JanBrauner

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The expected value of extinction risk reduction is positive

Hi Michael, I wrote this 2 years ago and have not worked in this area afterwards. To give a really good answer, I'd probably have to spend several hours reading the text again. But from memory, I think that most arguments don't rest on the assumption of future agents being total utilitarians. In particular, none of the arguments requires the assumption that future agents will create lots of high welfare beings. So I guess the same conclusions follow if you assume deontologist future agents, or ones with asymmetric population ethics. This is particularly true if you think that your idealised, reflected preferences would be close to that of the future agents.

Toby Ord’s ‘The Precipice’ is published!

I think I overheard Toby saying that the footnotes and appendices were dropped in the audiobook and that, yes, the footnotes and appendices (which make up 50% of the book) should be the most interesting part for people already familiar with the X-risk literature.

How do you feel about the main EA facebook group?

So this is my very personal impression. I might be super wrong about this, that's why I asked this question. Also, I remember liking the main EA facebook group quite a bit in the past, so maybe I just can't properly relate to how useful the group is for people that are newer to EA thinking.

Currently, I avoid reading the EA facebook group the same way I avoid reading comments under youtube videos. Reading the group makes me angry and sad because of the ignorance and aggression displayed in the posts and especially in the comments. I think many comments do not meet the bar for intellectual quality or epistemic standards that we should have EA associated with. That's really no surprise, online discourse is not particularly known for high quality.

Overall, I feel like the main EA facebook group doesn't shine a great light on the EA movement. I haven't thought much about this, but I think I would prefer stronger moderation for quality.

EAF’s ballot initiative doubled Zurich’s development aid

I first thought that "counterproposal passed" means that a proposal very different to the one you suggested passed the ballot. But skimming the links, it seems that the counterproposals were actually similar to your original proposals?

Only a few people decide about funding for community builders world-wide

Thanks for bringing this to my attention, I modified the title and a respective part in the post.


I didn't have the time to check in with CEA before writing the post so I had to choose between writing the post as is or not writing it at all. That's why the first line says (in italics) "I’m not entirely sure that there is really no other official source for local group funding. Please correct me in the comments. "

I think I could have predicted that this is not enough to keep people from walking away with a false impression so I think I should have chosen a different headline.

The evolutionary argument against cognitive enhancement research is weak

That mostly seems to be semantics to me. There could be other things that we are currently "deficient" in and we could figure that out by doing cognitive enhancement research.

As far as I know, the term "cognitive enhancement" is often used in the sense that I used it here, e.g. relating to exercise (we are currently deficient in exercise compared to our ancestors), taking melatonin (we are deficient in melatonin compared to our ancestors), and so on...

Only a few people decide about funding for community builders world-wide

Great to hear that several people are involved with making the grant decisions. I also want to stress that my post is not at all intended as a critique of the CBG programme.

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