Wiki Contributions


Impact Certificates on a Blockchain

Dig it! Juan Benet from Protocol Labs and Matt Goldenberg are also working on this. Ping 'em! 

Why I Am Not a Technocrat

Link to an ongoing Twitter discussion with Rob Wiblin, Vitalik Buterin, etc. here: https://twitter.com/glenweyl/status/1163522777644748801

Philanthropy Vouchers as Systemic Change

I like this style of thinking. A couple quick notes:

1. Various U.S. presidential candidates have proposals for "democracy dollars", which are similar to philanthropy vouchers, but scoped to political giving. AFAICT, they have a different macro goal as well: to decentralize campaign financing. See https://www.yang2020.com/policies/democracydollars/ and https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/5/4/18526808/kirsten-gillibrand-democracy-dollars-2020-campaign-finance-reform

2. I agree that non-politics can be systemic. See this post that expands on your idea of "what if everyone tithed 10%?" https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/N4KSLXgr6J7Z9mByG/an-argument-to-prioritize-tithing-to-catalyze-a-paradigm

3. It would be interesting to see philanthropic vouchers tested in the EA community. Kind of like a reverse EA Funds/donor lottery, where an EA donor gives lots of EAs vouchers (money) and then the EAs donate it.

An Argument to Prioritize "Tithing to Catalyze a Paradigm Shift and Negate Meta Existential Risk"

Woof! Thanks for noting this Stefan! As you say, cause neutrality is used in the exact opposite way (to denote that we select causes based on impartial estimates of impact, not that we are neutral about where another person gives their money/time). I've edited my post slightly to reflect this. Thanks!

How can I internalize my most impactful negative externalities?

Boom, thanks! Dig the push back here. I generally agree with Scott Alexander's comment at the bottom: "I don't think ethical offsetting is antithetical to EA. I think it's orthogonal to EA."

(Though I also believe there are some "macro systemic" reasons for believing that offsetting is a crucial piece to moving more folks to an EA-based non-accumulation mindset. More detailed explanation of this later!)

How can I internalize my most impactful negative externalities?

Awesome resource, thanks for the link! (Also, I had never heard of Pigouvian taxes before—thanks!)

Given your list, I'd group the "categories" of externalities into:

  • Environment (driving, emitting carbon, agriculture, municipal waste)
  • Public health (driving, obesity, alcohol, smoking, antibiotic use, gun ownership)
  • Financial (debt)

And, if I understand it correctly, it's tough for me to offset some of these. This is because:

  • Luckily, I just happen to not do many of them (e.g. driving, obesity, alcohol, smoking, debt).
  • But even if I did, it's not clear to me how to offset. i.e. Given your research in this area, could you help me answer this question—if I (or people in the developed world generally) were to offset the externalities our actions, what should we offset? 1st clear answer is paying to offset our carbon emissions. What would be "#2", and how would we "pay" to offset it? (e.g. If I was obese, who would I pay to offset that?)


Current Estimates for Likelihood of X-Risk?

Perfect, thanks! I agree with most of your points (and just writing them here for my own understanding/others):

  • Uncertainty hard (long time scale, humans adaptable, risks systemically interdependent so we get zero or double counting)
  • Probabilities have incentives (e.g. Stern's discounting incentive)
  • Probabilities get simplified (0-10% can turn into 5% or 0% or 10%)

I'll ping you as I get closer to a editable draft of my book, so we can ensure I'm painting an appropriate picture. Thanks again!

Current Estimates for Likelihood of X-Risk?

Hey Simon! Thanks writing up this paper. The final 1/3 is exactly what I was looking for!

Could you give us a bit more texture on why you think it's "best not to put this kind of number on risks"?

Which five books would you recommend to an 18 year old?

Love this exercise (I read a non-fiction book a week, so I think about this a lot!). I'd definitely put an EA book in the top 5, but I think we get more differentiated advantage by adding non-EA books too. My list:

  1. On Direction and Measuring Your Impact—Doing Good Better
  2. On Past-Facing Pattern Matching from History—Sapiens
  3. On Future-Facing Tech Trends—Machine, Platform, Crowd
  4. On Prioritization and Process—Running Lean
  5. On Communication—An Everyone Culture

Honorable Mentions:

  1. Influence/Hooked/Thinking Fast and Slow (on behavioral psychology)
  2. World After Capital/Homo Deus/The Inevitable (more macro trends)
  3. Designing Your Life (process)
  4. Nonviolent Communication (communication)
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