Thanks for the feedback.
When I was writing this- and when I think about AI Risk in general- as someone without a ML background, I tend to fall back on looking for non-technical heuristics like interest rates/market caps of hardware companies. So I am influenced perhaps more than a more technical person would be by these kind of meta or revealed preferences arguments.
I think Democrats (and left-wingers in other countres) could embrace increasing high-skilled immigration in ways that steer talent away from AI. In the US. H1-B visas could be changed to not permit work on AI or types of AI, and federal funding of science could steer people away from AI. So I think there is a path for Democrats to use immigration to reduce AI risk. The right could potentially use all three tactics, I think.
I didn't downvote you. I think you're using Pascal's Mugging idiosyncratically.
Pascal's Mugging is normally for infinitesimal odds and astronomical payouts, with both odds and payouts often being really uncertain.
Here odds and payout are well-defined. The odds while extreme aren't infinitesimal.
I think we should be doing lots of things with one in a million chances. Start-ups that could change the world, promising AI research paths, running for president or prime minister. :)
Not quite a discipline, but I think American Christianity lost cultural influence by denominations ceding control of their colleges (based off this book).
Had the men's right movement established men's studies as more distinct from women's studies maybe they would have benefited (hard to believe they ever had the political power to achieve this.)
I can imagine a world where sociobiology became its own discipline. It did not.
I think the establishment of chiropractic schools legitimized the practice in the United States compared to other alternative medicines. Also, allowed the practice to survive despite opposition to physicians.
I don't have any criticisms of the GPI. Having a center seems to really free up the time of important researchers and gives them a lot more flexibility. But trying to create dozens of EA centers around the country/world would be less promising to me than trying to foster a discipline.
UNC Chapel Hill, a prestigious state school in the US, lets you endow a distinguished professorship for $2M. A major donor could endow several departments worth of professorships. The Agricultural and Applied Association has annual revenue less than $2M. The money to kickstart this discipline seems high but not outrageous.
The anecdata point is pretty interesting to me- I'm not an economist. Do you think if the field combined things like DALYs vs QUALYS or debates about subjective life expectation or stuff like that would be interesting to students?
I don't think it would be harmed by existing within normal econ departments- some normal econ depts. have ag economics within them and other places Ag Econ is independent.
I'm skeptical of elevating children's rights in this way, because people already claim to care intensely about the value of children and their futures, but differ on how to do that. The UN wants to make it harder for kids to work, I can think of libertarians who disagree. Or education about sex and sexuality- both sides claim they are protecting children and so forth.
With more novel concepts or trying to get people to widen their circle of concern to include animals or far future generations, I think maybe that's a worthwhile way to go. But people care about kids a lot- or at least claim to!
Maybe there's some smart solution but I can't think of good ways to advance your goal.
Thanks for writing this. I'm interested in politics and political interventions as potential EA causes. But I do disagree with you. I think this cause is not a good use of resources because it's not tractable and because I think it wouldn't have any valuable direct effects either. (The indirect effects on EA diversity and composition are not considered in this comment.)
Tractable- you won't get 2/3 of the Senate to concur. Opposition to these treaties is standard on the right. I would be very surprised Democrats get a majority that large in the next decade. If there's a particular part of the treaty that you think is really valuable, like making it illegal for 17-year olds to marry it would probably be more effective to work on that at the state level. Likewise, if you want shorter sentences for crimes commited by juveniles that can be fought for at the state level.
Value of ratification- there are many countries that compared to American have much higher child mortality rates, much worse schools, more child labor and so on, that have ratified the treaty. I'm not aware of any sudden change in child mortality or any other metric in any country that ratified the treaty. If there is one, that would definitely count in favor of the treaty.
"The other stuff seems more reasonable but if you're going to restrict immigrants' ability to work on AI you might as well restrict natives' ability to work on AI as well. I doubt that the former is much easier than the latter."
This part of your comment I disagree on. There are specific provisions in US law to protect domestic physicians, immigrants on H1B visas have way fewer rights and are more dependent on their employers than citizen employees, and certain federal jobs or contractor positions are limited to citizens/permanent residents. I think this isn't outlandish, but certainly not hard.
The end of high-skilled immigration won't happen, I agree. Even when RW populists actually win national elections, they don't do this.