MattBall
PresidentatOne Step for Animals

Matt is the author, co-author, secondary-author, ghost-author, and non-author of articles, speeches, book chapters, and even entire books!  The most recent is his blockbuster* The Accidental Activist (which Amazon claims is by his wife Anne Green. So it goes.). Currently, he is President of One Step for Animals; previously, he was shitcanned from more nonprofits than there is room to list here. (Although there’s still time for more!) Before Matt’s unfortunate encounter with activism, he was an aerospace engineer who wanted to work for NASA (to impress Carl Sagan). 

His hobbies include photography, almost dying, and XXXXXX (Hey! This is a family-friendly website! -ed). He lives in Tucson with Anne, along with no dogs, no cats, and no African tortoises, although he cares for all of these via friends and family.
*JK

Topic Contributions

Comments

Against Longtermism: I welcome our robot overlords, and you should too!

Honestly, this is why I won't be engaging with comments. 

How is this a question based on anything I've written? I'm arguing that we should reduce unnecessary suffering that exists right now. So instead of addressing that, you accuse me of advocating of wanting to kill all humans?

Good faith, indeed. Yikes. 

Anyone with legit questions and insights (as I said, I could be wrong!) knows where to find me.

Over and out.

Future-proof ethics

Thanks, Michael. This is what I've been looking for. I'll check out your links.
I tend to agree with Ryder, although I don't know how thorough his framework is.
Thanks again.
PS: Hey Michael, those links were interesting. Do you have a good link to go into more about "limited aggregation"?
Thanks,
-Matthew Michael

Future-proof ethics

I understand that you lose a lot (and I appreciate your blog posts). But that is not an argument that additivity is correct. As I've written for my upcoming book:

Imagine a universe that has only two worlds, World R and World FL. In World R, Ricky the Rooster is the only sentient being, and is suffering in an absolutely miserable life.

This is bad. But where is it bad? In Ricky’s consciousness. And nowhere else.

On World FL, Rooster Foghorn is living in one forest and Rooster Leghorn is living in a separate forest. They are the World FL’s only sentient beings, and don’t know each other. Their lives are as bad as Ricky’s. 

Our natural response is to think that World FL is twice as bad as World R. But where could it possibly be twice as bad? Foghorn’s life is bad in his consciousness and nowhere else. Leghorn’s life is bad in his consciousness and nowhere else.


Where is their world twice as bad as Ricky’s?

Nowhere.

Okay, yes, I admit it is twice as bad in your mind and my mind. But we are not part of that universe. Imagine that these worlds are unknown to any other sentient being. Then there is simply nowhere that World FL is worse than World R. 

In this universe, there are three worlds and only three worlds: one in each of their minds.


Tell me where I am factually wrong. Please, I’m asking you. My life would be much easier and happier if you would. 

Don’t say that the implications of this insight leads to absurd conclusions that offend our intuitions. I already know that! Just tell me where am I factually wrong.


I know (oh, yes, I know) that this seems like it can’t possibly be right. This is because we can’t help but be utilitarian in this regard, just like we can’t help but feel like we are in control of our consciousness and our decisions and our choices. 

But I can see no way around this simple fact: morally-relevant “badness” exists only in individual consciousnesses.




 

Every moment of an electron's existence is suffering

With regards to wild animal suffering, my main point is tractability. 

You don’t have to respond to every comment

I saw this headline in the Digest and clicked over. The sincere question I have is: Is this forum many people's lives? That is fine -- why not -- but it does seem like quite a few people live here, commenting and then re-commenting.

On Caring

I'm only just seeing this piece now. Very good! It is similar to points I've tried to make over the years:
https://www.mattball.org/2016/01/big-numbers-hurt-animals-revisited.html

Every moment of an electron's existence is suffering

Thanks so very much for this! Makes an important point in a funny but irrefutable way. I've tried to take this on seriously ( https://www.mattball.org/2020/12/repeat-kinda-against-ea-utilitarianism.html ) and Vox has as well: https://www.vox.com/2015/8/10/9124145/effective-altruism-global-ai
Thanks again. You rock!
 

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PresidentatOne Step for Animals

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