Check out this post. My views from then have slightly shifted (the numbers stay roughly the same), towards:
Building on the space theme, I like Earthrise, as it has very hopeful vibes, but also points to the famous picture that highlights the fragility and preciousness of earth-based life.
Thank you for writing this. I've been repeating this point to many people and now I can point them to this post.
For context, for college-aged people in the US, the two most likely causes of death in a given year are suicide and vehicle accidents, both at around 1 in 6000. Estimates of global nuclear war in a given year are comparable to both of these. Given a AGI timeline of 50% by 2045, it's quite hard to distribute that 50% over ~20 years and assign much less than 1 in 6000 to the next 365 days. Meaning that even right now, in 2022, existential risks are high up on the list of most probable causes of death for college aged-people. (assuming P(death|AGI) is >0.1 in the next few years)
One project I've been thinking about is making (or having someone else make) a medical infographic that takes existential risks seriously, and ranks them accurately as some of the highest probability causes of death (per year) for college-aged people. I'm worried about this seeming too preachy/weird to people who don't buy the estimates though.
Strongly agree, fostering a culture of openmindedness (love the example from Robi) and the expectation of updating from more experienced EAs seems good. In the updating case, I think making sure that everyone knows what "updating" means is a priority (sounds pretty weird otherwise). Maybe we should talk about introductory Bayesian probability in fellowships and retreats.
[inspired by a conversation with Robi Rahman]
Imagine that it’s possible to skip certain periods of time in your life. All this means is you don’t experience them, but you come out of them having the same memories as if you did experience them.
Now imagine that, after you live whatever life you would have lived, there’s another certain 5000 years of very good life that you’ll live that’s undoubtedly net positive. My claim is that, any moments in your life you’d prefer to “skip” are moments in which your life is net negative.
I wonder how many moments you'd skip?
I think that it's relevant that, for some veg*ns, it would take more energy (emotional energy/willpower) not to be veg*n. For instance, having seen some documentaries, I am repulsed by the idea of eating meat due to the sheer emotional force of participating in the atrocities I saw. Maybe this is an indicator that I should spend more time trying to align my emotions to my ethical beliefs (which would, without the strong emotional force, point towards me eating animal products to save energy), but I'm not sure if that's worth the effort.
Maybe this implies that we shouldn't recommend documentaries on animal farming to EAs because it would lead to emotional bias against eating animal products? But I'm pretty sure seeing those documentaries expanded my moral circle in a very good way.
Yup, I'd say that from the perspective of someone who wants a good AI safety (/EA/X-risk) student community, Harvard is the best place to be right now (I say this as an organizer, so grain of salt). Not many professional researchers in the area though which is sad :(
As for the actual college side of Harvard, here's my experience (as a sophomore planning to do alignment):
If community building potential is part of your decision process, then I would consider not going to Harvard, as there are a bunch of people there doing great things. MIT/Stanford/other top unis in general seem much more neglected in that regard, so if you could see yourself doing communty building I'd keep that in mind.