Henry_Stanley

I'm a software engineer in London, earning to give to animal welfare charities (but open to doing something else some day).

I started EA Work Club [https://eawork.club], a job board for effective altruists. With Hauke Hillebrandt, I co-founded Let's Fund [https://lets-fund.org], a site for crowdfunding high-impact (but high-risk) EA projects.

I write at henrystanley.com.

Comments

Slate Star Codex, EA, and self-reflection

My response to (b): the word is probably beyond rehabilitation now, but I also think that people ought to be able to have discussions about bioethics without having to clarify their terms every ten seconds. I actually think it is unreasonable of someone to skim someone’s post on something, see a word that looks objectionable, and cast aspersions over their whole worldview as a result.

Reminds me of when I saw a recipe which called for palm sugar. The comments were full of people who were outraged at the inclusion of such an exploitative, unsustainable ingredient. Of course, they were actually thinking of palm oil (palm sugar production is largely sustainable) but had just pattern-matched ‘palm’ as ‘that bad food thing’.

Slate Star Codex, EA, and self-reflection

Much of this argument could be short-circuited by pulling apart what Scott means by 'eugenics' - it's clear from the context (missing from the OP's post) that he's referring to liberal eugenics, which argues that parents should have the right to have some sort of genetic choice over their offspring (and has almost nothing in common with the coercive "eugenics" to which the OP refers).

Liberal eugenics is already widespread, in a sense. Take embryo selection, where parents choose which embryo to bring to term depending on its genetic qualities. We've had chorionic villus sampling to check an embryo for Down syndrome for decades; it's commonplace.

Just dropping the word "eugenics" again and again with no clarification or context is very misleading.

Investing to Give Beginner Advice?

Leveraged ETFs are meant for short-term investing I believe - they're rebalanced daily which reduces their value over time.

Climate Change Is Neglected By EA

Though I'm not entirely sure the comparison is fair. The kind of global poverty interventions that EAs favour (for better or for worse) tend to be near-term, low-risk, with a quick payoff. Climate change interventions are much less certain, higher-variance, and with a long payoff.

Climate Change Is Neglected By EA

A huge amount is already spent on global health and development, and yet the EA community is clearly happy to try and find particularly effective global health and development interventions. There are definitely areas within the hugely broad field of climate change action which are genuinely neglected.

This is true. To steelman your point (and do some shameless self-promotion) - at Let's Fund we think funding advocacy for clean energy R&D funding is one such intervention, so they do exist.

Climate Change Is Neglected By EA

Thoughtful post!

I don't agree with your analysis in (3) - neglectedness to me is asking not 'is enough being done' but 'is this the thing that can generate the most benefit on the margin'.

For climate change it seems most likely not; hundreds of billions of dollars (and likely millions of work-years) are already spent every year on climate change mitigation (research, advocacy, or energy subsidies). The whole EA movement might move, what, a few hundred million dollars per year? Given the relatively scarce resources we have, both in time and money, it seems like there are places where we could do more good (the whole of the AI safety field has only a couple hundred people IIRC).

Racial Demographics at Longtermist Organizations

Gotcha. I actually meant to reply to Hauke (who thought the poster was talking about diversity of any kind, rather than racial diversity).

Racial Demographics at Longtermist Organizations

Agreed - though many of the more successful diversity efforts are really just efforts to make companies nicer and more collaborative places to work (e.g. cross-functional teams, mentoring). My personal preference is to focus on making companies welcoming to all rather than specifically targeting racial minorities.

I'm also a little sceptical of the huge gains the HBR article suggests - do diversity task forces really increase the number of Asian men in management by a third? It suggests looking at Google as an example of "a company that's made big bets on [diversity] accountability... We should know in a few years if that moves the needle for them" - it didn't.

Racial Demographics at Longtermist Organizations

How do you think cohorts like the self-identified conservatives in western democracies or the US intelligence community would view ideas coming from that hypothetical think tank?

I suggest this is a bad example; I imagine they'd be sceptical but more because of the involvement of a Chinese state actor (see e.g. concerns over Chinese government influence over Huawei) than because of their race.

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