1296 karmaJoined May 2020Working (6-15 years)London, UK


Private equity investor (E2G)

Co-Treasurer @ EA UK

Trustee @ EA for Christians

Trustee @ ICM UK

Director @ EA Good Governance Project



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· 1y ago · 1m read


Topic contributions

Thanks for sharing. It’s a start, but it’s certainly not a proven Theory of Change. For example, Tetlock himself said that nebulous long-term forecasts are hard to do because there’s no feedback loop. Hence, a prediction market on an existential risk will be inherently flawed.

Preventing catastrophic risks, improving global health and improving animal welfare are goals in themselves. At best, forecasting is a meta topic that supports other goals

Thanks for sharing, but nobody on that thread seems to be able to explain it! Most people there, like here, seem very sceptical

You might be right but just to add a datapoint: I was featured in an article in 2016. I don’t regret it but I was careful about (1) the journalist and (2) what I said on the record.


I think forecasting is attractive to many people in EA like myself because EA skews towards curious people from STEM backgrounds who like games. However, I’m yet to see a robust case for it being an effective use of charitable funds (if there is, please point me to it). I’m worried we are not being objective enough and trying to find the facts that support the conclusion rather than the other way round.

Insolvency happens on an entity by entity level. I don’t know which FTX entity gave money to EA orgs (if anyone knows, please say), and whether it went first via the founders personally. I would have thought it’s possible that FTX full repays its creditors, so there is value in the shares, but then FTX’s investors go after the founders personally and they are declared bankrupt.

I’m hugely in favour of principles first as I think it builds a more healthy community. However, my concern is that if you try too hard to be cause neutral, you end up artificially constrained. For example, Global Heath and Wellbeing is often a good introduction point to the concept of effectiveness. Then once people are focused on maximisation, it’s easier to introduce Animal Welfare and X-Risk.

When you are a start-up non-profit, it can be hard to find competent people outside your social circle, which is why I created the EA Good Governance Project to make life easier for people.

I think it's important:

  1. To put in place good practices (e.g. board meeting without the CEO regularly) BEFORE they are needed.
  2. For FUNDERS to ask questions about effective governance and bear responsibility when they get it wrong.

My two cents:

  • Most governments heavily subsidise R&D (which is equivalent to a deliberate negative externality), often through tax credits
  • The patent system allows companies to extract abnormal profits for 20 years and incentivise a race (even if somebody independently develops the technology, they can’t use it if somebody else has patented it). This system is a deliberate inefficient market
  • Corporate R&D tends to be much more short-term and customer-focused. If you come from an academic background, you will be shocked by what is counted as R&D. For example, if you ask a consumer products company about innovation, they will talk about things that really aren’t humanity advancing (e.g. adding another blade to a razor, changing the shape of a chocolate bar to make it smaller without the consumer noticing)
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