile of papers is useful is because the value of papers is extremely uneven for any given question and by having a pile you get a better feel for the range of what people say about a topic before diving into one perspective. Wrt the first point I'd argue that in most cases there are one or t... (read more)
Yeah, this would be nice to have! It's a lot of text to digest as it is now and I guess most people won't see it here going forward
I don't work at Rethink Priorities but I couldn't resist jumping in with some thoughts as I've been doing a lot of thinking on some of these questions recently
Thinking vs. reading. I’ve been playing around with spending 15-60 min sketching out a quick model of what I think of something before starting in on the literature (by no means a consistent thing I do though). I find it can be quite nice and help me ask the right questions early on.
Self-consciousness. Idk if this fits exactly but when I started my research position I tried to have the mindset ... (read more)
Thanks!Yes! You're totally right that going down the citation trail with the right paper can be better than search, I just edited to reflect that.
This spreadsheet seems great. So far we've only found ways to practice the early parts of literature review so we never created anything so sophisticated but that seems like a good method
Iris.ai sounds potentially useful, I'll definitely check it out!
So far we've done some things on inspectional note-taking, finding the logical argument structure of articles, and breaking down questions into subquestions. I'm not too sure what the next big thing will be though. Some other ideas have been to practice finding flaws in articles (but it takes a bit too long for a 2hr session and is too field specific), abstract writing, making figures, and picking the right research question. I haven't been spending too much time on this recently though so the ideas for actually implementing these aren't top of mind
That said, I do agree we should work to mitigate some of the problems you mention. It would be good to get people more clear on how uncertain things are, to avoid groupthink and over-homogenization. I think we shouldn't expect to diverge very much from how other successful movements have happened in the past as there's not really precedent for that working, though we should strive to test it out and push the boundaries of what works. In that respect I definitely agree we should get a better idea of how homogenous things are now and get more explicit about what the right balance is (though explicitly endorsing some level of homogeneity might have it's own awkward consequences)
I agree with some of what you say, but find myself less concerned about some of the trends. This might be because I have a higher tolerance for some of the traits you argue are present and because AI governance, where I'm mostly engaged now, may just be a much more uncertain topic area than other parts of EA given how new it is. Also, while I identify a lot with the community and am fairly engaged (was a community leader for two years), I don't engage much on the forum or online so I might be missing a lot of context.
I worry about the framing of ... (read more)
I think your critique of the ITN framework might be flawed. (though I haven't read section 2 yet). I assume some of my critique must be wrong as I still feel a bit confused about it, but I really need to get back to work...
One point that I think is a bit confusing is that you use the term marginal cost-effectiveness. To my knowledge this is not an acknowledged term in economics or elsewhere. What I think you mean instead is the average benefit given a certain amount of money.
Cost-effectiveness is (according to wikipedia at least) generally expressed a... (read more)
Just to play devil's advocate with some arguments against peace (in a not so well thought out way)... There's a book called 'The Great Leveler' which puts forward the hypothesis that the only time when widespread redistribution has happened is after wars. This means that without war we might expect consistently rising inequality. This effect has been due to mass mobilization ('Taxing the Rich' asserts that there has only been mass political willpower to increase redistribution with the claims of veterans having served and feeling they should be compensated
I always recommend Nate Soares' post 'On Caring' to motivate the need for rational analysis of problems when trying to do good. http://mindingourway.com/on-caring/
It took a surprisingly long time to find anything on real wage trends in Europe but it looks like, judging by the graphs on page 5 of this paper that Sweden, Norway, and in part the UK are exceptions to quite slow real-wage growth. Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Denmark follow the wage stagnation of the US.
I very much agree though that my analysis is very focused on the US (and the discussion in general). This paper demonstrates that at least on a micro level there are demonstrated effects on wages and employment from automation in the UK.... (read more)
Yeah I tend to agree that sending the whole thing is unnecessary. The first 17 chapters of printed version distributed at CFAR workshops (I think, haven't actually been to one) is enough to get people engaged enough to move to the online medium. I'm guessing sending just that small-looking book will make people more likely to read it as seeing a 2k page book would definitely be intimidating enough to stop many from actually starting.
I do tend to think giving the print version is useful as it incurs some sort of reciprocity which should incentivize reading it.
I agree that a quick and decisive input from someone very knowledgeable about EA and the topic involved would be very useful and save a lot of time and indecision for people evaluating career options.
I think we can provide a bit of this though through more engaged online communities around given topic areas. Not nearly as good as in person talks but people can at least get some general feedback on career ideas. I'm hoping to host an event later this year that will gather people interested in a cause area and use that as a catalyst to form a more cohe... (read more)
Strongly agreed. I really like Raemon's analysis why it's so hard to get EA careers: we're network constrained. [This isn't exactly how he frames it, more my take on his idea.]
Right now, EA operates very informally, relying heavily on the fact that the several hundred people working at explicitly EA orgs are all socially networked together to some degree. This social group was significantly inherited from LessWrong and Bay Area rationalism, and EA has had great success in co-opting it for EA goals.
But as EA grows beyond its roots, more ... (read more)
Yes! Totally agree. I think I mentioned very briefly that one should also be wary of social dynamics pushing toward EA beliefs, but I definitely didn't address it enough. Although I think the end result was positive and that my beliefs are true (with some uncertainty of course), I would guess that my update toward long-termism was due in large part to lot's of exposure to the EA community and from the social pressure that brings.
I basically bought some virtue signaling in the EA domain at the cost of signaling in broader society. Given I hang ou... (read more)