1881 karmaJoined Jul 2016Working (0-5 years)


  • Completed the Introductory EA Virtual Program
  • Completed the Precipice Reading Group
  • Completed the AGI Safety Fundamentals Virtual Program
  • Attended an EA Global conference
  • Attended an EAGx conference
  • Attended more than three meetings with a local EA group
  • Received career coaching from 80,000 Hours


I think GiveWell shouldn’t be modeled as wanting to recommend organizations that save as many current lives as possible. I think a more accurate way to model them is “GiveWell recommends organizations that are [within the Overton Window]/[have very sound data to back impact estimates] that save as many current lives as possible.”

This is correct if you look at GiveWell's criteria for evaluating donation opportunities. GiveWell’s highly publicized claim “We search for the charities that save or improve lives the most per dollar” is somewhat misleading given that they only consider organizations with RCT-style evidence backing their effectiveness.

Upvoted. This is what longtermism is already doing (relying heavily on non-quantitative, non-objective evidence) and the approach can make sense for more standard local causes as well.

What do you think are the main reasons behind wanting to deploy your own model instead of training an API? Some reasons I can think of:

For anyone interested, the Center for AI Safety is offering up to $500,000 in prizes for benchmark ideas: SafeBench (mlsafety.org)

Just so I understand, are all four of these quotes arguing against preference utilitarianism?

I'm curious whether the reason why EA may be perceived as a cult while, e.g., environmentalist and social justice activism are not, is primarily that the concerns of EA are much less mainstream.

I appreciate the suggestions on how to make EA less cultish, and I think they are valuable to implement, but I don't think they would have a significant effect on public perception of whether EA is a cult.

I agree, that seems concerning. Ultimately, since the AI developers are designing the AIs, I would guess that they would try to align the AI to be helpful to the users/consumers or to the concerns of the company/government, if they succeed at aligning the AI at all. As for your suggestions "Alignment with whoever bought the AI? Whoever users it most often? Whoever might be most positively or negatively affected by its behavior? Whoever the AI's company's legal team says would impose the highest litigation risk?" – these all seem plausible to me.

On the separate question of handling conflicting interests: there's some work on this (e.g., "Aligning with Heterogeneous Preferences for Kidney Exchange" and "Aligning AI with Human Norms through Multi-Objective Reinforced Active Learning"), though perhaps not as much as we would like.

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