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My personal take is that Musk is fairly mysterious. Hence, I don't think there is sufficient evidence that he just says these things for personal gain? 
I don't mean this to defend him, to the contrary. It makes the world more uncertain that one the most powerful persons has such an insrutable personality. I think it would be worth foregoing Musk's upside potential for this world, if he were just more boring and predictable. 

How open are you to people with one leg in traditional academia and one leg in Seeds of Science?

PS: and just a general remark: this seems like such a valuable experiment. Big thanks for your courage! At the moment, it seems bewilderingly open-ended but I, as far as I can judge, it seems absolutely worth seeing what comes out of it.

Thanks for writing this up so nicely. The framing in terms of EA relevance is perfect.

Here's another question I have that would be relevant to EA. Do you think that currently the risks from Back Contamination and Forward Contamination receive too much attention (relative to other risks)? In other words: is there some inertia in the sense that once a novel catastrophic risk does get recognized as a serious issue, it then doesn't easily get out of people's minds & institutional processes again?

(The background for my question is this: I read quite a bit about space ethics and sustainability in recent months. At times, I was astonished to see how often back & forward contamination come up as one of the "big topics" in space ethics/sustainability discussions. According to my -- extremely unreliable -- intuition, I found it hard to see why planetary protection should be such a central topic given that space exploration comes with many other major risks & opportunities. This was just my vague, subjective impression...)   

Economics professor Reiner Eichenberger has looked into this: https://road.cc/content/news/cycling-live-blog-15-november-2022-297375#live-blog-item-39683

However, I would not recommend to trust his views. While he is insightful and interesting, he is also one of the most contrarian, provocation-loving people I know. Plus, these thoughts are published in a column for a small newspaper rather than an academic journal.  

If you ever find someone who has seriously looked into that question, I'd be interested to know.

The basic question makes sense, though: walking and cycling use energy, too - just like cars do. And if the energy used for walking comes from eating climate-harming food, there is a question to be asked about the climate-friendliness of walking.

Thanks, that is a word of wisdom. I'll have to practice this!

Here's one challenge to your (convincing!) post: One of the only ways I get anything done in life is by promising it to someone and then being held accountable. What I achieve depends on what I promise -- there are no independently "realistic deadlines" for me. However, I usually don't achieve it by the date I promise. If I promise it by February, I get it done by March. But it wouldn't help if I promised it by March. In that case, I would just achieve it by April. 

While I'm exaggerating a bit to make my point clear, the upshot is that even though I agree with your reasoning, I'm still not sure I should underpromise --- because it would just mean I achieve less? Overpromising is one of my only ways of making me move forward.

Thanks very much!

Two questions: 

(1) I have had to introduce cognitive biases to people myself and was wondering what reasons to give for the the precise selection of biases I present. As far as these 10 biases are concerned: Is it just a judgement call to choose this specific list of biases --- as they kind of seem practically relevant and much discussed? Or is there a more systematic reason for choosing these 10 or any other list?

(2) Yudkowsky's list is from 2008. Much has happened since. It would be nice if there were kind of a running update on which cognitive biases have moved up / down over time in terms of being supported by the evidence.


Among the many things I've tried, this has been one of the most useful.

PS: Among the other many things I've tried, one I would not give up is "Sabbath rest" (and I don't move it to some other day of the week depending on circumstances -- it's just a strict rule of no work from dawn-to-dawn or midnight-to-midnight on Sunday). One side effect of this is that it 'gives me permission' to occasionally 'overdo' work during the week since a minimal and basic amount of rest is guaranteed, come what may.

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