I don't quite understand what your view is in your section on macro advocacy and in particular what you think is the relevance of that Weyl quote.
To be clear, I think this episode really shouldn't be taken as a lesson against technocracy. The technocrats were on the right side of this one - sure the Fed was too loose in '21 but if it had been controlled by politicians it probably would have been even worse. The size of the stimulus was also a textbook expression of populism.
Of course you could also argue that Fed tightness prior to 2021 was a failure of t... (read more)
As Giving Green is still recommending donations to TSM in spite of what seems to be the majority opinion here, I'd like to highlight a recent letter to the White House cosigned by TSM (among dozens of other groups). The letter argues that the United States should be less "antagonistic" towards China in order to focus on cooperating on climate change.
In reality, the United States and China have already agreed to cooperate on climate change. So TSM et al are not proposing any obvious change in US-China climate policy. Apparently they want us to be more gene... (read more)
Sorry, I worded that poorly - my point was the lack of comprehensive weighing of pros and cons, as opposed to analyzing just 1 or 2 particular problems (e.g. swarm terrorism risk).
Hm, certainly the vaccine rollout was in hindsight the second most important thing after success or failure at initial lockdown and containment.
It does seem to have been neglected by preparation efforts and EA funding before the pandemic, but that's understandable considering how much of a surprise this mRNA stuff was.
Prevention definitely helps. (It is a semantic question if you want to count prevention as a type of preparation or not)
I don't think most people would consider prevention a type of preparation. EA-funded biorisk efforts presumably did not consider it that way. And more to the point, I do not want to lump prevention together with preparation because I am making an argument about preparation that is separate from prevention. So it's not about just semantics, but precision on which efforts did well or poorly.
The idea that preparation (henceforth e
I moved my comment to an answer after learning that the index was directly funded by an Open Phil grant. You'd do better to repost your reply to me there. Sorry about the confusion.
The Global Health Security Index looks like a misfire. This isn't directly about performance during the pandemic, but Nuclear Threat Initiative, funded by Open Phil for this purpose (h/t HowieL for pointing this out) and collaborating with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, made the 2019 Global Health Security Index which seems invalidated by COVID-19 outcomes and may have encouraged actors to take the wrong moves. This ThinkGlobalHealth article describes how its ratings did not predict good performance against the virus. The article relies... (read more)
"effective pandemic response is not about preparation"
FYI - my impression is that pandemic preparedness is often defined broadly enough to include things like research into defensive technology (e.g. mRNA vaccines). It does seem like those investments were important for the response.
EAs have voted in various elections in the United States. This study adjusted for various factors and found that Republican Party power at the state level was associated with modestly higher amounts of death from COVID-19. Since the majority of EA voters have picked the Democratic Party, this can be taken as something of a vindication. Of course, there are many other issues for deciding your vote besides pandemics, and that study might be wrong. It's not even peer reviewed.
The difference might be entirely explained by politically motivated difference... (read more)
I discuss the GHS index at greater length in my answer.
Edit: I've reposted this comment as an answer, and am self-downvoting this.
OK, sorry for misunderstanding.
I make an argument here that marginal long run growth is dramatically less important than marginal x-risk. I'm not fully confident in it. But the crux could be what I highlight - whether society is on an endless track of exponential growth, or on the cusp of a fantastical but fundamentally limited successor stage. Put more precisely, the crux of the importance of x-risk is how good the future will be, whereas the crux of the importance of progress is whether differential growth today will mean much for the far future.
I w... (read more)
"EA/XR" is a rather confusing term. Which do you want to talk about, EA or x-risk studies?
It is a mistake to consider EA and progress studies as equivalent or mutually exclusive. Progress studies is strictly an academic discipline. EA involves building a movement and making sacrifices for the sake of others. And progress studies can be a part of that, like x-risk.
Some people in EA who focus on x-risk may have differences of opinion with those in the field of progress studies.
I think I don't really buy your conceptual logic as the mitigation obstruction argument is about the degree to which particular solutions will be over or underestimated relative to their actual value, not about how absolutely good/cheap/fast/etc they are. When considered through that lens, it's not clear (at least to me) what to make of distinctions between big actions and small actions or easy actions and hard actions.
Geoengineering is cheap but Halstead argues that it's not such a bargain as was suggested by earlier estimates.
I fear that we need to do Geoengineering right away or we will be locked into never undoing the warming. Problem is a few countries like russia massively benefit from warming and once they see that warming and then take advantage of the newly opened land they will see any attempt to artificially lower temps as an attack they will respond to with force and they have enough fossil fuels to maintain the warm temps even if everyone else stops carbon emissions (which they can easily scuttle).
Deleted my previous comment - I have some little doubts and don't think the international system will totally fail but some problems along these lines seem plausible to me
I'm not sure if immediacy of the problem really would lead to a better response: maybe it would lead to a shift from prevention to adaptation, from innovation to degrowth, and from international cooperation to ecofascism. Immediacy could clarify who will be the minority of winners from global warming, whereas distance makes it easier to say that we are all in this together.
At the very least, geoengineering does make the future more complicated, in that on top of the traditional combination of atmospheric uncertainties and emission uncertainties, we ha... (read more)
Hm, I suppose I don't have reason to be confident here. But as I understand it:
Stratospheric aerosol injection removes a certain wattage of solar radiation per square meter.
The additional greenhouse effect from human emissions only constitutes a tiny part of our overall temperature balance, shifting us from 289 K to 291 K for instance. SAI cuts nearly the entire energy input from the Sun (excepting that which is absorbed above the stratosphere). So maybe SAI could be slightly more effective in terms of watts per square meter or CO2 tonnes offset under a high-emissions scenario, but it will be a very small difference.
Would like to see an expert chime in here.
If I think about the poor record the International Criminal Court has of bringing war criminals to justice, and the fact that the use of cluster bombs in Laos or Agent Orange in Vietnam did not lead to major trials, I am skeptical on whether someone would be hold accountable for crimes committed by LAWs.
But the issue here is whether responsibility and accountability is handled worse with LAWs as compared with normal killing. You need a reason to be more skeptical for crimes committed by LAWs than you are for crimes not committed by LAWs. T... (read more)
But the answers to a survey like that wouldn't be easy interpret. We should give the same message under organization names to group A and group B and see which group is then more likely to endorse the EA movement or commit to taking a concrete altruistic action.
No I agree on 2! I'm just saying even from a longtermist perspective, it may not be as important and tractable as improving institutions in orthogonal ways.
I think it's really not clear that reforming institutions to be more longtermist has an outsized long run impact compared to many other axes of institutional reform.
We know what constitutes good outcomes in the short run, so if we can design institutions to produce better short run outcomes, that will be beneficial in the long run insofar as those institutions endure into the long run. Institutional changes are inherently long-run.
I saw OSINT results frequently during the Second Karabkh War (October 2020). The OSINT evidence of war crimes from that conflict has been adequately recognized and you can find info on that elsewhere. Beyond that, it seems to me that certain things would have gone better if certain locals had been more aware of what OSINT was revealing about the military status of the conflict, as a substitute for government claims and as a supplement to local RUMINT (rumor intelligence). False or uncertain perceptions about the state of a war can be deadly. But there is a... (read more)
There is a lot of guesswork involved here. How much would it cost for someone, like the CEA, to run a survey to find out how popular perception differs depending on these kinds of names? It would be useful to many of us who are considering branding for EA projects.
Updates to this:
Nordhaus paper argues that we don't appear to be approaching a singularity. Haven't read it. Would like to see someone find the crux of the differences with Roodman.
Blog 'Outside View' with some counterarguments to my view:
Thus, the challenge of building long term historical GDP data means we should be quite skeptical about turning around and using that data to predict future growth trends. All we're really doing is extrapolating the backwards estimates of some economists forwards. The error bars will be very large.
Well, Roodman tests... (read more)
I'm skeptical of this framework because in reality part 2 seems optional - we don't need to reshape the political system to be more longtermist in order to make progress. For instance, those Open Phil recommendations like land use reform can be promoted thru conventional forms of lobbying and coalition building.
In fact, a vibrant and policy-engaged EA community that focuses on understandable short and medium term problems can itself become a fairly effective long-run institution, thus reducing the needs in part 1.
Additionally, while substantively defining ... (read more)
This may help address your question about South Africa Lecture 12: Business and Democratic Reform: A Case Study of South Africa - YouTube
Old discussion about this: Selecting investments based on covariance with the value of charities - EA Forum (effectivealtruism.org)
It gets referred to as "mission hedging", a term that GPI attributes to Tran's ‘Divest, Disregard, or Double Down (2017).
These lectures on historical analysis of the New Testament are neat and might be of interest to you. They give good context for understanding the contemporaneous interpretation of scripture.
The issue with these interventions suggested for preventing collapse is that they generally have much more pressing impacts besides this. For instance, of course approval voting is great, but its impacts on other political issues (both ordinary political problems, and other tail scenarios like dictatorship) are much more significant. More generally, stuff that makes America politically healthier reduces the probability that it will collapse, and the converse is almost always true. So not only is the collapse possibility relatively unimportant, it's mostly ... (read more)
There are more problems with The Sunrise Movement (TSM) which don't seem to have been raised yet in this discussion.
I agree with you. You may appreciate my articles:https://eapolitics.org/handbook.html
the environmental success of democracies relative to autocracies.
I want to read this but the link doesn't work
If it is to gather resources en route, it must accelerate those resources to its own speed. Or alternatively, it must slow down to a halt, pick up resources and then continue. This requires a huge expenditure of energy, which will slow down the probe.
Bussard ramjets might be viable. But I'm skeptical that it could be faster than the propulsion ideas in the Sandberg/Armstrong paper. Anyway you seem to be talking about spacecraft that will consuming planets, not Bussard ramjets.
Going from 0.99c to 0.999c requires an extraordinary amount of additional energy ... (read more)
I think this argument implicitly assumes a moral objectivist point of view.
I'd say that most people in history have been a lot closer to the hinge of history when you recognize that the HoH depends on someone's values.
If you were a hunter-gatherer living in 20,000 BC then you cared about raising your family and building your weir and you lived at the hinge of history for that.
If you were a philosopher living in 400 BC then you cared about the intellectual progress of the Western world and you lived at the hinge of history for that.
If you were a theologian ... (read more)
Thanks for the comments. Let me clarify about the terminology. What I mean is that there are two kinds of "pulling the rope harder". As I argue here:
The appropriate mindset for political engagement is described in the book Politics Is for Power, which is summarized in this podcast. We need to move past political hobbyism and make real change. Don’t spend so much time reading and sharing things online, following the news and fomenting outrage as a pastime. Prioritize the acquisition of power over clever dunking and purity politics. See yourself as an inside
You could add this post of mine to space colonization: An Informal Review of Space Exploration - EA Forum (effectivealtruism.org).
I think the 'existential risks' category is too broad and some of the things included are dubious. Recommender systems as existential risk? Autonomous weapons? Ideological engineering?
Finally, I think the categorization of political issues should be heavily reworked, for various reasons. This kind of categorization is much more interpretable and sensible:
I don't think the pernicious mitigation obstruction argument is sound. It would be equally plausible for just about any other method of addressing air pollution. For instance, if we develop better solar power, that will reduce the incentive for countries and other actors to work harder at implementing wind power, carbon capture, carbon taxes, tree planting, and geoengineering. All climate solutions substitute for each other to the extent that they are perceived as effective. But we can't reject all climate solutions for fear that they will discourage other... (read more)
My main point: By not putting "EA" into the name of your project, you get free option value: If you do great, you can still always associate with EA more strongly at a later stage; if you do poorly, you have avoided causing any problems for EA.
I've already done this. I have shared much of this content for over a year without having this name and website. My impression was that it didn't do great nor did it do poorly (except among EAs, who have been mostly positive). One of the problems was that some people seemed confused and suspicious because they ... (read more)
I think there are countervailing reasons in favor of doing so publicly, described here. Additionally, prominent EA organizations and individuals have already displayed enough politically contentious behavior that a lot of people already perceive EA in certain political ways. Restricting politically contentious public EA behavior to those few orgs and individuals maximizes the problems of 1) and 2) whereas having a wider variety of public EA points of view mitigates them. I'd use a different branding if I were less convinced that politically engaged audiences already perceive EA as having political aspects.
(As always, personal opinion, not my employer's.)
While I agree that it could be good for EAs to become more politically active, I don't think there are good arguments for an EA branding.
My main point: By not putting "EA" into the name of your project, you get free option value: If you do great, you can still always associate with EA more strongly at a later stage; if you do poorly, you have avoided causing any problems for EA. By choosing an EA branding for your project, you selectively increase the downside risk, but not the upside/benefits.
Quoting from t... (read more)
The Civic Handbook presents a more simplified view on the issue that sticks to making the least controversial claims that nearly all EAs should be able to get on board with. My full justification for why I believe we should maintain the defense budget, written earlier this year, is here: https://eapolitics.org/platform.html#mozTocId629955
I will think more about Brexit (noting that the EU is a supranational organization not a nation-state) but keep in mind that under the principle of self-determination, Scotland, which now would likely prefer to leave the UK and stay in the EU, should be allowed to do so.
welcome any evidence you have on these points, but your scenario seems to a) assume limited offensive capability development, b) willingness and ability to implement layers of defensive measures at all “soft” targets, c) focus only on drones, not many other possible lethal AWSs, and d) still produces considerable amount of cost--both in countermeasures and in psychological costs--that would seem to suggest a steep price to be paid to have lethal AWSs even in a rosy scenario.
I'm saying there are substantial constraints on using cheap drones to attack civili... (read more)
You may like to see this post, I agree in theory but don't think that space programs currently are very good at accelerating long run colonization.
Lethal autonomous weapons systems are an early test for AGI safety, arms race avoidance, value alignment, and governance
OK, so this makes sense and in my writeup I argued a similar thing from the point of view of software development. But it means that banning AWSs altogether would be harmful, as it would involve sacrificing this opportunity. We don't want to lay the groundwork for a ban on AGI, we want to lay the groundwork for safe, responsible development. What you actually suggest, contra some other advocates, is to prohibit certain classes but not oth... (read more)
I don't have any arguments over cancel culture or anything general like that, but I am a bit bothered by a view that you and others seem to have. I don't consider Robin Hanson an "intellectual ally" of the EA movement; I've never seen him publicly praise it or make public donation decisions, but he has claimed that do-gooding is controlling and dangerous, that altruism is all signaling with selfish motivations, that we should just save our money and wait for some unspecified future date to give it away, and that poor faraway people are less likely to... (read more)
The idea that she and some other nonconsequentialist philosophers have is that if you care less about faraway people's preferences and welfare, and care more about stuff like moral intuitions, "critical race theory" and "Marxian social theory" (her words), then it's less abstract. But as you can see here, they're still doing complicated ivory tower philosophy that ordinary people do not pick up. So it's a rather particular definition of the term 'abstract'.
Let's be clear: you do not have to have abstract moral epistemology to be an EA. You can ignore... (read more)
Thank you for your interest. So, I'm moving everything to my website now. Previously I had stabbed at a few House and Senate races, but now that the primaries are over, there's really no point in that - I'm instead working on a general comparison of Republicans vs Democrats, and the conclusion will almost certainly be a straightforward recommendation to vote D for all or nearly all congressional races.
If people are curious about which races they should help with donations, I think it's generally fine to focus on key pro-Dem opportunities like this an... (read more)
There a problem with your importance metric - the importance of malaria funding should be measured not by how much it costs but by how much good it does. $1B of malaria funding is much more important than $1B of , right? If we imagine that all the raised revenue gets used for fighting malaria, then it makes sense, but of course that is not a realistic assumption.
I think that raising tax revenue for the US (and maybe some other countries) is not as important as it seems at first glance due to our flexibility with the Federal Reserve and record low int... (read more)
I'm pretty confident that accelerating exponential and never-ending growth would be competitive with reducing x-risk. That was IMO the big flaw with Bostrom's argument (until now). If that's not intuitive let me know and I'll formalize a bit
Thanks, fixed. No that's not the post I'm thinking of.