All of Paal Fredrik Skjørten Kvarberg's Comments + Replies

Socrates Café: A Different Approach to Discussion

I participated in an activity of this sort some years ago. I really enjoyed the structured conversation, and working towards consensus in a group. The experience was way more intense than any other context of presentation or debate that I have been a part of otherwise. I don't know whether EA groups should use the technique, but I wanted to share from my own experience:)

Project: A web platform for crowdsourcing impact estimates of interventions.

Thanks for writing up this idea in such a succinct and forceful way. I think the idea is good, and would like to help any way I can. However, I would encourage thinking a lot about the first part "If we get the EA community to use a lot of these", which I think might be the hardest part. 

I think that there are many ways to do something like this, and that it's worth thinking very carefully about details before starting to build. The idea is old, and there is a big graveyard of projects aiming for the same goal. That being said, I think a project of th... (read more)

Project: A web platform for crowdsourcing impact estimates of interventions.

Metaculus is also currently working on a similar idea (causal graphs). Here are some more people who are thinking or working on related ideas, (who might also appreciate your post): Adam Binks, Harrison Durland, David Manheim and Arieh Englander (see their MTAIR project).

Project: A web platform for crowdsourcing impact estimates of interventions.

Seems like I forgot to change "last updated 04.january 2021" to "last updated 04. january 2022" when I made changes in january haha. 

I am still working on this. I agree with Ozzie's comment below that doing a small part of this well is the best way to make progress. We are currently looking at the UX part of things. As I describe under this heading in the doc, I don't think it is feasible to expect many non-expert forecasters to enter a platform to give their credences on claims. And the expert forecasters are, as Ian mentions below, in short supply. ... (read more)

Prediction Markets in The Corporate Setting

Thank you for this. This is all very helpful, and I think your explanations of giving differential weights to factors for average orgs and EA orgs seems very sensible. The 25% for unknown unknowns is probably right too. It doesn't seem unlikely to me that most folks at average orgs would fail to understand the value of prediction markets even if they turned out to be valuable (since it would require work to prove it). 

It would really surprise me if the 'main reason' why there is a lack of prediction markets had nothing to do with anything mentioned in... (read more)

Prediction Markets in The Corporate Setting

On 4., I very much agree that this section could be more nuanced by mentioning some positive side-effects as well. There might be many managers who fear being undermined by their employees. And surely many employees might feel shameful if they are wrong all the time. However, I think the converse is also true. That managers are insecure, and would love for the company to take decisions on complex hard to determine issues collectively. And that employees would like an arena to express their thoughts on things (where their judgments are heard, and maybe even... (read more)

Prediction Markets in The Corporate Setting

Thank you all for posting this! I am one of the people who are confused by the puzzle you make serious inroads towards shedding light on in this post. I really appreciate that you break down explanatory factors in the way you do. To me, it seems like all four factors are  important pieces of the puzzle. Here they are: 

  1. The markets must have a low enough cost to create and maintain.
  2. The markets must provide more value to decision-makers than the cost to create them and to subsidize predictions on them.
  3. The markets must be attractive enough to traders
... (read more)
I'm happy that this was useful for you! Good question. We also had some trouble with this, as it's difficult to observe the reasons many corporate prediction markets have failed to catch on. That being said, my best guess is that it varies substantially based on the corporation: 1. For an average company, the most important factor might be some combination of (2) and (4): many employees wouldn't be that interested in predicting and thus the cost of getting enough predictions might be high, and there is also just isn't that much appetite to change things up. 2. For an average EA org, the most important factors might be a combination of (1) and (2): the tech is too immature and writing + acting on good questions takes too much time such that it's hard to find the sweet spot where the benefit is worth the cost. In particular, many EA orgs are quite small so fixed costs of setting up and maintaining the market as well as writing impactful questions can be significant. This Twitter poll by Ozzie [] and the discussion under it is also interesting data here; my read is that the mapping between Ozzie's options and our requirements are: 1. They're undervalued: None of our requirements are substantial enough issues. 2. They're mediocre: Some combination of our requirements (1), (2), and (3) make prediction markets not worth the cost. 3. Politically disruptive: Our requirement (4). 4. Other (3) won the poll by quite a bit, but note it was retweeted by Hanson which could skew the voting pool (h/t Ozzie for mentioning this somewhere else) . The most likely possibility I can think of is the one Ozzie included in his poll: prediction markets are undervalued for a reason other than political fears, and all/most of the companies made a mistake by discontinuing them. I'd say 15% for this, given that the evidence is fairly strong but there could be correlated reasons companies are
External Evaluation of the EA Wiki

Strong upvoted! I think something like this would introduce exactly the kinds of people whom we would like to use the wiki, to the wiki. I like the first version best, as many writers might not be aware of the ways to link to tags, and not be aware of what tags exist. Also, this nudges writers to use the same concepts for their words (because it is embarrassing to use a word linked to a tag in another sense then is explained in that tag). 

Field-specific LE (Longterm Entrepreneurship)

Cool idea! I think there are some others that are also thinking about this, and they would probably love a helping hand:) More info in DM

6Alex Barnes 6mo
Thank you Jonas for linking to this article on the EA Entrepreneurs Slack Group [] and thank you Paal, for tagging me in Slack to draw my attention to it. Also, thank you for linking to What we learned from a year incubating longtermist entrepreneurship [] . I wasn't previously aware of this article. I would have been if I'd searched the EA Forum using The Entrepreneurship []tag which: Simon Haberfellner and I talked yesterday about a post-Covid plan to foster more meaningful connections between EA Entrepreneurs, EA communities and non-EA Customers, Angels and VCs. One super-nerdy metaphor we've adopted is a Fourier Transform [] of EAG/EAGx/EA Retreats into an extended EA Vacation a small group of EA participants spends in an EA Host City. We are still working the creativity alchemy on the idea! Another idea which might lead to Longtermist Entrepreneurship would be to scout the landscape for EAs interested in investing in the startup scene. For example, for students: * Front Row Ventures [] (FRV) is a Canadian student-run, university-focused venture capital fund * Black Gen Capital [](BGC) is a 100% minority-owned student investment fund in the US * Student Investment Funds exist at: University of Waterloo [] , University of New Brunswick [],Mount Royal University [] and many more Canadian Universities (honestly, I didn't eve
4Chris Leong6mo
I'd be keen to hear about this as well.
"Epistemic maps" for AI Debates? (or for other issues)

Good! Yeah, I didn't mean to say that any of these capture all the specifics of your idea, but merely that there is a lot of interest in this sort of thing.  It's probably worthwhile pursuing this in more detail, I'd be interested in seeing more on this. 

"Epistemic maps" for AI Debates? (or for other issues)

Hi! I've also been thinking and working a bit on this idea. Here are some brief answers to your questions. 

  1. Yes, something like this exist. There are many projects pursuing different varieties of the idea you are sketching. Perhaps the smoothest computer program for this is An older, more complicated software is It is also possible to use, or for similar applications. also does something similar. As you are probably well aware,
... (read more)
3Harrison Durland10mo
I'm glad to hear you are interested, and I appreciate the resources/links! Re (1): I'm a big fan of Kialo (even though I have not been active in community discussions in the past few years). I actually have been working a forum post that would highlight its potential use for some issues in the EA community. Still, Kialo is much more narrowly focused on pro/con argumentation structure rather than diagramming concepts/observations/etc. more broadly. Additionally, I have seen Bayesian networks (although I can't remember if I saw Norsys), but these tend to lack the semantically-richer relationship descriptions such as "study X has finding Y" and "study X has some methodological feature/assumption Z." This issue also seems to apply to the other platforms you mentioned (although SwarmCheck seems like it could potentially be a nice tool for some similar issues, perhaps as a more detailed form of Kialo). In hindsight, I should probably have made this emphasis on semantic/etc. relationships clearer in my question/post; I'll make an edit regarding that. Re (5): I used to sometimes call this concept a mind map or argument diagram, but I don't like doing that anymore since I don't think those terms really capture the idea. While "collaborative mind map" might come somewhat close, many of the mind maps and descriptions of mind maps that I have seen put a strong emphasis on hierarchical relationships (e.g., a central overarching topic node that branches out into individual categories), whereas the system I have in mind would not require such a hierarchical structure. It also is not just an argument diagram, since it would extend beyond the individual arguments/claims themselves, potentially including details and observations not expressed in argument form.