415Joined Sep 2014


The international community funded a database of Coronaviruses that was held by the lab in Wuhan. In September 2019, the month when the Chinese military overtook the lab, that database was taken offline.

If that database would have been important for pandemic prevention and vaccine development, I would have expected the virologists to write OPs publically calling on China to release the data. That they didn't is a clear statement about what they think for how useful that data is for pandemic prevention and how afraid they are that people look critically at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

I'm curious to know whether and to what extent we've considered ways to reward basic science researchers for making pandemic-mitigating discoveries in a public health context. 

The virologists seemed to ignore the basic science questions such as "How do these viruses spread?" and "Are they airborne?" that actually mattered. 

Asking those questions would mean doing more biomedical research that isn't gain of function and loss of function.

have to explain how they'd motivate already-beleaguered scientists to do GoF research when their proposal is "even more stick, still no carrot."

That assumes that it's important to motivate them to do GoF research. It seems that research served for them as a distraction from doing the relevant research. 

My impression is that one of the key defenses that the Fauci/NIH/EcoHealth/etc. offered for their research in Wuhan was that it was technically not Gain of Function, even if some parts of it might sound like Gain of Function to the layperson, which seems in tension with this claim.

It not only sounds that way to a lay-person. The NIH stopped the EcoHealth grant that was partly paying for the research in Wuhan for a short time in 2016. When they renewed the grant Peter Dasek from EcoHealth wrote back:

"This is terrific! We are very happy to hear that our Gain of Function research funding pause has been lifted."

Fauci himself wrote on the 1st February 2020 and email that had one of the study in the attachment with the file name "Baric, Shi et al - Nature medicine - SARS Gain of function".

What Fauci/NIH/EcoHealth is saying seems to be something like "when people say 'gain of function' they really mean ePPP and the research they funded in Wuhan wasn't ePPP because we never put it through the P3O process that could have decided that it was an ePPP".

The other alternative was that there was some coordination about releasing LLM. Plenty of people argue that they somehow should coordinate, so it would not be surprising if they actually did it. 

There's the claim that GPT-4 is better at not going off the guardrails and that Bing runs on GPT-4. How does that fit together with Bing's behavior?

Neither Scotts banning of Vassar nor the REACH banning was quiet. It's just that there's no process by which those people who organize Slate Star Codex meetups are made aware. 

It turns out that plenty of people who organize Slate Star Codex meetups are not in touch with Bay Area community drama.  The person who organized that SSC online meetup was from Israel. 

Even in the comments here where some very harsh allegations are made against him

That's because some of the harsh allegations don't seem to hold up. Scott Alexander spent a significant amount of time investigating and came up with:

While I disagree with Jessica's interpretations of a lot of things, I generally agree with her facts (about the Vassar stuff which I have been researching; I know nothing about the climate at MIRI). I think this post gives most of the relevant information mine would give. I agree with (my model of) Jessica that proximity to Michael's ideas (and psychedelics) was not the single unique cause of her problems but may have contributed.

There are different concerns when it comes to Authentic Revolution and the EA community. Authentic Revolution hosts events where people become emotionally vulnerable which calls for rules that prevent that vulnerable state from being abused by people leading the events.

In the EA community, a lot of concerns about power abuse are about helping with professional connections. Waiting three months reduces the emotional impact of an Authentic Revolution event but it changes little about the power a person in a leadership role has to help a person to get a job at an EA org. 

Well, you're right that signaling intelligence, creativity, wisdom, and moral virtues is sexually and romantically attractive. 

Signaling intelligence, creativity, wisdom, and moral virtues is not the same as signaling social power by leading events.

To the extent that people have power through their roles, that's not directly about signaling intelligence, creativity, wisdom, and moral virtues. 

Next, there are four other occasions where something a bit like this has happened. How many of these happened after the main events described here? I guess 2 or 3. So even after upsetting someone like this, this pattern continues. This does make me question a Owen's judgenent.

To me, Owen's post reads like he didn't notice at the time that he upset her. Owen writes: "She was in a structural position where it was (I now believe) unreasonable to expect honesty about her experience".

It's unclear how long it took for Owen to know how uncomfortable he made her. 

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