rileyharris

74Joined Apr 2018

Comments
13

Thanks, this is really helpful information about trusts and the 4% rule! 

On self trust: I feel that a common pattern might be that when you're young, you're 'idealistic' and want to do things like donate. When you're older, you feel like spending your money (if you have it) in ways that might not make you particularly happy. I might even decide I would rather give it all to my kids (if I have some). This makes me think there's a good chance I won't donate it later if I haven't pre-committed. 

On safety: I am from Australia, and to some extent my context is probably quite different to many others. (On the whole, Australia tends to look after you if you get severely injured or run entirely out of money. This makes quick access less of a pressing consideration for me). But to the extent that it is an important consideration, why not have a little money that's easily accessible and most of it in a trust?

Here are some articles I think would make good scripts (I'll also be submitting one script of my own). 

Summaries of the following papers:

I'd also suggest the following papers which I haven't seen a summary of:

(Edit: Spacing)

  1. ^

     I am writing these 8 summaries, message me if you want to see them early.  

This is really great to see!

I think economic growth is rated too highly by this framework. It gets a very high rating on the first criteria because many organisations think it's something worth considering—but none of them rate it as their top priority, or even a particularly high priority (to my knowledge). My intuition is that it wouldn't get such a high rating if the criteria was importance, rather than consensus that it is one of the issues worth considering—and that importance is what matters here?

Ask him about counterfactuals, ask him if his views have any implications for our ideas of counterfactual impact?

Ask him whether relative expectations can help us get out wagers like this one from Hayden Wilkinson's paper:

Dyson's Wager

You have $2,000 to use for charitable purposes. You can donate it to either of two charities. 

The first charity distributes bednets in low-income countries in which malaria is endemic. With an additional $2,000 in their budget this year, they would prevent one additional death from malaria. You are certain of this. 

The second charity does speculative research into how to do computations using ‘positronium’ - a form of matter which will be ubiquitous in the far future of our universe. If our universe has the right structure (which it probably does not), then in the distant future we may be able to use positronium to instantiate all of the operations of human minds living blissful lives, and thereby allow morally valuable life to survive indefinitely long into the future. From your perspective as a good epistemic agent, there is some tiny, non-zero probability that, with (and only with) your donation, this research would discover a method for stable positronium computation and would be used to bring infinitely many blissful lives into existence.
 

Recently, I was reading David Thorstad’s new paper “Existential risk pessimism and the time of perils”. In it, he models the value of reducing existential risk on a range of different assumptions.

The headline result is that 1) most plausibly, existential risk reduction is not overwhelmingly valuable–though it may still be quite valuable, it doesn’t probably swamp all other cause areas. And 2) thinking that extinction is more likely tends to weaken the case for existential risk reduction rather than strengthen it.

It struck me that one of the results is particularly interesting, I call it the repugnant solution:

If we can reduce existential risk to 0% per century across all future centuries, this act is infinitely valuable, even if the initial risk was absolutely tiny and each century is only just of positive value. This act is therefore, better than basically anything else we could do.

Perhaps, in a Pascalian way, if we think there is a tiny chance that some particular action will lead to a permanent reduction in existential risk, that act too is infinitely valuable, and everything breaks.

This is also true even if we decrease the value of each century from “really amazingly great” to “only just net positive”.

Thanks for the post - this seems like a really important contribution! 

[Caveat: I am not at all an expert on this and just spent some time googling]. Snake antivenom actually requires that you milk venom from a snake to produce, and I wonder how much this is contributing to the high cost ($55–$640)  of snake venom [1]. I wonder if R&D would be a better investment, especially given the potentially high storage and transport costs for snake venom (see below). It would be interesting to see someone investigate this more thoroughly.

Storage costs are pretty low in that cost effectiveness estimate you cite [2], but it seems pretty plausible to me that storage and transportation costs would be much higher if you wanted to administer snake venom at smaller clinics that were closer to the victims of snake bites. The cost was based on this previous estimate,  in which they say“The cost of shipping from abroad where the antivenoms are manufactured, transportation within Nigeria and freezing of antivenom (including use of supplementary diesel power electric generators in addition to national power grid) is estimated at N3,000 ($18.75) from prior experience and expert opinion. But it was assumed that appropriate storage facilities already exist at the local level through immunization/drug services and that no additional capital investment would be required to adequately store the antivenom in the field” [3].
I'm not sure exactly what facilities are required and how expensive they would be, but this seems like it could be an important consideration.
 

[1] Brown NI (2012) Consequences of neglect: analysis of the sub-Saharan African snake antivenom market and the global context. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 6: e1670.

[2] Hamza M, Idris MA, Maiyaki MB, Lamorde M, Chippaux JP, et al. (2016) Cost-Effectiveness of Antivenoms for Snakebite Envenoming in 16 Countries in West Africa. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 10(3): e0004568. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0004568

[3] Habib AG, Lamorde M, Dalhat MM, Habib ZG, Kuznik A (2015) Cost-effectiveness of Antivenoms for Snakebite Envenoming in Nigeria. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 9(1): e3381. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0003381

Thanks, it looks like you've put a lot of effort into summarising this information (it actually looks better and higher effort than my original post, oop). 

Thank you! I really appreciate the encouragement! 

I'm all for pricing in carbon and sensible policy that regulates in proportion to our best estimate of the risk!

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