73Joined Sep 2020


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A database of effective productivity recommendations

Don't know how to use Airtable, but a quick googling led me to this. The last reply (by kuovonne) in the linked thread seems useful.

Steering AI to care for animals, and soon

I'm excited to see this post, thank you for it! 

I also think much more exploration and/or concrete work needs to be done in this "EA+AI+animals" (perhaps also non-humans other than animals) direction, which (I vaguely speculate) may extend far beyond the vicinity of the Project CETI example that you gave. Up till now, this direction seems almost completely neglected. 

New cause area: bivalve aquaculture

I'll be giving some critique below, but nevertheless, thank you for the idea and the analysis!

I think the animal welfare section of this post would benefit from more rigor. (not sure about the other sections; haven't read them yet)

healthy: “oysters, mussels, scallops, and clams are good for you. They’re loaded with protein, healthy fats, and minerals like iron and manganese.”

Neither the linked article nor the quote sounds very credible or scientifically convincing to me. 

Eating bivalves causes less suffering than an equivalent amount of chickens, pigs, cows, and most other animals. 

To me this seems highly non-obvious. Maybe explain why you think so?

Also, I suspect this depends a lot on one's moral weights assigned to different species, which (I guess) varies hugely across different people.

Depending on what it substitutes for, it would also reduce crop farming and associated rodent/insect deaths, which are more sentient than bivalves.

It's good that field deaths are included in the analysis. 

But one may also want to count the second-order effects of bivalve aquaculture (note that I have no knowledge about this and don't know if this will significant change the conclusions).

Non-EAs are receptive to a proposal to substitute bivalves for other meat.

This also seems non-obvious to me.

Therefore, bivalves are the most effective way to reduce overall animal suffering.

This is a really bold claim and would deserve much more argumentation. Consider, for example, doing a cost-effectiveness comparison with the popular EA animal welfare interventions, if you'd like to argue for this.


Again, thank you for the post, and please don't take this comment as an attempt of dismissal; just pointing out where I think it could be improved :)

Why the EA aversion to local altruistic action?

How does "practicing compassion and generosity with those around us" get operationalized in the EA community?

The most salient example that comes to mind may be going vegetarian/vegan (for ethical and/or climate reasons), which (a little less than) half of the community members claimed to have done, according to a survey.

Apart from that there's also everyday altruism, e.g. helping granny cross the street.

Nothing more comes up, though I had only thought about this for twenty seconds so I have probably missed something.

Why the EA aversion to local altruistic action?

And finally: EAs are into policy and systemic change.

Yes, but not enough, I suspect. 

Also there seems to be an imbalance between different EA cause areas in terms of “how much work there currently is on policy and systemic change”. Reading the post titles under the policy tag may help one notice this.

Why the EA aversion to local altruistic action?

I agree that the second- and third-order effects of e.g. donating to super-effective animal advocacy charities are, more likely than not, larger than those of e.g. volunteering at local animal shelters. (though that may depend on the exact charity you're donating to?)

However, it's likely that some other action has even larger second- and third-order effects than donating to top charities - after all, most (though not all) of these charities are optimizing for first-order effects, rather than the second- and third-order ones. 

Therefore, it's not obviously justifiable to simply ignore second- and third-order effects in our analysis.

Why the EA aversion to local altruistic action?

Thank you for this critique! 

Just want to highlight one thing: comments to this post are sometimes a bit harsh, but please don't take this to mean we're unwelcoming or defensive (although there may be a real tendency to overly argue for ourselves). The style of discussion on the forum is sometimes just like this  :)

Announcing a contest: EA Criticism and Red Teaming

Are people encouraged to share this opportunity with non-EA friends and in non-EA circles? If so, maybe consider making this clear in the post?

We need 40,000h or maybe even 20,000h

Glad to hear that you found this useful!

 Do you know of any companies that are hiring HRI designers?

Sorry, I know nothing about the HRI space :(

We need 40,000h or maybe even 20,000h

Hi Martyna, maybe this post and its comments can interest you. 

Also, something else that comes to mind: Andrew Critch thinks that working on Human-Robot Interaction may be very useful to AI Safety. Note that he isn't solely talking about robots, but also human-machine interaction in general (that's how I interpret it; I may well be wrong):

HRI research is concerned with designing and optimizing patterns of interaction between humans and machines—usually actual physical robots, but not always.

Not sure whether other AI Safety researchers would agree on the importance of HRI, and not sure if your current career path is very relevant to this. Anyway, just sharing something that might be useful :)

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