With Gavin Leech, I run Arb, an EA consultancy.

With Eli Lifland and Aaron Ho, I am working on Sage, a forecasting org.

With Nuño Sempere, Eli Lifland and others, I forecast a lot as part of Samotsvety, a forecasting team.

Topic Contributions


Potatoes: A Critical Review

Hm, is it just through calories or maybe through micronutrients as well: potatoes are high in potassium, vitamin C, B6, and K1 compared to other staple foods? Footnote 6 tends to suggest that it's mostly about calories.

Effective altruism’s odd attitude to mental health

Thanks for clarifying! I think our misunderstanding comes from different framings: EA meta/infrastructure v. global health; within global health, MH v. disease/poverty alleviation. I agree with you and calebp on the former.

Effective altruism’s odd attitude to mental health

That's fairly dismissive. You could have written:

If imposter syndrome and other easily preventable/treatable debilitating mental issues were common among EAs, I'd guess that should be a much higher priority to address than poor "physical" health among EAs.

Isn't it in the end about what's more cost-effective? I can interpret you as pointing to "if ~depression was more cost-effective to address than ~smallpox, it would have been addressed first in the developed nations," this might be a good heuristic but a well-thought cost-effectiveness estimate is more convincing to me. Seems like criticizing MichaelPlant's cost-effectiveness estimates could have been more productive here. (TBC: I myself haven't engaged with HLI's work/methal health charities much).

And mental health being comparatively cost-effective doesn't sound ridiculous to me. StrongMinds attracted some donations from EAs in the past including GiveWell staff.

(I sorta feel that this comment and 23 upvotes / 7 votes support OP's observation that people seem to be dismissive about mental health as global health and development intervention.)

Impactful Forecasting Prize Results and Reflections

Yes, thank you; that makes sense and is very helpful!

Russia-Ukraine Conflict: Forecasting Nuclear Risk in 2022

Is any forecaster or organizer willing to bet with me on "Will Russia place any nuclear weapons in Belarus before 2023?" at 3:7 odds (with me on "no")?

Predicting for Good: Charity Prediction Markets

re: 1 — agree, MM is nicer than Poly. And I view UX as a very important issue for adoption (think of Robinhood).

re: 2 — would be great if you'd work that out!

re: 3 — I think just using the proper scoring rules (like log or Brier) is good enough; what are the problems with these? Smart aggregation (based on track-record and some other info) would allow leveraging non-superforecasters (likely through putting weight on prospective superforecasters). I think another way to participate in prediction pools and markets is to bring new information and considerations, this can be rewarded through Reddit's karma, r/changemyview deltas, or with StackOverflow upvotes (one interesting challenge is to figure that out).

Predicting for Good: Charity Prediction Markets

Austin replied to the earlier version of the comment (my bad), which is similar in substance on the relevant market: https://manifold.markets/Austin/will-the-ftx-future-fund-decide-to

Thanks for your comment, Misha (and congrats on the FF grant)! I've been a huge fan of your work, especially your report on Prediction Markets in the Corporate Setting https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/dQhjwHA7LhfE8YpYF/prediction-markets-in-the-corporate-setting

  1. Agreed that the marginal dollar moved between different weird altruistic donors is less impactful than winning a bet on Polymarket; but there are a host of usability issues in Polymarket (crypto onboarding, market availability, UX design) that we think we solve much better in Manifold. Over time, the long-term vision of this would be to draw in more charitable dollars from outside the EA community as well.

  2. The externalities of demanding constant vigilance are a good point, and something we do take seriously; I'd like to work out an interface/design a mechanism that allows a trader to input a true probability and be rewarded, without needing to check in on their position constantly. Maybe this just is being a prediction pool!

  3. I think prediction pools are quite promising, though I'm not sure if a good (easy-to-use, incentive-aligned) mechanism has been worked out; do you have any pointers to setups/implementations/designs of prediction pools that you think are good? I'm especially curious if these are framed in a way that allow a normal person (aka not superforecaster) to understand the system and meaningfully contribute.

Would love to chat more; happy to discuss in this thread, or feel free to find a time on https://calendly.com/austinchen/manifold !

(I am out of funds to reply to them there :P, this should be seen as foot voting for their platform as a whole.)

Predicting for Good: Charity Prediction Markets

I am skeptical.

The market will mainly attract altruistic traders as you can only make altruistic gains. Further, prediction markets are for unusual people[1]. So we will end up with unusual altruistic donors.

I see two motivations for such donors: contributing to the information generating system and distributing money to grantmakers with better judgment.

Re: infogain. I am fairly skeptical about low-volume prediction markets being competitive to similar (in the number of participants) prediction pools. See https://bit.ly/arb-prediction-markets-vs-opinion-pools. But I am excited to try it and compare forecasts to predictions pools on other platforms?[2]

Re: allocation. For unusual altruistic donors, the upside feels small: the system reallocates the money of other unusual donors, so donated earnings are not fully contafactual. While money goes to people with better judgment, it's unclear that their returns/earnings would be higher than on other platforms like Polymarket, where money is non-altruistic.[3]

Lastly, I think the externalities are quite big for prediction markets (as opposed to prediction pools): markets require constant vigilance as with every update, you win/lose. Active traders will spend a lot of attention on their trades. This is especially bad given that traders are altruistically minded.[4]

(At the same time, I am fairly excited to see more experiments in the space.)

(I have/had a CoI as I applied/received a FF grant for work on epistemic institutions.)

  1. Even donor lotteries do not attract broad participation despite a strong case for using them. ↩︎

  2. Happy to collaborate message me here or preferably at mike.yagudin@gmail.com ↩︎

  3. This is another issue; even on fairly liquid Polymarket, a lot of things seem mispriced to me. Nuño and I bet there, so hopefully, these are not empty words. ↩︎

  4. Cf. donor lotteries. One of their aims is to cut research costs for donors. These costs are highest for donors with good judgment as their opportunity costs are the highest. ↩︎

Is there an EA grants database?

Yes, I intend to but like everything, it might rod. What are your other needs here?

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