All of oliverbramford's Comments + Replies

Long-Term Future Fund: April 2019 grant recommendations

Would you be able to provide any further information regarding the reasons for not recommending the proposal I submitted for an 'X-Risk Project Database'? Ask: $12,375 for user research, setup, and feature development over 6 months.

Project summary:

Create a database of x-risk professionals and their work, starting with existing AI safety/x-risk projects at leading orgs, to improve coordination within the field.

The x-risk field and subfields are globally distributed and growing rapidly, yet x-risk professionals still have no simple way to find out... (read more)

Sorry for the long delays on this, I am still planning to get back to you, there were just some other things that ended up taking up all of my LTF-Fund allocated time which are now resolved, so I should be able to write up my thoughts soon.
This database from Issa Rice seems relevant to your proposal: []
I will get back to you, but it will probably be a few days. It seems fairer to first send feedback to the people I said I would send private feedback too, and then come back to the public feedback requests.
Request for comments: EA Projects evaluation platform

Meta-suggestion: In-person, professionally facilitated small workshop, sponsored and hosted by CEA, to build-consensus around a solution to the EA project bottleneck - with a view to CEA owning the project.

There are a range of carefully-considers, well-informed, and somewhat divergent perspectives on how to solve the EA project bottleneck. At the same time, getting the best version possible of a solution to the EA project bottleneck is likely to be very high value; a sub-optimal version may represent a large counterfactual loss of value.

As an important and... (read more)

Bottlenecks and Solutions for the X-Risk Ecosystem

1. I don't have a definition of x-risk expertise. I think the quality of x-risk expertise is currently ascribed to people i) with a track record of important contributions to x-risk reduction ii) subjective peer approval from other experts.

I think a more objective way to evaluate x-risk expertise would be extremely valuable.

2. Possible signs of a value mis-aligned actor:

if they don't value impact maximisation, they may focus on ineffective solutions, perhaps based on their interests

if they don't value high epistemic standards, they may hold beliefs that t... (read more)

Bottlenecks and Solutions for the X-Risk Ecosystem

The required skills and experience of senior hires vary between fields and roles; senior x-risk staff are probably best-placed to specify these requirements in their respective domains of work. You can look at x-risk job ads and recruitment webpages of leading x-risk orgs for some reasonable guidance. (we are developing a set of profiles for prospective high-impact talent, to give a more nuanced picture of who's required).

"Exceptionally good judgement and decision-making", for senior x-risk talent, I believe requires:

  • a thorough and nuanced unde

... (read more)
5 Types of Systems Change Causes with the Potential for Exceptionally High Impact (post 3/3)

what would a 'do the most good-er' and an 'Earth optimiser' disagree about?

Great question!

I'm not sure if there is any direct logical incompatibility between a 'do the most good-er' and an 'Earth optimiser'. Rather, I think the Earth optimiser frames the challenge of doing the most good in a particular way that tends to give greater consideration to collective impact and long run indirect effects than is typical in the EA community.

As an Earth optimiser, I am confident that we can substantially improve on our current cause prioritisation methodology, t... (read more)

Well, in this case, I'm now struggling to see why it's worth making a fuss about the terminology if it's just a framing thing. I'm generally against people introducing new terminology just for the sake of it because it confuses people. It seems like you're reinventing the wheel and claiming you've done something more impressive. This could be true, and I look forward to seeing the arguments. In a similar vein, I'm more in favour of people arriving with new findings they can argue for, rather than just saying "look, this could be so high impact!" because that applies to loads of things.
Effective Altruism Paradigm vs Systems Change Paradigm (post 2/3)

Parts 3 and 5 of the article linked below explain this approach is more detail, although my thinking has moved on a bit since writing this.

There's a good chance that these ideas will be refined and written up collaborative in an applied context as part of GeM Labs' Understanding and Optimising Policy project over the next year. If they are out of scope of this project, I intend to develop them independently and share my progress.

5 Types of Systems Change Causes with the Potential for Exceptionally High Impact (post 3/3)

System change causes are inherently complex and thus often appear highly intractable initially. However, with detailed systems analysis a set of viable (and perhaps novel) approaches may (sometimes) be identified, which are much more tractable than expected.

For example, the system of animal agriculture and animal product consumption is pretty complex, but ACE have done a great job to identify charities that are working very effectively on different aspects of that system (cultured meat, advocacy to corporates, promoting veganism, etc.).

Analysing a comple... (read more)

But they didn't use complex systems theory, did they? They just used the regular EA framework of impact/tractability/neglectedness.
5 Types of Systems Change Causes with the Potential for Exceptionally High Impact (post 3/3)

I had written a much longer piece, and had feedback from a number of people that it would be best to split it up.

4Josh Jacobson5y
I can't imagine why. Even all 3 together are shorter than many posts on here. And they really don't have much standalone value IMHO (i.e. the first).
Effective Altruism Paradigm vs Systems Change Paradigm (post 2/3)

while taking into account externalities (as EAs do)

I think that the current EA methodology to take into account impact externalities is incomplete. I am not aware of any way to reliably quantify flow-through effects, or to quantify how a particular cause area indirectly affects the impact of other cause areas.

The concept of total impact, if somehow integrated into our cause prioritisation methodology, may help us to account for impact externalities more accurately. I concede that total impact may be too simplistic a concept...

For what it's worth, I cur... (read more)

I'd be interested in seeing this. Do you have anything written up?
Why to Optimize Earth? (post 1/3)

the theoretical framework linked to "do the most good" already gives us a way to think about how to choose causes while taking into account inter-cause spillovers

I think impact 'spill-overs' between causes is a good representation of how most EAs mentally think about the relationship between causes and impact. However, I see this as an inaccurate representation of what's actually going on, and I suspect this leads to a substantial mis-allocation of resources.

I suspect that long term flow-through effects typically outweigh the immediate observ... (read more)

'Spillover' is a common term in economics, and I'm using it interchangeably with externalities/'how causes affect other causes'. Spillovers can be simple or complex; nothing in the definition says they have to be "neatly attributed". But you're right, long-term flow-through effects can be massive. They're also incredibly difficult [] to estimate. If you're able to improve on our ability to estimate them, using complexity theory, then more power to you.
How to Measure and Optimize EA Marketing

good point, Ben, I am a new contributor to this forum and relatively new to the EA movement. I have added a little context at the start to orientate the reader, and a little bit about me at the end of the article.

Accomplishments Open Thread - August 2016

I am super stoked to have completed the draft of my first article for the EA Forum! (In order to be able to post it, I'd really appreciate if you upvoted this comment.)

It is an actionable guide on 'How to Measure and Optimize EA Marketing'. It puts key marketing strategy best-practices into an EA context, to help EA organisation attract more volunteers, donations, etc. It is part of the EA marketing Resource Bank, which I intend to add more articles to over the coming months.

It has been a thoroughly enjoyable are rewarding creative process so far. I can ho... (read more)

I think it's a really great piece, and look forward to seeing it on the forum!