All of Matt Brooks's Comments + Replies

Against immortality?

I think this is really difficult to truly assess because there is a huge confounder. The more you age the worse your memory gets, your creativity decreases, your ability to focus decreases, etc., etc.

If all of that was fixed with anti-aging it may not be true that science progresses one funeral at a time because the people at the top of their game can keep producing great work instead of becoming geriatric while still holding status/power in the system.

Also, it could be a subconscious thing: "why bother truly investigating my beliefs at age 70, I'm going t... (read more)

My comment wasn't about science but about political and moral values. I doubt that the reason people don't change them more is cognitive decline, since it seems that slowness to change them sets in long before cognitive decline sets in. The same comment also applies to: It's not just people who are 70+ who are slow to change their moral and political views.
Against immortality?

This is a good comment. I'd like to respond but it feels like a lot of typing... haha


but that’s not the same as seeing improvements in leaders’ quality

I just mean the world is trending towards democracies and away from totalitarianism.


It’s inherently easier to attain and keep power by any means necessary with zero ethics

Yes, but 100x easier? Probably not. What if the great minds have 100x the numbers and resources? Network effects are strong


There’s another asymmetry where it’s often easier to destroy/attack/kill than build something.

Same ... (read more)

Against immortality?

I agree, it feels like a stakesy decision! And I'm pretty aligned with longtermist thinking, I just think that "entire future at risk due to totalitarianism lock-in due to removing death from aging" seems really unlikely to me. But I haven't really thought about it too much so I guess I'm really uncertain here as we all seem to be.

"what year you guess it would first have been good to grant people immortality?"

I kind of reject the question due to 'immortality' as that isn't the decision we're currently faced with. (unless you're only interested in this spec... (read more)

Against immortality?

Of course, it would, but if you're reducing the risk of totalitarian lock-in from 0.4% to 0.39% (obviously made up numbers) by waiting 200 years I would think that's a mistake that costs billions of lives.

Against immortality?

The thing that's hard to internalize (at least I think) is that by waiting 200 years to start anti-aging efforts you are condemning billions of people to an early death with a lifespan of ~80 years. 

You'd have to convince me that waiting 200 years would reduce the risk of totalitarian lock-in so much that it offsets billions of lives that would be guaranteed to "prematurely end".

Totalitarian lock-in is scary to think about and billions of people's lives ending prematurely is just text on a screen. I would assume that the human brain can easily simulate the everyday horror of a total totalitarian world. But it's impossible for your brain to digest even 100,000,000 premature deaths, forget billions and billions.

4Owen Cotton-Barratt2mo
I certainly feel like it's a very stakesy decision! This is somewhere where a longtermist perspective might be more hesitant to take risks that jeopardize the entire future to save billions alive today. I also note that your argument applies to past cases too. I'm curious in what year you guess it would first have been good to grant people immortality? (As mentioned in the opening post, I'm quite confused about what's good here.)
1Ben Millwood2mo
I don't buy the asymmetry of your scope argument. It feels very possible that totalitarian lock-in could have billions of lives at stake too, and cause a similar quantity of premature deaths.
Against immortality?

But we're not debating if immortality over the last thousand years would have been better or not, we're looking at current times and then estimating forward, right? (I agree a thousand years ago immortality would have been much much riskier than starting today)

In today's economy/society great minds can instantly coordinate and outnumber the dictators by a large margin. I believe this trend will continue and that if you allow all minds to continue the great minds will outgrow the dictator minds and dominate the equation.

Dictators are much more likely to die... (read more)

One question is whether coalitions of pro-social people are better at deferring power to good successors than dictators are at ensuring that they have equally bad/dictatorial successors. If you believe that Democracies are unlikely to “turn bad,” shouldn’t you be in favor of reducing the variance to the lifetime of dictatorships? The discussion here is very abstract, so I’m unsure if I disagree because I picture a different pathway to giving people extreme longevity or whether I disagree with your general world model and reasoning. In any case, here are some additional related thoughts: * You point to a trendline with the share of Democracies increasing, but that’s not the same as seeing improvements in leaders’ quality (some democracies may be becoming increasingly dysfunctional). I’m open to the idea that world leaders are getting better, but if I had to make an intuition-driven judgment based on the last few years, I wouldn’t say so. * It’s inherently easier to attain and keep power by any means necessary with zero ethics vs. gaining it to do something complicated and altruistic (and staying ethical along the way and keeping people alive, etc.) * There’s another asymmetry where it’s often easier to destroy/attack/kill than build something. Those brilliant people coordinating to keep potential dictators in check, they may not be enough. If having no ethics means you get to use super powers, then the people with ethics are in trouble (as Owen points out, they're the ones who will die first or have their families imprisoned). (Related: I think it’s ambiguous whether Putin supports your point. The world is in a very precarious situation now because of one tyrant. Lots of people will starve even if nuclear escalation can be avoided.) * Some personality pathologies like narcissism and psychopathy seem to be increasing lately, tracking urbanization rates and probably other factors. Evolutionarily, higher death rates at
4Owen Cotton-Barratt2mo
I agree that probably you'd be fine starting today, and it's a much safer bet than starting 1,000 years ago, but is it a safer bet than waiting say another 200 years? I'd be concerned about dictators inciting violence against precisely the people they most perceive as threats. e.g. I don't know the history of the Cultural Revolution well, but my impression is that something like this happened there.
Against immortality?

When thinking about the tail of dictators don't you also have to think of the tail of good people with truly great minds you would be saving from death? (People like John von Neumann, Benjamin Franklin, etc.)

Overall, dictators are in a very tough environment with power struggles and backstabbing, lots of defecting, etc. while great minds tend to cooperate, share resources, and build upon each other.

 Obviously, there are a lot more great minds doing good than 'great minds' wishing to be world dictators. And it seems to trend in the right direction. Com... (read more)

9Owen Cotton-Barratt2mo
It's a good point that by default you'd be extending all the great minds too. Abstractly I was tracking this, but I like calling it out explicitly. & I agree with the trend that we're improving over time. But I worry that if we'd had immortality for the last thousand years maybe we wouldn't have seen the same degree of improvement over time. The concern is if someone had achieved global dictatorship maybe that would have involved repressing all the smart good people, and preventing coordination to overthrow them.
HealthCredit: a carbon credit for health

Congrats on winning the hackathon! Very Impressive! I'm excited to see how this project progresses, this seems like a great opportunity to improve the traditional funding and non profit sector without taking huge crazy leaps.

Toward Impact Markets

I am also confused about NPX: it cannot be that if the funding fails to make impact then the investor invests other funding principle?


Sorry, what do you mean by this?

Toward Impact Markets

Really impressive post, some great deep thinking here.  I saw earlier drafts and it has definitely grown and improved.  I'm proud to be working with you on this project, thank you for your time and effort! And thanks for 1% of the impact as well, I appreciate that.

For anyone looking for a simple real-world example I have this WIP document on how it could have been used to kickstart climate change action in the past. I'm trying to figure out a way to easily convey the concept and benefits of an impact market to a general audience (non EA/Rationalist people)

3Denis Drescher4mo
Awww, thank you! I also greatly enjoy working with you on this project!
Being an individual alignment grantmaker

Thanks for shouting out and our Discord! 

We just hacked together V1 during ETH Denver's hackathon last weekend but we're going to be iterating towards a very serious market over the next few months.

If anyone wants to stay up-to-date on impact certificates or even better, wants to help build it (or support us in any way) then feel free to join our small but growing Discord.

EA Fundraising Through Advantage Sports Betting: A Guide ($500/Hour in Select States)

Incredible. Thanks so much, I'll reply here to let you know how we made out!

EA Fundraising Through Advantage Sports Betting: A Guide ($500/Hour in Select States)

Great post! 

I'm unlikely going to itemize my taxes so is there a simpler way my GF and I can take advantage of the best bonuses? We can countertrade each other on the same book if that helps. Are there low-hanging fruit bonuses in NJ?

4Sam Anschell5mo
Hey Matt, it's awesome that you two are interested in participating! Here are the promos I'd recommend doing in NJ grouped by EV/hour for those taking the standard deduction: $400-600/hour and lower variance: Barstool [] (first bet on long odds, free bet on short odds), Fanduel [] (first bet on long odds, free bet on short odds), Caesars [] (first bet on short odds, free bet on long odds), Tipico [](both bets on short odds), $150-300/hour and higher variance: BetMGM [] (both bets on long odds), Pointsbet [] (both bets on long odds, pointsbet following other comment in this post), Wynnbet [] (both bets on long odds),PlaySugarshouse [] (bet on short odds), Playup [](bet on short odds), Twinspires [] (both bets on long odds), Superbook [] (bet on long odds). $50-150/hour and high variance Foxbet [] (both bets on long odds), $50-150/hour and low variance Bet365 [], Draftkings [] (the bet $5 win 280 free option), Golden Nugget [](first bet short odds, free bet long odds) Not worth doing: Betway, Borgata, Hard Rock, TheScore, Unibet, Resorts Sportsbook
Exposure to 3m Pointless viewers- what to promote?

If you're thinking about something about GiveWell a catchy line might be something like: 

"The best charities are 100 times more effective than others, GiveWell is a nonprofit that finds these charities and recommends them so your donation goes the furthest (or so your donation can save the most lives)."

I would be hesitant on directly noting comparisons. I think the first clause of your sentence could come off as suggesting other charities are poor. This would be especially bad if any other person on the show mentions a charity. I like Aaron Gertler's plug at DreamHack [] (from his answer [] on this post) as it specifically notes the analytic and methodical side of showing expected returns from charitable investment. Just getting good bang for your buck. I personally find the concept of "best charities are 100 times more effective than others" motivating, and it may be what we imply when saying 'the most effective charities', but I think it encourages an immediate knee-jerk response in many to take the view as something self-righteous, showy, or pompous. I like the second clause of your sentence.
Internalizing Externalities

Your post/idea reminds me of "Social Impact Bonds":

Seems sorta similar except instead of private investors it's an open market for regular people to make a profit from their good policy investments.

1Anthony Repetto7mo
Ah, now that I've started looking further - an assessment of those Social Impact Bonds, here [] . They note "“Using a single outcome to define success may miss a range of other benefits that might result from the program—benefits that also have real value but will go unmeasured” (Berlin, 2016)" which is in-line with what I'd said elsewhere on the idea: whatever we don't measure, tends to bite us in the butt. (That includes which groups we listen to!) The report also mentions: “By design, nearly all of the early SIBs were premised on government-budget savings. Indeed, in those deals, payments to investors depended on those savings.” This would be a huge hinderance, with the only evaluated benefits being 'costs to gov't avoided'. Only by including as much of the real externality as feasibly measurable could we hope to incentivize the right solutions. So, though SIBs are essentially the same mechanism I mention, they do seem to be falling short for reasons I'd expected and planned around. A singular legislative document, setting taxes to match whatever the percent benefits happen to be, with a devoted branch of the executive determining externalities with transparent metrics, statistical safeguards. Investors might also feel that "this is like a government bond", if we give them a stronger institutional commitment. One-off policy goals find their funding pulled regularly, in contrast, which would spoil the potential of the investment. I'd guess I'm SIB-adjacent?
1Anthony Repetto7mo
Thank you VERY much for bringing this to my attention! And, I would say this is almost-exactly what I had in mind! (The "investor" I referred to is merely the role; any normal person could throw a dollar in the pot, becoming an investor; and any community could propose benefit-plans.) If those "government priorities & funding" were enshrined as a mandate to regularly-updated public concerns, funded with a singular tax-rate that is raised or lowered to match the total quantity of benefits, then I couldn't tell the difference between our plans. I see vast change becoming possible, when you can earn a competitive return from public good, funneled through taxation for efficiency and fairness' sake. It'd bring a few orders of magnitude more resources to bear on our troubles. (And, if we manage to internalize most externalities, then pricing is a decent representation of real cost, which would provide systemic gains to efficiency.)
Announcing, powered by EA Funds

This is great! 

I had a similar idea regarding the crypto community as a great potential source of EA funding but I'm thinking more for-profit than strictly donation. It might be possible to tie crypto profits to EA funding by creating an impact certificate DAO.

I have a working project proposal I've been getting feedback on, if anyone is interested in reading it and giving me their thoughts just message me and I'll send you the link!

I would love to connect with the team to see if we can bounce some ideas off or learn from each other.

1Robbert-Jan Sparreboom7mo
Hey Matt, I am preparing a small project to map the current state of crypto within the EA community. Would be very interested to hear what you are working on! Cheers
Certificates of impact

Bob does lose cash of his balance sheet, but his net asset position stays the same, because he's gained an IC that he can resell.


What if no one buys it?

If the market value of the IC is 0, then ICs aren't gonna work. But it's OK if very few ICs are sold, so long as the market clears at a decent price.