4019Joined Oct 2018


Policy and International Relations Primer


If Climate Villains were unlikely to counterfactually receive any representation, then the case for representing them might be stronger. But in reality, these are some of the best capitalized and politically powerful actors on the planet. They don't need our help, and will be able to find good lawyers regardless.


I actually think there is a good market based moral case for each individual to not represent them, especially if this becomes a widespread issue. This is because even if there is a pro tanto duty to ensure they are represented, there is no duty to ensure they are represented cheaply. If few lawyers are willing to defend them, the price for this will increase and they will be less inclined to pursue actions that will increase the likelihood of lawsuits. Second, the quantity and quality of lawyers they and other bad actors can hire will eventually decline, or at least the price will rise significantly, making it less likely that they can successfully pursue typical corporate tactics like overwhelming the other party with near-spurious claims and appealing indefinitely. 

You're asking people to trade-off public credit/recognition with the possibility of anonymous cash prizes.

No, we're fostering a norm that taking credit is not always the best way to be effective, and rewarding people, often not anonymously, for abiding by that norm. It would be great if there are people in the EA community who wouldn't have considered this question, but because they see the prize they decide to consider it, or decide to actually give up credit and be more impactful.

Superlinear is structured so that donors can top up the prize amounts, and I am hopeful that if this prize is found to be helpful and/or valuable, that will occur.

Yes, that is the total funding currently available.

It's a footnote in WWOTF, Chapter 2, number 22.

You're still stridently assuming that the judges will fail to use their best judgement, or that you think they  are too dumb to realize that obvious failure modes are bad...

Per my other comment, it seems there isn't anyone to "confront us," or at least, no one  who obviously can authorize this, which makes objections seem unlikely and unreasonable.

Hi Ryan,

Having now done some research, I really don't think this is a thing to worry about. The Truman presidential library is run by the National Archives and Records Administration, without the involvement of the family, or a foundation (unlike those of  living and recently deceased presidents.) There is a Truman Foundation, but it does not operate as part of his estate, and seems to have no connection to the family. There seems to be no estate which even could give permission to use the name. I don't think anyone has the impression that Truman's family or estate authorized this, and as above, from my research, they couldn't now have done so, as there is no-one authorized to do it. Overall, it seems like it's really not a problem. 

And the ACM rules are for living and recently deceased individuals, not historical figures - and while I could see an argument that people who died a half century ago might still be a problem, I don't think it holds water.

Agreed, this definitely should have been clearer.

I think that you're assuming the judges will give awards to bad / damaging actions. Obviously, the context will matter, and given who the judges are, I expect that they will be first, not interested in giving out a prize for bad things, and second, cognizant of the potential reputational and other issues which might be involved in giving out a prize.

And regarding "is it for you to judge?" I think the answer is yes - community leaders, including those who are judges for the prizes, are absolutely the people who would be making decisions about the types of things that the community should recognize and honor, in consultation with others who might be needed in order to investigate or determine what is reasonable. Hence the structure of the prize.

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