All of gavintaylor's Comments + Replies

Ideal governance (for companies, countries and more)

Empirical research (probably qualitative): Are there systematic reviews of unusual governance structures tried out by companies, and what the results have been? Of smaller-scale experiments at co-ops, group houses and lunch tables?

Check out the Community Rules governance toolkit. It's intended for communities (which probably leans towards the small side of the governance spectrum) and describes eight governance frameworks with three brief case studies of practioners, ranging from  Ancient Athens to the Facebook Oversight Board,  that have used ea... (read more)

The Future Fund’s Project Ideas Competition

Yeah, I haven't looked into this much but I think goal would be getting as much soot as possible before it spread out across the whole stratosphere. For instance, dumping coagulant into the rising smoke plume so that it got carried up with the smoke could be a good option if one can respond while a city fire is still burning, as the coagulant is then going to get mixed in with most of the soot. IIRC from Robock's paper it also takes a while (weeks/months) for the soot to completely spread out and self-loft into the upper stratosphere, so that gives more ti... (read more)

The Future Fund’s Project Ideas Competition

Infrastructure to support independent researchers

Epistemic Institutions, Empowering Exceptional People  

The EA and Longtermist communities appear to contain a relatively large proportion of independent researchers compared to traditional academia. While working independently can provide the freedom to address impactful topics by liberating researchers from the perversive incentives, bureaucracy, and other constraints imposed on academics, the lack of institutional support can impose other difficulties that range from routine (e.g. difficulties ac... (read more)

The Future Fund’s Project Ideas Competition

Refinement of project idea #8, Pathogen sterilization technology

Add: ‘We’d also be interested in the development of therapeutic techniques that could treat infections using these (e.g. relying on physical principles) or similar approaches.’

The Future Fund’s Project Ideas Competition

Stratospheric cleaning to mitigate nuclear winters

Recovery from Catastrophes

Proposals to recover from a nuclear winter have primarily focused on providing alternative means of food production until agriculture recovers. A complementary strategy would be to develop technologies to remove stratospheric soot, which could reduce the duration and severity of the nuclear winter if used soon after nuclear strikes while smoke remains concentrated above a relatively small geographic area. Stratospheric cleaning could also prove useful in the event of supervolcano e... (read more)

You may be interested in this. I considered some pretty speculative things to prevent or mollify a supervolcanic eruption, but the volume of the stratosphere is so enormous that I think cleaning it would be very challenging.

2Jakob3mo
A potential complementary strategy to this one, could be research into putting out large-scale wildfires (though I'm not sure about the feasibility of this - are anyone aware of existing research on this?)
As an independent researcher, what are the biggest bottlenecks (if any) to your motivation, productivity, or impact?

I actually reflected on what points were holding me back as independent research quite recently.

A major point seems to be a lack of research oversight. This isn't so much about accountability for getting things done, more to have somebody thinking objectively and providing a detached perspective on which ways to address open-ended problems and when to change directions, etc. This kind of management isn't necessarily well done in academic research (at least in my experience) but I have recently found that Jason Schukraft's management style has been helpful ... (read more)

As an independent researcher, what are the biggest bottlenecks (if any) to your motivation, productivity, or impact?

Seconded,  independence offers freedom but creates many difficulties to work around as well. 
That said, I never received any structured institutional support for proofing, editing, graphic design etc when working in academia although some of these tasks were supported by co-authors or supervisors. 

2Davidmanheim3mo
Yeah, academia often sucks at this for students. Professors more often have staff in the department or for the school as a whole, or there is a center which does that stuff, or have grants which they can use. (And other organizations often have a much better setup.)
As an independent researcher, what are the biggest bottlenecks (if any) to your motivation, productivity, or impact?

Coincidentally the day after seeing this response I realized the replacement battery in my 2012 macbook pro was swollen and I had to replace it with the original (long dead) one. I probably should stop putting off getting a new laptop... 

Long-Term Future Fund: Ask Us Anything!

If it is possible to just get a check as an individual, I imagine that that's the best option.

 

One other benefit of a virtual research institute is that they can act as formal employers for independent researchers, which may be desirable for things like receiving healthcare coverage or welfare benefits.

 

Thanks for mentioning Theiss, I didn't know of them before. Their website doesn't look so active now, but it's good to know about the  history of the independent research scene.

2Steven Byrnes1y
Theiss was very much active as of December 2020. They've just been recruiting so successfully through word-of-mouth that they haven't gotten around to updating the website. I don't think healthcare and taxes undermine what I said, at least not for me personally. For healthcare, individuals can buy health insurance too. For taxes, self-employed people need to pay self-employment tax, but employees and employers both have to pay payroll tax which adds up to a similar amount, and then you lose the QBI deduction (this is all USA-specific), so I think you come out behind even before you account for institutional overhead, and certainly after. Or at least that's what I found when I ran the numbers for me personally. It may be dependent on income bracket or country so I don't want to over-generalize... That's all assuming that the goal is to minimize the amount of grant money you're asking for, while holding fixed after-tax take-home pay. If your goal is to minimize hassle, for example, and you can just apply for a bit more money to compensate, then by all means join an institution, and avoid the hassle of having to research health care plans and self-employment tax deductions and so on. I could be wrong or misunderstanding things, to be clear. I recently tried to figure this out for my own project but might have messed up, and as I mentioned, different income brackets and regions may differ. Happy to talk more. :-)
AMA: Jason Crawford, The Roots of Progress

Thanks for the perspective, this is interesting and a useful update for me.

[Help please/Updated] Best EA use of $250,000AUD/$190,000 USD for metascience?

I'm glad to see interest in directing money to support impactful metascience projects - my intuition is that work on metascience could make a substantial contribution to advancing several EA cause areas, although I don't think enough work has been done yet on developing an EA perspective to confidently indicate specific aspects worth pursuing. Still, in parallel to trying to conduct impactful scientific research myself, I've grown interested in open science and metascience over the last couple of years and am on the board of the Institute for Globally Dist... (read more)

[Help please/Updated] Best EA use of $250,000AUD/$190,000 USD for metascience?

I joined a few sessions at the AIMOS (Association for Interdisciplinary Metascience and Open Science) conference a few weeks ago. It was great and I wrote up some notes about the talks I caught here. That said, beyond hosting their annual conference, I'm not really sure what other plans AIMOS has. If it's of interest I can put the OP in touch with the incoming 2021 president (Jason Chin from USyd Law School) to talk further.

Otherwise, many of the speakers were from Australia and you might find other ideas for local donation recipients on the AIMOS program.... (read more)

2AspiringPhilanthropist1y
Gavin, all your comments have been very helpful and I am following up many of them. It would probably be useful to me to at least send Jason an email as he may have an opinion, so putting me in touch with him would be very helpful, thank you.
The Intellectual and Moral Decline in Academic Research

I think they could help with some things. But as  I wrote here, I am not sure if it would be appropriate to only fund academic research through lotteries. 

Long-Term Future Fund: Ask Us Anything!

I received my LTF grant while living in Brazil (I forwarded the details of the Brazilian tax lawyer I consulted to CEA staff). However, I built up my grantee expectations while doing research in Australia and Sweden, and was happy they were also valid in Brazil. 
My intuition is that most countries that allow either PhD students or postdocs to receive tax-free income for doing research at universities will probably also allow CEA grants to individuals to be declared in a tax-free manner, at least if the grant is for a research project.

2Jonas Vollmer1y
Makes sense, thanks!
Long-Term Future Fund: Ask Us Anything!

Several comments have mentioned that CEA provides good infrastructure for making tax-deductible grants to individuals and also that the LTF  often does, and is well suited to, make grants to individual researchers. Would it make sense for either the LTF or CEA to develop some further guidelines about the practicalities of receiving and administering grants for individuals (or even non-charitable organisations) that are not familiar with this sort of income, to help funds get used effectively?
 
As a motivating example, when I recently received an L... (read more)

4Jonas Vollmer1y
Thanks for the input, we'll take this into account. We do provide tax advice for the US and UK, but we've also looked into expanding this. Edit: If you don't mind, could you let me know which jurisdiction was relevant to you at the time?
Long-Term Future Fund: Ask Us Anything!

Just to add a comment with regards to sustainable funding for independent researchers. There haven't previously been many options available for this, however, there are a growing number of virtual research institutes through which affiliated researchers can apply to academic funding agencies. The virtual institute can then administer the grant for a researcher (usually for much lower overheads than a traditional institution), while they effectively still do independent work. The Ronin Institute administers funding from US granters, and I am a Board member ... (read more)

3Linda Linsefors1y
What do you mean by "There haven't previously been many options available"? What is stopping you from just giving people money? Why do you need an institute as middle hand?
AMA: Jason Crawford, The Roots of Progress

It seems like most progress to date has come from research in the natural/formal/applied sciences leading to technological advances (or correct me if I'm wrong?). Do you expect that trend to continue, or could you see a case for research in the social sciences/humanities (that lead to social advances) making a more prominent contribution to future progress?

I think advances in science leading to technology is only the proximal cause of progress. I think the deeper causes are, in fact, philosophical (including epistemic, moral, and political causes). The Scientific Revolution, the shift from monarchy to republics, the development of free markets and enterprise, the growth of capitalism—all of these are social/political causes that underlie scientific, technological, industrial, and economic progress.

More generally, I think that progress in technology, science, and government are tightly intertwined in history ... (read more)

Long-Term Future Fund: Ask Us Anything!

Are there any areas covered by the fund's scope where you'd like to receive more applications?

I’d overall like to see more work that has a solid longtermist justification but isn't as close to existing longtermist work. It seems like the LTFF might be well-placed to encourage this, since we provide funding outside of established orgs. This round, we received many applications from people who weren’t very engaged with the existing longtermist community. While these didn’t end up meeting our bar, some of the projects were fairly novel and good enough to make me excited about funding people like this in general.

There are also lots of particular less-e... (read more)

These are very much a personal take, I'm not sure if others on the fund would agree.

  1. Buying extra time for people already doing great work. A lot of high-impact careers pay pretty badly: many academic roles (especially outside the US), some non-profit and think-tank work, etc. There's certainly diminishing returns to money, and I don't want the long-termist community to engage in zero-sum consumption of Veblen goods. But there's also plenty of things that are solid investments in your productivity, like having a comfortable home office, a modern computer

... (read more)
AMA: Jason Crawford, The Roots of Progress

Many areas of science currently appear to have reproducibility problems with published research (some call it a crisis). Do you think that poor reproducibility of recent (approx. the last 30 years) scientific work has been a significant contributor to the current stagnation?

On the margin, do you think that funding is better spent on improving reproducibility (or more generally, the areas covered by Metascience) or on pursuing promising scientific research directly?

2jasoncrawford1y
I don't have strong opinions on the reproducibility issues. My guess is that if it has contributed to stagnation it's been more of a symptom than a cause. As for where to spend funding, I also don't have a strong answer. My feeling is that reproducibility isn't really stopping anything, it's a tax/friction/overhead at worst? So I would tend to favor a promising science project over a reproducibility project. On the other hand, metascience feels important, and more neglected than science itself.
Lotteries for everything?

I'm generally in favour of experimenting with different granting models and am glad to hear that funders are starting to experiment with random allocation. However, I'd be a little bit cautious about moving to a system based solely on random grant assignment. Depending on the actual grant success rate per round (currently often <20%), it seems likely that one would get awarded grants quite infrequently, which would interrupt the continuity of research. For instance, if somebody gets a random grant and makes an interesting discovery, it seems silly ... (read more)

2FJehn1y
Its true that this is probably most suited to a funding scheme aimed at early researchers due to the limitations mentioned by you. However, I might think that the grant success might go up if you use a model were you sort out all bad research first, because your 20 % is probably relate to the overall number of applications. Or maybe you could give people more tickets in the lottery if they have proven they can produce good research. However, this might introduce new biases. In addition, it might still be a good approach for intermediate researchers because the overall time for the whole grant process gets reduced dramatically if you can cut out most of the peer review, which might lead to more calls for research proposals. Concerning the Nature article and the modified lottery system: I read conflicting opinions on this. While the Nature article states that very good research can be identified easily, there are also others that state that researchers can only reliably identify bad research, but have a hard time to sort good research in any reproducible way.
Learnings about literature review strategy from research practice sessions

This article on doing systematic reviews well might also be of interest if you want to refine your process to make a publishable review. It's written by environmental researchers, but I think the ideas should be fairly general (i.e. they mention Cochrane for medical reviews).

I'd also recommend having a loot at Iris.ai. It is a bit similar to ConnectedPapers but works off a concept map (I think) rather than than a citation map, so it can discover semantic linkages between your paper of interest and others that aren't directly connected through reference lin... (read more)

2alexlintz2y
Iris.ai sounds potentially useful, I'll definitely check it out! So far we've done some things on inspectional note-taking, finding the logical argument structure of articles, and breaking down questions into subquestions. I'm not too sure what the next big thing will be though. Some other ideas have been to practice finding flaws in articles (but it takes a bit too long for a 2hr session and is too field specific), abstract writing, making figures, and picking the right research question. I haven't been spending too much time on this recently though so the ideas for actually implementing these aren't top of mind
What has EA Brazil been up to?

Hey Fernando, wrt to your very final point.

Networking with Brazilian researchers conducting EA related research, specially x-risks and institutional decision-making improvement (we have already done some work on mapping them)

I recalled that Luis Mota and I briefly spoke about this at the EAGxV some months ago. We discussed a few points around avenues for academic EA work in Brazil and thought the following could be promising:
* Governance of AI and biotechnology. Brazil is doing a bit of research on both (more so on bio), and is likely to be a regional hub ... (read more)

Research Summary: The Intensity of Valenced Experience across Species

There are practical limitations about the resolution with which neurons can increase resolution (noise would be limiting factor, maybe other considerations). A common 'design scheme' that gets around this is range fractionation: If the receptors are endowed with distinct transfer functions in such a way that the points of highest sensitivity are scattered along the axis of the quality being measured, the precision of the sense organ as a whole can be increased.
This example of mechanosensory neural encoding in hawkmoths is a good example of range fractionat... (read more)

Working together to examine why BAME populations in developed countries are severely affected by COVID-19

A new update on this project - it has now grown into the Ethnicity and COVID-19 Research Consortium (ECRC). They have started to publish some work, which is available here, and Michelle and her colleagues are still looking for BAME people who have been affected to participate in their study here

The consortia will also be presenting some initial results of their work in an online mini-conference on November 27th (7PM GMT). Please register here to attend.

It seems like this issue is now receiving more attention as well, as the Biden-Harris COVID-19 res... (read more)

Nuclear war is unlikely to cause human extinction

many people assumed that this was the scientific consensus. Unfortunately, this misrepresented the scientific community’s state of uncertainty about the risks of nuclear war. There have only ever been a small numbers of papers published about this topic (<15 probably), mostly from one group of researchers, despite the topic being one of existential importance.

...
We’re finally beginning to see some healthy debate about some of these questions in the scientific literature. Alan Robock’s group published a paper in 2007 that found significant cooling effect

... (read more)
1Jeffrey Ladish1y
Strong agree!
1Remmelt2y
Interesting! Let me watch it
7Linch2y
Wow, reading this was actually surprisingly helpful for some other things I'm going through. Thanks for the link!
Lumpyproletariat's Shortform

There is a collection of pages about the 'Kickstarter for coordinated action' idea on LessWrong.

A friend of mine started Free our knowledge, which is intended to encourage collective action from academics to support open science initiatives (open access publishing, pre-registrations, etc.). The only enforcement is deanonymizing the pledge signatories after the threshold is reached (which hasn't happened yet).

Preprint: Open Science Saves Lives: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic

I recently attended the UNESCO Open Talks Webinar “Open Science for Building Resilience in the Face of COVID-19”, which touched on many of the ideas from the pre-print above. The webinar recording is available on YouTube, and I've also written up a short summary which can be accessed here. The WHO representative made it clear that they were in favour of Open Science and that it has assisted them in their work.

More generally, I think that Open Science is relevant to EAs from two perspectives. Firstly, it has the potential to reduce prob... (read more)

Some thoughts on the effectiveness of the Fraunhofer Society

I regard Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) as having been quite successful. From Wikipedia:

Notable developments by CSIRO have included the invention of atomic absorption spectroscopy, essential components of Wi-Fi technology, development of the first commercially successful polymer banknote, the invention of the insect repellent in Aerogard and the introduction of a series of biological controls into Australia, such as the introduction of myxomatosis and rabbit calicivirus for the control of rabbit popul
... (read more)
Some thoughts on the effectiveness of the Fraunhofer Society

It would be an interesting case study on organisational effectiveness to compare the Fraunhofer Society to the Max Planck Society. Although they focus on different stages of research (applied innovation vs. basic science) they both German non-profit research organizations and relatively similar in size (quick google on MPS gives around 24 thousand staff and $2.1 billion budget for 2018). Yet MPS is a world-renowned research organization and its researchers have been awarded numerous Nobel prizes. I'm not sure if MPS has specific goals, but nonetheless... (read more)

2Hans Waschke-Wischedag2y
A comparison to the Max Planck Society in regards to effectiveness would be very interesting indeed. Especially since the Max Planck Society is almost fully funded through unrestricted basic funding.
Evaluating Life Extension Advocacy Foundation

Nice write up. I've referenced the Rejuvenation Road Map on LEAF's site several times, but never really knew much about the organisation itself.

Two extra points that I think would be interesting to ask about in the general questions on the landscape section:

-LEAF seems like they have a very good overview of the organisations already in ageing research (i.e. they raise funds for 9 others orgs). Is there any space in open space in the landscape that they would be excited about a new organisation being started to address?

-Do they view ageing resear... (read more)

The Intellectual and Moral Decline in Academic Research

Good question. I did a quick google and came across Lisa Bero who seems to have done a huge amount of work on research integrity. From this popular article, it sounds like corporate funding is often problematic for the research process.

The article links to several systematic reviews her group has done, and the article 'Industry sponsorship and research outcome' does conclude that corporate funding leads to a bias in the published results:

Authors' conclusions: Sponsorship of drug and device studies by the manufacturing company leads to more
... (read more)
gavintaylor's Shortform

I was recently reading the book Subvert! by Daniel Cleather (a colleague) and thought that this quote from Karl Popper and the author's preceding description of Popper's position sounded very similar to EAs method of cause prioritisation and theory of change in the world. (Although I believe Popper is writing in the context of fighting against threats to democracy rather than threats to well-being, humanity, etc.) I haven't read The Open Society and Its Enemies (or any of Popper's books for that matter), but I'm now quite intereste... (read more)

The Cost Of Wasted Motion

I think this post is a good counterpoint to common adages like 'don't sweat the small stuff' or 'direction over speed' that often come up in relation to career and productivity advice.


At the risk of making a very tenuous connection, this reminded me of an animal navigation strategy for moving towards a goal which has an unstable orientation (i.e. the animal is not able to reliably face towards the goal) - progress can still be made if it moves faster when facing towards the goal than away from it. (I don't think this is a ver... (read more)

Working together to examine why BAME populations in developed countries are severely affected by COVID-19

Michelle's study is now searching for participants. If you are a Black, Asian from a minority ethnic group or a person of colour and interested in sharing your lived experience of COVID-19, contact her at: michelle.king-okoye@igdore.org

See more details here.

Does Critical Flicker-Fusion Frequency Track the Subjective Experience of Time?

Nice article Jason. I should start by saying that as a (mostly former) visual neuroscientist, I think that you've done quite a good job summarizing the science available in this series of posts, but particularly in these last two posts about time. I have a few comments that I'd like to add.


Before artificial light sources, there weren't a lot of blinking lights in nature. So although visual processing speed is often measured as CFF, most animals didn't really evolve to see flickering lights. In fact, I recall that my PhD supervisor Srini... (read more)

Does Critical Flicker-Fusion Frequency Track the Subjective Experience of Time?
I'd be interested in knowing if other senses (sound, especially) are processed faster at the same time. It could be that for a reaching movement, our attention is focused primarily visually, and we only process vision faster.

I agree that this would be an interesting experiment. If selective attention is involved then I think it is also possible that other senses would be processed slower. Unfortunately, my impression is that comparatively limited work has been done on multi-sensory processing in human psychology.

What coronavirus policy failures are you worried about?

Articles like this make me think there is some basis to this concern:

Coronavirus: Russia calls international concern over vaccine 'groundless'

On Wednesday, Germany's health minister expressed concern that it had not been properly tested.

"It can be dangerous to start vaccinating millions... of people too early because it could pretty much kill the acceptance of vaccination if it goes wrong," Jens Spahn told local media.

"Based on everything we know... this has not been sufficiently tested," he added. "It's not about being first somehow - it's about having a safe vaccine."
A New X-Risk Factor: Brain-Computer Interfaces

This seems like a thorough consideration of the interaction of BCIs with the risk of totalitarianism. I was also prompted to think a bit about BCIs as a GCR risk factor recently and had started compiling some references, but I haven't yet refined my views as much as this.

One comment I have is that risk described here seems to rely not just on the development of any type of BCI but on a specific kind, namely, relatively cheap consumer BCIs that can nonetheless provide a high-fidelity bidirectional neural interface. It seems likely that this type of BCI... (read more)

Criteria for scientific choice I, II

The call for science to be done in service to society reminds me of Nicholas Maxwell's call to redirect academia to work towards wisdom rather than knowledge (see here and also here). I haven't read any of Maxwell's books on this, but it surprises me that there doesn't seem to be any interaction between him and EA philosophers at other UK institutes as Maxwell's research seems to be generally EA aligned (although limited to the broad-meta level).

Is there a subfield of economics devoted to "fragility vs resilience"?

Although not really a field, Nassim Taleb's book Antifragile springs to mind - I haven't read this myself but have seen it referenced in several discussion on economic fragility, so it might at least be a starting point to work with.

Prioritizing COVID-19 interventions & individual donations
We are seeking additional recommendations for charities that operate in Latin America and the Arabian Peninsula, particularly in the areas of direct aid (cash transfers) and strengthening health systems.

Doe direto was running a trial to give cash transfers to vulnerable families in Brazil. They seemed to have finished the trial now and I'm not sure if/when they will consider restarting it.

gavintaylor's Shortform

Thanks Michael, I had seen that but hadn't looked at the links. Some comments:

The cause report from OPP makes the distinction between molecular nanotechnology and atomically precise manufacturing. The 2008 survey seemed to be explicitly considering weaponised molecular nanotechnology as an extinction risk (I assume the nanotechnology accident was referring to molecular nanotechnology as well). While there seems to be agreement that molecular nanotechnology could be a direct path to GCR/extinction, OPP presents atomically precise manufacturing as bein... (read more)

3MichaelA2y
Update: Probably influenced a bit by this discussion, I've now made a tag for posts about Atomically Precise Manufacturing [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/tag/atomically-precise-manufacturing], as well as a link post (with commentary) [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/gjEbymta6w8yqNQnE/risks-from-atomically-precise-manufacturing] for that Open Phil report.
Some promising career ideas beyond 80,000 Hours' priority paths

Something that I think EAs may be undervaluing is scientific research done with the specific aim of identifying new technologies for mitigating global catastrophic or existential risks, particularly where these have interdisciplinary origins.


A good example of this is geoengineering (the merger of climate/environmental science and engineering) which has developed strategies that could allow for mitigating the effects of worst-case climate change scenarios. In contrast, the research being undertaken to mitigate worst-case pandemics seem to focus on develop... (read more)

2Ardenlk2y
Interesting! I think this might fall under global priorities research, which we have as a 'priority path' -- but it's not really talked about in our profile on that, and I agree it seems like it could be a good straetgy. I'll take a look at the priority path and consider adding something about it. Thanks!
Consider a wider range of jobs, paths and problems if you want to improve the long-term future

It could also be the case that the impact distribution of orgs is not flat yet we've only discovered a subset of the high impact ones so far (speculatively, some of the highest impact orgs may not even exist yet). So if the distribution of applicants is flatter then they are still likely to satisfy the needs of the known high impact orgs and others might end up finding or founding orgs that we later recognise to be high impact.

EA is risk-constrained

Sure, I agree that unvetted UBI for all EAs probably would not be a good use of resources. But I also think there are cases where an UBI-like scheme that funded people to do self directed work on high-risk projects could be a good alternative to providing grants to fund projects, particularly at the early-stage.

4Khorton2y
Yep, I'd be on board with providing specific people with funding to work on whatever projects they find most valuable. But I'd only be likely to provide that to ~10 people and see what happens, as opposed to what I felt this article was suggesting.
EA is risk-constrained

Asking people who specialise in working on early-stage and risky projects to take-care of themselves with runway may be a bit unreasonable. Even if a truly risky project (in the low-probability of a high-return sense) is well executed, we should still expect it to have an a priori success rate of 1 in 10 or lower. Assuming that it takes six months or so to test the feasibility of a project, then people would need save several years worth of runway if they wanted to be financially comfortable while continuing to pursue projects until one worked out (of cour... (read more)

2Khorton2y
Yes, to be clear, I'm arguing that we should have a robust funding ecosystem. I am opposed to "UBI for EAs"
EA is risk-constrained

At the moment I think there aren't obvious mechanisms to support independent early-stage and high-risk projects at the point where they aren't well defined and, more generally, to support independent projects that aren't intended to lead to careers.

As an example that address both points, one of the highest impact things that I'm considering working on currently is a research project that could either fail in ~3 months or, if successful, occupy several years of work to develop into a viable intervention (with several more failure points... (read more)

Civilization Re-Emerging After a Catastrophic Collapse

I haven't seen the talk yet, but tend to agree that industrial ideas and technology were probably exported very quickly after their development in Europe (and later the US), which probably displaced any later and independent industrial revolution.

I think it's also worth noting that the industrial revolution occurred after several centuries of European colonial expansion, during which material wealth was being sent back to Europe. For example, in the 300 hundred years before the industrial revolution, American colonies accounted for >80% of th... (read more)

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