Mark Xu


Money Can't (Easily) Buy Talent

Rather than "earn to give" or "do direct work," I think it might be "try as hard as you can to become a highly talented person" (maybe by acquiring domain expertise in an important cause area).

"Try and become very talented" is good advice to take from this post. I don't have a particular method in mind, but becoming the Pareto best in the world at some combination of relevant skills might be a good starting point.

The flip side is that if you value money/monetary donations linearly—or more linearly than other talented people—then you’ve got a comparative advantage in earning to give! The fact that "people don't value money" means that no one's taking the exhausting/boring/bad-location jobs that pay really well. If you do, you can earn more than you "should" (in an efficient market) and make an outsize impact.

This is a good point. People able to competently perform work they're unenthusiastic about should, all else being equal, have an outsized impact because the work they do can more accurately reflect the true value behind the work.

Introducing Probably Good: A New Career Guidance Organization

I'm excited about more efficient matching between people who want career advice and people who are not-maximally-qualified to give it, but can still give aid nonetheless. For example, when planning my career, I often find it helpful to talk to other students making similar decisions, even though they're more "more qualified" than me. I suspect that other students/people feel similarly and one doesn't need to be a career coach to be helpful.

Thoughts on whether we're living at the most influential time in history

I will now consider everything that Carl writes henceforth to be in a parenthetical.

EA Forum Prize: Winners for August 2020

This creates weird incentives, e.g. I could construct a plausible-but-false view, make a post about it, then make a big show of changing my mind. I don't think the amounts of money involved make it worth it, but I'm wary of incentivizing things that are so easily gamed. 

AI risk hub in Singapore?

This is an interesting stategic consideration! Thanks for writing it up.

Note that the probability of AsianTAI/AsianAwarenessNeeded depends on whether or not there is an AI risk hub in Asia. In the extreme, if you expect making aligned AI to take much longer than unaligned AI, then making Asia concerened about AI risk might drive the probability of AsianTAI close to 0. Given how rough the model is, I don't think this matters that much.

Delegate a forecast

How many EA forum posts will there be with greater than or equal to 10 karma submitted in August of 2020?

Will Three Gorges Dam Collapse And Kill Millions?

metaculus link is broken

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I'm Linch Zhang, an amateur COVID-19 forecaster and generalist EA. AMA

In what meaningful ways can forecasting questions be categorized?

This is really broad, but one possible categorization might be questions that have inside view predictions versus questions that have outside view predictions.

I'm Linch Zhang, an amateur COVID-19 forecaster and generalist EA. AMA

How optimistic about "amplification" forecast schemes, where forecasters answer questions like "will a panel of experts say <answer> when considering <question> in <n> years?"

I'm Linch Zhang, an amateur COVID-19 forecaster and generalist EA. AMA

When I look at most forecasting questions, they seem goodharty in a very strong sense. For example, the goodhart tower for COVID might look something like:

1. How hard should I quarantine?

2. How hard I should quarantine is affected by how "bad" COVID will be.

3. How "bad" COVID should be caches out into something like "how many people", "when vaccine coming", "what is death rate", etc.

By the time something I care about becomes specific enough to be predictable/forecastable, it seems like most of the thing I actually cared about has been lost.

Do you have a sense of how questions can be better constructed to lose less of the thing that might have inspired the question?

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