Jonas Vollmer

I'm a co-founder and co-executive director at the London-based Center on Long-Term Risk, a research group and grantmaker focused on preventing s-risks from AI. I also advise the Long-Term Future Fund.

My background is in medicine (BMed) and economics (MSc) with a focus on health economics and development economics.

Jonas Vollmer's Comments

Five Ways To Prioritize Better

Great post. I personally didn't really enjoy the sales-y style sometimes ("I’m going to let you in on a secret") but I liked the clear examples that illustrate important ideas. Theory of change in particular seems underestimated/underdiscussed in EA.

EA Forum feature suggestion thread

Very cool!

I think for me personally, this would work better if there were two buttons at the end – one called "publish", one called "share as draft with users" or something like that. That puts it more in the reference class of "this is a form of publishing my work" rather than "here's some additional feature that I don't understand how it works".

Also: I notice that my wording was a bit unfriendly – apologies, I would like to retract that. :)


EDIT: It seems that drafts don't support comments. I think this is one of the main features I was hoping for.

EA Forum feature suggestion thread

Categories / sub-fora / better overview of tags

I think it would be very helpful if the forum was made easier to navigate by creating categories/sub-fora, making tags more intuitively accessible, or some other method. E.g., how do I find the most-upvoted forum posts and comments about EA investing?

EA Forum feature suggestion thread

I would like to promote Wei Dai's suggestion that it would be nice if it was possible to share drafts privately and then potentially make them public at a later point. (I think there's some chance that this is already possible, but the UX doesn't seem intuitive, otherwise I would have noticed already.)

Before implementing, it seems worth talking to users to find out whether this would actually make them more likely to share their internal work publicly at some point. It could also be good to find out whether there are any other ways that could make people more likely to share their internal work publicly.

Max_Daniel's Shortform

Your point reminds me of the "history is written by the winners" adage – presumably, most civilizations would look back and think of their history as one of progress because they views their current values most favorably.

Perhaps this is one of the paths that would eventually contribute to a "desired dystopia" outcome, as outlined in Ord's book: we fail to realize that our social structure is flawed and leads to suffering in a systematic manner that's difficult to change.

(Also related: https://www.gwern.net/The-Narrowing-Circle )

Max_Daniel's Shortform

In addition to the examples you mention, the world has become much more unequal over the past centuries, and I wonder how that impacts welfare. Relatedly, I wonder to what degree there is more loneliness and less purpose and belonging than in previous times, and how that impacts welfare (and whether it relates to the Easterlin paradox). EAs don't seem to discuss these aspects of welfare often. (Somewhat related books: Angus Deaton's The Great Escape and Junger's Tribe.)

Max_Daniel's Shortform

I second Stefan's suggestion to share this as a normal post – I realize I should have read your shortform much sooner.

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