All of rumtin's Comments + Replies

Identifying the most pressing global problems for an Australian policy context

Thanks Matt! Yes, would be very keen to see the paper.

We had definitely not factored in enough the resilience side of Australia's role on nuclear issues into our scoring. We'll be sure to include it as part of the more detailed scan of each of these policy issues. Your paper will be a really useful guide for that work.

Identifying the most pressing global problems for an Australian policy context

Thanks Eirik! I'd really like to see it done for other countries too.  

Related to your point, we will also be looking at what niche of an issue could Australia play a global role on. For example, perhaps we are a 'low' on climate change at large, but a 'high' on a specific part of climate change. This might change the calculus on what policy effort is required. For policy efforts in smaller countries, this approach might help identify opportunities to have global impact.

Identifying the most pressing global problems for an Australian policy context

This is a great point, Jack. I agree, I think we should change it to a 3. In fact, I wrote an op-ed last month arguing that Australia could even lead globally on nuclear risk. So you would have thought we should have rated it as a 3 to begin with!

Our instinct when putting nuclear risk (and other issues) at a 2 was not to over-egg Australia's role. Australia punches above its weight on many issues, but then seems also over-interpret its relative importance.  We were probably too wary of falling into that trap. But on nuclear risk, we do have some compa... (read more)

1Matt Boyd2mo
Rumtin, I think Jack is absolutely right, and our research, in the process of being written up will argue Australia is the most likely successful persisting hub of complexity in a range of nuclear war scenarios. We include a detailed case study of New Zealand (because of familiarity with the issues) but a detailed case study of Australia is begging to be done. There are key issues (mostly focused around trade, energy forms, societal cohesion, infectious disease resilience, awareness of the main risks - not 'radiation' like many public think, and for Australia not climate impacts or food either, which is where most nuclear impact research has focused) that could be improved ahead of time, with co-benefits for climate impact, health, resilience to other catastrophes etc. Australia is indeed uniquely positioned here (for a number of reasons that go beyond 'survival' and into 'resilience' and 'reboot' capacity, etc) and policy should include interconnections with NZ policy (sustaining regional trade, security alliance, etc, we've identified other potentially surviving/thriving regional partners too) Happy to collaborate on this. I can send you a draft of our paper in maybe 2 weeks.
Identifying the most pressing global problems for an Australian policy context

Hi Jack, Thanks for the comment! We decided to list it alphabetically in the post. Although some shortlisted items rated higher overall, we felt that the post shouldn't make too hard of a distinction - mostly because it's a relatively simple rating system, so we didn't want to give the impression that we are definitively rating some as higher than others.  I'll edit the post just to make that  clear.

Ahhhh I see! Thanks for clarifying! And thanks again - this was a great read.
Release of Existential Risk Research database

Hi Alexey - it's strange you can't see them, because all of those are already in the database. Searching directly for them is the easiest way as the way the author names are listed is a bit inconsistent (e.g. sometimes it's Alexey Turchin and other times Turchin A.)

Release of Existential Risk Research database

Thanks Matt! I hadn't realised that. Yes, I pulled straight from Terra for many of the publications, so the author order will appear the same. To be honest, not a priority for me to rectify at this stage. With Terra being updated, probably not worth spending too much time cleaning this up (e.g. I've also noticed  sometimes names or titles appear in all caps, or inconsistent use of first name vs initials). At this stage, I'm thinking minor updates and changes, such as adding a coloumn for specific risk (in addition to the risk category), expanding to other years, and expanding to other x-risk related organisations.

Release of Existential Risk Research database

Hi David. My sense is that the database is currently too simple to be used for your purposes. I have to give it some more thought about what can be added to help researchers differentiate between the publications. Risk category and policy relevance were the two most immediately relevant for my purposes, but I'm sure there are others worth including.

The Academic Paper filter does include working papers - maybe something I should delineate going forward. Many of the Reports are from academic institutions, but they're policy reports or technical reports as op... (read more)

Thanks. Your answers are very helpful! My skim also suggested that there was a lot that would be hard for academic economists and other people in the general area to evaluate. (but some of it does seem workable and I’m adding it to my list.) One of the challenges was that a lot of the work makes or considers multiple claims, and seems to give semi rigourous common sense anecdotal and case study based evidence for these claims. Other work involves areas of expertise that we are not targeting, some “hard“ expertise in the natural and physical sciences or legal scholarship, and some in perhaps “after“ areas of non-technical policy analysis and management. (Of course this is my impression based on very quick scams, so I’m probably getting some things wrong.) Your suggestion to divide this up into “empirical” versus “theoretical” does certainly seem useful. If you do that I think it would help. I’m just trying to think whether there is an even better way to think about breaking it up. I guess another part of my conception for the unjournal, or at least for the current appeal was to find some pieces of research that really made specific substantial claims that could be Consider in more detail… Considering their methodology, the appropriateness of the data, the mathematical arguments, et cetera. When the papers take on very broad issues and settle issues, this is a bit harder to do. Of course I recognise that the “broad and shallow review” is very important, but it is perhaps harder to assess the rigour of things like this.
Release of Existential Risk Research database

Creating more work for me Peter!  ;) No, it's a great idea - I definitely want to promote updates to both the research database and policy idea database. If can share the materials you have, I would appreciate it!

I have written something up here [] . Thanks for your patience!
I love making work for people :) Ok, great! I think that the best way for me to do this is to write up a short forum post explaining the process and linking to the various documents. Let me know if you disagree. If not, I'll try to do it in the next week or two and email you in case you miss it.
Feedback on Meta Policy Research Questions to Help Improve the X/GCR Field’s Policy Engagement

Thanks Michael, all great points and  really useful additions. I've added those in.  Your draft research agenda was definitely inspiration for this work, though I realise I hadn't looked at it in a while, so thanks for re-sharing. It also shows that each meta-policy question can be broken down into all sorts of mini-meta policy questions. I'll be keen to speak with you about how you've approached prioritising across them all.

Glad it was helpful! Unfortunately the summary on that is that I haven't really done any further work developing the agenda, prioritising across its questions, or actually working on the questions. (Where "further work" means "since initially writing and sharing the agenda.) That said: * Some RP interns did produce some outputs related to the agenda: * [] * [] * [] * [] * We're currently hiring for a Longtermism researcher [] , and it's possible this person would end up working on things related to that agenda
Feedback on Meta Policy Research Questions to Help Improve the X/GCR Field’s Policy Engagement

Thanks David! Appreciate you having a look and for the resources. 

Definitely agree, the scope will end up being much narrower. We wanted to keep this initial stage really broad - hoping to capture as many interesting and useful questions as possible. Then next step we're going to whittle it down to the highest priority questions, essentially those that would be valuable for the field to have insights into but that haven't yet been addressed by existing literature or work. Hope to get your thoughts at that stage as well!

Sounds great - and my guess is that lots of the most valuable work will be in "how can we use technique X for EA" for a variety of specific tools, rather than developing new methods, and will require deep dives into specifics.