Zoe Williams

1227 karmaJoined Working (6-15 years)Christchurch, New Zealand


Weekly Forum Summaries


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Thanks, this is great feedback to hear, even if things are closing shop for a while.

Thanks! And good call, sorry for missing that one - added it into the post :-)

Looks like YouGov had the same concern and ran a second poll where they split respondents into three groups for that question (one with no framing, one with the support framing from the post above, and one with a support + oppose framing):

The simple / no context framing ("Would you support or oppose a six-month pause on some kinds of AI development?") got the lowest support, but still pretty high at 58%.

Post summary (feel free to suggest edits!):
Argues that statements by large language models that seem to report their internal life (eg. ‘I feel scared because I don’t know what to do’), isn't straightforward evidence either for or against the sentience of that model. As an analogy, parrots are probably sentient and very likely feel pain. But when they say ‘I feel pain’, that doesn’t mean they are in pain.

It might be possible to train systems to more accurately report if they are sentient, via removing any other incentives for saying conscious-sounding things, and training them to report their own mental states. However, this could advance dangerous capabilities like situational awareness, and training on self-reflection might also be what ends up making a system sentient.

(This will appear in this week's forum summary. If you'd like to see more summaries of top EA and LW forum posts, check out the Weekly Summaries series.)

Interesting question, thanks for adding this! I don't have any background in animal welfare research or the plant/cell based meat area beyond reading & chatting with people, but popped some thoughts below regardless:

My leaning would be that having both is better than just one, to provide increased choice and options to move away from traditional meats. I'm not sure I buy the fourth point - while there will be some competition between plant-based and cell-based meat, they also both compete with the currently much larger traditional meat market, and I think there are some consumers who would eat plant-based but not cell-based and vice versa. Not only taste, look, feel, and cost are relevant but also the optics and cultural connotations of each, which are quite different.

In terms of proportion of promotion efforts to each, I'm really not sure. A strategy there should probably look at how developed each tech is (so more plant-based meat promotion earlier on), uptake rates and effect of promotion (and if there's a ceiling hit where we struggle to get further uptake in a population, suggesting a new option is needed for those remaining), populations promoted to and their unique concerns / likelihood to uptake one or the other, and any tipping points or opposition that needs to be countered in a timely way for something to remain viable in a location or to get past legislative hurdles.

(Also sorry for the late reply! I was on vacation last week)

Post summary (feel free to suggest edits!):
In November 2022, Open Philanthropy (OP) announced a soft pause on new longtermist funding commitments, while they re-evaluated their bar for funding. This is now lifted and a new bar set.

The process for setting the new bar was:

  1. Rank past grants by both OP and now-defunct FTX-associated funders, and divide these into tiers.
  2. Under the assumption of 30-50% of OP’s funding going to longtermist causes, estimate the annual spending needed to exhaust these funds in 20-50 years.
  3. Play around with what grants would have made the cut at different budget levels, and using a heavy dose of intuition come to an all-things-considered new bar.

They landed on funding everything that was ‘tier 4’ or above, and some ‘tier 5’ under certain conditions (eg. low time cost to evaluate, potentially stopping funding in future). In practice this means ~55% of OP longtermist grants over the past 18 months would have been funded under the new bar.

(This will appear in this week's forum summary. If you'd like to see more summaries of top EA and LW forum posts, check out the Weekly Summaries series.)

Summary of this post (feel free to suggest edits!):
Pax Fauna recently completed an 18-month study on messaging around accelerating away from animal farming in the US. The study involved literature reviews, interviews with meat eaters, and focus groups and online surveys to test messaging.

They found that most advocacy focuses on the animal, human health, and environmental harms of animal farming. However the biggest barrier to action for many people tended to be “futility” - the feeling that their actions didn’t matter, because even if they changed, the world wouldn’t.

Based on this, they suggest reframing messaging to focus on how we as a society / species are always evolving and progressive forwards, and that evolving beyond animal farming is something we can do, should do, and already are doing. They also suggest refocusing strategy around this - eg. focusing on advocacy for pro-animal policies, as opposed to asking consumers to make individual changes to their food choices.

(This will appear in this week's forum summary. If you'd like to see more summaries of top EA and LW forum posts, check out the Weekly Summaries series.)

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