MathiasKirkBonde

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Some EA Forum Posts I'd like to write

This is such a great idea!

I have a laundry list of blog posts I'd like to write as well and I imagine many others do too. Would it maybe make sense to make a monthly mega thread where people can share their blog post ideas?

Wrt. to your ideas, I would be super excited to read "How to get good at forecasting"!

AMA: Markus Anderljung (PM at GovAI, FHI)

Your paragraph on the Brussels effect was remarkably similar to the main research proposal in my FHI research scholar application that I hastily wrote, but didn't finish before the deadline.

The Brussels effect it strikes me as one of the best levers available to Europeans looking to influence global AI governance. It seems to me that better understanding how international law such as the Geneva conventions came to be, will shed light on the importance of diplomatic third parties in negotiations between super powers.

I have been pursuing this project on my own time, figuring that if I didn't, nobody would. How can I make my output the most useful to someone at FHI wanting to know about this?

[Linkpost] Some Thoughts on Effective Altruism

It's very refreshing to read a criticism of EA that isn't chock-full of straw men.
Kudos to the authors for doing their best to represent EA fairly.
That's not usually the case for articles that accuse EA of neglecting 'systemic change'.

That said, their worldview feels incredibly alien to me.
It's difficult for me to state any point where I think they make clear errors.
Rather, it seems I just have entirely different priors than the authors.
What they take for granted, I find completely unintuitive.

Writing in length about where our priors seem to differ, would more or less be a rehash of prior debates on EA and systemic change.

I would love to have the authors of this come on an EA podcast, and hear their views expressed in more detail. Usually when I think something is clearly wrong I can explain why, here I can't.

It would be a shame if I were wrong longer than necessary.

It's Not Hard to Be Morally Excellent; You Just Choose Not To Be

I'm not completely certain if I had the right takeaway from your post, so feel free to tell me "that's not at all what I'm saying", but it seems to me you're pushing a sentiment that changing ones behavior is easy.

This is a sentiment I strongly disagree with. I think it's an incredibly unhealthy mindset that does few people any good.

Eating healthy and regular exercise is clearly good for me and within my long term interests and 'easy' to do, yet they are a constant source of struggle within my life. But it is not easy for me to do, if it was I'd be doing it without a second thought.

On the other hand, I never once worried about my weight, whereas my father spent ten years agonizing over 20 kilos. Why didn't my father just snap his fingers and start eating the right number of calories?

Curing cancer by snapping my finger is impossible, so is snapping my finger and changing my brains neurons to find regular exercise and healthy diet easy. We all agree it would be crazy to feel guilt over the former, so why feel guilt about the latter?

Scott Alexander made this point wonderfully in his essay 'Parable of the talents'.

We are all wired differently. What is easy for those you look up to, might be impossibly hard for you. What is easy for you, is be impossibly hard to someone else.

Be better than you were yesterday, that's all anyone can ever ask of you.

Some history topics it might be very valuable to investigate

Great write up, though I feel slight regret reading it as there are now a further 10 things in my life to be annoyed I don't know more about!


Maybe it would be valuable to try crowdsourcing research such as this?

Start a shared g-suite document where we can coordinate and collaborate. I would find it fairly fun to research one of these topics in my free time, but doubt I commit the full energy it requires to produce a thorough analysis.

I could write myself up publicly somewhere others can see, that I'm willing to work 7 hours a week, on eg. studying societal collapse. Then someone else looking to do the same, can coordinate and collaborate with me, and we could potentially produce a much better output.

Even if collaboration turns out to be unfruitful, coordination might at least prevent double work.

MathiasKirkBonde's Shortform

At what point do feel with ~90% certainty you would have done more good by donating to animal charities than you've harmed by consuming a regular meat-filled diet?

It would be nice to know the numbers I have in my head somewhat conform to what smart people think.

Longtermism ⋂ Twitter

Thanks for this post, it's something that has been bothering as of late.

I like that these important topics become more discoverable, but worry about the lock-in that occurs when we move discussion to social media. For those who choose not to participate in Twitter or Facebook, it becomes harder to keep up with much of the movement.

Let me be transparent here, I'm worried about this particularly for my own sake!

I can't control my time usage on these websites at all. I have to keep twitter, facebook, etc. blocked completely from my devices or I won't get anything done.

It feels awful that I can't keep up with potentially great discussions by wonderful people on twitter (and Rob Wiblins fantastic hot takes on facebook), without participating in media that leaves me anxious and stressed.

Maybe it's just me who has this issue, but I want to voice it in case I'm not the only one.

MathiasKirkBonde's Shortform

I wrote down a list of all the things I could spend one hour every day doing. Among high scorers was teaching myself Mandarin.

Has anyone looked into the value of learning Mandarin, for the average person disinterested in China?

MathiasKirkBonde's Shortform

Triplebyte is a company that interviews and vets software developers, identifying their strengths and weaknesses. Triplebyte can cut down the time spent on draining interviews significantly. More importantly it makes it easy for firms to find candidates and vice-versa.

Would it be useful to have similar service for EA organisations?

It seems to me the skills EA organisations look for, seem harder to generalize than software development skills. This means centralized interviews are much less valuable.

What does seem useful is reducing the friction that arises from matching companies with candidates.

Less well known orgs could more easily find the labor they need and persons interested in direct work at EA orgs can devote their full focus on their current occupation knowing they will be visible to potential employers.

It seems the 80k job-board is already accomplishing much of this, does anyone reckon there would be demand for an expanded version of this?

Dominic Cummings - An 'Odyssean' Education [review]

I have read the entirety of "An 'Odyssean' Education" as well as another ~300 pages of blogposts from him, fascinated by how someone with someone who seemingly has formed his beliefs from much of the same literature I have, comes to such vastly different conclusions than me.

I mostly agree with your book review, your summary hit the nail on its head.

An 'Odyssean' Education, reads like a rough first draft at its best and like a stream of thoughts at its worst. But that's alright. Its purpose is to be a rough sketch of Dominic Cummings' worldview. It gives us insight to why he holds his beliefs and push for certain policies but not others.

I wish I could read a similar document for other prominent political figures, and get a similar understanding of their worldview as well.

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