Michael

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Contest: 250€ for translation of "longtermism" to German
  • Tiefenfuturismus
  • Tiefezukunftheit
  • Tiefe Voraussicht
  • Weitsicht für zukünftige Generationen
  • Zukunftschutz
  • Zukunftrettung
What are the key claims of EA?

Probably it would be worthwhile to cross-reference your post with sources such as:

https://www.centreforeffectivealtruism.org/ceas-guiding-principles

https://resources.eagroups.org/running-a-group/communicating-about-ea/what-to-say-pitch-guide

These sources seem to encapsulate key claims of EA nicely, so points raised there could serve as additional points for your analysis, clarify some things up maybe (haven't thought of it much, just dropping the links).

What are great marketing ideas to encourage pre-orders of What We Owe The Future?

I very much like the idea of targeting the "self-improvement" crowd, especially the more sensible authors such as Mark Manson or James Clear :) 

What are great marketing ideas to encourage pre-orders of What We Owe The Future?

A) Covid has tangibly demonstrated for many people how a disease can get out of hand and biorisk is one of the most severe x-risks. Maybe playing up that angle would be beneficial? Something along the lines of "the pandemic is not over, yet we need to think about how to safeguard ourselves - and future generations - against another pandemic and other x-risks". Such a message could open a lot of doors into podcasts/newsletters/newspapers etc. Of course, that message would have to be crafted carefully and sensibly in order to avoid the accusations of profiteering on the tragedy of Covid.

B) As for the websites to pitch the book towards:

technologyreview.com (having the book featured in their daily newsletter "The Download" would surely be something)
aeon.co
wired.com
thebulletin.org
quantamagazine.org
scientificamerican.com
futurity.org
vox.com
theverge.com
project-syndicate.org
vice.com
axios.com
clearerthinking.org


 

Next week I'm interviewing Will MacAskill — what should I ask?

1 Will MacAskill mentions that "What We Owe The Future" is somewhat complimentary to "The Precipice". What can we expect to learn from "WWOTF" having previoulsy read "The Precipice"?

2 How would Will go about estimating the discount rate for the future? We shouldn't discriminate against future "just because", however we still need some estimate for a discount rate, because:

a) there are other reasons for applying discount rate other than discrimination eg. "possibility of extinction, expropriation, value drift, or changes in philanthropic opportunities" (see https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/3QhcSxHTz2F7xxXdY/estimating-the-philanthropic-discount-rate#Significance_of_mis_estimating_the_discount_rate )

b) not applying a discount rate at all makes all current charity etc. negligably effective compared to working towards better future - eg. by virtue of the future having much, much greater number of moral agents for which we can safeguard said future (people, animals, but also AIs/robots perhaps or some post-human or trans-human species). Not having any discount rate would completely de-prioritize all current charity, which is what a lot of EAs would not agree with.

In other words: How do we divide our resources (time, attention, money, career etc.) between short-term and long-term causes?

3 What are the possible criticisms that the book could receive - both from within and from the outside of EA community?

4 To which extent the book will discuss value shift/drift? It seems an interesting topic, which also appears not to be discussed very extensively in other EA sources

5 What comes next after "WWOTF"? If another book, what will it be about?

6 What is Will's stance on War in Ukraine? How does it contribute to x-risks, s-risks and how can it influence the future (incl. deep future)? It appears to be one of the first major conflicts involving (to an extent unseen earlier) technologies such as: social media (for shaping public opinion, organizing), cyberwarfare, AI (eg. for analyzing open source intelligence, face recognition), renewable energy sources (touted as an alternative to dependence on Russian fossil fuels) etc.
 

Ukraine: can we talk to the Russian soldiers?

Potential issue: desertion is deliberately hard in most militaries, by creating conditions akin to Prisonner's Dillema or The Tragedy of the Commons - what's rational for the group to do (desert) is very risky and irrational for an individual to attempt alone (any one soldier trying to desert, if they do it alone, risks getting caught and executed).

In Russian military the case is even more difficult - most of Russian soldiers probably have their families back in Russia, and it's very likely that deserters' families would be harassed, given that there are already many human rights' violations going on there.

Case in point - https://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/13/world/europe/13hazing.html - one of the Russian soldiers lost his legs in (peacetime) brutal hazing. His family was pressured with bribery to drop the charges against the army (they didn't). It's not hard to imagine similar, albeit brutal pressure put on families of deserters.

[Crosspost] How do Effective Altruist recommendations change in times of war? [From Marginal Revolution]

Russia is also one of the largest exporters of grain: https://www.ft.com/content/e6a28dd9-ecea-4d67-b6b5-a50301b731b2

Another point of interest - both belligerents provide key ingredients to chip manufacturing - for Ukraine it's neon, for Russia - palladium. War can potentially exacerbate the existing chip shortage: https://www.ft.com/content/e6a28dd9-ecea-4d67-b6b5-a50301b731b2

How are you keeping it together?

I recommend a book called: A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety by Sarah Jacquette Ray - as the title suggests it's mostly about climate anxiety, however I've found that a lot of ideas on "how to keep your cool on a warming planet" can be applied to any existential-risk related crises, such as this one. One recommendation is to definitely look after oneself, since good mental and physical condition is not a luxury nowadays, it's needed to act when the time is right. Also, there are chapters on how to organize your community to act effectively. Recommended read.

 

Organizations Encouraging Russian Desertion?

The post you linked is interesting but omits one crucial consideration - most of Russian soldiers probably have their families back in Russia, and it's very likely that deserters' families would be harassed, given that there are already many human rights' violations going on there.

Case in point - https://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/13/world/europe/13hazing.html - one of the Russian soldiers lost his legs in (peacetime) brutal hazing. His family was pressured with bribery to drop the charges against the army (they didn't). It's not hard to imagine similar, albeit brutal pressure put on families of deserters.

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