Ramiro

Civil service @ BCB
Working (6-15 years of experience)

Bio

Brazilian legal philosopher, financial supervisor, GWWC Pledger Bachelor of Laws, Master and Doctor of Philosophy from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), having published articles and translations in the areas of Political Philosophy, Applied Ethics and Philosophy of Economics – with a recent focus on climate risks, Environmental and Social Responsibility, and intergenerational justice. Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Institute of Philosophy, Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, integrating the Ethics and Political Philosophy Laboratory (EPLAB) and the project Present Democracy for Future Generations. Also a member of the Graduate Committee and Special Studies Analyst in the area of supervision of non-banking institutions at the Central Bank of Brazil (BCB). Member of the Inclusive and Sustainable Solutions association (SIS) and of the Effective Altruism community in Brazil (AE Brasil). https://philpeople.org/profiles/ramiro-avila-peres

How I can help others

All my public forum posts must be considered as under CC-BY license

Suggestions of new cause areas: let's pay people so that every podcast episode is shorter than 40min, every pdf book is compressed to a file as light as possible, and every EA thinks twice before spending their day on EA-Meta and EA criticism.

Comments
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Topic Contributions
1

An objection to the non-identity problem: shouldn't disregarding the welfare of non-existent people preclude most interventions on child mortality and education?

One objection against favoring the long-term future is that we don't have duties towards people who still don't exist. However, I believe that, when someone presents a claim  like that, probably what they want to state is that we should discount future benefits (for some reason), or that we don't have a duty towards people who will only exist in the far future. But it turns out that such a claim apparently proves too much; it proves that, for instance, we have no obligation to invest on reducing the mortality of infants less than one year old in the next two years

The most effective interventions in saving lives often do so by saving young children. Now, imagine you deploy an intervention similar to those of Against Malaria Foundation - i.e., distributing bednets to reduce contagion. At the beggining, you spend months studying, then preparing, then you go to the field and distribute bednets, and then one or two years later you evaluate how many malaria cases were prevented in comparison to a baseline. It turns out that most cases of  averted deaths (and disabilities and years of life gained) correspond to kids who had not yet been conceived when you started studying.

Similarly, if someone starts advocating an effective basic education reform today, they will only succeed in enacting it in some years - thus we can expect that  most of the positive effects will happen many years later.

(Actually, for anyone born in the last few years, we can expect that most of their positive impact will affect people who are not born yet. If there's any value in positivel influencing these children, most of it will happen to people who are not yet born)

This means that, at the beggining of this project, most of the impact corresponded to people who didn't exist yet - so you were under no moral obligation to help them.

Is this a setback in animal welfare laws? https://www.publico.pt/2023/01/18/sociedade/noticia/ministerio-publico-pede-inconstitucionalidade-norma-lei-maus-tratos-animais-2035566 I was surprised that Portuguese constitutional legal doctrine prevented criminalizing torturing animals

https://www.tribunalconstitucional.pt/tc/acordaos/20210867.html There are quite definitive precedents

Oh I was hoping you would propose this: https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/the-end-of-history

Sorry for the joke, I actually like your idea. But the military indeed sorta prevent having wars by doing military exercises to expensively signal strength and capabilities. That's how we have prevented WW III so far. So the crux is doing this without such an economic waste.

On UAP and glitches in the matrix: I sometimes joke that, if we ever build something like a time machine, we should go back in time and produce those phenomena as pranks on our ancestors, or to "ensure timeline integrity." I was even considering writing an April Fool's post on how creating a stable worldwide commitment around this "past pranks" policy (or, similarly, committing to go back in time to investigate those phenomena and "play pranks" only if no other explanation is found) would, by EDT, imply lower probabilities of scary competing explanations for unexplained phenomena - like aliens, supernatural beings or glitches in the matrix. (another possible intervention is to write a letter to superintelligent descendants asking them to, if possible, go back in time to enforce that policy... I mean, you know how it goes)

(crap I just noticed I'm plagiarizing Interstellar!)

So it turns out that, though I find this whole subject weird and amusing, and don't feel particularly willing to dedicate more than half an hour to it... the reasoning seems to be sound, and I can't spot any relevant flaws. If I ever find myself having one of those experiences, I do prefer to think "I'm either hallucinating, or my grandkids are playing with the time machine again"

I really can't evaluate all of your claims, but I'd personally like to see more native English-speakers grasping how lucky they are

(the disease seems to be worse in common law countries). Vide Brookings:

Actually, the report you linked blames it mostly on increases in income and housing prices.


We do find empirical evidence consistent with two hypotheses. The first is that the demand for more expensive Interstate highways increases with income, as either richer people are willing to pay for more expensive highways or in any case they can have their interests heard in the political process. The doubling in real median per capita income over the period accounts for roughly half of the increase in expenditures per mile over the period. Also consistent with this, and with the finding that the increased costs are due to increased inputs, not per unit input prices, we show that states construct more ancillary structures, such as bridges and ramps, and more wiggly routes in later years of the program. Controls for home value also account for a large proportion of the temporal increase; taken together, income and home value increases account for almost all the temporal change in costs.

And about "citizen voice":

The second hypothesis with which our data are consistent is the rise of “citizen voice” in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  [...] Some of these tools, such as environmental review, were directly aimed at increasing the cost of government behavior, by requiring the government to fully internalize the negative externalities of Interstate construction. Other new tools, such as mandated public input, could yield construction of additional highway accoutrement (such as noise barriers), create delays, or increase planning costs.

I think that's a problem that countries without rule of law don't have... but then they have other obstacles for development.

But most of all, I'm sorry, but I'm sort of confused about what exactly is your point here - if, e.g., it's about legal interferences in general, or only about rights-based litigation, or about how those interferences make us lag behind those who don't have it. More precisely, I'm in doubt between something like:
i. "we shouldn't create legal interferences with tech development, they are inefficient and slow down economic development - and there will be less welfare in the long-run";

ii. "we shouldn't create legal interferences with tech development, otherwise we'll be surpassed by countries and organizations who don't mind about them";

iii. "we shouldn't create rights-based legal interference with tech development, as it increases litigaton and is more inefficient than top-down regulation, or than self-regulation".
I disagre with (i), because I think that the costs of slowing down c-risks are worth it. Perhaps you disagree with me, but then I see no point in discussing it here (I mean, my question assumes that are willing to incur some costs to mitigate c-risks).
I sort of disagree with (ii), because I think that "hawkish arms-race" reasoning is precisely one of the main factors driving c-risks up; on the other hand, I have to reckon the risk of playing dove and of "regulatory arbitrage":  regulation is ineffective if companies can just move to somewhere where it doesn't apply (or if they lose marketshare to companies in those places), and the risks remain. But there might be ways to mitigate this problem - e.g., EU taxing imports to prevent carbon leakage.

I feel tempted to agree with (iii); but then, I'm not sure if that's an option at all, at least for now. Quite the opposite: top-down regulation will often come after precedents recognizing some rights, and self-regulation usually aims to respond to litigation and reputational risks.
 

Thanks for the post. I was talking to Leo yesterday ... do you think it'd be interesting to have something like "country profiles" for EA?

So... your point is that it could lead to justices (i) curtailing AI development & (ii) risking the whole semiconductor industry world wide by locking it in Taiwan? That's a long slippery slope (but you could say it's not so much longer than climate change leading to famine...) First, I'm not sure if I want that Taiwan becomes "replaceable" as a leading manufacturer, as it'd make it more likely to be invaded (though decreasing the odds of nuclear powers confrontation). but that's beyond the point. Second... yeah, I think there's a risk of abuse in inflating legal concepts. But I am not sure courts are that powerful, nor so daring. I could imagine a judge ruling against things they can understand may lead to harm, such as gain of function or "murderbots" research, especially if there's an example where it has caused harm, but not against tech development in general. But ultimately, yes, I think the risk of court abuse is one of the problems in extending legal doctrines to catastrophic risk mitigation.

I partially agree. This "human rights inflation" has been a powerful critique against legal activism in jurisprudence. I'm afraid UN should be way more specific concerning what could be retarded as a violation of such rights. On the other hand, if one truly believed that, e.g., nuclear weapons proliferation risks leading to a global catastrophe, then why couldn't one say that it risks violating human rights, too - just like, e.g., failing to deter torture? It's certainly not a matter of impact... is it a matter of probability?

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