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Robin Hanson on the Long Reflection

Just reading the excerpts, I feel like a lot of work is being done by the clause "even if they are in principle reversible". It seems to me like the long reflection should be compatible with making very many extremely hard to reverse (but in principle reversible) changes, so long as it maintains a core of truth-seeking governing its long-term direction, and maintains a hard line against changes that aren't even reversible in principle.

Of course if the idea is attracting such critiques that's a sign that it's not consistently being presented in a light that makes that clear.

Clarifying the Petrov Day Exercise

I think this would be most meaningful if opting out resulted in another person being sent codes instead. (Or a larger pool of people was invited to opt in and then a random subset of those who did were given codes.)

[I don't really like the ritual at the moment but I like hill-climbing towards finding better versions of it]

When pooling forecasts, use the geometric mean of odds

Like Nuno I think this is very unlikely. Probably <1% that we'd straightforwardly prefer arithmetic mean of probabilities. Much higher chance that in some circumstances we'd prefer something else (e.g. unweighted geometric mean of probabilities gets very distorted by having one ignorant person put in a probability which is extremely close to zero, so in some circumstances you'd want to be able to avoid that).

I don't think the amount of evidence here would be conclusive if we otherwise thought arithmetic means of probabilities were best. But also my prior before seeing this evidence significantly favoured taking geometric mean of odds -- this comes from some conversations over a few years getting a feel for "what are sensible ways to treat probabilities" and feeling like for many purposes in this vicinity things behave better in log-odds space. However I didn't have a proper grounding for that, so this post provides both theoretical support and empirical support, which in combination with the prior make it feel like a fairly strong case.

That said, I think it's worth pointing out the case where arithmetic mean of probabilities is exactly right to use: if you think that exactly one of the estimates is correct but you don't know which (rather than the usual situation of thinking they all provide evidence about what the correct answer is).

Frank Feedback Given To Very Junior Researchers

I think narrowly following the form can be kind of annoying, but the spirit of the idea is to do proof of work to show that you value their efforts, which can help to make it gut-level easier for the recipient to hear the criticism as constructive advice from an ally (that they want to take on board) rather than an attack from someone who doesn't like them (that they want to defend against).

This Can't Go On

What does "have access to" mean? There are >10^37 atoms making up human bodies. And dollars can buy physical stuff, and you might expect this to be somewhat weighted in PPP adjustments between now and the distant future.

I agree that it's not quite clear how to interpret these things, but I don't think it's as nonsensical as you're implying.

Is effective altruism growing? An update on the stock of funding vs. people

But the investment-like giving opportunities also preserve optionality! This is the sense in which they are investment-like. They can result in more (expected) dollars held in a future year (say a decade from now) by careful thinking people who will be roughly aligned with our values than if we just make financial investments now.

Is effective altruism growing? An update on the stock of funding vs. people

I think it's implausible that the optimal giving rate today could be 0%. This is because many giving opportunities function as a form of investment, and we're pretty sure that the best of those outperform the financial market. (I wrote more about ~this in this post: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/Eh7c9NhGynF4EiX3u/patient-vs-urgent-longtermism-has-little-direct-bearing-on )

What are novel major insights from longtermist macrostrategy or global priorities research found since 2015?

I don't know the provenance of the idea, but I recall Paul Christiano making the point about pure time preference during the debate on giving now vs later at the ?2014 GWWC weekend away.

Do impact certificates help if you're not sure your work is effective?

If you are trading certificates with someone, you are deferring to their views on what to do

I think this is meaningfully wrong; at least the sense in which you are deferring is not stronger than the sense in which employees are deferring to their employer's views on what to do (i.e. it's not an epistemic deferral but a deferral to authority).

Do impact certificates help if you're not sure your work is effective?

In the case where the other party is anonymous, how could you hope to update each other? (i.e. you seem to be arguing against anonymity, not against selling impact certificates)

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