Earner-to-give based in Minnesota. Board member at Wild Animal Initiative. Interested in catastrophic risks and wild animal suffering.


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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.

Will Three Gorges Dam Collapse And Kill Millions?

From what I understand, since Three Gorges is a gravity dam, meaning it uses the weight of the dam to hold back water rather than its tensile strength, a failure or collapse would not necessarily be catastrophic one. So if some portion falls, the rest will stay standing. That means there's a distribution of severity within failures/collapses, it's not just a binary outcome.

Longtermism ⋂ Twitter

To me it feels easier to participate in discussions on Twitter than on (e.g.) the EA Forum, even though you're allowed to post a forum comment with fewer than 280 characters. This makes me a little worried that people feel intimidated about offering "quick takes" here because most comments are pretty long. I think people should feel free to offer feedback more detailed than an upvote/downvote without investing a lot of time in a long comment.

80,000 Episode Re: Size of Community

Not from the podcast but here's a talk Rob gave in 2015 about potential arguments against growing the EA community:

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