Robi Rahman

Data Scientist @ Epoch
1310 karmaJoined Working (6-15 years)New York, NY, USA



Data scientist working on AI forecasting through Epoch and the Stanford AI Index. GWWC pledge member since 2017. Formerly social chair at Harvard Effective Altruism, facilitator for Arete Fellowship, and founder of the DC Slate Star Codex meetup.


I believe this is not a valid analogy. If you uninvite someone from events for making rude comments about other attendees' appearances, that only applies to that one rude person, or to people who behave rudely. If you disinvite someone for holding political views you're uncomfortable with, that has a chilling effect on all uncommon political views, and is harmful to everyone's epistemics.

It seems plausible to me that $1bn in a foundation independent from OP could be worth several times that amount added to OP.

How can $1B to a foundation other than OP be worth more than $2B to OP, unless OP is allocating grants very inefficiently? You would have to believe they are misjudging the EV of all their grants, or poorly diversifying against other possible futures, for this to be true.

Beef cattle are not that carbon-intensive. If you're concerned about the climate, the main problem with cattle is their methane emissions.

If you eat them, your emissions, combined with other people's emissions, are going to cause a huge amount of both human and non-human suffering.

If I eat beef, my emissions combined with other people's emissions does some amount of harm. If I don't eat beef, other people's emissions do approximately the same amount of harm as there would have been if I had eaten it. The marginal harm from my food-based carbon emissions are really small compared to the marginal harm from my food-based contribution to animal suffering.

You make some great points. If you think humanity is so immoral that a lifeless universe is better than one populated by humans, then yes, it would indeed be bad to colonize Mars, from that perspective.

I would be pretty horrified at humans taking fish aquaculture with us to Mars, in a manner as inhumane as current fish farming. However, I opened the Deep Space Food Challenge link, and it's more like what I expected: the winning entries are all plants or cellular manufacturing. (The Impact Canada page you linked to is broken.)

If we don't invent any morally relevant digital beings prior to colonizing space, then I think wild animal suffering is substantially likely to be the crux of whether it is morally good or bad to populate the cosmos.

Interesting argument. However, I don't think this point about poverty is right.

The problem is that [optimistic longtermism is] based on the assumption that life is an inherently good thing, and looking at the state of our world, I don’t think that’s something we can count on. Right now, it’s estimated that nearly a billion people live in extreme poverty, subsisting on less than $2.15 per day.

Poverty is arguably a relic of preindustrial society in a state of nature, and is being eliminated as technological progress raises standards of living. If we were to colonize Mars, it would probably be done by wealthy societies that have large amounts of capital per person. You might argue that conditions are so harsh on Mars that life will be unpleasant even for the wealthy, or that population growth will eventually turn Mars society into a zero-sum Malthusian hellhole, but I don't think those are your claims.

As for animal cruelty, it's pretty straightforward to propose things like a ban on animal cruelty in a Mars charter or constitution. Maybe this is politically difficult and we don't have leverage on the Mars colonist people, but then it would be even harder to ban Mars colonization altogether. Finally, this issue might be moot: it'll be really expensive to take pets and farm animals to Mars. Everyone will probably be eating hydroponic lettuce for the first fifty years anyway, not foie gras.

Shrimpify Mentoring? Shrimping What We Can? Future of Shrimp Institute?

Oh, and we can't forget about 1FTS: One for the Shrimp.

I'm very disappointed that Rethink Priorities has chosen to rebrand as Rethink Shrimp. I really think we should have gone with Reshrimp Priorities. That said, I will accept the outcome, whatever is deemed to be most effective, and in any case redouble my efforts to forecast timelines to the shrimp singularity.

I don't see Shapley values mentioned anywhere in your post. I think you've made a mistake in attributing the values of things multiple people have worked on, and these would help you fix that mistake.

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