Researcher of causal models and human-aligned AI at FHI | https://twitter.com/ryancareyai
It happens in Australian universities. Probably anywhere there's a large centralised campus. Wouldn't work as well in Oxbridge, though, because the teaching areas, and even the libraries, are spread all across the city.
Important topic. Though I find it hard to gauge the project without certain basic info:
It might be orthogonal to the point you're making, but do we have much reason to think that the problem with old-CFAR was the content? Or that new-CFAR is effective?
Especially for referrals, since there may be very many.
Yeah, I haven't analysed Holden's intended meaning whatsoever, but something like what you describe would make much more sense.
It can't be right to say that every descendant of a digital person is by definition also a person. A digital person could spawn (by programming, or by any other means) a bot that plays RPS randomly, in one line of code. Clearly not a person!
What about the hypothesis that simple animal brains haven't been simulated because they're hard to scan - we lack a functional map of the neurons - which ones promote or inhibit one another, and other such relations.
Agree that we shouldn't expect large productivity/wellbeing changes. Perhaps a ~0.1SD improvement in wellbeing, and a single-digit improvement in productivity - small relative to effects on recruitment and retention.
I agree that it's been good overall for EA to appear extremely charitable. It's also had costs though: it sometimes encouraged self-neglect, portrayed EA as 'holier than thou', EA orgs as less productive, and EA roles as worse career moves than the private sector. Over time, as the movement has aged, professionalised, and solidified its funding base, it's been beneficial to de-emphasise sacrifice, in order to place more emphasis on effectiveness. It better reflects what we're currently doing, who we want to recruit, too. So long as we take care to project an image that is coherent, and not hypocritical, I don't see a problem with accelerating the pivot. My hunch is that even apart from salaries, it would be good, and I'd be surprised if it was bad enough to be decisive for salaries.
This kind of ambivalent view of salary-increases is quite mainstream within EA, but as far as I can tell, a more optimistic view is warranted.
If 90% of engaged EAs were wholly unmotivated by money in the range of $50k-200k/yr, you'd expect >90% of EA software engineers, industry researchers, and consultants to be giving >50%, but much fewer do. You'd expect EAs to be nearly indifferent toward pay in job choice, but they're not. You'd expect that when you increase EAs' salaries, they'd just donate a large portion on to great tax-deductible charities, so >75% of the salary increase would be refunded on to other effective orgs. But when you say that the spending would be only a tenth as effective (rather than ~four-tenths), clearly you don't.
Although some EAs are insensitive to money in this way, 90% seems too high. Rather, with doubled pay, I think you'd see some quality improvements from an increased applicant pool, and some improved workforce size (>10%) and retention. Some would buy themselves some productivity and happiness. And yes, some would donate. I don't think you'd draw too many hard-to-detect "fake EAs" - we haven't seen many so far. Rather, it seems more likely to help quality than hurt on the margin.
I don't think the PR risk is so huge at <$250k/yr levels. Closest thing I can think of is commentary regarding folks at OpenAI, but it's a bigger target, with higher pay. If the message gets out that EA employees are not bound to a vow of poverty, and are actually compensated for >10% of the good they're doing, I'd argue that's would enlarge and improve the recruitment pool on the margin.
(NB. As an EA worker, I'd stand to gain from increased salaries, as would many in this conversation. Although not for the next few years at least given the policies of my current (university) employer.)
I think they believe in Wei Dai's UDT, or some variant of it, which is very close to Stuart's anthropic decision theory, but you'd have to ask them which, if any, published or unpublished version they find most convincing.