All of Hauke Hillebrandt's Comments + Replies

Demandingness and Time/Money Tradeoffs are Orthogonal

Yes you're right, some people have very high costs, like people who care for others or also people with health issues. As a matter of public policy I think we should incentivize people to have more children, and also again, maybe EA orgs should give good perks packages (including care benefits, health and disability insurance).

But pricing all of this in, I still maintain that in most cases the pay should be slightly under market-rate (recall that I said this should be progressive, where the 'EA pay cut' gets larger as salary increases... I don't have stron... (read more)

Demandingness and Time/Money Tradeoffs are Orthogonal

From the source: "maximum pay band of almost £265,000 (at DIT)."

Oh I see, it really is DIT!

I would point out that the "maximum pay band" likely represents the Permanent Secretary, of which there is one. The context was about unequal pay amongst DIT executives. So "pays people £265k" is probably not accurate.

Maybe you think I'm being a bit pedantic (and I probably am) but I feel like the way it's drafted right now suggests civil servants routinely get paid a lot more than they actually do. Even at the executive level, managing budgets of billions of pounds, very few senior civil servants get paid more than £200k - it's ... (read more)

Demandingness and Time/Money Tradeoffs are Orthogonal

Great question - prompted me to think more about this problem. 

I maintain that the most elegant solution might be for EA orgs to pay slightly below market-rate (with a progressive element). But I’m quite uncertain about this and I'd love for people to think more about optimal compensation at EA orgs.

Some more thoughts on this:

  • I very much agree with the central argument made here that we should not have EAs live with a poverty mindset and sweat the small stuff. I think it’s a very big problem that creates a lot of lost utility. I also think a behaviora
... (read more)
1Bluefalcon12d
People spend large sums of their own money, plus a year or two of their own time working for free, to get elected to Congress. It seems the job is desirable enough on its own terms that a salary increase isn't going to make a difference. Similarly for ambassadorships, which are the only type of appointed job where you're routinely allowed to do this. It seems to me the inherent desirability of the jobs is high enough that more salary is not going to attract better people.

I agree with most of this, but one point on

Also, if employees forgo just some luxury goods and conspicuous consumption in their social reference class (not saying one should never go on holidays or to restaurants), one could afford everything that would make one instrumentally more effective.

This is probably true for people without children, but not necessarily when you're talking about extended hours of good-quality childcare. And once you have children, the costs of leisure like holidays and restaurants also increases.

6Khorton14d
I think you're talking about the Department for Transport, who has a few staff members at that level, mostly engineers overseeing major infrastructure projects.
Decreasing populism and improving democracy, evidence-based policy, and rationality

Just looked at the paper, my prior was that I made a mistake... but I think the paper does actually argue that compulsory voting causes populism and voluntary voting reduces populism - the double negation makes it hard to interpret. See:

"Highlights
• The abolition of compulsory voting in the Netherlands provides a unique quasi-experiment.

• The persistence of compulsory voting in Belgium also provides a most similar control case.

• Analyses of these data reveal voluntary voting benefits Dutch social democratic parties.

"We use a quasi-experimental framework to... (read more)

Demandingness and Time/Money Tradeoffs are Orthogonal

current artificially low salaries in EA often lead to people making inefficient time/money tradeoffs.

 

I agree that this is common, so I agree with your central point, which is important.

But I'm not sure I like your suggestions to move towards other demanding costly signals, like encouraging workaholism.

Rather, a better solution, which seems to be the norm in the not-for-profit world, might be to simply pay slightly, but non-trivially, below market rates, so if someone could earn $500/h in the private sector for similarly pleasant work, EA orgs could j... (read more)

Are you proposing to bite the bullet on the $100/hr card charge scenario by the $50/hr staffer (paid "$47.5/hr plus perks" at the EA org)?

"Market rate" of $50/hr for labor netting $500/hr of value seems well within the distribution I'd expect (not to mention that EA orgs might value that work even more than any org in industry ever will, perhaps because we're counting the consumer surplus and un-capturable externalities and the industry employer won't).

How should people spend money to be more productive?

Agreed, Cold Turkey might be the most effective software to be more productive.

Should you do an economics PhD (or master's)?
  1. Generally, when it comes to PhDs I always tell people that a major consideration is choosing between a UK/EU 3-year PhD and a US 5-year degree. A 3-year PhD, especially in economics, might make more sense if one is uncertain about going into academia.
  2. In retrospect, I personally found a major benefit of doing a PhD was that it was a good way for me to catch-up to more high-achieving peers' who went better schools / universities because I felt a bit behind after my three year undergraduate degree in a non-quantitative subject.
  3. There's a new paper out showing
... (read more)
5david_reinstein1mo
Caveat to your first point: 3 years/5 years is probably understated I think the UK "3 year degree" presumes one comes in with a strong masters's degree (which are rare in the UK unless they are an MRes, which is 2 years IIRC. And they often last a bit longer than 3 years anyways, with extensions. In the US five years would be on the quick side. If you come in with a strong masters degree and a clear idea of your research, and you are fully funded (so not a lot of teaching or RA work) you could do it in 5 or even 4.5. But I guess the median is more like 5.5-6 years. It took me 7 (but I came in without a master's, I switched topics and advisors, I had funding issues and took a break to do some part time consulting).
HaukeHillebrandt's Shortform

How can we encourage people to include a 75 word Tl;dr: in every post? 75 words seems to be what is visible in the preview pane when hovering over the title of a post. 

Perhaps after hitting submit, people could be prompted if they wanted to add a Tl;dr to the top of the post.

2NunoSempere1mo
I thought this was a good idea. I have submitted this as a issue here: https://github.com/ForumMagnum/ForumMagnum/issues/4825
1Dave Cortright1mo
Would be cool if we could deploy a really great ML summarization tool to use on posts to make this sort of thing automatic.
  1. give the writer +2 karma if they fill a 75w "TL;DR" section in the post;
  2. Have a section "TL;DR-ed posts" in the front page
  3. Start a new convention by writing a comment "great post, thanks, it'd be even better if you had a TL;DR, what d'you think?" after each post you see (if you do that, I'll  promptly follow)
Critique of OpenPhil's macroeconomic policy advocacy

I really like this policy and also the earned income tax credit, and we can talk about different policies like the stimulus checks as well, which I don't necessarily oppose. I also agree that they can help during elections. However, the point I'm making is not about what to spend on, nor the overall size of spending over time, but about timing... spending too much at once- be it on right wing issue (military, corporate tax cuts) or left wing (welfare, education, health) ... I don't have strong opinions on what the US should spend more on... maybe they shou... (read more)

Critique of OpenPhil's macroeconomic policy advocacy

if dems will probably lose anyway does it really matter if they lose more because of inflation?

Good question. R. supermajority would be bad indeed. Also if you model this as Dems definitely losing, then it's indeed bad, but the Dems do have a chance to win, and so you can also model this as inflation decreases the likelihood that Dems will stay in power - then every lost seat counts. 

though it's often ideal to introduce changes gradually, they kind of have to cram through a bunch of short-term spending or else nothing gets done

I get that, but the stim... (read more)

8Peter Gebauer1mo
I think if Dems had done more spending to keep stuff like keep the Expanded Child Tax Credit going and maintained their huge advantage among parents/recipients then maybe they would have a chance, but their 12-point lead among this group evaporated [https://www.businessinsider.com/child-tax-credit-expansion-democrats-republicans-biden-manchin-poll-2022-4] as soon as they allowed the monthly support to expire. When you say spread out, what exactly do you mean? Do you mean something akin to four stimulus checks of $350 every three months instead of one check for $1400? Or that they should have been smaller - say $700 - even if more people would have lost their homes? Or both smaller and spread out? Oh, I didn't mean to suggest that stopping climate change is the best way to reduce biorisk; I meant that the value of stopping climate change is even higher because it also contributes to additional cause areas. And I just don't see anything stopping us from strongly funding pandemic prevention/biorisk reduction and minimizing damage from climate change by aiming for 1.5C or less heating. That post reminds me of some research suggesting that narrow piecemeal reforms tended to be more successful in US State Ballot Initiatives that people directly vote on, compared to more comprehensive Ballot Initiatives. Thus multiple narrow initiatives over the years could add up to more change over time than fewer big ones, though there are still challenges because sometimes it's very difficult to change things one part at a time. Hmm I just think of growing research on how poverty wipes out the potential of people much of the time and it seems like a pretty serious problem for innovation. Even if one ignored the moral side, it's a drain on IQ and fosters scarcity mindsets with poorer decisions [https://academic.oup.com/jae/article/30/3/207/6015888].
Critique of OpenPhil's macroeconomic policy advocacy

the incumbent party almost always loses seats

 

This is correct and a well-known effect. I cite evidence suggesting that inflation will have an effect on Democrats losing election over and above this effect.[62],[63] 

https://www.mischiefsoffaction.com/post/2022-midterm-forecast

Wasn't the 2008 stimulus too small, which ended up prolonging the recession recovery time? It seems like Democrats were trying to avoid making the same mistake twice

Yes, but it can both be true that the overall impact of OpenPhil’s macroeconomic stabilization program might be... (read more)

8Peter Gebauer1mo
Hey thanks for your response. I guess then I'm wondering "if dems will probably lose anyway does it really matter if they lose more because of inflation?" Which I suppose if it leads to Republican supermajorities then it would be significantly worse than the "populist" blowout in 2010 and 2014 by the Tea Party and others taking hundreds of seats in local, state, and federal elections. It also seems like even though it's often ideal to introduce changes gradually, they kind of have to cram through a bunch of short-term spending or else nothing gets done or things that get planned have a high chance of repeal. The Affordable Care Act only held on by a single vote, for example, and became more popular over time as people saw the benefits like better protecting friends and family with preexisting conditions. I would consider sustainability to include climate change as well as other problems like overfishing. We are currently on track for 2.7C of heating [https://phys.org/news/2021-09-world-catastrophic-path-27c-chief.html] which is still pretty terrible especially for many island peoples, though very unlikely to reach worse extinction level scenarios people were more concerned about a few years ago. And the latest 2022 IPCC [https://www.ipcc.ch/2022/04/04/ipcc-ar6-wgiii-pressrelease/] report is calling for "immediate and steep reductions in emissions across all sectors to limit warming to 1.5C" which don't seem to be happening or close to happening. Maybe we'll keep getting lucky with renewable and other innovations outpacing expectations but we're already seeing irreversible damage. Sure, I agree we should also be putting a lot more resources into pandemic prevention/biorisk, AI Safety, and peacebuilding as well. Though if I understand correctly, climate change does exacerbate all of them by releasing new pathogens and increasing the habitat of tropical diseases, creating food and water shortages that can lead to and inflame conflicts, and reducing resources to put
Where is the Social Justice in EA?

calming down

 

I thought this paper on the 'The Aptness of Anger ' was good pushback on that point.

I also thought this podcast on how racism can distract from bigger problems (like climate) was insightful on this point (related Op-ed).

Where is the Social Justice in EA?

If you're privileged in other ways, it's easier to get away with dropping out (or even use it as a countersignal). It's an intersectional issue.

1Guy Raveh1mo
Right. I'm also "literally a highschool dropout" and am studying for my master's.
A Practical Guide for Saving-to-Give

I'm not in the US but would love to see someone set up mission hedging pies.

Interpreting the Systemistas-Randomistas debate on development strategy

Thanks for writing this! 

Some (critical) comments for the sake of brevity mostly based on relevant related material from my Appendices to Growth and the case against randomistas (which you might be interested in):

It is not entirely clear from the literature what explains "the TFP blackbox"[6]

I think there is too much epistemic humility—throwing our hands up in the air— about what causes growth. For instance, many make fun of  cross-country growth regressions and believe them to be pointless, yet even Nobel prize winner Deaton actually does believ... (read more)

Critique of OpenPhil's macroeconomic policy advocacy

Thanks for the feedback- all taken in good spirit :) This is helpful as it helps me clarify.

I’ll try to explain a few assumptions implicit in the post and not assume very much macroeconomics knowledge, so sorry if the following is trivial or comes across as didactic, but maybe I’ve skipped a few steps / assumed too much knowledge. It’s quite a complex topic and it’s hard to wrap your head around and keep everything in mind as there are so many moving parts, this is why I kept things quite tight and terse. Ezra Klein also said a similar thing in a recent po... (read more)

Moral Anti-Realism: Introduction & Summary

Congrats on finishing such a long project! 

Meta commentary: eyeballing this sequence and just hovering over the reading time, this sequence has book length. Might be worth putting in more last mile effort and publish it elsewhere more formally. 

What readings should we include in a "sequence" on global health and development

Banerjee & Duflo 'Foreign affairs' article is pretty bad, and contains an interesting error, so maybe it should be removed:

"Between 2014 and 2016, a total of 582 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets were delivered globally. Of these, 75 percent were given out through mass distribution campaigns of free bed nets, saving tens of millions of lives."

They actually repeat this mistake in their recent book 'Good economics for hard times': 

"The magazine Nature concluded that insecticide-treated net distributions averted 450 million malaria deaths bet... (read more)

2Pablo2mo
Interestingly, I considered removing it after reading it and being unimpressed by it, but distrusted my judgment since (I think) I saw it recommended by a reputable social scientist. The error escaped my attention, though. I will remove it. Thanks.
Are some countries far more suitable for setting up a new nonprofit?

IIRC in some countries have very high tax deductibles for donations to the point where you essentially decide whether to pay taxes or donate. I always thought that was kind of a big deal, but haven't looked into much. If true, it seems like you could just convince some people to donate to you instead of paying taxes with very low opportunity costs. This would make fundraising very easy.

Critique of OpenPhil's macroeconomic policy advocacy

Excellent comment - thanks! Sorry I should have been more clear, I think current Republicans are very populist (Trumpist), which I define here and this is bad. I have tried to clarify my claims below. For the strongest claim the general lesson would indeed be trite, if you make bad policy that affects everyone badly, you won’t be reelected.

Concretely, in order of strength, I provide evidence for the following claims on the adverse effects of looser macroeconomic policy:

  1. Very strong claim: The first-order effects of too loose policy on the '21 margin were u
... (read more)
Critique of OpenPhil's macroeconomic policy advocacy

Thanks for engaging with this! I agree with all your points, but with some important qualifications.

Yes, in normal times, we can’t reduce inflation risks without risking losing any jobs and that there’s usually a trade-off. And so, as a rule, if we push for more dovish policy to lose fewer jobs, then we risk overshooting on inflation. Yes, there’s usually too-high inflation at one part of the cycle and too-high unemployment at another—it’s never optimal. But it depends on how ‘too-high’. We live in extraordinary times (even antebellum).

The US hasn’t had su... (read more)

1Peter Favaloro1mo
Thanks a ton for this clarification! Very helpful.
Critique of OpenPhil's macroeconomic policy advocacy

My vague sense is that you're right and that until 2021, the program was very good and beneficial and helped with a faster recovery. I commend OpenPhil for engaging with this and I agree that we should evaluate the impact of the whole program, I just don't have the capacity and means to do that. My vague sense is that the program would come out net positive on the whole, however, perhaps if there are large negative effects of current high inflation - like lots of populists getting elected and we can causally attribute this to high inflation-  then it ... (read more)

Critique of OpenPhil's macroeconomic policy advocacy

Sorry for being unclear—the main point was about that blind spots are excessively techno (not necessarily technocratic but  technophilanthropic), a la Autor's China Shock literature, where technocrats overemphasized 'gains from trade' (reform), which everyone benefits from because we have slightly lower consumer prices on average, but  the lowest income decile lost a lot and then you got populist backlash and Trump.

Analogously, OpenPhil and Econtwitter overemphasized 'we're irrationally afraid of higher inflation, unemployment is really bad', let... (read more)

Critique of OpenPhil's macroeconomic policy advocacy

I take your point. I agree that this is important,  that's why I engaged with this topic because it's quite a large lever. However, ultimately, I see the first order effects of the advocacy on the macroeconomy are perhaps not as important as the second order effects of making suboptimal grants on OpenPhil and the wider EA community (including reputational effects). This because the overall amount of grants in 2021 were perhaps relatively low and likely didn't cause contribute in a massive way to current inflation. Put simply, I'm not saying that OpenP... (read more)

Critique of OpenPhil's macroeconomic policy advocacy

Yes, I haven't analyzed the effectiveness of these grants in depth and indeed postulate that these grants are relatively effective given OpenPhil's track record in other areas and also their self-evaluation (they themselves say the grants are effective). But yes I do cite one paper that argues that 'Technopopulism and Central Banks' arguing that such advocacy is not very ineffective.

One thing I did come across during my research is an interaction on Twitter between Furman - Obama’s former economic advisor - and the CEO of EmployAmerica. Furman tweeted some... (read more)

4Charles He2mo
Thanks for this thoughtful reply with specific examples and knowledge. It’s clear that you know more than me and have deep thoughts. Just to be direct, I wanted to just list out and “punch through” a few further critiques on your post. In the process of doing this, this comment comes off as pretty negative, but this isn’t the goal. It just seems good to push through this. I found it easy to ungenerously interpret content in your post as rhetoric. For example, I don’t fully understand the top 3 or 4 subsections on inflation, which occupies a lot of your post. This may be a deep and principled examination of inflation, but it also seems to be simply enumerating the downsides of inflation. Yet, everyone agrees the recent, sudden and continuing unexpected inflation is a concern and wants to stop it. As mentioned in my comment above (and also below in this comment), I didn’t understand how the realized inflation was tied to Open Phil’s advocacy, which seems like the point of your post. Because of this and how it precedes the section on claiming the advocacy is bad, I found it easy to pattern match this inflation to something like rhetoric. This affected my perception or the aesthetics of the rest of your post. In a more direct way, I interpret the section in the end as containing rhetoric, “too little epistemic modesty”, “Technocratic blind spots”. I understand the point you are making, but someone who doesn’t agree that the case has been made, this weakens the post by giving an easy way to ascribe existing beliefs to the author (which may not be fair). COVID-19 seems like a “table flip” that needs to be addressed. I don’t think anyone really knows how inflation works or how to start or stop it perfectly. But I think we can agree the pandemic was a wild event and maybe there was wild economic action taken. This wild action alone could both cause inflation, or interact with any sort of advocacy that you are criticizing. This could completely swamp out the effects o
Critique of OpenPhil's macroeconomic policy advocacy

I also think it's prudent to assume that even hawkish central bankers are broadly impartial and welfarist (but maybe just place more emphasis on longterm growth). 

But I think maybe OpenPhil's general theory of change and reasoning is still plausibly correct for 2008-2020, and people systematically undervalued how bad unemployment was for wellbeing and were perhaps too worried about inflation for political reasons.

Critique of OpenPhil's macroeconomic policy advocacy

It's hard to say what's crucial from a longtermist point of view, or even from a cluelessness point of view. 

A few considerations that might be crucial here:

  1. High inflation might cause populism and political instability globally and this might be bad.
  2. Frontier growth in high-income countries is very important for global development. Countries with cutthroat capitalism like the US have more inequality but also provide more of the global public good of (technological) innovation which grows the world economy and countries (e.g. Scandinavian countries) wit
... (read more)
9Jack Malde2mo
Why have you categorised monetary policy as a neartermist intervention? Why not a longtermist? There's a very clear and direct impact on economic growth which will naturally see the vast majority of value/disvalue in the future. For me this puts monetary policy in the longtermist intervention camp. Other cause areas that focus on saving lives or reducing suffering in the short-term might naturally be seen to be neartermist cause areas because the link to economic growth / x-risk is very unclear. In this case a somewhat credible argument can be made that you can ignore future effects because you have no clear what they are (although some have pushed back against this view [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/LdZcit8zX89rofZf3/evidence-cluelessness-and-the-long-term-hilary-greaves] ). It seems to me however that judging an intervention that has a clear impact on economic growth based solely on very short-term effects is wholly inadequate. You're ignoring too much in doing so!
Critique of OpenPhil's macroeconomic policy advocacy

High inflation is bad for two reasons: (1) real wages decline, especially among the poor, (2) inflation causes populism, which may cause Democrats to lose the 2022 midterm elections.

It's quite nuanced. There are real wage declines on average, but some poor people might have seen small real wage increases, others  might have seen real wage losses. For instance, older people's wages seem stickier according to the wage tracker here. OpenPhil's grantee EmployAmerica has an interesting analysis of the various factors, and one could perhaps reasonably disag... (read more)

Critique of OpenPhil's macroeconomic policy advocacy

The most recent source for this i Jason Furman on Twitter  in March: 

"Average hourly earnings have been declining for more than a year as inflation has outpaced nominal wage gains. This is larger than any 12-month pre-pandemic decline since 1980*. VERY serious composition issues affecting the exact trajectory so PLEASE read next tweets too. 

The first article you cite is only till October '21 and 6 months can make a difference. I also agree with the claim of the second article you cite "Inflation is high, but wage gains for low-income workers... (read more)

Critique of OpenPhil's macroeconomic policy advocacy

Try to fund groups which will pivot on their advocacy faster

Yes, I agree that there are drawbacks to funding 'single issue'-ish lobbying groups that can't pivot. For instance, if your org's name is 'EmployAmerica'  (which is OpenPhil-funded) and then you see even Krugman saying yesterday that the 'job market is running unsustainably hot. Cooling that market off will probably require accepting an uptick in the unemployment rate' then it's hard to pivot and argue against employment... so they started using awkward language last week:

"we are now at emplo

... (read more)
8cflexman2mo
Single issue lobbying group called "2%", perhaps. Or 5% if NGDP.
Valuing research works by eliciting comparisons from EA researchers

I think this has a lot of potential- excellent work!

Some suggestions / questions / comments for discussion:

  1. Could one shorten the procedure by something like the final version perfected i.e. assuming that things are transitive?
  2. Could one have people rate pairs several times  to tap into the 'crowd within'?
  3. Could one restrict people's option space, e.g. just orders of magnitude options, 2x, 5x, 10x, 100x, 1000x, 10000x?
  4. Also reminded me of this piece on 'Putting Logarithmic-Quality Scales On Time'... I wonder whether this tool could help with project prior
... (read more)
4Gavin2mo
Wonderful comment. But on #6, isn't it simple?: The wiki stub has 100k times fewer readers than Superintelligence (and even less influence-weighted [https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/495759307346952192] readers), it bears on an issue >1k times less important, it contains 1k fewer novel points... 11 OOMs, easy.
2[comment deleted]2mo
Stefan_Schubert's Shortform

I've written about that in the context of climate change:

"Increasing public clean energy R&D does not necessarily require strong multilateralism or harmonized national policies. This makes it very tractable politically and uniquely positioned in the space of all climate policies as a decentralized approach.

And even small countries can contribute. Take Estonia. They have the second largest per capita CO₂ footprint in the EU and by far the most carbon-intensive economy among the OECD countr... (read more)

My current thoughts on the risks from SETI

What do you think of the Dark Forest theory?

4Matthew_Barnett2mo
I don't find the scenario plausible. I think the grabby aliens model (cited in the post) provides a strong reason to doubt that there will be many so-called "quiet" aliens that hide their existence. Moreover, I think malicious grabby (or loud) aliens would not wait for messages before striking, which the Dark Forest theory relies critically on. See also section 15 in the grabby aliens paper [https://arxiv.org/pdf/2102.01522.pdf], under the heading "SETI Implications". In general, I don't think there are significant risks associated with messaging aliens (a thesis that other EAs have argued for, along these lines).
7Ben_Harack2mo
Most of these are pithy statements that serve as reminders of much more complicated and nuanced ideas. This is a mix of recitation types, only some of which are explicitly related to motivation. I've summarized, rephrased, and expanded most of these for clarity, and cut entire sections that are too esoteric. Also, something I'd love to try, but haven't, is putting some of these into a spaced repetition practice (I use Anki), since I've heard surprisingly positive things about how well that works. 1. Be ruthlessly efficient today 2. <Specific reminder about a habit that I'm seeking to break> 3. Brainstorm, then execute 4. If you don't have a plan for it, it isn't going to happen. 5. A long list of things that you want to do is no excuse for not doing any of them. 6. Make an extraordinary effort. 7. <Reminders about particular physical/emotional needs that are not adequately covered by existing habits> 8. Remember the spheres of control: Total control. Some control. No control. For more info, see here: https://www.precisionnutrition.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Sphere-of- [https://www.precisionnutrition.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Sphere-of-control-FF.pdf)] control [https://www.precisionnutrition.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Sphere-of-control-FF.pdf] -FF.pdf [https://www.precisionnutrition.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Sphere-of-control-FF.pdf)] 9. Every problem is an opportunity 10. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. (might be from Heartsill Wilson) 11. Think about what isn't being said, but needs to be. 12. Get results 13. Life is finite; pursue your cares. 14. The opposite of play is not work. The opposite of play is depression. (paraphrased from Simon Sutton-Smith) 15. Move gently 16. Weighted version of "shortest processing time" scheduling algorithm is close to optimal on all metrics. (from "Algorithms to live by") 17.
akrolsmir's Shortform

Thanks for clarifying - fwiw I didn't think you're ill-intentioned... and at its core your question re: innocent Russians suffering due to sanctions is a valid one - as you say, all suffering counts equally independent of who suffers (and Russians will definitely suffer much more so than most people who are living a relatively affluent life in the west). But because Ukrainians are currently disproportionately suffering much more than Russian, the question might have struck some people as tone-deaf or inappropriate. Even taking aside the terrible direct humanitarian impact of the war, just consider Russia's GDP per capita being $10k, while Ukraine's being $3k before the war and it'll have a much bigger hit to the economy.

The Future Fund’s Project Ideas Competition

The Jacobs Foundation awards $1m prizes to scientist as a grant - I think this might be one of the biggest - one could award $5-10m to make it the most prestigious prize in the world.

The Future Fund’s Project Ideas Competition

All of wikipedia is just 20GB.

Maybe there could be an way to share backups via Bittorrent or an 'offline version' of it... it would fit comfortably on most modern smartphones.

2Greg_Colbourn2mo
I've got a full version of the English Wikipedia, complete with images, on my phone (86GB). It's very easy to get using the Kiwix [https://www.kiwix.org/en/] app.
8Linch3mo
Digital solutions are not great because ideally you want something that can survive centuries or at least decades. But offline USBs in prominent + safe locations might still be a good first step anyway.
akrolsmir's Shortform

Edit: re: downvotes for OP: to clarify, I support the downvotes and don't endorse the premise of the question - damage to the Russian economy and its indirect health effects are not the dominant consideration here. Because Ukraine will suffer much more, the question's premise is naive and insensitive.  I tried to answer this because I wanted to show how much harm Putin inflicted on Russia by starting this war indirectly and which might outweigh the direct casualties on the Russian side. 

Countries usually value a QALY at 1-3x their GDP.

But also, G... (read more)

2Austin2mo
Thank you for taking the time to write this response! I'm not exactly sure what premise downvoters are reading from my question. To be clear, I think the war is a horrible idea and it's important to punish defection in a negative-sum way (aka impose sanctions on countries in violation of international laws). The main point I wanted to entertain was: it's sad when we have to impose sanctions on countries; lots of people will suffer. In the same way it's sad when a war is fought, and lots of people suffer. We should be careful not to treat economic punishment as qualitatively different or intrinsically superior to direct violence; its a question of how much net utility different responses produce for the world.
3Denis Drescher3mo
Great, thank you! I’ll read it in full, but for now this was key for me:
What to do before university?

Some obvious advice (YMMV) - roughly in order of importance:

  1. Improve your long-term physical and mental health- that's often harder later in life and probably the most important thing.
  2. Improve your English: English is really important- learning languages is often harder when older.
    1. Ideally, you'd do language immersion in an English-speaking country to increase your functional fluency
    2. Reduce your accent because that's really hard later in life.
    3. Vocab and grammar: Start a Remnote and add vocab that you come across and don't know (maybe also have a look at English
... (read more)
1Timothy Currie3mo
Thanks for all the Advice. I think I'm already doing surprisingly many things that you listed (speaking English, meditation, instrument...) but I'll definitely start coding and read some of the books you listed. I'll consider doing a Research internship. Thanks
1Shimmy Shai3mo
The question I'd have about "human enhancement" with technology, is what is one's hard limit to moral goodness, and thus one's "fatedness to the evilness of relative privation of goodness as compared to another" given that we have very little such technology at present, and how can one reliably determine it?
EA Forum feature suggestion thread

The main draw of Hackernews is that the people on it are quite smart and so it might be nice to have it on the forum.

But I agree that the r/effectivealtruism sub is not that good in terms of quality of discussing and what gets upvoted and  would benefit from core EA people engaging and voting more there.

EA Forum feature suggestion thread

If we had a tag called "Links" for  posts that aren't displayed on the front page, then we could have a "Hackernews"/ "Reddit" style section were people can share -without comment- external links related to EA or that could be discussed in the context of EA. This would be different from current "link posts" which might have a higher (imagined) bar to posting.

Along a similar lines, there could be a low effort way for the current Shortform function to emulate Twitter, where the 'magic' sorting algorithm also takes into account the length of the post.

2RyanCarey4mo
You can simulate this in your head by blending r/effectivegiving with the current forum. Problem is I think it devalues forum posts a bit. Kinda like (but milder than) if a scientific publication allowed authors to submit Tweets. Personally, I'd be more excited about people just using those platforms - Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, Quora, Tiktok, etc to discuss EA-related arguments, and for EA orgs to offer prizes for that, rather than shoehorning activities into the forum.
On infinite ethics

This reminded me of Schwitzgebel's new book 'The Weirdness of the World' [you can download a draft of the PDF on his website]:

Quote:

"1. What I Will Argue in This Book. 

Consider three huge questions: What is the fundamental structure of the cosmos? How does human consciousness fit into it? What should we value? What I will argue in this book – with emphasis on the first two questions, but also sometimes drawing implications for the third – is (1.) the answers are currently beyond our capacity to know, and (2.) we do nonetheless know at least this: What... (read more)

[Link] Antimicrobial Resistance - Massive new survey paper

From the paper:

"4·95 million (3·62–6·57) deaths associated with bacterial AMR in 2019, including 1·27 million (95% UI 0·911–1·71) deaths attributable to bacterial AMR."

"AMR is a leading cause of death around the world, with the highest burdens in low-resource settings."

--

From the editorial:

"The authors estimated disease burden for 23 pathogens and 88 pathogen– drug combinations in 204 countries and territories in 2019 on the basis of two counterfactual scenarios: one in which all drug-resistant infections were replaced by drug-susceptible infections, and o... (read more)

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