All of nonzerosum's Comments + Replies

1Davidmanheim1yThe vast amounts of funding and research from every source that is currently starting / ongoing about COVID. Examples: https://www.covid19funding.org/ [https://www.covid19funding.org/] https://hub.jhu.edu/novel-coronavirus-information/research-preparedness/research-preparedness-covid-19-funding-opportunities/ [https://hub.jhu.edu/novel-coronavirus-information/research-preparedness/research-preparedness-covid-19-funding-opportunities/]
What do you believe are the most critical open questions/hypotheses that could inform a more effective COVID response?

What best practices exist for responding to situations like COVID-19 (global, dynamic, hard to gather information around, etc) and how might they be applied?

What do you believe are the most critical open questions/hypotheses that could inform a more effective COVID response?

How are decision makers and leaders deciding today? Based on what, what things could be built that would give them better inputs to their decisions in a way that they'd actually be likely to use and listen to?

What do you believe are the most critical open questions/hypotheses that could inform a more effective COVID response?

Who/which type of people most need help right now related to the COVID response that most people are generally unaware of?

What do you believe are the most critical open questions/hypotheses that could inform a more effective COVID response?

Based on human psychological biases, are there certain things that will almost always be handled irrationally in short-term urgent situations? If so, what potentially impactful project ideas does that imply?

What do you believe are the most critical open questions/hypotheses that could inform a more effective COVID response?

Does the COVID pandemic present an opportunity for citizens to pressure leaders into using more effective decision making processes to decide what to do? And could some of those more effective decision making processes persist post-COVID, such that we end up with a lasting improvement in decision making at various levels of government?

What do you believe are the most critical open questions/hypotheses that could inform a more effective COVID response?

Does the COVID pandemic present an opportunity to get around bureaucratic processes and make better software solutions for interfacing with government things - like PPP loans, unemployment, etc?

What do you believe are the most critical open questions/hypotheses that could inform a more effective COVID response?

Who should be connected and collaborating where both parties would mutually want to, but they aren't?

What do you believe are the most critical open questions/hypotheses that could inform a more effective COVID response?

From a subjective well being and psychological perspective, are there "free" things we can do that reduce the quality adjusted life years lost for people, without actually changing the literal response? For example, changes in ways things are framed, messaged, etc?

What do you believe are the most critical open questions/hypotheses that could inform a more effective COVID response?

How can we most effectively collect, organize, summarize, and generally manage all of the real time information so that people can benefit from the best available information rather than just the information that they've otherwise seen? e.g. I believe some Chinese pre-print papers extolled the benefits of proning patients a month before I started hearing about it on US-centric Twitter circles

What do you believe are the most critical open questions/hypotheses that could inform a more effective COVID response?

How can we connect individuals that are solving the same problems separately so that they can learn from each other and find camaraderie? e.g. factory owners, small business owners, etc

What do you believe are the most critical open questions/hypotheses that could inform a more effective COVID response?

Is Sweden's approach working well and will it be working well in 1 month, and in 3 months?

Which person-person introductions could be highly impactful, COVID related and otherwise?
  • Crisis leadership experts with mayors, governors, and other leaders
  • Psychologists/marketers with mayors, governors, and other leaders
  • Open Phil with mayors, governors and other leaders
  • Struggling business owners with each other
  • Doctors from different countries with each other (with translators to mediate perhaps)
  • Bill Gates with the prime minister of Israel
  • The heads of all major hospitals with each other, and with the President of the US
  • Factory owners with each other
2Asaf Ifergan1yCurious to know why you think Bill Gates meeting the Israeli prime minister would be extraordinarily beneficial (:
What are some tractable approaches for figuring out if COVID causes long term damage to those who recover?

It seems that if COVID causes long term fatigue (has been speculated but no strong evidence that I'm aware of) this could be negative for the EA community - i.e. if leaders of EA related orgs or key employees or other key EA contributors had fatigue issues and lower personal output, that seems bad.

If it's true that Coronavirus is "close to pathologically misaligned with some of our information distribution and decisionmaking rituals", then what things would help the response?

A rough summary:

  • COVID response benefits from good information - and lots of the needed information is spread over many institutions, people, etc. It is beneficial to have up to date, accurate, and local data - this is hard.
  • COVID responses often involve/benefit from coordination across many different institutions/people/domains. This is hard.
  • COVID responses may benefit from extreme measures long after "corona fatigue" has set in and people and decision makers are sick of hearing about it, and just want things to "go back to normal"
  • Many p
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How to Make Billions of Dollars Reducing Loneliness

See also: Bungalow, HubHaus, Common.

I wish someone would do shared living for people who want private living units (not just bedrooms) + shared common spaces, e.g. multiple houses on one block and a shared common space on that block. Makes co-living work for families or people who want a bit more privacy.

Who would you like to see do an AMA on this forum?

is anonymous_ea one person's username, or is it a catch all username for some kind of anonymity feature on this forum? I've long wondered if anonymous_ea is a regular username or not

I'm a single person using a single anonymous account :) Other anonymous accounts use other names.

2Linch2yMessaged. Will share more widely if/when it's ready for prime time. :)
Ingredients for creating disruptive research teams

The book "Loonshots" also has useful lessons for anyone running/starting a research team or research lab.

Raemon's EA Shortform Feed

Gotcha. I wonder whether it could create substantially more impact from doing over the long term yourself, or setting it up well for someone else to run long term. Obviously I have no context and your goals on the project but I've seen things where people do a short term project aiming for impact creation and where in the end they feel that they could've created much more impact by doing the thing in a more ongoing manner. So this note may or may not be relevant depending on the project and your goals :)

Raemon's EA Shortform Feed

I'd offer that whatever you can do to make it possible to iterate on your grantmaking loop quickly will be useful. Perhaps starting with smaller grants on a month or even week cycle, running a few rounds there, and then scaling up. Don't try and make it near-perfect from the start, instead try and make it something that can become near-perfect because of iterations and improvements.

2Raemon2yI’m not yet sure that I’ll be doing this more than 3 months, so I think there’s a bit more value to focus more on generating value in that time.
What new EA project or org would you like to see created in the next 3 years?

This fiscal sponsor org would get to learn a lot about what different EA aligned donors do and don't like donating to, so you could imagine it providing a helpful service to donors (and EA orgs) of suggesting them orgs that they may be interested in checking out, based on their donation patterns. I could imagine this being appreciated by the donors given that it could have enough data points to make genuinely useful recommendations when those opportunities arise.

Oops - thanks!

How would you define "disentanglement research"?

A comment to add to my OP: It seems like a really useful concept and I can imagine that having a central place that defines what disentanglement research is may be useful, and the concept generally becoming more known may also be useful, so that then people can easily reference that, and others will understand what someone means when they say a field needs disentanglement research or they're doing disentanglement research, people can share advice or host events focused on disentanglement research, funders can self-identify as funders interested in supporting disentanglement research in specific or various fields, etc.

How would you define "disentanglement research"?

Another possible answer (and an example of where the term is being used!): "What is needed in an early stage is disentanglement- structuring the research field, identifying the central questions, and clarifying concepts." https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/oovy5XXdCL3TPwgLE/a-case-for-strategy-research-what-it-is-and-why-we-need-more

How would you define "disentanglement research"?

Answer from Helen Toner: "structuring concrete agendas out of an amorphous blob of worries" https://twitter.com/Effect_Altruism/status/927219486201085957

How would you define "disentanglement research"?

Answer from carrickflynn who originally used the term: "This is a squishy made-up term I am using only for this post that is sort of trying to gesture at a type of research that involves disentangling ideas and questions in a “pre-paradigmatic” area where the core concepts, questions, and methodologies are under-defined. (Nick Bostrom is a fantastic example of someone who is excellent at this type of research.)" https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/RCvetzfDnBNFX7pLH/personal-thoughts-on-careers-in-ai-policy-and-strategy#rxAi3ssD8DtSHJtMG

How would you define "disentanglement research"?

Possible answer: It's taking a space and answering questions like – what's possible, what could & what should our goals be, main hypotheses and things that would inform what the best directions are, etc.

Becoming the person who would start a project

Other thoughts:

Benefit of people writing public posts on their topics of interest is that it forces thoughts to be clarified and to "come face to face with reality"

Downside of public writing is that it could lead to consistency bias / ossification of opinions

Another upside of public writing on things is that it builds momentum, provides positive feedback and rewards. Which is probably very beneficial and may seem small but the power of positive feedback loops seems important to not underestimate.

Becoming the person who would start a project

This is a very unstructured thought that came into my head this morning. Normally I might avoid posting it until it's more polished, but comments on this forum have given me the sense that it can actually be good to err on the side of sharing even if unpolished, contributing to the community zeitgeist where someone else may then be able to polish or remix or make use of the thought.

Is trauma a potential EA cause area?

And I'm also very interested in the direct impact, too.

Is trauma a potential EA cause area?

Thanks for that question! Weakly held. Some sense that we're under-invested in "improving coordination" (see: http://www.existential-risk.org/concept.pdf).

But it's a good point that it would be hard! And I agree that tightly knit groups may be a better approach for this.

e.g. trauma reduction for a group of AI safety researchers to help them better coordinate, or something like that.

1nonzerosum2yAnd I'm also very interested in the direct impact, too.
Is trauma a potential EA cause area?

I mean EA impact of reducing trauma, not impact of MDMA therapy on trauma (which I agree seems large).

Similar to how 80000hours gives a ranking of the 'impact' of different causes, I wonder how "reducing trauma" would compare on their impact assessment.

Is trauma a potential EA cause area?

Yes, agreed. In particular though I'm wondering about the "impact" piece and separate of possible interventions/tractability, how trauma might rate on the "impact" and "neglectedness" pieces.

2Milan_Griffes2yDon't the studies I point to suggest a large impact? From my answer:
Is trauma a potential EA cause area?
more than as something which "improves coordination"

What makes you say that? I have the sense that the less trauma people have, the easier they'll find it, and the more desire they'll have, to co-operate and coordinate.

2Aaron Gertler2yWhat makes you think that this secondary effect, which requires trauma reduction in an enormous number of people (to generate network effects) or a tightly-knit group of people, would have a greater impact than the primary effect of "people have less trauma and feel better"?
Considering people’s hidden motives in EA outreach

This is an excellent post. I agree that status is a ridiculously powerful driver of human behavior. Based on your section of how EA can help increase status, what do you think is the single most promising strategy that EA could implement to make joining EA higher status? (Also a side note I'd add is that status *from who* is important. People outside EA don't care about within-EA status currency, yet, they care about status currency from their existing peers and people they respect. So they'd need to believe that joining EA makes them higher... (read more)

Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area

What makes you conclude that there's a lot of money to be made in it? My prior is the opposite. MDMA and psilocybin themselves aren't patentable at this point. Yes, delivery mechanisms could be and new or related unpatented compounds could be. But any for profit company will likely be competing against at least a non profit or two. And my research on pricing is that having a single competitor massively reduces margins and profitability. Also dosing will be highly infrequent which should also reduce the profits for any psychedelic pharma companies.

Given the

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1Ramiro2yYou have a good point: if a big pharma can't have IP over a psychedelic product, at least in our current system, it has no incentives to invest on risky R&D. However, we do observe increasing [https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/27/psychedelic-medicine-start-ups-vet-ketamine-psilocybin-for-depression.html] private funding for psychedelic research and a lot of recent exposure; and the war on drugs explains enough of the halt in psychedelics research in the 70's. So, despite updating my priors, I still don't think that donating for this cause would result, in the margin, in more QALY than donating to GD, in general.
Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area

For anyone worried their comment won't get attention vs the existing ones, I'm enjoying this thread and am watching for and voting where relevant on new ones, FYI.

Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area

Tangentially related and perhaps of interest to some readers of this thread, though not a prize submission comment:

My nomination for the "three books" for psychedelic therapy would be

The "Why" Book: Pollan's How to Change Your Mind

The "What" Book: MAPS's A Manual for MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy in the Treatment of PTSD (alternatives would be this treatment protocol from Phase 2 MDMA trials and Grof's LSD Psychotherapy)

The "How" Book: R. Coleman's Psychedelic Psychotherapy: A User-friendly Guide f... (read more)

Concept: EA Donor List. To enable EAs that are starting new projects to find seed donors, especially for people that aren’t well connected

Ok, the project is now on indefinite hiatus. I'll seek to deeply understand all the critiques of it first if I come back with another attempt in the future.

I hope other groups will try and address the problem that this concept was designed to address, in a way that is highly net +EV.

Jan or others, what ideas might you suggest for addressing the challenge of an EA without a strong donor network to get a super early stage grant, in a way that avoids significant potential downsides?

Concept: EA Donor List. To enable EAs that are starting new projects to find seed donors, especially for people that aren’t well connected

Thanks Michael!

My understanding is that EA grants and this are both working towards addressing roughly the same problem: the difficulty of getting seed or "pre-seed" grants for new EA organizations, especially for people who are not well connected.

When someone is seeking grants, the more possible grantors the better – the startup analogy would be that EA grants is an individual angel investor (and, it seems, one that isn't currently accepting pitches), and this concept is analogous a list of active angel investors – they are complementary.

So EA grants would be listed on this site as one of the sources of grants.

Concept: EA Donor List. To enable EAs that are starting new projects to find seed donors, especially for people that aren’t well connected

Thank you Brendon, I've sent you a PM now!

One thought, some funders may be uncomfortable with being publicly listed (perhaps due to concerns about lots of people contacting them), but a certain subset of funders could be pretty on board with the idea.

Agreed. One thought I've had is that donors that have concerns like this but that are still interested could set up an anonymous email address that forwards to their main inbox, and list themselves as that. This way if it ever becomes too much for them, they can be removed from the site and it's... (read more)

SHOW: A framework for shaping your talent for direct work

Yes. This makes me think of investor Keith Rabois' notion of "barrels" vs "ammunition":

If you think about people, there are two categories of high-quality people: there is the ammunition, and then there are the barrels. You can add all the ammunition you want, but if you have only five barrels in your company, you can literally do only five things simultaneously. If you add one more barrel, you can now do six things simultaneously. If you add another one, you can do seven, and so on. Finding those barrels that you can shoot through
... (read more)
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