Project lead of LessWrong 2.0, often helping the EA Forum with various issues with the forum. If something is broken on the site, it's a good chance it's my fault (Sorry!).

Wiki Contributions


DeepMind: Generally capable agents emerge from open-ended play

You probably want the link at the top of this post to go directly to the Deepmind paper page, instead of the LessWrong redirect-URL for the link. I.e. the current link is:


When it probably should be:


EA Infrastructure Fund: Ask us anything!

I would also be in favor of the LTFF doing this.

Linch's Shortform

after accounting for meta-EA effects

I feel like the meta effects are likely to exaggerate the differences, not reduce them? Surprised about the line of reasoning here.

What are some examples of successful social change?

Well, no. Whether that change was actually good, by its own lights, is the whole point. Change that looks big but doesn't actually help is not something that you should meaningfully count as a success. Magnitude of effect is not in itself good. I have no interest in emulating social movements that cause big effects in the world, in ways that don't actually help, or maybe even actively harm, my goals. I don't see at all why I should classify something that just had a big effect, without that effect actually being useful, as a "success". 

This is a really important distinction because in my model of the world it is much much easier to have some big effect on the world, than it is to have a specifically targeted big effect on the world. So measuring social movements by just "the size of their effect" is almost purely sampling from movements that took a path of lowest resistance of just doing things that are big, which is a path that doesn't seem like it generalizes at all to helping with things that we care about.

You can now apply to EA Funds anytime! (LTFF & EAIF only)

Yeah, I think we've done that a few times, but not confident. Would have to look over a bunch of records to be confident.

What are some examples of successful social change?


Prohibition in the United States

My sense is overall the goals of the prohibition movement became harder to achieve after it took off, and it overall reinforced the role of alcohol in society, and made future efforts to reduce alcohol consumption harder. Again, not obviously harmful for its own goals, but also not obviously a success.

What are some examples of successful social change?


The modern environmental movement

It seems pretty plausible that due to opposition to nuclear power and polarization and politicization of the whole space, the environmental movement has been overall harmful to the goals of that movement. 

I think it's a somewhat hard call to make, and don't think it's obvious whether the environmental movement was harmful by its own lights or not, but I definitely wouldn't count it as an obvious success.

You can now apply to EA Funds anytime! (LTFF & EAIF only)

Counterfactually, if grad school is 5-10x the risk of independent research, it seems like you should be 5-10x as hesitant to fund grad students compared to independent researchers.

I don't think that's an accurate estimate of the relevant risk. I don't think risk goes up linearly with time. Many people quit their PhDs when they aren't a good fit.

Well when the LTFF funds graduate students who aren't even directly focused on improving the long-term future, just to help them advance their careers, I think that sends a strong signal that the LTFF thinks grad school should be the default path.

I mean, I don't think there is currently a great "default path" for doing work on the long-term future. I feel like we've said some things to that effect. I think grad school is a fine choice for some people, but I think we are funding many fewer people for grad school than we are funding them for independent research (there are some people who we are funding for an independent research project during grad school, but that really isn't the same as funding someone for grad school), but would have to make a detailed count to be totally confident of this. Pretty confident this is true for my grant votes/recommendations. 

Load More