NunoSempere

I studied Maths and Philosophy, and have helped implement the European Summer Program on Rationality during 2019, 2018 and 2017. Nowadays, I sell some software, and I study and research on my own: nunosempere.github.io, acquiring deeper models of things.

NunoSempere's Comments

Why I'm Not Vegan

So I think that once you accept a particular framing or ontology, or cluster of beliefs, vegetarianism starts to begin souding pretty obvious. One such cluster might be:

  • Moral realism: There is an objective and scientific answer to how much a pig's life is worth compared to a human. Ethics is at its best an investigation into the nature of reality, from which moral obligations follow.
  • Kant is cool. The answer to "why should I do good?" is "because I must".
  • Peter Singer ideas: Pain and suffering are extremely important. Negative utilitarianism. Sentience over sapience. Speciesim as being wrong.
  • Realizing that, deep down, care about animals a great amount.
  • ...

And you seem to be arguing from a framing similar to the above. However, that framing is not obvious, and one could adopt some other cluster of beliefs, such as:

  • Moral relativism: There isn't an objective and scientific answer to many moral questions. Many ethical questions or concepts are not well defined, and are best resolved by introspecting on your preferences. Morality is at its best is a coordination game played in good faith.
  • Gendlin is cool. The answer to "why do I strive to do good?" is "because I want", or "because I choose to".
  • Enlightenment humanism: Human flourishing. Sapience over sentience. Preference utilitarianism among humans.
  • Realizing that, deep down, you care about animals a small amount.
  • ...

And when arguing with someone which has beliefs near the second cluster, I don't think that assuming that beliefs in the first cluster are obviously right is a great tactical move (I'm ignoring audience effects). In fact, when I used to not be vegetarian, I found that kind of move to be extremely annoying, and to some extent I still do ("that guy is saying that things which took me years to understand and/or come to share, and which in some cases are still not clear to me, are obviously true?").

Instead, may I suggest a moral trade as a tactical move? (see: Morality at its best is a coordination game played in good faith)

  • You (@abrahamrowe) donate $4.3 (a factor of x10 because of your deep magnanimity) to @Jeff_Kaufman's best human existential risk reduction charity (easily another factor of x10 according to long-termist assumptions)
  • Jeff_Kaufman tries being vegetarian for a year (or changes his numbers above).

Considering this type of moral trade is possible because the original poster quantified his preferences to the best of his ability. This should be highly lauded, and gets a strong upvote from me.

NunoSempere's Shortform

What happened in forecasting in March 2020

Epistemic status: Experiment. Somewhat parochial.

Prediction platforms.

  • Foretold has two communities on Active Coronavirus Infections and general questions on COVID.
  • Metaculus brings us the The Li Wenliang prize series for forecasting the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as the Lockdown series and many other pandemic questions
  • PredictIt: The odds of Trump winning the 2020 elections remain at a pretty constant 50%, oscillating between 45% and 57%.
  • The Good Judgment Project has a selection of interesting questions, which aren't available unless one is a participant. A sample below (crowd forecast in parenthesis):
    • Will the UN declare that a famine exists in any part of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, or Uganda in 2020? (60%)
    • In its January 2021 World Economic Outlook report, by how much will the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimate the global economy grew in 2020? (Less than 1.5%: 94%, Between 1.5% and 2.0%, inclusive: 4%)
    • Before 1 July 2020, will SpaceX launch its first crewed mission into orbit? (22%)
    • Before 1 January 2021, will the Council of the European Union request the consent of the European Parliament to conclude a European Union-United Kingdom trade agreement? (25%)
    • Will Benjamin Netanyahu cease to be the prime minister of Israel before 1 January 2021? (50%)
    • Before 1 January 2021, will there be a lethal confrontation between the national military or law enforcement forces of Iran and Saudi Arabia either in Iran or at sea? (20%)
    • Before 1 January 2021, will a United States Supreme Court seat be vacated? (No: 55%, Yes, and a replacement Justice will be confirmed by the Senate before 1 January 2021: 25%, Yes, but no replacement Justice will be confirmed by the Senate before 1 January 2021: 20%)
    • Will the United States experience at least one quarter of negative real GDP growth in 2020? (75%)
    • Who will win the 2020 United States presidential election? (The Republican Party nominee: 50%, The Democratic Party nominee: 50%, Another candidate: 0%)
    • Before 1 January 2021, will there be a lethal confrontation between the national military forces of Iran and the United States either in Iran or at sea? (20%)
    • Will Nicolas Maduro cease to be president of Venezuela before 1 June 2020? (10%)
    • When will the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) next screen two million or more travelers in a single day? (Not before 1 September 2020: 66%, Between 1 August 2020 and 31 August 2020: 17%, Between 1 July 2020 and 31 July 2020: 11%, Between 1 June 2020 and 30 June 2020: 4%, Before 1 June 2020: 2%)

Misc.

  • The Brookings institution, on Forecasting energy futures amid the coronavirus outbreak
  • The European Statistical Service is "a partnership between Eurostat and national statistical institutes or other national authorities in each European Union (EU) Member State responsible for developing, producing and disseminating European statistics". In this time of need, the ESS brings us inane information, like "consumer prices increased by 0.1% in March in Switzerland".
  • Famine: The famine early warning system gives emergency and crisis warnings for East Africa.
  • COVID: Everyone and their mother have been trying to predict the future of COVID. One such initiative is Epidemic forecasting, which uses inputs from the above mentioned prediction platforms.
  • On LessWrong, Assessing Kurzweil's 1999 predictions for 2019; I expect an accuracy of between 30% and 40%, based on my own investigations but find the idea of crowdsourcing the assessment rather interesting.
(How) Could an AI become an independent economic agent?

An example of money which nobody owns might be a bounty which nobody has claimed yet. A good example of that might be the SHA-1 collision bitcoin bounty, which could be (anonymously) claimed by anyone who could produce a SHA-1 collision.

On a larger scale, solving the Millenium Prize Problems would also give you access to a $1 million prize.

EA Survey 2019 Series: Donation Data

The SlateStarCodex survey data is useful to answer a limited form of that question (a comparison with other SSC-survey answerers).

Code here, in R, may be useful.

NunoSempere's Shortform

CoronaVirus and Famine

The Good Judgement Open forecasting tournament gives a 66% chance for the answer to "Will the UN declare that a famine exists in any part of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, or Uganda in 2020?"

I think that the 66% is a slight overestimate. But nonetheless, if a famine does hit, it would be terrible, as other countries might not be able to spare enough attention due to the current pandemic.

  1. https://ourworldindata.org/what-does-a-famine-declaration-declare
  2. https://fews.net/
  3. https://www.gjopen.com/questions/1559-will-the-un-declare-that-a-famine-exists-in-any-part-of-ethiopia-kenya-somalia-tanzania-or-uganda-in-2020 (registration needed to see)

It is not clear to me what an altruist who realizes that can do, as an individual:

  • A famine is likely to hit this region (but hasn't hit yet)
  • It is likely to be particularly bad.

Donating to the World Food Programme, which is already doing work on the matter, might be a promising answer, but I haven't evaluated the programe, nor compared it to other potentially promising options (see here: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/wpaZRoLFJy8DynwQN/the-best-places-to-donate-for-covid-19, or https://www.againstmalaria.com/)

Effective Altruism and Free Riding

Interesting. Reminds me of this post by Paul Christiano on moral public goods

Are selection forces selecting for or against altruism? Will people in the future be more, as, or less altruistic?

The classical answer to this is that altruism towards strangers is not evolutionarily adaptative. This is because the altruistic give ressources benefit their own and others' descendants equally, while the nonaltruistic also get those benefits for their descendants without having to pay the cost. See also the tragic story of George R. Price.

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