All of CalebWithers's Comments + Replies

Concrete Ways to Reduce Risks of Value Drift and Lifestyle Drift

Thanks for writing this - it seems worthwhile to be strategic about potential "value drift", and this list is definitely useful in that regard.

I have the tentative hypothesis that a framing with slightly more self-loyalty would be preferable.

In the vein of Denise_Melchin's comment on Joey's post, I believe most people who appear to have value "drifted" will merely have drifted into situations where fulfilling a core drive (e.g. belonging, status) is less consistent with effective altruism than it was previously; as per The Elephant in ... (read more)

1Darius_Meissner3yThanks for your comment! I agree with everything you have said and like the framing you suggest. This is what I tried to address though you have expressed it more clearly than I could! As some others have pointed out as well, it might make sense to differentiate between 'value drift' (i.e. change of internal motivation) and 'lifestyle drift' (i.e. change of external factors that make implementation of values more difficult). I acknowledge that, as Denise's comment points out, the term 'value drift' is not ideal in the way that Joey and I used it and that: However, it seems reasonable to me to be concerned and attempt to avoid both about value and lifestyle drift and in many cases it will be hard to draw a line between the two (as changes in lifestyle likely precipitate changes in values and the other way around).
How to get a new cause into EA

In the same vein as this comment and its replies: I'm disposed to framing the three as expansions of the "moral circle". See, for example: https://www.effectivealtruism.org/articles/three-heuristics-for-finding-cause-x/

I'm weakly confident that EA thought leaders who would consider seriously the implication of ideas like quantum immortality generally take a less mystic, reductionist view of quantum mechanics, consciousness and personal identity, along the lines of the following:

EA Survey 2017 Series: Cause Area Preferences

It seems that the numbers in the top priority paragraph don't match up with the chart

1Tee4y09/05/17 Update: Graph 1 (top priority) has been updated again
0Peter Wildeford4yThis is true and will be fixed. Sorry.
Reading recommendations for the problem of consequentialist scope?

I'll throw in Bostrom's 'Crucial Considerations and Wise Philanthropy', on "considerations that radically change the expected value of pursuing some high-level subgoal".

EA Funds Beta Launch

A thought: EA funds could be well-suited for inclusion in wills, given that they're somewhat robust to changes in the charity effectiveness landscape

Strategic considerations about different speeds of AI takeoff

Second, we should generally focus safety research today on fast takeoff scenarios. Since there will be much less safety work in total in these scenarios, extra work is likely to have a much larger marginal effect.

Does this assumption depend on how pessimistic/optimistic one is about our chances of achieving alignment in different take-off scenarios, i.e. what our position on a curve something like this is expected to be for a given takeoff scenario?

2Owen_Cotton-Barratt5yI think you get an adjustment from that, but that it should be modest. None of the arguments we have so far about how difficult to expect the problem to be seem very robust, so I think it's appropriate to have a somewhat broad prior over possible difficulties [https://www.fhi.ox.ac.uk/how-to-treat-problems-of-unknown-difficulty/]. I think the picture you link to is plausible if the horizontal axis is interpreted as a log scale. But this changes the calculation of marginal impact quite a lot, so that you probably get more marginal impact towards the left than in the middle of the curve. (I think it's conceivable to end up with well-founded beliefs that look like that curve on a linear scale, but that this requires (a) very good understanding of what the problem actually is, & (b) justified confidence that you have the correct understanding.)
Donor lotteries: demonstration and FAQ

Thanks Paul and Carl for getting this off the ground!

I unfortunately haven't been able to arrange to contribute tax-deductibly in time (I am outside of the US), but for anyone considering running future lotteries:

I think this is a great idea, and intend to contribute my annual donations - currently in the high 4-figures - through donation lotteries such as this if they are available in the future.

Can we set up a system for international donation trading?

Does anyone else think that a column structure along the lines of:

Name | Contact | Your Country | Charities that are tax-deductible in your country | Charities you want to donate to | Countries where these charities are tax-deductible

would be more comprehensible?

I had to do more than a quick glance to understand the current structure, which worries me a little bit, but it might just be me.

1AndyMorgan4yYeah, I agree with this. Also, as a side note, I'd like to donate to MIRI in future but I'm currently based in Australia.
CEA Staff Donation Decisions 2016

Michelle Hutchinson mentioned that Nick Beckstead plans to email her donation advice. Is it possible for others to receive this advice?

4CarlShulman5yBeckstead gave his recommendation [http://blog.givewell.org/2016/12/09/staff-members-personal-donations-giving-season-2016/] for individual donors on this GiveWell blog post.
0CalebWithers5yThis series of talks on the Effective Altruism movement at EA Global 2016: The Effective Altruism Ecosystem [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3S0SJgKytHE] Embracing the Intellectual Challenge of Effective Altruism [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xj3RJi1n72s] Improving the Effective Altruism Network [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZVlDWTn6Vg]
What does Trump mean for EA?

I think the message of SlateStarCodex's "Tuesday Shouldn't Change The Narrative" is particularly relevant to EAs - any large updates to one's beliefs about the world should have come before the election.

9JesseClifton5yAgreed that large updates about things like the prevalence of regressive attitudes and the fragility of democracy should have been made before the election. But Trump's election itself has changed many EA-relevant parameters - international cooperation, x-risk, probability of animal welfare legislation, environmental policy, etc. So there may be room for substantial updates on the fact that Trump and a Republican Congress will be governing. That said, it's not immediately obvious to me how the marginal value of any EA effort has changed, and I worry about major updates being made out of a kneejerk reaction to the horribleness of someone like Trump being elected.
What does Trump mean for EA?

Has there been consideration of electoral reform with mind to proportionality as a worthwhile EA cause?

1Fluttershy6yThanks! I've never looked into the Brain Preservation Foundation, but since RomeoStevens' essay, which is linked to in the post you linked to above, mentions it as being potentially a better target of funding than SENS, I'll have to look into it sometime.
Charity Redirect - A proposal for a new kind of Effective Altruist organization

I feel like Joey's comment here is broadly applicable enough to warrant bringing it top level:

"I think part of the reason [meta-charity is] not publicized as much as say donating directly to GW charities is for marketing/PR reasons. e.g. Many people who are new to EA might be confused or turned off by the idea of a 100% overhead charity."

Charity Redirect - A proposal for a new kind of Effective Altruist organization

In addition to Charity Science, Giving What We Can also has this meta charity logic ingrained: https://givingwhatwecan.org/impact

0WilliamKiely6yThanks.
A way of thinking about saving vs improving lives

I certainly agree with the general point that one must consider the experiential value of the life saved. However, I'm skeptical of presuming a log-relationship for consumption and happiness, both for the reason you identified (definition problems at low-incomes), and issues around self-reporting as a measure of happiness, the Easterlin Paradox, and tentative data supporting that much of the happiness from consumption may about feeling richer than other people.