Thanks for writing and sharing this! I liked that this is a different, more personal EA Forum post than most are.
Plus this was of particular interest to me, as I've been vegan for several years, although transitioning more recently towards being lacto-vegetarian (mostly eating yogurt, ice cream, cheese) because I'm trying to be healthier but have found it hard to hit a good amount of protein.
+1 for the asknots article!
Yeah I remember Rob's thought--I think it might be a fb post?
I think in most cases, this doesn't look like using 10% of your time, but rather trading off the an optimally effective career for a less effective career with that improves along selfish dimensions such as salary, location, work/life balance, personal engagement, etc.
This picture is complicated by the fact that many of these characteristics are not independent from effectiveness, so it isn't clean. Personal fit for a career is a good example of this because it's both selfish and you'll be better at your job if you find a career with relative better fit.
Thanks for this post, this is very interesting. Also relevant to this topic is Matt Yglesias' post today, The case for Terminator analogies, in which he advocates for mass-media portrayals of AGI like the terminator movies.
One idea that occurs to me to for a megaproject (although it may not be as scalable as some other projects) is something similar to GLAAD, but for EA/existential risk ideas.
GLAAD advocates for LGBT representation in the entertainment industry, as well as other pro-LBGT acceptance messaging and spent roughly $9 million in 2020. Although further in-depth research is required to determine GLAAD's counterfactual impact, my sense is that they've been at least somewhat impactful. Gallup's polling of US support for gay marriage has increased from 27% in 1996 to 70% in 2021, and the first GLAAD media awards for LGBT representation were held in 1990. Indeed, this article argues that GLAAD has been so effective, it has outlived its usefulness. Separately, the TV show Will & Grace (started in 1998) is sometimes credited with normalizing gay relationships, and Biden said in 2012: "I think Will & Grace did more to educate the American public more than almost anything anybody has done so far. People fear that which is different. Now they’re beginning to understand.”
GLAAD could be a model for an EA project that lobbies the entertainment industry to get movies and TV shows like the ones you mention above produced. It could also advise the industry on how to portray threats from pandemics and super-volcanoes (or similar) accurately. Another project in this area that could be used as a blueprint is AAAS' Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology.
Hi George, thanks so much for writing this post! This seems like a great an idea. I'll try to be unbiased, but given this is the first EA Forum I've read about cooking and food, two of my passions, I'll probably be biased.
This seems like an extremely cool opportunity for impact, although I definitely think it has a high chance of failure, but substantial impact if successful. This definitely falls into the category of very ambitious EA projects, with the small possibility of becoming a version of a self sustaining EA megaproject (aka a company).
It seems from my layman perspective that a for-profit business model is the way to go here, rather than a non-profit campaign. You discuss connecting purveyors/distributors with restaurants, but do those supply chains exist? It seems like you say that rare Chinese tofus are basically non-existent in the US, and that's my perception as well. If that's the case, then marketing and creating a campaign promoting these non-traditional tofus might be putting the cart before the horse. You can't create demand without also creating supply. Although creating a for-profit company becomes a much larger endeavor, it also creates an opportunity to grow much more rapidly and become a self-sustaining force. Additionally, many of your proposals seem like they would fit into a for-profit company as marketing.
As others have commented, I think even your conservative estimates regarding potential growth of the tofu market are wildly optimistic. Tofu is very unpopular to most Americans, so I think achieving any increase in tofu consumption among non-vegans/vegetarians is already a big ask. Nonetheless, I think increasing the quality and options of non-animal protein options is very important for making it easier to eat become vegan/vegetarian or just to eat less meat.
Finally, re this opportunity vs longtermist community building, it seems like you have exceptional personal fit for this opportunity. You clearly have intimate knowledge about the topic and a clear passion for it, so that seems like a strong point in favor of trying it. Plus you would get invaluable experience and career capital out of it.
I think I understand your confusion @shrek. There are two stages: the initial risk-free bet and then then free bet (if necessary).
1st bet, $1000 on +100 odds (50% implied probability)
Win the bet: Payout is $2000 ($1000 stake, $1000 winnings)
Lose the bet: Payout is $0 cash, $1000 free bet
2nd bet (only necessary if lost 1st bet), $1000 free bet on +100 odds
Win: Payout is $1000 cash
Lose: Payout is $0
The EV calculation is then: 0.5 x 2000 + 0.5 x ((0.5 x 1000) + (0.5 x 0)) = $1250
Thus we see that it is positive EV.
This can get much fancier, and you can optimize it for higher EV, lower risk, etc, but this shows the basic intuition.
EV is the same, you're just reducing volatility (risk is maybe a better word?) by guaranteeing the outcome either way. A downside is that the hedge does increase the necessary bankroll. That said EV does vary with how long the odds are.
It's physical presence only. It does ask for your address for ID verification purposes. I think ID requirements vary from person to person, so I didn't have to submit pictures of my ID, but I have some friends who had to. Doesn't have to be NY ID though.