Future Matters

Topic Contributions


Propose and vote on potential EA Wiki articles / tags [2022]

Okay, created an entry here. I'll try to add some brief content soon.

Propose and vote on potential EA Wiki articles / tags [2022]

Thanks. Do you have thoughts on how to call the tag? E.g. environment, environmental problems, planetary boundaries. I think I prefer the first of these.

Propose and vote on potential EA Wiki articles / tags [2022]

Someone recently created an entry for biodiversity loss, though it's currently empty. Personally, I think it's preferable to have entries for specific environmental problems, insofar as they are considered to pose a global catastrophic risk, rather than a general tag for environmental problems. But I haven't thought about this much. Do you think there are specific environmental problems we should cover, or were you thinking that a catch-all entry for all such problems would be generally useful?

Propose and vote on potential EA Wiki articles / tags [2022]

Thanks for the suggestion. I don't personally have views either way (probably because I'm not very familiar with the proposal), but since you think it's a good idea, I went ahead and created it. I'll try to add a brief description later today.

The value of x-risk reduction

This isn't rendering for me but I don't know  if that's just my computer or if everyone will see that.

It looks like you have double escaped the closing bracket.

Should we call them something other than retreats?

I think you get that vibe because, in Spanish, the word seminario can mean both seminar ("an occasion in which a group of people meet to study and discuss something") and seminary ("a college for training people to become priests").

Are you really in a race? The Cautionary Tales of Szilárd and Ellsberg

This was a very interesting post. Thank you for writing it.

I think it's worth emphasizing that Rotblat's decision to leave the Manhattan Project was based on information available to all other scientists in Los Alamos. As he recounts in 1985:

the growing evidence that the war in Europe would be over before the bomb project was completed, made my participation in it pointless. If it took the Americans such a long time, then my fear of the Germans being first was groundless.

When it became evident, toward the end of 1944, that the Germans had abandoned their bomb project, the whole purpose of my being in Los Alamos ceased to be, and I asked for permission to leave and return to Britain.

That so many scientists who agreed to become involved in the development of the atomic bomb cited the need to do so before the Germans did, and yet so few chose to terminate their involvement when it had become reasonably clear that the Germans would not develop the bomb provides an additional, separate cautionary tale besides the one your post focuses on. Misperceiving a technological race can, as you note, make people more likely to embark on ambitious projects aimed at accelerating the development of dangerous technology. But a second risk is that, once people have embarked on these projects and have become heavily invested in them, they will be much less likely to abandon them even after sufficient evidence against the existence of a technological race becomes available.

New 80k problem profile - Climate change

Haydn, would you be able to quantify the probability that, in your assessment, climate change will indirectly cause human extinction this century, relative to biorisk? Benjamin Hilton speculates that it's less than 0.1x, but it's not clear to me whether you disagree with this estimate (assuming you do) because you think it's closer to 0.3x, 1x, or 3x. Having more clarity on this would help me understand this discussion better, I think.

Some potential lessons from Carrick’s Congressional bid

I don't understand why you keep presenting this as a long-term vs near-term issue. I would have been thrilled to support a candidate who advocated for comprehensive and unprecedented welfare reform for farmed animals, or for massive increases in well-targeted global health spending. Support for such issues is so rare in American politics, and could be so disproportionately impactful, that it makes perfect sense to focus exclusively on the exceptional candidate who decides to make them a top priority. 

Aging research

Is it worth updating the style guide for the  "[Area] research"  convention or is it too niche and may add unnecessary bloat?

Good point. I weakly lean towards not updating it, since there are only a handful of articles that fit that template. But if you or others think this should be included, just let me know.

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