333 karmaJoined Nov 2022


Fair enough, as long as that's the standard that is applied to all commenters and not just EA leadership. I appreciate EY agreed that there was likely no manipulation after I pointed this out

I couldn't quite bottom out exactly what EY was saying, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't that. On your interpretation, EY said, "who EAs are fucking is none of [wider] EA's business [except people who are directly affected by the COI]". But he goes on to clarify "There are very limited exceptions to this rule like 'maybe don't fuck your direct report' ". If that's an exception to the rule of EAs fucking being only of interest to directly affected parties, then it mean EY thinks an EA having sex with a subordinate should be broadcast to the entire community. That's a very strict standard (although I guess not crazy - just odd that EY was presenting it as a more relaxed / less prurient standard than conventional financial risk management).

It also doesn't address my core objection, which is that EA leadership failed very badly to implement proper financial risk management processes. Generally my point was that EA leadership should be epistemically humble now and just implement the risk management processes that work for banks, rather than tinkering around and introducing their own version of these systems. Regardless of what EY meant, unless he meant 'We should hire in PWC to implement the same financial controls as every Fortune company' then he is making exactly the same mistake EA leadership made with FTX - assuming that they could create better risk management from first principles than the mainstream system could from actual experience

By the way, I disagree with the objective position here too. Every FTX investor needed to know about the COI and the management strategy FTX adopted in order to assess their risk exposure. This would be the standard at a conventional company (if the company knew about such a blatant COI from their CEO and didn't tell investors at a conventional company then their risk officers would potentially be liable for the fraud too, iirc)

I think we might be straying from the main point a bit; nobody is proposing a general right to peer into EA sex lives, and I agree that would be unhealthy.

There are some relatively straightforward financial risk management principles which msinstream orgs have been successfully using for decades. You seem to believe one of the pillars of these principles - surfacing risk due to romantic entanglements between parties - shouldn't apply to EA, and instead some sort of 'commonsense' approach should prevail instead (inverted commas because I think the standard way is basically common sense too).

But I don't understand where your confidence that you're right here is coming from - EA leadership has just materially failed to protect EA membership from bad actor risk stemming at least in part from a hidden conflict of interest due to a romantic entanglement. EA leadership has been given an opportunity to run risk management their way, and the result is that EA is now associated with the biggest crypto fraud in history. Surely the Bayesian update here is that there are strong reasons to believe mainstream finance had it approximately right?

Rereading the above, I think I might just be unproductively repeating myself at this point, so I'll duck out of the discussion. I appreciated the respectful back-and-forth, especially considering parts of what I was saying were (unavoidably) pretty close to personal attacks on you and the EA leadership more broadly. Hope you had a pleasant evening too!

I'm struggling to follow your argument here. What you describe as the situation at MIRI is basically standard risk management approach - if two people create a risk to MIRI's financial security processes by falling in love, you make sure that neither signs off on risk taken by the other.

But in this thread you are responding with strong disagreement to a comment which says "if this relationship [between SBF and Caroline] were known to be hidden from investors and other stakeholders, should this not have raised red flags?". You said "who EAs are fucking is none of EA's business", amongst other comments of a similar tone.

I don't understand what exactly you disagree with if you agree SBF and Caroline should have disclosed their relationship so that proper steps could be taken to de-risk their interactions (as would happen at MIRI). It seems that you do agree it matters who EAs are fucking in contexts like this? And therefore that it is relevant to know whether Will MacAskill knew about the undisclosed relationship?

I don't really understand why you are describing this as a hypothetical ("If I were writing these rules..."). You are the founder and head of a highly visible EA organisation recieving charitable money from donors, and presumably have some set of policies in place to prevent staff at that organisation from systematically defrauding those donors behind your back. You have written those policies (or delegated someone else to write them for you). You are sufficiently visible in the EA space that your views on financial probity materially affect the state of EA discourse. What you are telling me is that the policies which you wrote don't include a 'no undeclared sexual relationships with people who are supposed to act as a check on you defrauding MIRI' rule, based on your view that it is excessively paternalistic to inquire about people's sex life when assessing risk, and that your view is that this is the position that should be adopted in EA spaces generally.

This is - to put it mildly - not the view of the vast majority of organisations which handle money at any significant scale. No sane risk management approach would equate a romantic relationship with 'a very strong friendship'. Romantic love is qualitatively different to fraternal love. No sane risk management approach would equate "occasionally spend[ing] time at each other's house" to living together. My wife is often alone in the house for extended periods of time, but I usually hang out with friends when they come over (to give just one difference from an enormous list of possibilities).

EA leadership - which includes you - has clearly made a catastrophic error of financial risk management with this situation. The extent to which they are 'responsible' is a fair debate, but it is unquestionable they failed to protect people who trusted them to steer EA into the future - hundreds of people have been made unemployed overnight and EA is potentially facing its first existential risk as a result. I am genuinely baffled how you can look at this situation and conclude that the approach you are describing - a very intelligent non-expert such as yourself creates their own standards of financial conduct at significant odds with the mainstream accepted approach - could still possibly be appropriate in the face of the magnitude of the error this thinking has led to.

I also think it is extremely unedifying that you make the case elsewhere that the disagreement votes you are recieving for your position are from vote manipulation. A more plausible explanation is that people have independently reached the conclusion you are wrong that romantic love presents no special financial risks.

That seems like a very charitable reading of the comment

"who EAs are fucking is none of EA's business. There are very limited exceptions to this rule like ... none of which are being suggested here."

I'd suggest that given the high stakes of the situation at the moment it is especially important not to inadvertently give the impression that EA leadership think they have privileged insight into financial risk management that they actually don't. If EY has merely mangled his argument (as you suggest) it would be very sensible for him to edit his comment to reflect that, and apologise for implying that vote rigging was the only reason he could have been down voted.

I work (indirectly) in financial risk management. Paying special attention to special categories of risk - like romantic relationships - is very fundamental to risk management. It is not that institutions are face with a binary choice of 'manage risk' or 'don't manage risk' where people in romantic relationships are 'managed' and everyone else is 'not'. Risk management is a spectrum, and there are good reasons to think that people with both romantic and financial entanglements are higher risk than those with financial entanglements only. For example:

  1. Romantic relationships inspire particularly strong feelings, not usually characterising financial relationships. People in romantic relationships will take risks on each other's behalf that people in financial relationships will not. We should be equally worried about familial relationships, which also inspire very strong feelings.

  2. Romantic relationships inspire different feelings from financial relationships. Whereas with a business partner you might be tempted to act badly to make money, with a romantic partner you might be tempted to act badly for many other reasons. For example, to make your partner feel good, or to spare your romantic partner embarrassment

  3. Romantic relationships imply a different level of access than financial relationships. People in romantic relationships have levers to make their partner do things they might not want to - for example abusive relationships, threatening to end the relationship unless X is done, watching the partner enter their password into their computer to gain access to systems.

Yes - I almost can't believe I am reading a senior EA figure suggesting that every major financial institution has an unreasonably prurient interest in the sex lives of their risk-holding employees. EA has just taken a bath because it was worse at financial risk assessment than it thought it was. The response here seems to be to double-down on the view that a sufficiently intelligent rationalist can derive - from first principles - better risk management than the lessons embedded in professional organisations. We have ample evidence that this approach did not work in the case of FTX funding, and that real people are really suffering because EA leaders made the wrong call here.

Now is the time to eat a big plate of epistemically humble crow, and accept that this approach failed horribly. Conspiracy theorising about 'voting rings' is a pretty terrible look.