Emanuele_Ascani

Emanuele is an Italian undergraduate Computer Science student who would like to have an impact in the world. When he came to know the Effective Altruism movement in 2016 he was immediately captured. He currently has a strong interest in aging research but he is still uncertain about his future.

Comments

I'm Linch Zhang, an amateur COVID-19 forecaster and generalist EA. AMA

How much time do you spend on forecasting, including researching the topics?

Influencing pivotal Individuals

Also 80k Hours, which is all about multiplying the impact of their effort by influencing the direction of other people's careers.

How bad is coronavirus really?

I will only write a comment and not an answer because I think other people will probably give better answers. The thinking probably includes that 1) the world was unprepared, therefore even if there is a massive effort going on, cheap opportunities to do good might arise. 2) This situation might somewhat change the equilibriums between cause-areas and within EA, also changing how the world responds to risk, which may influence what is neglected and what is not, for example. Here a good post by Peter Hurford.

About the lockdown: I find it difficult to evaluate the short term effects, but thinking about the very long term effects is also probably interesting. On the one hand, under the longtermist view, slowing down technological progress has enormous negative consequences for the far future if the slope of progress continues to be positive. On the other, a lockdown means that the world will take pandemic preparedness more seriously, which in turn diminishes the probability of existential risk, which should lead to a greater positive impact... so, maybe the answer should be "enough lockdown for this situation to improve our chances to face greater threats"? I recognize this is not exactly what you asked though.

Reducing long-term risks from malevolent actors

This is one of the best posts I've read here, wow.

One of the main things that concern me is that malevolent people could appropriate the concept of malevolence itself and start a witch hunt for people who have nothing to do with malevolence. This was passingly mentioned when acknowledging that political leaders could brand their opponents as malevolent. Overall I think this post makes a good job of outlining the pros and cons, but I just wanted to write this consideration in a comment because it has been somewhat prominent in my mind.

Why SENS makes sense

You are correct. I will also add a question about how much time he estimates will need to pass between one treatment and its repetition. This could be fairly calculable from the informations the scientific community already has (the rate of damage in the elderly). I will get back to you with another reply in case I come up with other questions in light of your comment and if I modify or add something to your questions.

Why SENS makes sense

Thanks Gavin, there are some great questions in here.

I'm only able to answer two of them pretty conclusively:

For instance, if we treat an 80 year olds telomere attrition, are we going to need to treat them again in the future? Are consecutive treatments going to need to occur at more regular intervals?

The answer is simply: absolutely, yes.

If you condense the most crucial questions I will add them in the interview, and we will see what Aubrey de Grey has to say.

Why SENS makes sense

Edited my comment slightly before yours appeared. Wanted to specify the reasons more but resolved to delete them since I was going to modify the post anyway. The rationale was that 7-KC, even if not a protein, is still an aggregate that overwhelms lysosomes and actively causes their dysfunction (loss of function of lysosomes and other degradation mechanisms being accounted for in the loss of proteostasis paragraphs in the Hallmarks).

Why SENS makes sense

Yep, seems like for some reason I, err... aggregated extracellular matrix stiffening and extracellular aggregates together. Mistake corrected.

Effects of anti-aging research on the long-term future

Thanks for this post, strongly upvoted. The amount of attention (and funding) aging research gets within EA is unbelievably low. That's why I wrote an entire series of posts on this cause-area. A couple of comments:

1) Remember: if a charity finances aging research, it has the effect of hastening it, not enabling it. Aging will be brought under medical control at some point, we are only able to influence when. This translates into the main impact factor of hastening the arrival of Longevity Escape Velocity.

2) Now look again at your bulleted list of "big" indirect effects, and remember that you can only hasten them, not enable them. To me, this consideration make the impact we can have on them seem no more than a rounding error if compared to the impact we can have due to LEV (each year you bring LEV closer by saves 36,500,000 lives of 1000QALYS. This is a conservative estimate I made here.)

Small correction: Aubrey de Grey only estimates a 50/50 chance of LEV within 17 years. This is also conditional on funding, because before the private money started to pour in five years ago, his estimate had been stuck for many years at 50/50 chance of LEV within 20-22 years.

Why SENS makes sense
SENS doesn't consider telomere attrition as a significant type of damage, and in fact, SENS advocates removing the ability of all cells to extend their telomeres as a strategy to prevent cancer.

I think SENS doesn't consider telomere attrition because the solution would be the same as the one for cell loss (and telomere attrition is a direct cause of cell loss). Also note that at SRF they consider the strategy against cancer less and less likely to be necessary (and I hope so, since it is the most far fetched and difficult).

Edit: categorization mistakes corrected :)

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