Peter Wildeford

Along with my co-founder, Marcus A. Davis, I run Rethink Priorities. Previously, I was a professional data scientist.

Wiki Contributions


[Creative writing contest] Blue bird and black bird

I enjoyed this. I liked that it was short and sweet, and the art is excellent. I'd be curious what people who have children think about this.

Great Power Conflict

Even without new technological development, why couldn't there be a great power war over a classical Flashpoint, like what caused past wars? Seems like a war over disputed territories in the seas near China, or disputed territories between India and Pakistan could plausibly cause a great power war.

The motivated reasoning critique of effective altruism

My pithy critique of effective altruism is that we have turned the optimizer's curse into a community.

It takes 5 layers and 1000 artificial neurons to simulate a single biological neuron [Link]

This makes a lot of sense to me given our limited progress on simulating even very simple animal brains so far, given the huge amount of compute we have nowadays. The only other viable hypothesis I can think of is that people aren't trying that hard, which doesn't seem right to me.

Extrapolated Age Distributions after We Solve Aging

I imagine suicide rates would not stay the same in a world like this.

Questions for Howie on mental health for the 80k podcast

I think there are a variety of EAs that would benefit from therapy (and medication)  for mental health issues but lack an incredibly clear path to go from "no therapy" to "in therapy". This is especially troubling when the mental health issues cause barriers/blocks to actually seeking out resources and slogging through a tough system. Would there be a way to make a guide for this?

Obviously this will vary a ton between states and countries and insurances, so such a guide might be hard.

To be clear, I say this as an EA who has benefitted from therapy and medication but luckily I had the personal and mental resources to find a therapist and a primary care provider that connected me with the right resources and medication.

Writing about my job: Data Scientist

FWIW I made $187K/yr in total comp (£136K/yr) in Chicago as a data scientist after four years of experience. My starting salary was $83K/yr in total comp (£60K/yr) with no experience. In both jobs, I worked about 30hrs/wk. My day-to-day experience was rather identical to this post.

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