One-time pad

45Joined Apr 2022


Going more meta on EA criticism

“Well I don’t know about the fire but you’re being a bit cringe about this whole thing” 

^ Laughed out loud at this

The EA forum post-writing algorithm (95% > 100 karma, n> 100)

The changes between each section are highlighted in bold, as it is in every section before and after. The bolded section is literally 14 words long; the tl;dr would be longer than the text.

My instinct is that the 5th and 95% percentile estimates might differ by several orders of magnitude

This is really interesting. It'd be good to see more people do a cost-effectiveness analysis of a given topic to see how large the variance is and to see the shape of the distribution.

The EA forum post-writing algorithm (95% > 100 karma, n> 100)

You write better than most natives I've had the misfortune of reading! 

This talk is probably the most efficient and entertaining way to get better at writing concisely and entertainingly, given by Harvard linguist Stephen Pinker:

The EA forum post-writing algorithm (95% > 100 karma, n> 100)

I started writing this comment at 7:31.

The original was 454 words. The edited version is ~40% shorter at 288 words. I have no writing experience, and I had to take the time to understand your post. It's likely you could have done this in a mere fraction of the time. "Weeks or months" is a gross exaggeration. 


Edited Version (all caveats kept in)

Context and conclusions

I’ve spent months trying to find a wild animal welfare (WAW) intervention that is:

  • Tractable (can in principle be funded >$100K/yr starting in 2023 even if we choose not to do so),
  • Non-controversial (>40% support and <30% oppose in a US poll), and
  • Directly cost-effective (10%+ as cost-effective in expectation as chicken welfare corporate campaigns).

Reducing aquatic noise seemed most viable. It’s probably less than 10% as cost-effective as chicken welfare reforms, but there's a small chance the best interventions trump corporate chicken welfare campaigns. I’ve arguably set the bar too high; some of the last EA-funded animal welfare interventions (arguably) don’t meet it 

I think Aquatic noise is most promising of all WAW interventions available right now, but it might be better to wait for something better. Experts told me that testing how noise impacts the most populous species would likely cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and might have inconclusive results. Academic research in aquatic noise (if no-one else is doing this already) and general WAW outreach seem more promising at present.

Why aquatic noise seemed promising

The main sources of aquatic noise are:

  • Ships and boats
  • Seismic surveys (usually to find oil and gas)
  • Sonar
  • Pile driving and other offshore construction
  • Wind farms
  • Acoustic deterrent devices used by fish farms
  • Dynamite fishing

Note: Deep-sea mining may become an important noise source in the future. More speculatively, so might underwater GPS (Ghaffarivardavagh et al. (2020).

This list is in the order of importance that many articles seem to give to each source (e.g., Duarte et al. (2021), Širović et al. (2021), Hildebrand (2004), Williams et al. (2018)), often implicitly. I haven’t yet seen any analysis of the relative importance of each. 

Announcing a contest: EA Criticism and Red Teaming

What percentage of the people on the panel are longtermists? It seems, at first glance, that almost everyone is, or at least working in a field/org that strongly implies they are. If so, isn't this a problem for the impartiality of the results? Even if not, how is an independent outsider (like the people making submissions) supposed to believe that? 

This is likely to have the opposite effect; it will reinforce the current thinking in EA rather than challenge it, while monetarily rewarding people for parroting back the status quo. 

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