anonymous_ea

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Some potential lessons from Carrick’s Congressional bid

The Reddit comments I've seen have been largely the same as well: people being tired of apparently incessant campaign ads along with some suspicion of large out of state money and crypto.

A couple of random threads: 

https://www.reddit.com/r/Portland/comments/u2c69t/carrick_flynn_cryptobacked_candidate_in_new/

https://www.reddit.com/r/SALEM/comments/u9lmir/carrick_flynns_bizarre_response_to_where_he_voted/

EA and the current funding situation

My read on your comment is that you misread Anthony's allusion to $1b as about potentially spending $1b at some stage (whether right now or later), rather than about the expected impact of his idea. I could be wrong, but that's the only way your comment makes sense to me ("if you spent $1b of EA money" - what could this refer to besides spending $1b of money?). 

Anthony is asking for connection to someone who is skilled at running a particular kind of simulation to see if his idea has potential. He believes that the value of checking of his idea might be $1b, because of potentially trillions of dollars worth of gains. Crucially, it would not take $1b to check his idea - that figure is an estimate of the potential value of checking the idea, not of the cost of checking it. The cost of checking is probably something like the social capital to connect him with a relevant person and the costs involved in running the simulation (if it progresses to that stage).

I don't think this was a bad mistake on your end, just a quick, incorrect assumption that you made while trying to help someone. It only led to a fractious response because so many other EAs have also misread and misunderstood Anthony, and he is naturally tired and upset by this. In my opinion, the fault here lies mostly with social dynamics rather than any one person acting particularly badly. 

I appreciate your attempts to engage productively (including deciding not to engage if that seems better to you), take responsibility for any mistakes you may have made, and without assigning blame to other parties. That is a clear positive to me. 

Hope you have a good day as well :)

EA and the current funding situation

Upvoted for the last three sentences, but I believe your first sentence is incorrect. The second paragraph of your initial comment does not make sense to me in the absence of you believing that Anthony was looking for funding. 

EA and the current funding situation

Thanks, this is a good followup. I'm glad my comment contained useful feedback for you. 

I think your attempt to help Anthony went awry when he asked you why his tone was the bigger issue than whether he had been misrepresented, and you did not even seem to consider that he could be right in your reply. Perhaps he is right? Perhaps not? But it's important to at least genuinely consider that he could be.

EA and the current funding situation

Strong downvote for extreme and inappropriate condescension in the guise of helping someone. There is no adequate reason for you to assume that Anthony is living in a world where everyone is intrinsically against him, and that he cannot even imagine not living in a different world. This is an extremely strong statement to make about someone you know through a few online comments. Why do you think you're right? 

Even if you were right, helping him would not take the form of trying to point this out publicly in such a tactless way. 

An update in favor of trying to make tens of billions of dollars

Sorry, I don't have the capacity to engage further here. 

An update in favor of trying to make tens of billions of dollars

I strongly disagree that the situational opportunity is anywhere near as broad as "mostly being an American alive in the 21st century". I'm not sure what you have in mind regarding "the type of person who is capable of starting the next FTX", but I think that is a fairly narrow class, not a very wide one. 

An update in favor of trying to make tens of billions of dollars

Charles is not saying is that having an elite background is the only thing that matters. He is saying that high success involves both high capability and high situational opportunity. 

Effective altruism’s odd attitude to mental health

Like IanDavidMoss says, I think the more interesting phenomenon you mention is the sudden and unnoticed switch to skeptical mode:

I then told them about my work at the Happier Lives Institute comparing the cost-effectiveness of cash transfers to treating depression and how we'd found the latter was about 10x better (original analysis, updated analysis). They suddenly switched to sceptical mode, saying they didn't believe you could really measure people's mental health or feelings and that, even if you could, targeting poverty must still be better. 

After a couple of minutes of this, I suddenly clocked how weirdly disconnected the first and second parts of the conversation were. I asked them how they could be so sceptical of mental health as a global priority when they had literally just been talking to me about it as a very serious issue for EAs. They looked puzzled - the tension seemed never to have occurred to them - and, to their credit, they replied "oh, yeah, hmm, that is weird".

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