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Long-Term Future Fund: May 2021 grant recommendations

It's been about 7 months since this writeup. Did the Survival and Flourishing Fund make a decision on funding NOVID?

Longtermism in 1888: fermi estimate of heaven’s size.

Pointing out more weirdnesses may by now be unnecessary to make the point, but I can't resist: the estimate also seems to equivocate between "number of people alive at any moment" and "number of people in each generation", as if the 900 million population was comprised of a single generation that fully replaced itself each 31.125 years. Numerically this only impacts the result by a factor of 3 or so, but it's perhaps another reason not to take it as a serious attempt :)

Is EA compatible with technopessimism?

Can you give examples of technopessimists "in the wild"? I'm sure there are plenty of examples of "folk technopessimism" but if you mean something more fleshed-out than that I don't think I've seen it expressed or argued for a lot. (That said, I'm not very widely-read, so I'm sure there's lots of stuff out there I don't hear about.)

Can human extinction due to AI be justified as good?

"if AI has moral status, then AI helping its replicas grow or share pleasant experiences is morally valuable stuff". Sure, but I think the claim is that "most" AI won't be interested in doing that, and will pursue some other goal instead that doesn't really involve helping anyone.

The Cost of Rejection

It's a little aside from your point, but good feedback is not only useful for emotionally managing the rejection -- it's also incredibly valuable information! Consider especially that someone who is applying for a job at your organization may well apply for jobs at other organizations. Telling them what is good or bad with their application will help them improve that process, and make them more likely to find something that is the right fit for them. It could be vital in helping them understand what they need to do to position themselves to be more useful to the community, or at least it could save the time and effort of them applying for more jobs that have the same requirements you did, that they didn't meet -- and save the time and effort of the hiring team there rejecting them.

A unique characteristic of EA hiring is that it's often good for your goals to help candidates who didn't succeed at your process succeed at something else nearby. I often think we don't realize how significantly this shifts our incentives in cases like these.

How would you run the Petrov Day game?

Like Sanjay's answer, I think this is a correct diagnosis of a problem, but I think the advertising solution is worse than the problem.

  • A month of harm seems too long to me,
  • I can't think of anything we'd want to advertise on LW that we wouldn't already want to advertise on EAF, and we've chosen "no ads" in that case.
How would you run the Petrov Day game?

I'd like to push the opt-in / opt-out suggestion further, and say that the button should only affect people who have opted in (that is, the button bans all the opted-in players for a day, rather than taking the website down for a day). Or you could imagine running it on another venue than the Forum entirely, that was more focused on these kinds of collaborative social experiments.

I can see an argument that this takes away too much from the game, but in that case I'd lean towards just not running it at all. I think it's a cute idea but I don't think it feels important enough to me to justify obstructing unrelated uses of the forum and creating a bunch of unnecessary frustration. I'd like the forum to remain accessible to people who don't think of themselves as "in the community", and I think stuff like this gets in the way of that.

How would you run the Petrov Day game?

I think this correctly identifies a problem (not only is it a bad model for reality, it's also confusing for users IMO). I don't think extra karma points is the right fix, though, since I imagine a lot of people only care about karma insofar as it's a proxy for other people's opinions of their posts, which you can't just give 30 more of :)

(also it's weird inasmuch as karma is a proxy for social trust, whereas nuking people probably lowers your social trust)

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