All of JasperGeh's Comments + Replies

EA for Christians Annual Conference

I hope you'll have a great conference with interesting talks and conversations. And I'm also all for small communities of like-minded people within EA sharing experiences and discussing their (possibly unique) views on the project of world improvement.

I do, however, have some reservations against the phrase "advancing God's kingdom". I'm assuming it just means "increasing wellbeing/reducing suffering for sentient beings" or something along those lines, but I believe that it can be misread as "adopting EA methodology for missionary purposes since we believe... (read more)

Thanks for flagging this.

I've updated the language to "do the most good" to avoid any confusion.

Project Ideas in Biosecurity for EAs

Dataset of different viral pathogens which have emerged or are discussed as novel/emerging diseases for both humans and animals, by viral realm and kingdom, Baltimore classification, transmission method, and region.

I've thought about this at some point and would be happy to chat and share my thoughts with anyone thinking about such datasets.

I'm also working on viral (and some metagenomic) sequencing for my PhD and could see myself collaborating or at least giving input to related projects on the side, should people want to pursue something along those lines.

The Fable of the Bladder-Tyrant

Pretty sure people get the reference but just think that you're mocking longevity research without making a good point. A disclaimer would've helped.

OPIS initiative on access to psilocybin for cluster headaches

Cool, thanks for the pointer, I'll have a look for the study and hope that it kickstarts broader change.

Any explicit reason why migraine orgs and OUCH avoid the topic? Perhaps they fear that migraines are already viewed as "just a headache" and association with psychedelics would undermine the struggle for serious acceptance? Conformity signaling? Status quo bias? Low-openness staff? One person I know who is suffering from migraines is just very unenthusiastic about exploring treatment options despite ~10 days/month of substantial suffering, which always boggled my mind. 

4jonleighton1yMy guess is that it's indeed mainly the stigma of illegal drugs and not wanting to lose credibility as an organisation by promoting alternative treatments from that category that haven't been approved. Probably not status quo bias as there's enthusiasm about new official treatments. Some cluster headache patients themselves may be reluctant to try illegal drugs, but desperation and the encouragement of other patients in the community reduce the psychological barriers.
OPIS initiative on access to psilocybin for cluster headaches

Great news, I'm very excited about this!  The amount of QALY left by the wayside due to the effective shut down of psychedelics research makes me cringe every time I think about it.

Will you eventually look into psychedelics for migraine as well? They are probably 1–2 orders of magnitude less painful than cluster headaches but also ~2 orders of magnitude more common. (Which could then also make it more difficult to achieve acceptance in the population/regulatory bodies, I suppose...). And as far as I remember, psilocybin/LSD worked for migraine as well.

3jonleighton1yThanks! There is actually an RCT for psilocybin in migraines as well, being conducted by the same Yale researcher, Emmanuelle Schindler - results should even be presented this month, I believe. Migraine patient associations are larger and have more clout, so I expect positive results to get traction and make talk of psilocybin and other controlled substances more mainstream. Until now, migraine organisations and even one major cluster headache association (OUCH) tend to avoid talk of controlled substances.
How much does it cost to save a life in the mediterranean sea?

Might, yes, but this question of NGOs being a "Pull-Factors" is still very disputed:

The NGO flotilla thus responded to trends in smuggling practices that had been spurred by the anti-smuggling operation, as well as endogenous dynamics in Libya, and the increasing presence of NGO SAR vessels did in fact make the crossing less dangerous. […] While the practices of SAR NGOs may thus have inadvertently contributed to consolidating the shifts in smugglers’ practices, there has so far been no evidence of the criminal collaboration with smugglers alluded to by se

... (read more)
How much does it cost to save a life in the mediterranean sea?

After I plugged the raw numbers into guesstimate I started to look into the data a bit more and came out a bit more confused.

I was not sure how much the numbers were influenced by 2015, which had more refugees combined than all following years until now ('15: 1M, '16: 360k, '17: 170k, '18: 140k, '19: 125k) but also fewer deaths than the following years ('15: 3.7k total, following years: ~2–5k total, so way higher fraction). I also found little data on the fraction of refugees being saved by NGOs (data for 2015 and 2016 ... (read more)

How have you become more (or less) engaged with EA in the last year?

Less-ish, compared to my first EA-involved years after 2015, I think.

After starting my PhD two years ago I was aware of the prospect that I would have less time for more intense EA involvement (although my PhD is part of the broader EA career plan). But I didn't anticipate how much the lack of community would affect this. While I run a local group in my city, nobody so far is into EA enough to start their infovore-journey down the rabbit hole.

Not living in an EA hub and regularly discussing with other, deeply involved people leads to a cycle where I ... (read more)

6Ben_West1yI can relate to the difficulties of living in a city with few EA's, though I did eventually end up organizing a group that was reasonably successful. I'm curious if you have participated in any online events (e.g. the icebreakers) and whether those filled some of the void you have?
Why and how the EA-Movement has to change

On the one hand I empathise with your situation – (seemingly) interested in the guiding principles and the core idea and put off by other aspiring EAs in your immediate vicinity. On the other hand, I don't see your situation as generalisable to EA as a whole and very contrary to most experiences on conferences, in local groups etc (e.g. DGB is neither bible-like, nor an EA-blueprint imho).

Your title's "why" seems to be solely based on a small sample of local EAs and the "how" is just a 'really think about how much ... (read more)

1Hans Waschke-Wischedag2yIt is true that my experience comes from only one local group and it is great to hear that this does not necessarily extent to others. I just felt that the cause of all this is not the group but rather how EA-culture is set up. Therefore, it would not surprise me to see those problems elsewhere. As to "how", calculating your actions is all it takes. Starting a separate event or group is a nice idea. Thank you !
Why and how the EA-Movement has to change

Looks like it is. Waschke-Wischedag already *sounds* like a made-up German name and googling confirmed that.

App for COVID-19 contact tracing

I like the idea of contact tracing apps and, as we can see, people are already working on them. FWIW, the German Hanover Medical School is also collaborating with a software dev on an app for (mainly) Germany: https://www.geohealthapp.de

It collects anonymous location histories of infected people and crosschecks locally with your location history, as far as I understood. Needs data donations to create a map of spatiotemporal high-risk locations, though.

2Nicholas_Joseph2yThanks, and that's great to see. Seems like it might just take longer than I expected to make something like this and there are already a few in the works. I'd be interested to get thoughts on whether regional or global apps are better. There are some gains to having more people on the same app since it shares more information, but given current travel restrictions and limited flying, that may only be true within certain area. And regional apps have the ability to try different things and customize towards their respective cultures / privacy preferences.
EAF/FRI are now the Center on Long-Term Risk (CLR)

I like the new name as well. And pretty similar sounding to the new EA Hotel acronym...the start of a new, soon confusing EA org renaming trend?

9willbradshaw2ySadly my informal goal of having an EA-related F[?]I organisation for every letter of the alphabet has taken a step back. :-(
Tool recommendation: Polar personal knowledge repository

I tried using Polar a few months ago (so I can't comment on the features of the most recent release), but found it ultimately still too limited for my use.

For organising papers, it's too rudimentary compared to citation managers with folder structures, tags, multiple linked files, metadata etc.

For organising ebooks, it's too rudimentary compared to ebook software like calibre which manages your metadata, syncs to eReaders, supports more formats than just PDF etc.

I used it only for the built-in Anki card generation; and I might test it for th... (read more)

Announcing PriorityWiki: A Cause Prioritization Wiki

This is great! To have a collection of links of interventions, arguments, resources etc for each cause is super valuable for people who are not that well versed in the EA-website-bubble.

Looking forward to people adding their resources; S-risks for example are still missing and a quite important consideration. But I imagine someone from the FRI is already writing.

A rough estimate of social impact of a psychotherapist in QALYs added

Nice initial analysis to get some ballpark numbers on this. You probably already considered this and I have no insight into the profession but I would imagine therapists often work with patients having mental health problems with lower or very little treatment response compared to depression/anxiety.

You also wrote that the estimate is not replaceability-adjusted but what is your basic estimate about this factor? Similar to the replaceability of medical doctors? My intuition is that the amount of therapists is more limited by the number of therapist offices than by the supply of eager psych students. But I also haven't had a detailed look into Lynette Byes model yet to see if it's mentioned there.

1tuukkasarvi4yThanks. Yes, many therapists work with people who have mental health problems with weaker treatment response to psychotherapy such as bipolar disorder, psychotic disorders and various personality disorders. This lowers the average impact or effectiveness of psychotherapy over the whole population treated I haven't tried to make explicit estimate of replaceability. My baseline estimate would be the same number as used for doctors (0.6 in 80000 hours article) because both occupations are highly skilled. I think the replaceability is dependent on the specific country system and conditions, ie. the educational system that enables a person to become a psychotherapist and the labour market. In Finland, where I live, anybody who is a licensed psychotherapist can set up their own therapist office (by this I mean a private practice). Considering Finland, my (considerably uncertain) hunch is that number of licensed psychotherapists is most limited by the number of high quality applicants (you need a relevant masters degree and several years of clinical experience to apply) to the psychotherapy training programs. But even if you add a psychotherapist to the pool of people willing and able to work as a psychotherapist, you will not very likely be adding a one full-time therapist worth of therapist-hours to the pool of therapy given because some people (likely those less skilled and/or those who have graduated from less popular schools of psychotherapy) will probably be working less.
Enlightened Concerns of Tomorrow

Oh, I didn't expect Pinker to hold that position; it's quite disappointing. But it's hopefully a topic we will see addressed in a future conversation with Sam Harris who should push back on the "AI cannot be a threat"-narrative. Have you tweeted/mailed/whatnot him this response?

1cassidynelson4yI agree, I found it surprising as well that he has taken this view. It seems like he has read a portion of Bostrom's Global Catastrophic Risks and Superintelligence, has become familiar with the general arguments and prominent examples, but then has gone on to dismiss existential threats on reasons specifically addressed in both books. He is a bit more concerned about nuclear threats than other existential threats, but I wonder if this is the availability heuristic at work given the historical precedent instead of a well-reasoned line of argument. Great suggestion about Sam Harris - I think Steven Pinker and him had a live chat just the other day (March 14) so may have missed this opportunity. I'm still waiting for the audio to be uploaded on Sam's podcast, but I wonder given Sam's positions if he questions Pinker on this as well.