368 karmaJoined Sep 2022



    it's fine, I am not personally offended by these estimates of how much I'm worth (not least because I don't take them seriously and I actually don't think you do either, in that faced with a dying baby or a billion dying insects you'd save the baby). On some level I find them very funny. At the very least, however, I would ask this question: can you see how this stuff is sort of bad for EA's wider reputation, on some quite fundamental level?

     It's very hard to trust someone who thinks you're only worth 50 chickens or 500 insects or whatever. Sure, you might well suspect he's lying (to you and himself), and if you know him really well you can probably say with near-certainty his revealed preferences are very different, but from the outside it's kind of hard to know for sure. Occasionally people do actually believe this stuff!  EA already has a trust problem, between FTX and the subsequent Governance Slack leaks, and this sort of thing just compounds it massively.

    By default, you shouldn't really trust a utilitarian/consequentialist because you only need to be the wrong side of their utility/consequences calculations once.  Ironically I actually think Will MacAskill, of all people, explicitly acknowledged this problem once upon a time and wrote somewhere about how consequentialists should address it by committing to high ethical standards in their everyday dealings. If I'm remembering rightly, well, how's that working out....?

    But look, deep down, our whole society is built on trust. The law is a last backup when things go wrong, not a first resort, which means if you want to achieve anything meaningful beyond a very tiny set of ideologically identikit fellow travellers you need to be trustworthy. This means that EAs need other people to trust them, and somehow I feel like "oh those are the guys who think I'm worth 50 chickens" just doesn't really help. Maybe the problem is the messaging here as much as the content, although incredibly long-winded academic arguments that fly in the face of basic common sense don't really help either.

    If EA has a management skills shortage, which seems to be the takeaway from a lot of posts here, one obvious conclusion is to try to recruit more people with managerial skills, but another might just be that there are just way way too many EA orgs and they could all be rationalized and merged a bit.

    This doesn't seem like a bad meta-strategy, fwiw. Surely otherwise EA just gets largely ignored.

    No, the assumption is simply we don't want to poor and starving. There's a lot of very very, very poor people in the world. I would like their situation to improve. That means some economic growth. All the EA bednets and  givedirectly and all this crap blah blah are absolutely worth zero, nada, nyet, compared to the incredible power of economic growth. Growth is so powerful because fast growth in one place can drag along loads of other places: look at how China's rise massively boosted growth in the countries in its supply chain. In fact you can make a pretty good argument that global development has been a complete disaster for decades in every other country apart from China AND those countries in its supply chain! Vide  https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2022/11/the-long-slow-death-of-global-development/

    Obviously this is a huge number of people and worth celebrating despite the growth failures across LatAm and Africa, but it means we can do better and it also means that boosting growth in the West through e.g AI, LLMs (not atm, a hallucinating chatbot is pretty useless but maybe we can make it good!)  is potentially an absolutely massive win for the world.  So accordingly I am massively skeptical towards the growth-killing Euro-regulatory impulse towards tech because it's clearly a) working out badly for Europe) b) very very bad for the world if it somehow got applied everywhere

    I'm sorry but I just flatly reject this and think it's trivially wrong. EA will be a massive force for bad in the world if it degenerates into some sort of regulatory scam where we try to throttle progress in high-growth areas based on nothing but prejudice and massively overblown fears about risk. This is a recipe for turning the whole world economy into totally dysfunctional zero-growth states like Italy or the UK or whatever. There's a reason why Europe has basically no native tech industry to speak of and is increasingly losing out to the US even in sectors like pharma where it was traditionally very strong. This anti-bigness attitude and desire to impose regulation in advance of any actual problems emerging is a lot of the reason why. It places far too much faith in the wisdom of regulators and not enough in markets to correct themselves just fine over time. The fact that you picked the massively price-competitive and feature-competitive smartphone industry as an example of market failure is a prime example of Euro-logic completely divorced from basic economic logic.

    well clearly Musk is much better than all the EAs, he built these massive multi-billion-dollar companies and created loads of value on the way! We're going back to space with Elon! How cool is that? If you disagree, well, ok, I guess that's a very bold take considering the stock market's opinion....

    re EVs, agree as well, even if you don't believe the climate stuff (I do w/ some caveats) then Teslas are very beautiful, great cars and almost certainly good for the world on other dimensions (i.e less local pollution in urban areas etc)

    Load more