Great point about ventilation. I am not aware of any evidence that hand sanitisation in particular is merely 'safety theater'. Surface transmission may not be the major method of viral spread, but it still is a method, and hand sanitisation is a very simple intervention. Also, to emphasise something I mentioned in the post, masks are definitely not 'safety theater'. It is good to see that the revised COVID protocol now mentions that mask use will be encouraged and widely available.
I don't understand how Australia's travel policy is relevant. I'm not asking for anything particularly unusual or onerous, I just would expect that a community of effective altruists would follow WHO guidelines regarding methods to reduce the spread of COVID. I honestly don't understand the negative reaction.
Thanks Amy, I think these clarifications significantly improve the policy. I disagree on the decision not to mandate masks but I understand there will be differences in views there. However mentioning that they are encouraged may be just as effective at ensuring widespread use. That was part of my original concern, that I did not feel this aspect of norm-setting was as evident in the original version of the policy.
It doesn't seem to me this has much relevance to EA.
In addition to what Aaron said, I’d guess Scott is responsible for probably 10% of EA recruiting over the last few years.
I'll add some context to clarify to readers why this could be seen as relevant:
Scott Alexander has done a huge amount of writing about effective altruism, including the following posts that many would regard as "classic" (or at least I do):
His most recent reader survey found that 13% of his readers self-identified as being "effective altruists" (this is f
We deliberately only included information which is based on some specific empirical evidence, not simply advice or recommendations. Of course readers of the review may wish to incorporate additional information or assumptions in deciding how they will run their groups then of course they are welcome to do so.
If you have any particular sources or documents outlining what has been effective in London I'd love to see them!
Hi everyone, thanks for your comments. I'm not much for debating in comments, but if you would like to discuss anything further with me or have any questions, please feel free to send me a message.
I just wanted to make one clarification that I feel didn't come across strongly in the original post. Namely, I don't think its a bad thing that EA is an ideology. I do personally disagree with some commonly believed assumptions or methodological preferences etc, but the fact that EA itself is an ideology I think is a good thing, because it gives ... (read more)
People who aren't "cool with utilitarianism / statistics / etc" already largely self-select out of EA. I think my post articulates some of the reasons why this is the case.
Thanks for the comment!
I agree that the probabilities matter, but then it comes to a question of how these are assessed and weighed against each other. On this basis, I don't think it has been established that AGI safety research has strong claims to higher overall EV than other such potential mugging causes.
Regarding the Dutch book issue, I don't really agree with the argument that 'we may as well go with' EV because it avoids these cases. Many people would argue that the limitations of the EV approach, such as having to give a precis... (read more)
I give some reasons here why I think that such work won't be very effective, namely that I don't see how one can achieve sufficient understanding to control a technology without also attaining sufficient understanding to build that technology. Of course that isn't a decisive argument so there's room for disagreement here.
Thanks for the link about the Fermi paradox. Obviously I could not hope to address all arguments about this issue in my critique here. All I meant to establish is that Bostrom's argument does rely on particular views about the resolution of that paradox.
You say 'it is tautologically true that agents are motivated against changing their final goals, this is just not possible to dispute'. Respectfully I just don't agree. It all hinges on what is meant by 'motivation' and 'final goal'. You also say " it jus... (read more)
Hi rohinmshah, I agree that our current methods for building an AI do involve maximising particular functions and have nothing to do with common sense. The problem with extrapolating this to AGI is 1) these sorts of techniques have been applied for decades and have never achieved anything close to human level AI (of course that's not proof it never can but I am quite skeptical, and Bostrom doesn't really make the case that such techniques will be likely to lead to human level AI), and 2) as I argue in part 2 of my critique, other parts of Bostrom's argument rely upon much broader conceptions of intelligence that would entail the AI having common sense.
Thanks for these links, this is very useful material!
Hi Denkenberger, thanks for engaging!
Bostrom mentions this scenario in his book, and although I didn't discuss it directly I do believe I address the key issues here in my piece above. In particular, the amount of protein one can receive in the mail in a few days is small, and in order to achieve its goals of world domination an AI would need large quantities of such materials in order to produce the weapons or technology or other infrastructure needed to compete with world governments and militaries. If the AI chose to produce the protein itself, whi... (read more)
Thanks for your thoughts. Regarding spreading my argument across 5 posts, I did this in part because I thought connected sequences of posts were encouraged?
Regarding the single quantity issue, I don't think it is a red herring, because if there are multiple distinct quantities then the original argument for self-sustaining rapid growth becomes significantly weaker (see my responses to Flodorner and Lukas for more on this).
You say "Might the same thing be true of AI -- that a few factors really do allow for drastic improvements in problem-solving... (read more)
Thanks for your thoughts.
Regarding your first point, I agree that the situation you posit is a possibility, but it isn't something Bostrom talks about (and remember I only focused on what he argued, not other possible expansions of the argument). Also, when we consider the possibility of numerous distinct cognitive abilities it is just as possible that there could be complex interactions which inhibit the growth of particular abilities. There could easily be dozens of separate abilities and the full matrix of interactions becomes very complex. The or... (read more)
Thanks for your thoughts!
1) The idea I'm getting at is that an exponential-type argument of self-improvement ability being proportional to current intelligence doesn't really work if there are multiple distinct and separate cognitive abilities, because ability to improve ability X might not be in any clear way related to the current level of X. For example, ability to design a better chess-playing program might not be in any way related to chess playing ability, or object recognition performance might not be related to ability to improve this per... (read more)