All of MikkW's Comments + Replies

A Democratic Currency

UBI does not create value, it merely redistributes it. It does not guarantee that there is enough for everybody, it merely helps ensure that when there is already enough (thanks to the workings of the free market), everybody has access to some part of that value

The Case for Promoting / Creating Public Goods Markets as a Cause Area

A note: This was written mostly 8 months ago, and I no longer entirely endorse everything I say in this essay (though I broadly agree with the main thesis that PGMs are worth investing time and energy to promote and create). I have cut the most egregrious parts I no longer endorse, and have lightly edited some other parts, however I haven’t spent a significant amount of time reworking this, and some parts are left being less precise than I would desire; however, I feel that most of the points in this essay are worth making and reading, and I have other thi... (read more)

Thoughts on electoral reform

In practice, states decide how to vote in both congressional and presidential elections (Maine for example, uses ranked choice for both). It is true that getting rid of the electoral college requires a federal amendment, but the electoral college isn't actually that bad; the big problems can be solved within its framework

Thoughts on electoral reform

Tl;dr: We should argue before the election, and build a consensus when it's time to actually get stuff done

I don't think reducing (tribal) polarization is at odds with agonism. There's plenty of room for healthy debate about what direction we should go in, but when in comes to actually deciding who has power, we want to track the median of what people think, not sway back and forth between two extremes (which is a compromise in and of itself)

Thoughts on electoral reform

I think it's worth being aware of lock-in effects; while I agree that it's unproductive to put down alternative approaches, it's also important to do what we can to avoid locking in a suboptimal choice- if Ranked Choice gets locked in over Approval Voting, and if Approval is actually better, it may be very hard to change it in the future, leading to much long-term disutility, perhaps even more than if the shift away from FPTP takes a little longer in the process of getting it right.

But I do agree that bickering and putting alternatives down probably isn't the best way to mitigate lock-in

Against anti-natalism; or: why climate change should not be a significant factor in your decision to have children

From a total view, I think this does outline a potentially compelling case against the climate change argument, but I don't think it's compelling from an average point of view. Even from an in-between perspective (which I think roughly represents my feelings) which evaluates overall welfare as the product of average quality of life times the square root of population, it seems that marginal hits to the climate may outweigh marginal gains in quality of life.

Even from a totalist POV, it's important to consider lives with negative value. It mat... (read more)

On Demopisty

In short, I think the effectiveness of altruism is limited in a non-demopistic society.

My perspective is that markets are a key factor in enabling things to happen. EAs are focused on promoting the social good, but current markets only promote individual benefits, not public benefits. We can either work upstream against the structure of incentives that currently exists, or we can implement systems (such as Quadratic Funding) that align incentives with the public good, thereby making our work easier and motivating more people to work on projects that the EA community values.

Thanks. I'd be very excited to see a full post considering this set of ideas as a cause area proposal, possibly using the ITN framework, if you or anyone else is up to it. I think that the discourse in EA is too thin on these topics, and that perhaps some posts exploring the basics while considering the effects of marginal contribution might be the way to see whether we should consider them worthwhile. I think this makes this post somewhat premature, although I appreciate the suggested terminology and the succinct but informative writing.
Are Humans 'Human Compatible'?

But we can decide what goes inside the machine, whereas with people we can only control outside circumstances. It seems to me that such a mechanism would be highly likely to be an internal mechanism, so wouldn't be applicable to people

1G Gordon Worley III3y
We're in an analogous situation with AI. AI is too complex for us to fully understand what it does (by design), and this is also true of mundane, human-programmed software (asking any software engineer who has worked on something more than 1k lines long if their program ever did anything unexpected and I can promise you the answer is "yes"). Thus although we in theory have control of what goes on inside AI, that's much less the case than it seems at first, so much so that we often have better models of how humans decide to do things than we do for AI.