Michael Huang

Librarian @ University of Melbourne
313Melbourne VIC, AustraliaJoined Apr 2021



I started a postsuffering newsletter about creating a future when involuntary suffering no longer exists.

I also began the Wikipedia article eradication of suffering and I'm in the International Suffering Abolitionists group.

How others can help me

A theory of change for the eradication of involuntary suffering

Set up a donation platform for Target Malaria

How I can help others

Open access and scholarly communication


Topic Contributions

This describes three utopias. It makes sense to have several since everyone has differing definitions of utopia.

The 'Psychonauts' sound like the Hedonistic Imperative version of utopia:

The Psychonauts had formed the second most popular cluster. They endorsed hedonism as a theory of value, believing that the purpose of life is the elimination of suffering and the enjoyment of bliss.

Toby Ord has written about the affectable universe, the portion of the universe that “humanity might be able to travel to or affect in any other way.”

I’m curious whether anyone has written about the affectable universe in terms of time.

  1. We can only affect events in the present and the future
  2. Events are always moving from the present (affectable) to the past (unaffectable)
  3. We should intervene in present events (e.g. reduce suffering) before these events move to the unaffectable universe

Thanks for your post, great advice.

Please ensure you include the book's title, author, and year/edition, as well as any other information requested by the library. If you're a university group organiser, it's likely helpful to note that you're with a university student group.

Maybe include the ISBN as well. For academic libraries, it's also helpful to say which students the book is relevant for. Peter Singer's books would be relevant for the Arts students studying philosophy, for example. Academic libraries can buy some extracurricular resources, but most of the budget is for course-relevant resources.

It's important to actually use the books after they arrive! Libraries will look at metrics like the number of times a book is borrowed, the number of unique borrowers, date it was last borrowed, etc. Books that don't get used will eventually be weeded out of the collection. Books that are borrowed a lot may justify multiple copies.

For community building, there's the International Suffering Abolitionists group. It hosts meetups, a Discord server and a section of EA Gather Town.

"Invincible Wellbeing is a research organisation whose mission is to promote research targeting the biological substrates of suffering."

Appears on the 80,000 Hours Job Board

(Edit: Accidentally posted a duplicate link.)

Aligned with whom? by Anton Korinek and Avital Balwit (2022) has a possible answer. They write that an aligned AI system should have

  • direct alignment with its operator, and
  • social alignment with society at large.

Some examples of failures in direct and social alignment are provided in Why we need a new agency to regulate advanced artificial intelligence: Lessons on AI control from the Facebook Files (Korinek, 2021).

We could expand the moral circle further by aligning AI with the interests of both human and non-human animals. Direct, social and sentient alignment?

As you mentioned, these alignments present conflicting interests that need mediation and resolution.

The Tech Worker Handbook website has more information about Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs). It also cautions people from reading the website on a company device:

I do NOT advise accessing this from a company device. Your employer can, and will likely, track visits to a resource like this Handbook.

Business Insider's review of 36 NDAs in the tech industry:

Some NDAs say explicitly that the confidentiality provisions never sunset, effectively making them lifelong agreements...

More than two-thirds of workers who shared their agreements with Insider said they weren’t exactly sure what the documents prevented them from saying—or whether even sharing them was a violation of the agreement itself.

Thank you for posting this. Appreciate reading about his life and legacy.

Are there any links to the translations of David Pearce's works?

Thanks for the comment.

It would focus on species that have the capacity for suffering and enjoyment, so not all species.

I agree it is a hugely ambitious project. Megaprojects are within the scope of EA and its funders.

If most wild animal lives have negative wellbeing, I think this kind of intervention would be preferable to the status quo or extinction.

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