All of Daniel_Eth's Comments + Replies

Replicating and extending the grabby aliens model


The possibility of try-once steps allows one to reject the existence of hard try-try steps, but suppose very hard try-once steps.

  • I'm not seeing why this is. Why is that the case?


Because if (say) only 1/10^30 stars has a planet with just the right initial conditions to allow for the evolution of intelligent life, then that fully explains the Great Filter, and we don't need to posit that any of the try-try steps are hard (of course, they still could be).

Right, thanks
A new media outlet focused in part on philanthropy

FWIW, I found the interview with SBF to be quite fair, and imho it presented Sam in a neutral-to-positive light (though perhaps a bit quirky). Teddy's more recent reporting/tweets about Sam also strike me as both fair and neutral to positive.

evelynciara's Shortform

Hmm, culturally YIMBYism seems much harder to do in suburbs/rural areas. I wouldn't be too surprised if the easiest ToC here is to pass YIMBY-energy policies on the state level, with most of the support coming from urbanites. 

But sure, still probably worth trying.

Yeah, good point. Advocating for individual projects or rezonings is so time-consuming, even in the urban housing context.
evelynciara's Shortform

I thought YIMBYs were generally pretty in favor of this already? (Though not generally as high a priority for them as housing.) My guess is it would be easier to push the already existing YIMBY movement to focus on energy more, as opposed to creating a new movement from scratch.

Yeah, I think that might be easier too. But YIMBY groups focus on housing in cities whereas most utility-scale energy developments are probably in suburbs or rural areas.
Daniel_Eth's Shortform

Not just EA funds, I think (almost?) all random, uninformed EA donations would be much better than donations to an Index fund considering all charities on Earth. 

I meant EA funds with a lowercase "f"
A Model of Patient Spending and Movement Building

if one wants longtermism to get a few big wins to increase its movement building appeal, it would surprise me if the way to do this was through more earning to give, rather than by spending down longtermism's big pot of money and using some of its labor for direct work

I agree – I think the practical implication is more "this consideration updates us towards funding/allocating labor towards direct work over explicit movement building" and less "this consideration updates us towards E2G over direct work/movement building".

A Model of Patient Spending and Movement Building

because of scope insensitivity, I don't think potential movement participants would be substantially more impressed by $2*N billions of GiveDirectly-equivalents of good per year vs just $N billions

Agree (though potential EAs may be more likely to be impressed with that stuff than most people), but I think qualitative things that we could accomplish would be impressive. For instance, if we funded a cure for malaria (or cancer, or ...) I think that would be more impressive than if we funded some people trying to cure those diseases but none of the people we funded succeeded. I also think that people are more likely to be attracted to AI safety if it seems like we're making real headway on the problem.

Daniel_Eth's Shortform

I think you answered your own question? The index fund would just allocate in proportion to current donations, reducing both overhead for fund managers and the necessity to trust the managers' judgement (other than for deciding which charities do/don't qualify to begin with). I'd imagine the value of the index fund might increase as EA grows and the number of manager-directed funds increases (as many individual donors wouldn't know which direct fund to give to, and the index fund would track donations as a whole, including to direct funds).

A Model of Patient Spending and Movement Building

This looks good! One possible modification that I think would enhance the model would be an arrow from "direct work" or "good in the world" to "movement building" – I'd imagine that the movement will be much more successful in attracting new members if we're seen as doing valuable things in the world.

I guess some sorts of earning to give may also attract new members. E.g. it wouldn't surprise me if Sam Bankman-Fried's work attracts some people to effective altruism.
Thanks! I agree that this might be another pretty important consideration, though I'd want to think a bit about how to model it in a way that feels relatively realistic and non-arbitrary. E.g. maybe we should say people start out with a prior on the effectiveness of a movement at getting good things done, and instead of just being deterministically "recruited", they decide whether to contribute their labor and/or capital to a movement partly on the basis of their evaluation of its effectiveness, after updating on the basis of its track record.
More off-the-cuff thought: I can imagine that feedback loop (good in the world -> movement building) being important at the beginning. Arguably one of the reasons why the global health & development -> longtermism change of minds is so common is because longtermism has good arguments in principle but no big tangible wins to its name, so it's better able to convince those who pay attention to it because they're drawn to EA because of global health & development's big wins, rather than convince people directly. But even in that case, if one wants longtermism to get a few big wins to increase its movement building appeal, it would surprise me if the way to do this was through more earning to give, rather than by spending down longtermism's big pot of money and using some of its labor for direct work.
This is a good point, and thanks for the comment. If the arrow is from good in the world, this could increase the value of direct work and direct spending (and thus earning to give) relative to movement building. I can imagine setups where this might flip the conclusion, but I think that this would be fairly unlikely. E.g., because of scope insensitivity, I don't think potential movement participants would be substantially more impressed by $2*N billions of GiveDirectly-equivalents of good per year vs just $N billions. If the arrow is from direct work, this increases the value of direct work relative to everything else, and our conclusions almost certainly still hold. I imagine that Phil might have some other thoughts to share.
Daniel_Eth's Shortform

Presumably someone (or a group) would have to create a list (potentially after creating an explicit set of criteria), and then the list would be updated periodically (say, yearly). 

2Nathan Young6mo
How does that differ from the current funds (Givewell Maximum impact). If it's gonna be just matching the current giving, while I wouldn't give to it, I can imagine some would like it and it would be a pretty good fund, so fair, I guess.
Daniel_Eth's Shortform

Should there be an "EA Donation Index Fund" that allows people to simply "donate the market" (similar to how index funds like the S&P500 allow for simply buying the market)? This fund could allocate donations to EA orgs in proportion to the total donations that those funds receive (from EA sources?) over the year (it would perhaps make sense for there to be a few such funds – such as one for EA as a whole, one for longtermism, one for global health and development, etc).

I see a few potential benefits:
• People who want to donate effectively (and especia... (read more)

Would you also be interested in a Donation Index Fund? Basically your idea but don't maintain a non-market-driven whitelist of EA funds, and consider all charities on earth instead.
4Luke Freeman6mo
A good "default option" that might look like this (and some other similar ideas) is something we are looking at with GWWC.
2Nathan Young6mo
How would you define which things were in the fund and which weren't?
How do EAs deal with having a "weird" appearance?

FWIW, I don't think there's a cost in academia for looking a little bit different if doing so makes you look a bit better (at least if we're talking about within the US – other countries may be different). Yes, an unkept, big bushy beard would presumably be a negative (though less so in academia than in other professions), but stylish hairstyles like Afro buns or cornrows might even be a slight positive. 

Complexity Science, Economics and the Art of Zen.

Lysenkoism was used by central planners to attempt to improve Soviet agricultural output, and, unsurprisingly, exacerbated famines. This is just one example of how dumb Soviet central planners were on critical issues. I doubt the Soviet space program would have worked as well as it did if the thinking of their rocket scientists was at a similar level to that of those running their economy.

There's a role for small EA donors in campaign finance

DSCC's goals are just to elect democrats – they don't consider, for instance, how different democrats differ on EA criteria such as biosecurity. Donating to particularly aligned candidates (especially in primaries) is probably higher value than donating to existing (non-EA) funds.

True! A lot of policies I favor (like climate action) are easier to enact when Democrats have a majority in the relevant legislature, but one could have a Democratic majority and still be held up by a single Democratic politician who opposes climate action (Joe Manchin). But finding candidates who are competitive and support the policies you value could be difficult for individuals because it requires you to have information on races across the country. So I think there's a role for PACs etc. to select candidates on behalf of donors.
There's a role for small EA donors in campaign finance

I agree more nuance in the headline would have been better (eg., if it included the word "potentially" to say "There's potentially a role for small EA donors in campaign finance"), but note that's effectively what the body of the piece says, such as here: "consider that election campaign contributions might be a way in which you can have a substantial impact as a small donor" (emphasis added).

1Charles Dillon 6mo
See my reply to HStencil above.
Complexity Science, Economics and the Art of Zen.

“Economics can be harder than rocket science: the Soviet Union was great at rocket science”

This is a good quote, but it seems a little unfair. The Soviet's rocket scientists were brilliant scientific thinkers, while their economic planners really were not. I don't think we have clear evidence one way or the other regarding how well central planning would work if the central planners were particularly smart people with good epistemic hygiene.

3Michael Hinge6mo
Hi Daniel, Sorry, I only just saw your comment! I think Lysenko and Lysenkoism is completely fascinating, but kind of proves the quote above. Lysenko was a biologist of sorts whose falsified, confused and just invented results on plants supported Stalinist and Marxist thinking on how people are not innate but created by environments, and then got brought into GOSPLAN to bring these insights to the economy. This is not because there was a lack of brilliant economists initially, just that those Stalin had were either cringing on his party lines, hidden in side posts for their own good, or dead []. The problem was both to solve a complex problem (economics) and do it in a way that was acceptable to your masters and Marxist thinking of the time, which made the problem more complex than rocket science. Once we move past Stalin (Red Plenty is very readable on this []!) we get people like Kantorovich stepping out of the shadows. They were really smart, inventing new tools we use today and were really brilliant thinkers, but still had to solve not only the problem of the maths, but also the difficulty in understanding the people who they were supposedly commanding and their complexity and agency. On top of this, some tools and analysis are still forbidden to you. Compare this with the rocket programme. Brilliant scientists again, solving really difficult problems, but orbital mechanics does not shift its behaviour to ruin your plan based on complicated politics (you may have missed an interaction, but they're a property of your materials and physical forces), and solving physics equations does not contradict Marxist thought (mostly, E=MC2 was banned for a period [] as it apparently contradicted Marx). The point of the Soviet Union's failure, or that quote, was not that if it had a few
3Will Bradshaw6mo
The link in this comment confuses me. Lysenko was not an economist and Lysenkoism was not primarily a matter of economic planning. Rather it was state-enforced pseudoscience, which seems like a pretty different dynamic. Also, IIRC the peak of Lysenkoism was at a time when the Soviet economy was developing quite quickly; the serious stagnation came later, after Lysenkoism had fallen from prominence. So this doesn't really seem like evidence in favour of your claim re economic planning.
What community norm would you most like to see added, removed or acknolwedged within EA?

"Hey, I think I'm going to mingle some. [Optional: This was interesting/Thanks for telling me about XYZ, I'll look into it/Good luck with ABC/whatever makes sense given the context]"

Nathan Young's Shortform

Yeah, I think the community response to the NYT piece was counterproductive, and I've also been dismayed at how much people in the community feel the need to respond to smaller hit pieces, effectively signal boosting them, instead of just ignoring them. I generally think people shouldn't engage with public attacks unless they have training in comms (and even then, sometimes the best response is just ignoring).

Can EA leverage an Elon-vs-world-hunger news cycle?

Hmm, thinking personally, my tweets are definitely more off the cuff and don't live up to the same standard of rigor as my academic papers. I think this is reasonable, since that's what people are expecting from tweets vs academic papers, so I expect the audience will update differently based on them. Also, it's probably good for society/the marketplace of ideas for there to be different venues with different standards (eg., op-eds vs news articles; preprints vs peer-reviewed papers, etc). The case here seems potentially* somewhat similar (let's say, hypot... (read more)

Can EA leverage an Elon-vs-world-hunger news cycle?

"the EPA has ranked us either number one or two of US companies in pollution reduction initiatives"

This kinda makes me laugh, because the only way to be the company that reduces their pollution the most is to be polluting a ton in the first place. This is like saying "I know I'm a hero, because in the past year I've reduced the annual number of people I've killed more than anyone else".

Reminds me of Nixon's famous invocation of the third derivative:

When campaigning for a second term in office, U.S. President Richard Nixon announced that the rate of increase of inflation was decreasing, which has been noted as "the first time a sitting president used the third derivative to advance his case for reelection."

Yeah, the whole interview is filled with fun stuff like that.
What are your favourite ways to buy time?
  • Delivery: for groceries (from Instacart), restaurant food (from ubereats), convenience store stuff (from Amazon), etc
  • Automation/outsourcing: more prepared food (either from restaurants or grocery stores) instead of cooking
  • Redundancy (so I'm not caught off guard and in need of doing an errand): for batteries, chargers, extra food, etc; also if you need something to be productive and you're not sure which version you need, just buy a few versions at once and eat the costs instead of buying one at a time
  • Comfort (so I can work harder/longer without getting dis
... (read more)
Buck's Shortform

I regret taking the pledge

I feel like you should be able to "unpledge" in that case, and further I don't think you should feel shame or face stigma for this. There's a few reasons I think this:

  • You're working for an EA org. If you think your org is ~as effective as where you'd donate, it doesn't make sense for them to pay you money that you then donate (unless if you felt there was some psychological benefit to this, but clearly you feel the reverse)
  • The community has a LOT of money now. I'm not sure what your salary is, but I'd guess it's lower than optimal
... (read more)

Here is the relevant version of the pledge, from December 2014:

I recognise that I can use part of my income to do a significant amount of good in the developing world. Since I can live well enough on a smaller income, I pledge that for the rest of my life or until the day I retire, I shall give at least ten percent of what I earn to whichever organisations can most effectively use it to help people in developing countries, now and in the years to come. I make this pledge freely, openly, and sincerely.

A large part of the point of the pledge is to bind your ... (read more)

Should Effective Altruists Sign Up for Oxford’s COVID Challenge Study?

the additional risk to a healthy young person is probably a much smaller sacrifice than 10% of one's lifetime earnings

FWIW, I'm also against people saying "EAs should give at least 10% of their income to charity" – this makes people who don't want to make that sort of commitment feel unwelcome, and my sense is that rhetoric along those lines has hurt movement growth.

Thanks for the comments! Just wanted to quickly say that Larks's interpretation of our intention was correct: we view participation in this study is superogatory (and are really making the argument that this study might be in the range of actions that are considered effective altruist).
Should Effective Altruists Sign Up for Oxford’s COVID Challenge Study?

Pedantic, but I'm somewhat uncomfortable with the rhetoric of whether EAs "should" sign up for this (as in, they have an obligation to do so, which they are failing to live up to if they don't), given the personal risks involved. (I think it's reasonable to have a discussion on the object-level question of whether signing up scores well by EA lights – I'm not objecting to that – though I don't personally have a formed opinion on this question either way.)

It interpreted this post as suggesting that participation was supererogatory. It's true that some ethical systems (like classical consequentialism) don't include supererogatory acts, but that seems like a flaw with those systems. Certainly when I typically tell someone they 'should' get a new credit card, or eat more spinach, I don't intend to imply this is mandatory. Nor does this suggestion seem that different from other requests we make of EAs - the additional risk to a healthy young person is probably a much smaller sacrifice than 10% of one's lifetime earnings!
Linch's Shortform

I think a better framing might be projects that Open Phil and other funders would be inclined to fund at ~$X (for some large X, not necessarily 100M), and have cost-effectiveness similar to their current last dollar in the relevant causes or better.

I think I disagree and would prefer Linch's original idea; there may be things that are much more cost-effective than OPP's current last dollar (to the point that they'd provide >>$100M of value for <<$100M to OPP), but which can't absorb $X (or which OPP wouldn't pay $X for, due to other reasons).

I think you can adjust my proposal for this: 1. Cost-effectiveness similar to or better than Open Phil's last dollar. 2. Impact similar or better than the last $100 million Open Phil spends. Maybe having a single number is preferable. Ben Todd recommended going for the project with the highest potential impact [] (with a budget constraint).
Linch's Shortform

Michael Dickens has already done a bunch of work on this

Can you link to this work?

Hmm most of his EAForum output [] looks like this. These posts may be especially important/salient: [] [] []
Who has done the most good?

Arguably yes. Early British abolitionists were clearly influenced by American abolitionists, and abolitionism in Britain (and to a lesser degree America) were major factors in the success of abolitionism in other countries. The big uncertainties here are: 1) how deterministic vs stochastic was the success of abolitionism, and 2) even if it was very stochastic/we got "lucky", how important was Lay in particular for tipping success over the edge.

The other thing I'll say about this is to read Will MacAskill's book on longtermism (What We Owe the Future) when ... (read more)

Good news on climate change

Some more good news: it looks like the US is going to be spending $555B over the next 10 years to combat climate change. Hopefully a decent chunk of this will be spent somewhat effectively.

3John G. Halstead7mo
Yes though I suppose it is still unclear whether they will get it through or not. China is going to spend a fortune on solar and nuclear over the next few decades, which is good.
Who has done the most good?

Benjamin Lay. Probably did more than anyone else to kick off the abolitionist movement. There's a not-too-crazy story under which if not for him, slavery might still be common throughout the world today. (And under the same world model, the further rights advances/moral circle expansion that followed abolitionism – e.g., women's rights, gay rights, animal rights, etc – likely wouldn't have occurred either.)

Was he causally responsible for British, etc, abolitionism and not just in America?

Btw I started reading his pamphlet against slavery, and I really appreciate this intro: 

Written for a General Service, by him that truly and sincerely desires the present and eternal Welfare and Happiness of all Man­kind, all the World over, of all Colours, and Nations, as his own Soul; BENJAMIN LAY.

An update in favor of trying to make tens of billions of dollars

I think the update is less about attempting to become a multi-billionaire vs direct work, and more about attempting to become a multi-billionaire over other E2G work.

Future Funding/Talent/Capacity Constraints Matter, Too

I think one large argument against what you're saying is that spending/direct work attracts more people to the movement (some of which will do E2G), and might even have a higher ROI just looking at the movement's financials than investing/E2G (this argument comes from Owen here).

Also, since there are so few people now in a position to do direct work, it seems like the value of a marginal person doing so is quite high, and much higher than the equivalent labor of the marginal person to do EA-funded work in the future once we've figured out how to scale up o... (read more)

I like Bostrom and Shulman's compromise proposal (below) – turn 99.99% of the reachable resources in the universe into hedonium, while leaving 0.01% for (post-)humanity to play with.

Thanks so much for linking this paper, looks like it already mentions everything I've mentioned in this post, and more.
Peter Wildeford's Shortform

Some people at FHI have had random conversations about this, but I don't think any serious work has been done to address the question.

What is the EU AI Act and why should you care about it?

"If/When the monitoring of transformative AI systems becomes necessary, the AI Act ensures that the European Union will have institutions with plenty of practice."

It's true that setting up institutions earlier allows for more practice, and I suspect the act is probably good on the whole, but it's also worth considering potential negative aspects of setting up institutions earlier. For example:

  • potential for more institutional sclerosis
  • institutional inertia may ~lock in features now, despite having a less clear-eyed view than we'll likely have in the future
AMA: Jeremiah Johnson, Director/Founder of the Neoliberal Project

"I often read that we should be wary of backlash in case anti immigrant parties get into power, but if that's stopping us pass immigration measures those parties are getting what they want anyway."

This assumes that the only negative aspect of anti-immigrant parties is their anti-immigrant stance. If they're also worse on other metrics as well, then the logic doesn't necessarily hold.

AMA: Jeremiah Johnson, Director/Founder of the Neoliberal Project

Hmm, I'm not sure if that's true. People really like animals, people find emerging technology/futurism interesting, and even some of the weirder ideas (eg., philosophy of mind, aliens) are captivating to people (at least when dumbed down somewhat). Contrast these ideas with wonky political ideas like monetary policy or open borders, and I'd guess that EA-issues come out ahead of neoliberal issues on interest. 

Yeah, but they might be shocked that we think of some of "the weirder ideas" as the most pressing. Most people think the economy, civil rights, climate change, etc. are the biggest issues.
Nathan Young's Shortform

Personal anecdote possibly relevant for 2): EA Global 2016 was my first EA event. Before going, I had lukewarm-ish feelings towards EA, due mostly to a combination of negative misconceptions and positive true-conceptions; I decided to go anyway somewhat on a whim, since it was right next to my hometown, and I noticed that Robin Hanson and Ed Boyden were speaking there (and I liked their academic work). The event was a huge positive update for me towards the movement, and I quickly became involved – and now I do direct EA work.

I'm not sure that a different ... (read more)

World Climate Legionnaires

"War seems to be the only endeavor Americans feel good about"
As an American, I found this statement to be unnecessarily hostile. I know you're being hyperbolic, but I think the forum would be better if it didn't have language like this.

Has anyone found an effective way to scrub indoor CO2?

Also the cost of sound, and possibly outside pollution (though that can be addressed with HEPA filters & ozone filters)

2018-2019 Long-Term Future Fund Grantees: How did they do?

"There is a part of me which finds the outcome (a 30 to 40% success rate) intuitively disappointing"

Not only do I somewhat disagree with this conclusion, but I don't think this is the right way to frame it. If we discard the "Very little information" group, then there's basically a three-way tie between "surprisingly successful", "unsurprisingly successful", and "surprisingly unsuccessful". If a similar amount of grants are surprisingly successful and surprisingly unsuccessful, the main takeaway to me is good calibration about how successful funded grants are likely to be.

Kardashev for Kindness

"I definitely don't think that a world without suffering would necessarily be a state of hedonic neutral, or result in meaninglessness"

Right, it wouldn't necessary be natural – my point was your definition of Type III allowed for a neutral world, not that it required it. I think it makes more sense for the highest classification to be specifically for a very positive world, as opposed to something that could be anywhere from neutral to very positive.

Event-driven mission correlated investing and the 2020 US election

If you expect your donation to be ~10x more valuable if one political party is in power, then it probably makes more sense to just hold* your money until they are in power. I suppose the exception here would be if you don't expect the opportunity to come up again (eg., if it's about a specific politician being president, or one party having a supermajority), but I don't see a Biden presidency as presenting such a unique opportunity.


*presumably actually as an investment

Thank you jackva. Great points on this specific example.

In general, suppose we didn't think this was a special moment. Then essentially this means we think 'investing to give' also presents a good opportunity. If 'investing to give' is also 10x CCF under Trump, then indeed you would want to just wait and either give under Biden or invest to give. But if 'investing to give' is only 5x CCF, then we're in the scenario I discussed under 'More general context'. So, fair point, I have added a sentence to the main post to explicitly rule out 'investing to give' b... (read more)

We have two things going on here beyond just partisan switch (discussed in more detail in the report) that do make this a special moment unlikely to re-occur.

(1) Elevated importance: The importance of the 2020 election for climate policy was much elevated because of COVID-related stimulus spending, the difference between Trump-Biden is much starker than the difference Trump-Clinton was in 2016 because of the much enlarged policy opportunity.

(2) Carbon lock-in: the leverage that US climate policy has  is declining sharply as its main benefits in terms ... (read more)

Kardashev for Kindness

So I like this idea, but I think the exclusively suffering-focused viewpoint is misguided. In particular:
"In a Type III Wisdom civilization, nothing and no one has to experience suffering at all, whether human, non-human animal, or sentient AI"

^this would be achieved if we had a "society" entirely of sentient AI that were always at hedonic neutral. Such lives would involve experiencing zero sense of joy, wonder, meaning, friendship, love, etc – just totally apathetic sensory of the outside world and meaningless pursuit of activity. It's hard to imagine thi... (read more)

1Mary Stowers1y
I would agree that pleasure is important too, but I think I'd place a higher disvalue on suffering than I place value on pleasure. I definitely don't think that a world without suffering would necessarily be a state of hedonic neutral, or result in meaninglessness. However, I would also be one to bite the bullet and say that a Melba toast world with general pleasantness but no true joy or wonder would be preferable to a world with widespread extreme suffering (at least on the scale it exists on today) if that was necessary. I'd also say the ideal version of a Type 3 wouldn't have had to, since I would agree that pleasure doesn't depend on suffering to exist. I think the strongest drawback would be the one mentioned in the comment below: the risk of forgetting suffering too soon. Empathy isn't our strong point when it comes to that sort of thing. Thanks for the response!
A Viral License for AI Safety

I'm not sure how well the analogy holds. With GPL, for-profit companies would lose their profits. With the AI Safety analog, they'd be able to keep 100% of their profits, so long as they followed XYZ safety protocols (which would be pushing them towards goals they want anyway – none of the major tech companies wants to cause human extinction).

I think you're right, see my reply to Ivan.
Linch's Shortform

So framing this in the inverse way – if you have a windfall of time from "life" getting in the way less, you spend that time mostly on the most important work, instead of things like extra meetings. This seems good. Perhaps it would be good to spend less of your time on things like meetings and more on things like research, but (I'd guess) this is true whether or not "life" is getting in the way more.

This is a really good point, I like the reframing.
Thoughts on being overqualified for EA positions

It seems like one solution would be to pay people more. I feel like some in EA are against this because they worry high pay will attract people who are just in it for the money - this is an argument for perhaps paying people ~20% less than they'd get in the private sector, not ~80% less (which seems to be what some EA positions pay relative to the skills they'd want for the hire).

5Ozzie Gooen1y
Agreed. Also, there are a lot of ways we could pay for prestige; like with branding and marketing, that could make things nicer for new employees.
Case studies of self-governance to reduce technology risk

Thank you for this post, I thought it was valuable. I'd just like to flag that regarding your recommendation, "we could do more to connect “near-term” issues like data privacy and algorithmic bias with “long-term” concerns" - I think this is good if done in the right way, but can also be bad if done in the wrong way. More specifically, insofar as near-term and long-term concerns are similar (eg., lack of transparency in deep learning means that we can't tell if parole systems today are using proxies we don't want, and plausibly could mean that we won't kno... (read more)

peterbarnett's Shortform

Humans seem like (plausible) utility monsters compared to ants, and  many religious people have a conception of god that would make Him a utility monster ("maybe you don't like prayer and following all these rules, but you can't even conceive of the - 'joy' doesn't even do it justice - how much grander it is to god if we follow these rules than even the best experiences in our whole lives!"). Anti-utility monster sentiments seem to largely be coming from a place where someone imagines a human that's pretty happy by human standards, and thinks the words "orders of magnitude happier than what any human feels", and then they notice their intuition doesn't track the words "orders of magnitude".

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