Vilfredo's Ghost

473Joined Dec 2018

Comments
101

awkward is pretty mild as far as ways to be emotionally stupid go. If that's all you're running into then EAs probably have higher than average emotional intelligence, but perhaps not as high in relative terms as their more classically defined intelligence

Seems unlikely for these examples. It's not the scientific discovery that really matters; it's the public health program implementing it, which is a lot more sensitive to pre-existing conditions than discovering a fact about the world is. 

why not? smallpox might or might not have died out, but hookworm would still be around

I think this response is fully accounted for by adjusting editing time based on the importance of the work, as stated in the post. 

If it's only ~as important as your normal daily work, and you have to do 5 drafts to make it better than existing work on the topic, it's probably not something you should write at all. Do something that will make a unique contribution on the first draft. 

oh yeah lots of opportunities in nj right now. Won my first two bets but I'm limited by the fact that I didn't plan in advance, and didn't have paypal connected to my bank. My bank's not allowing me to put enough money in and paypal will take several days to get connected. So fyi for anyone trying this, make sure your paypal account is funded in advance. 

I came to the basic idea of EA, long before I found the movement, from a Christian perspective. So I think there's certainly the basis for it in a lot of religions. But I think at that point I was more devout than most Christians, even most of those who go to church every Sunday. This is probably a key factor.

 I'm not sure how seriously most people take any of their goals, even the selfish ones. Lack of commitment is a hell of a thing, and even more so when mental effort and uncertainty are required.  It kind of astounds me how often people say they want something and then don't follow through at all on even minimal efforts. A friend wanted a job in my field, so I introduced him to a connection in his area. He never met with her. Other friends have run for office, but then not bothered talking to any voters. A relative repeats the same financial mistakes over and over and over again despite my attempts to help her with financial planning and her swearing up and down each time that next time will be different. 

And all of these personal goals are a lot more straightforward to sort out than "how do I do the most good I can  do?". I could figure out a plan for all of these examples in an afternoon at most, and after years of effort I still don't know how to be a maximally effective altruist. Most people, when they can't round uncertainty off to "yes" or "no", seem to have this idea that it's uncertain so all actions are the same. I recently had a conversation with an acquaintance who accused me of "only thinking in black and white" because I believe with a high degree of confidence that donating to AMF is a better choice than randomly paying for groceries for the person behind you in line, "because maybe they need it and maybe the kindness will ripple through the world and have other effects".  And several other people witnessing this debate agreed with him!

 

So in addition to altruism, I think key personality traits that would be necessary for someone to be even an alt-EA are an abnormally high level of goal-commitment, and an unusually high level of comfort making decisions under uncertainty. 

"the EA (Effective Altruism) movement has a pretty strong deference culture."

 Is this some kind of demographic thing? I haven't noticed it except in terms of college students/recent grads being a bit too attached to the idea of working for EA orgs. I defer when I don't feel like I have the appropriate knowledge and can't acquire it in reasonable time, and don't otherwise. 

As someone who was a solo-EA, without knowing there was a whole EA movement, for well over a decade, it's really nice to be able to rely on other people's judgment sometimes instead of having to analyze every little thing for myself. But that deference comes from some intuitive sense of cost-benefit tradeoffs involved in investing my time to dive deeper into something, not from a general idea that I should be deferential, and it goes away the moment I sense that the cost-benefit analysis has flipped.  And I don't feel like some kind of outlier for doing this. Another EA once called me an SBF bootlicker just for supporting Carrick Flynn, for example. 

yeah; it seems obvious to me that "the good I accomplish" includes my contribution to allowing others to do good. I'm open to seeing evidence but I suspect the reason field-building, movement-building etc. isn't done as much as OP would like has nothing to do with this kind of confusion. In fact I think it's questionable how much you can do at the meta level if your direct work doesn't measure up. People show up when they see cool stuff being done, not so much when they hear you talk about the cool stuff that someone else should do. Sputnik did a great deal more for science and engineering education than running a bunch of commercials about the importance of science would have. 

I was going to make essentially the same point. I may have too much political experience for my emotional reaction to be worth anything in judging how a normal voter would feel, but to me, half or more of the money coming from one person feels like a big deal. Less than half feels like something that would receive criticism but that I would  generally write it off as sour grapes.

The fact that it's crypto money specifically probably matters a lot. The partisan valence of crypto among average people is pretty right-wing because of bitcoiners' libertarian fantasies. In a more rational world that wouldn't affect perceptions of crypto generally but in this world it does. This may be too expensive to be worth it, but if SBF is really going to be spending a lot of money on Democratic primaries he may want to give some consideration to how to rehabilitate the image of non-BTC cryptocurrencies among Dem voters. 

The only EA who's ever been an asshole to me was an asshole because I supported  Flynn, so I don't think there was some hidden anti-donations-to-Flynn movement that self-censored. EAs who opposed the idea were quite loud about it. 

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