Jaime Sevilla

Director @ Epoch
4585 karmaJoined Mar 2019Working (0-5 years)


Director of Epoch, an organization investigating the future of Artificial Intelligence.

Currently working on:

  • Macroeconomic models of AI takeoff
  • Trends in Artificial Intelligence
  • Forecasting cumulative records
  • Improving forecast aggregation

I am also one of the coordinators of Riesgos Catastróficos Globales, a Spanish-speaking network of experts working on Global Catastrophic Risks.  

I also run Connectome Art, an online art gallery where I host art I made using AI.


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Riesgos Catastróficos Globales
Aggregating Forecasts
Forecasting quantum computing


Yeah in hindisght that is probably about right.

It'd be interesting to look at some of these high profile journalists, and see if they are well supported to do impactful journalism or if they have to spend a lot of time on chasing trends to afford working on IJ pieces.

I looked into the impact of investigative journalism briefly a while back.

Here is an estimation of the impact of some of the most high profile IJ success stories I found:

How many investigative journalists exist? It's hard to say, but the International Federation of Journalists has 600k members, so maybe there exists 6M journalists worlwide, of which maybe 10% are investigative journalists (600k IJs). If they are paid like $50k/year, that's $30B used for IJ.

Putting both numbers together, that's $2k to $20k per person affected. Let's say that each person affected gains 0.1 to 10 QALYs for these high profile cases, then that's $200 to $200k per QALY.

Seems to not be competitive with global health interventions, which are around $60/QALY IIUC, though of course this is neglecting that IJ has many important cultural effects (but then again, so does curing children from malaria!). I could also be grossly overestimating how much money goes to investigative journalism, and of course I am neglecting that the marginal dollar is probably much much less impactful than the average dollar.

Do not take this two minute exercise too seriously though! I'd be keen on seeing a more careful approach to it.

What are some open questions in your mind, for potential GCR priorities you haven't had time to investigate?

What risks do you feel are particularly neglected by the EA community?

What opportunities are you most excited about for GCR mitigation outside the Anglosphere?

I agree that this is very valuable. I would want them to be explicit about this role, and be clear to community builders talking to them that they should treat them as if talking to a funder.

To be clear, in the cases where I have felt uncomfortable it was not "X is engaging in sketchy behaviour, and we recommend not giving them funding" (my understanding is that this happens fairly often, and I am glad for it. CHT is providing a very valuable function here, which otherwise would be hard to coordinate. If anything, I would want them to be more brazen and ready to recommend against people based on less evidence than they do now).

Is more cases like "CHT staff thinks that this subcommunity would work better without central coordination, and this staff is going to recommend against funding any coordinators going forward" or "CHT is pressuring me to make a certain choice such as not banning a community member I consider problematic, and I am afraid that if I don't comply I won't get renewed" (I've learned of situations like these happen at least thrice).

It is difficult to orient yourself towards someone who you are not sure whether your should treat as your boss or as neutral third party mediator. This is stressing for community builders.

I echo the general sentiment -- I find the CHT to work diligently and be in most cases compassionate. I generally look up to the people who make it up, and I think they put a lot of thought into their decisions. From my experience, they helped prevent at least three problematic people from accruing power and access to funding in the Spanish Speaking community, and have invested 100s of hours into steering that sub community towards what they think is a better direction, including being always available for consultations.

I also think that they undervalue the work and wellbeing of community builders, that they have a lot of unaccountable influence on grant decisions and that they make some decisions that I don't think an experienced HR / conflict mediation team would endorse and that causes very competent community builders to turn away from the job, more below


My overall impression is that the CEA community health team (CHT from now on) are well intentioned but sometimes understaffed and other times downright incompetent. It's hard to me to be impartial here, and I understand that their failures are more salient to me than their successes. Yet I endorse the need for change, at the very least including 1) removing people from the CHT that serve as a advisors to any EA funds or have other conflict of interest positions, 2) hiring HR and mental health specialists with credentials, 3) publicly clarifying their role and mandate. 

My impression is that the most valuable function that the CHT provides is as support of community building teams across the world, from advising community builders to preventing problematic community builders from receiving support. If this is the case, I think it would be best to rebrand the CHT as a CEA HR department, and for CEA to properly hire the community builders who are now supported as grantees, which one could argue is an employee misclassification.

I would not be comfortable discussing these issues openly out of concern for the people affected, but here are some horror stories:

  1. A CHT staff pressured a community builder to put through with and include a community member with whom they weren't comfortable interacting.
  2. A CHT staff pressured a community builder to not press charges against a community member who they felt harassed by.
  3. After a restraining order was set by the police in place in this last case, the CHT refused to liaison with the EA Global team to deny access to the person restrained, even knowing that the affected community builder would be attending the event.
  4. My overall sense is that CHT is not very mindful of the needs of community builders in other contexts. Two very promising professionals I've mentored have dissociated from EA, and rejected a grant, in large part because of how they were treated by the CHT.
  5. My impression is that the CHT staff undermines the legitimacy of local communities to make their own decisions. CEA is often perceived as a source of authority, and the CHT has a lot of sway in funding decisions. This makes it so that it is really hard for local groups to go against the wishes of the CHT, who is the main intermediary with groups. I wish this relation was more transparent, so they could be hold accountable for it.

To be clear, I think that these stories have a lot of nuance to them and are in each cases the result of the CHT making what they thought were the best decisions they could make with the tools they had, but in each of them I noticed that I ended up disagreeing with the decisions made and feeling very uncomfortable with how the whole community structure was set up.

Factor increase per year is the way we are reporting growth rates by default now in the dashboard.

And I agree it will be better interpreted by the public. On the other hand, multiplying numbers is hard, so it's not as nice for mental arithmetic. And thinking logarithmically puts you in the right frame of mind.

Saying that GPT-4 was trained on x100 more compute than GPT-3 invokes GPT-3 being 100 times better, whereas I think saying it was trained on 2 OOM more compute gives you a better picture of the expected improvement.

I might be wrong here.

In any case, it is still a better choice than doubling times.

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