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[Creative writing contest] Blue bird and black bird

To be honest, I didn't think very hard about the names. The thought process was roughly: 1) I want to make a story whose characters are birds, and I could have a smart black bird. 2) Incidentally, I like that it doesn't have to be technical or complicated--- there are birds you can call "blackbirds," and there are birds you can call "bluebirds," so 3) I'll call my characters "black bird" and "blue bird." And I liked the colors this suggested, so that didn't veto the decision. :) 

In any case, I'm glad you liked it, thanks! 

[Creative writing contest] Blue bird and black bird

Thanks for the comments! The urgency argument makes sense. I'm not sure if I'll end up changing things, but I'll consider it, and thanks for pointing this out! 

Disentangling "Improving Institutional Decision-Making"

An update: after a bit of digging, I discovered this post, "Should marginal longtermist donations support fundamental or intervention research?", which contains a discussion on a topic that is quite close to "should EA value foundational (science/decision theory) research," (in the pathway (1) section of my post). The conclusions of the post I found do not fit into my vague impressions of "the consensus." In particular, the conclusion of that post is that longtermist research hours should often be spent on fundamental research (which is defined by its goals). 

I’m moderately confident that, from a longtermist perspective, $1M of additional research funding would be better allocated to fundamental rather than intervention research (unless funders have access to unusually good intervention research opportunities, but not to unusually good fundamental research opportunities)

(Disclaimer: the author, Michael, is employed at Rethink Priorities, where I am interning. I don't know if he still endorses this post or its conclusions, but the post seems relevant here and very valuable as a reference.)

Impact chains

For what it's worth, I've seen "pathway to impact" used in the way you seem to use "impact chain" (e.g. and e.g., and I used it a bunch), and it seems somewhat more natural to me. It's possible that "pathway to impact" is just a niche term that clicked with me, though, and I definitely agree that it's a useful concept. 

Disentangling "Improving Institutional Decision-Making"

Thank you for this comment! 

I intuitively would’ve drawn the institution blob in your sketch higher, i.e. I’d have put fewer than (eyeballing) 30% of institutions in the negatively aligned space (maybe 10%?). 

I won't redraw/re-upload this sketch, but I think you are probably right. 

In moments like this, including a quick poll into the forum to get a picture what others think would be really useful.

That's a really good idea, thank you! I'll play around with that.

re: "argument for how an abstract intervention that improves decision-making would also incidentally improve the value-alignment of an institution" etc.

Thank you for the suggestions! I think you raise good points, and I'll try to come back to this.

EA Forum Creative Writing Contest: Submission thread for work first published elsewhere

I think this is a really cool work/parable: "That Alien Message." It's by Eliezer Yudkowsky, so I don't know if it's too well known to count, but it still seems worth collecting in this context. (The topic, or "relevance" from an EA point of view, of the story is a spoiler, but should be pretty clear.) 

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