Software engineer based in Minnesota. Board member at Wild Animal Initiative. Interested in catastrophic risks and wild animal suffering.


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Wiki Contributions


Where are you donating in 2021, and why?

I gave most of my donations to the EA Funds Donor Lottery because I felt pretty uncertain about where to give. I am still undecided on which cause to prioritize, but I have become fairly concerned about existential risk from AI and I don't think I know enough about the donation opportunities in that space. If I won the lottery, I would then take some more time to research and think about this decision.

I also donated to Wild Animal Initiative and Rethink Priorities because I still want to keep a regular habit of making donation decisions. I think they are the two best organizations working on wild-animal welfare, which is potentially a highly cost-effective cause area because of the very large number of wild animals in existence. I also donated to GiveWell's maximum impact fund.

What stops you doing more forecasting?

I did Metaculus for a while but I wasn't quite sure how to assess how well I was doing and I lost interest. I know Brier score isn't the greatest metric. Just try to accumulate points?

Ngo and Yudkowsky on alignment difficulty

What does "consequentialist" mean in this context?

We’re Rethink Priorities. Ask us anything!

A couple of years it seemed like the conventional wisdom was that there were serious ops/management/something bottlenecks in converting money into direct work. But now you've hired a lot of people in a short time. How did you manage to bypass those bottlenecks and have there been any downsides to hiring so quickly?

What Makes Outreach to Progressives Hard

Longtermism isn't just AI risk, but concern with AI-risk is associated with a Elon Musk-technofuturist-technolibertarian-Silicon Valley idea cluster. Many progressives dislike some or all of those things and will judge AI alignment negatively as a result.

Ask Rethink Priorities Anything (AMA)

How's having two executive directors going?

Ask Rethink Priorities Anything (AMA)

How do you decide how to allocate research time between cause areas (e.g. animals vs x-risk)?

Some thoughts on the EA Munich // Robin Hanson incident

My description was based on Buck's correction (I don't have any first-hand knowledge). I think a few white nationalists congregated at Leverage, not that most Leverage employees are white nationalists, which I don't believe. I don't mean to imply anything stronger than what Buck claimed about Leverage.

I invoked white nationalists not as a hypothetical representative of ideologies I don't like but quite deliberately, because they literally exist in substantial numbers in EA-adjacent online spaces and they could view EA as fertile ground if the EA community had different moderation and discursive norms. (Edited to avoid potential collateral reputational damage) I think the neo-reactionary community and their adjacency to rationalist networks are a clear example.

Some thoughts on the EA Munich // Robin Hanson incident

I also agree that it's ridiculous when left-wingers smear everyone on the right as Nazis, white nationalists, whatever. I'm not talking about conservatives, or the "IDW", or people who don't like the BLM movement or think racism is no big deal. I'd be quite happy for more right-of-center folks to join EA. I do mean literal white nationalists (like on par with the views in Jonah Bennett's leaked emails. I don't think his defense is credible at all, by the way).

I don't think it's accurate to see white nationalists in online communities as just the right tail that develops organically from a wide distribution of political views. White nationalists are more organized than that and have their own social networks (precisely because they're not just really conservative conservatives). Regular conservatives outnumber white nationalists by orders of magnitude in the general public, but I don't think that implies that white nationalists will be virtually non-existent in a space just because the majority are left of center.

Some thoughts on the EA Munich // Robin Hanson incident

We've already seen white nationalists congregate in some EA-adjacent spaces. My impression is that (especially online) spaces that don't moderate away or at least discourage such views will tend to attract them - it's not the pattern of activity you'd see if white nationalists randomly bounce around places or people organically arrive at those views. I think this is quite dangerous for epistemic norms, because white nationalist/supremacist views are very incorrect and deter large swaths of potential participants and also people with those views routinely argue in bad faith by hiding how extreme their actual opinions are while surreptitiously promoting the extreme version. It's also in my view a fairly clear and present danger to EA given that there are other communities with some white nationalist presence that are quite socially close to EA.

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