Dawn Drescher

Cofounder @ GoodX
Working (6-15 years of experience)

Bio

Participation
3

I’m working on Impact Markets – markets to trade nonexcludable goods. (My profile.)

I have a conversation menu and a Calendly for you to pick from! 

If you’re also interested in less directly optimific things – such as climbing around and on top of boulders or amateurish musings on psychology – then you may enjoy some of the posts I don’t cross-post from my blog, Impartial Priorities.

Pronouns: Ideally they, but she and he are fine too. I also still go by Denis and Telofy in various venues.

How others can help me

GoodX needs: advisors, collaborators, and funding. The funding can be for our operation or for retro funding of other impactful projects on our impact markets.

How I can help others

I’m happy to do calls, give feedback, or go bouldering together, also virtually. You can book me on Calendly.

Please check out my Conversation Menu!

Sequences
2

Impact Markets
Researchers Answering Questions

Comments
459

Yeah, one could say that I’m a longtermist (though the term doesn’t fit well), and one key thing that caused that was gradual disillusionment with evidence-based anything over the course of a few years – because of the low-quality standard metrics of many fields, the low external validity of RCTs, the difficulty with running controlled experiments on anything that matters, complex cluelessness, the allure of highly leveraged foundational and policy interventions, etc.

EA for me is about doing the most good. RCTs and such were just a tool that seemed promising to me at the time.

I like evidence-based EA, but I’d also like to see some suggestions based on “feedback cycles.” I think the key thing that “neartermists” have that longtermists lack are informative feedback cycles.

Haha! I want to upvote because funny, but that would be unhelpful. xD

Yeah… I’d feel completely overwhelmed if I had to do the interpersonal crisis management that you have to do there on top of the normal preparations. There are people in the community who are good at community health–related crisis management though. Maybe someone (me?) could put together a rolodex of community health contractors who could help out in such situations, either paid by CEA or by the teams they are helping?

Maybe an upvote of a post could instead become an upvote of each (post, tag) tuple – e.g., (dDudLPHv7AgPLrzef, Building effective altruism), (dDudLPHv7AgPLrzef, Community), (dDudLPHv7AgPLrzef, Software engineering), (dDudLPHv7AgPLrzef, Public interest technology), etc. The final score of the post could then be calculated as (say) median of the quantiles of the scores of the (post, tag) tuples of the post.

This would make it hard for a post to reach any but a low quantile among Community-tagged posts but should make it easy for posts to reach a high quantile among niche posts.

It could introduce a bit of an incentive for people to mistag their posts with obscure tags and leave out common tags, but using the median should make this effect relatively mild. Plus anyone can add the common tags. One could also exclude tags with < 10 posts from the calculation, so some other suitable threshold.

I haven’t tested this, so it might not work at all!

I’d like to highlight this paragraph some more:

Both extremes are caricatures, but we are closer to the second. Contrast with the Survival and Flourishing Fund, which has a number of regrantors with pots which grow proportionally to their estimated success.

We’re all interested in mostly agent-neutral goals, so these should be much more aligned by default than agent-relative goals such as profit. That’s a huge advantage that we’re not using sufficiently (I think). Impact markets such as ours or that of the SFF make use of the alignment with regrantors and that between funders (through the S-Process). 

The upshot is that there are plenty of mechanism that promise to solve problems for funders while (almost as a side-effect) democratizing funding. 

With impact markets in particular we want to enable funders to find more funding opportunities and fund more projects that would otherwise be too small for them to review. On the flip side that means that a much more diverse set of fledgling projects gets funded. It’s a win-win.

Why would that happen? If the domain is different, Chrome wouldn’t fill in any information from another domain. For me it just redirects to a run-of-the-mill domain squatting type website on yet another domain. Could be that it checked some of my browser settings and decided that the risk was too high that I’m a security researcher, and so redirected to an innocuous website. I haven’t tried hard to fool it.

  1. Deprioritized projects that had to do with priorities research and group rationality because they seemed too slow and too indirectly relevant to AI.
  2. Prioritized my work on impact markets instead because it seems to me like the most direct way to contribute to AI safety.
  3. Emotional effects are minimal, probably because I’m more concerned about frailty, dementia, and poverty in old age than about dying. I’m scared of s-risks though. They’re probably less likely than extinction, but so much worse.
  4. I want to make sure to visit some cool climbing crags that I’ve always wanted to visit while I still can.
  5. Regrets over not selling more Solana when I could. Moore’s Law will need to continue for a bit for it to really shine compared to other blockchains. Five years may be enough for that. But five years seem longer now than they used to, relatively speaking.
  6. Mixed feelings about the recession. It’s scary personally, but it may give us 1–2 more years. 
  7. Stopped buying more NMN and all the other longevity stuff. I’m 34, so it’ll be decades before I notice the effects.

I’m mostly in the midst of the refi/regen cluster of the crypto community, so I’m constantly surrounded by all the good stuff that people try to do with crypto. I’m mostly thinking of the Funding the Commons conference series, projects by Protocol Labs, projects I’m a bit less familiar with like Ixo and Commons Stack, and the general cluster of things that Vitalik Buterin might get excited about. It’s all not as impact-focused as we are, but it’s good people.

I’ve been musing whether we could come up with something like “blockchain but without the money” to keep away the scammers. What’ll remain will probably not have a $1t market cap, but it’ll be web3 stripped down to its most valuable core elements. (Sadly, I have no idea, at this point, how “blockchain but without the money” would work.)

  1. ACX/SSC has a history of writings on coordination failures, to the point that it has established the metaphor of “Moloch” for collective prisoners’ dilemmas that are stuck in defect-defect equilibria. Smart contracts let you test out and rapidly iterate new coordination mechanisms. Maybe the field of mechanism design is cursed and there are no better coordination mechanisms to be found than the ones that we have. Maybe seemingly valuable mechanisms like Pol.is or quadratic voting or my impact markets will turn out to be flawed. But at the moment I’m optimistic that the EV of experimentation with new coordination mechanisms is high, and a lot of that is happening in various crypto communities.
  2. There’s probably also value in breaking up monopolies to foster innovation. A lot of this experimentation with coordination mechanisms and whatnot would work just fine without blockchains (e.g., Pol.is). But I trust PayPal and Stripe to not rug-pull me because they’re big and old; they wouldn’t have gotten big and old if they rug-pulled people. (And they don’t care about rug-pulling me specifically because they’re big and I’m small.) But it takes a lot of time to get big and old. If we want to foster quick experimentation with coordination mechanisms that require trust, we need a quicker way to establish trust – such as to put all the smart contracts on a public blockchain and have them audited. All sorts of things can still go wrong, but it’s a start, and it makes the trust advantage of big, old companies a bit less expensive to acquire.
  3. There is that exchange-like platform that I’m building. Building something like Kraken from scratch is difficult because the security is so tricky and important to get right (unless you’re callous about it). For a lot of standard use cases you can use Stripe or PayPal instead of building them from scratch, and you don’t need to think about the security. But for all the rest of use cases, you have no other choice than to code it yourself, get the licenses, hire the security experts, etc.… Unless there is a provably secure blockchain with audited software built on top of it that you can just use. (Cardano is the Motte here but I can make do with the level of security that Ethereum or Solana provide.) Defi will probably be somewhat more mature by the time of the next crypto summer and will make it a lot more efficient to implement secure coordination mechanisms. You can still make mistakes when you start writing your own smart contracts (though there is audited template code and the SPL for a lot of stuff), but it’s less code, so fewer mistakes.

Those are the side of crypto that I’m most exposed to. 

Preventing s-risks from AI, which can result from coordination failures, is the highest priority in my mind. So the general field of innovation of coordination mechanisms seems plausibly extremely valuable to me, at a high level. (Plausibly even more valuable than enabling people to conduct financial transactions without having to fight with the corrupt or inefficient systems in their countries.)

Whether all the concrete stuff that is being trailed in the various crypto communities is at all relevant to s-risks in the end is difficult to answer. But I’m only trying to defend the thesis here that all the innovation that is happening in the blockchain space is highly valuable, not that it can compete with (s-risk-focused) AI safety. It’s much too unfocused for that, and I don’t yet know the particular blockchain projects that might be more focused.

That said, I don’t know whether I agree with your conclusion. Usually people go like “Here’s a cool solution for incentivizing carbon capture,” and the response is, “Crypto is a scam. Blocking you.” But just now I saw an EA tweet something and someone replied, “EA is a scam. Blocking you.” That’s a new one to me. So I’m afraid the public perception of crypto might be infecting EA. I feel a lot more protective of EA than of crypto, so I kind of want to shield it. Then again that goes dangerously far in the direction of doing things because of their “optics,” which is also cringe.

One solution could be to just wait a few more years to allow defi solutions to mature to the point where the usability rivals cefi. Maybe then we’ll be able to draw on all the blockchain innovation and collaborate with companies in the space without looking distinctively cryptoesque while doing so. The best typeface is the one that the reader doesn’t notice, so I hope defi will be like Linux Libertine soon.

Or put differently: Using an acoustic coupler in a phone booth to post on the usenet might’ve come off as a distinctly nerdy thing to do. So if you don’t want to appear nerdy, that’d be something to avoid. But commenting on TikTok today is much less distinctively nerdy. So maybe we can have our EA cake and eat it too once defi becomes more like TikTok.

You can publish an impact certificate for some article that CLR owns (think copyright) on app.impactmarkets.io and hope for investments. Maybe you’ll have a big donor again in the future who’ll profitably reward all of today’s supporters for pitching in when they couldn’t.

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