Jeff_Kaufman's Comments

New research on moral weights

Really excited to see this published. This is something I've heard people speculate about a lot over the years ("are people in places with higher child mortality more accepting of it, because it's more normal, and so are we overweighting deaths?") and it's helpful to see what the people we're trying to help actually value.

(And that's on top of us not being able to survey the children!)

Updates from Leverage Research: history, mistakes and new focus

Thoughts, now that I've read it:

  • This sort thing where you try things until you figure out what's going on, starting from a place of pretty minimal knowledge feels very familiar to me. I think a lot of my hobby projects have worked this way, partly because I often find it more more fun to try things than to try to find out what people already know about them. This comment thread, trying to understand what frequencies forked brass instruments make, is an example that came to mind several times reading the post.
  • Not exactly the same, but this also feels a lot like my experience with making new musical instruments. With an established instrument in an established field the path to being really good generally looks like "figure out what the top people do, and practice a ton," while with something experimental you have much more of a tradeoff between "put effort into playing your current thing better" and "put effort into improving your current thing". If you have early batteries or telescopes or something you probably spend a lot of time with that tradeoff. Whereas in mature fields it makes much more sense for individuals to specialize in either "develop the next generation of equipment" or "use the current generation of equipment to understand the world".
  • How controversial is the idea that early stage science works pretty differently from more established explorations, and that you need pretty different approaches and skills? I don't know that much history/philosophy of science but I'm having trouble telling from the paper which of the hypotheses in section 4 are ones that you expect people to already agree with, vs ones that you think you're going to need to demonstrate?
  • One question that comes to mind is whether there is still early stage science today. Maybe the patterns that you're seeing are all about what happens if you're very early in the development of science in general, but now you only get those patterns when people are playing around (like I am above)? So I'd be interested in the most recent cases you can find that you'd consider to be early-stage.
  • And a typo: "make the same observers with different telescopes" should be "make the same observations with different telescopes".
Updates from Leverage Research: history, mistakes and new focus

Looking over the website I noticed Studying Early Stage Science under "Recent Research". I haven't read it yet, but will!

Updates from Leverage Research: history, mistakes and new focus

Thanks for writing this! I'm really glad Leverage has decided to start sharing more.

Long-term Donation Bunching?

I wonder whether it would be worth building some standard terms for this and trying to make it a thing?

Candy for Nets

Thanks! Though like all my blog posts it's already public on my website:

Long-term Donation Bunching?

If ~50% of people drift away over five years it's hard to say how many do over 2-3, but it should be at least 25%-35% [1]. You need pretty large tax savings to risk a chance that large of actually donating nothing.

[1] 13%/year for five years gives you 50%, and I think I'd expect the rate of attrition to slowly decrease over time? 25% for two years and 35% for three is assuming it's linear.

How to Make Billions of Dollars Reducing Loneliness
Facebook and Google have an incentive to track their users because they sell targeted advertising.

Even without ads they would have a very strong reason for tracking: trying to make the product better. Things you do when using Facebook are all fed into a model trying to predict what you like to interact with, so they can prioritize among the enormous number of things they could be showing you.

If physics is many-worlds, does ethics matter?
For every decision I've made, there's a version where the other choice was made.

Is that actually something the many-worlds view implies? It seems like you're conflating "made a choice" with "quantum split"?

(I don't know any of the relevant physics.)

EA Survey 2018 Series: Do EA Survey Takers Keep Their GWWC Pledge?

One group I'm especially interested in is people who were active in EA, took the GWWC pledge, and then drifted away (eg). This is a group that likely mostly didn't take the EA Survey. I would expect that after accounting for this the actual fraction of people current on their pledges would be *much* lower.

Since we don't know the fraction of people keeping their pledge to even the nearest 10%, the survey I would find most useful would be a smallish random sample. Pick 25 GWWC members at random, and follow up with them. Write personalized handwritten letters, place a phone call, or get a friend to contact them. This should give very low non-response bias, and also good qualitative data.

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