Research Programme Director @ University of Cambridge
2952 karmaJoined Dec 2014


I direct the AI:Futures and Responsibility Programme ( at the University of Cambridge, which works on AI strategy, safety and governance. I also work on global catastrophic risks with the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk and AI strategy/policy with the Centre for the Future of Intelligence.


Datapoint: I put money in my pension.

Not a perfect translation, but I like proto-EA and leading Irish language poet Sean O Riordain writing a poem about moral circle expansion back in 1971. (It reads a lot better in the original language).

Apathy Is Out

There’s not a fly, moth, bee,
man, or woman created by God
whose welfare’s not our responsibility;
to ignore their predicament
isn’t on.

There’s not a madman in Mad Valley
we shouldn’t sit with
and keep company,
he’s sick in the head
on our behalf.

There’s not a place, stream or bush, however remote;
or a flagstone
north, south, east or west
that we shouldn’t consider
without affection and empathy.
No matter how far South Africa,
no matter how distant the moon,
they’re part of us by right:
there’s not a single spot anywhere
we’re not a part of. We issue from everywhere.

> Cotton-Barratt could have been thrown out without any possibility of discussion. I am reliability told this is the policy of some UK universities.

Depending on what 'discussion' means here, I'd be surprised. It would be illegal to fire someone without due process. Whether discussion would be public as in here is a different matter; there tends to be a push towards confidentiality.

For balance: I've been an advocate for victims in several similar cases in UK universities, at least one of which was considerably more severe than what i've seen described in this case. I've encountered intervention and pressure from senior academic/administrative figures to discourage formal complaints being submitted, resulting in zero consequences for the perpetrator, and the victims leaving their roles. I would expect this to be the outcome more often on average than the very strong reaction Nathan describes. 

Uh, the word in that screenshot is "meditating". She was asking people to not talk too loudly while she was meditating.

I would strongly caution against doing so. Even if it turns out to be seemingly justified in this instance (and I offer no view either way whether it is or not), I cannot think of a more effective way of discouraging victims/whistleblowers from coming forward (in other cases in this community) in future situations. 

This is both a very kind and a very helpful thing to offer. This is something that can help people an awful lot in terms of their career. 

Good to know, thank you.

Yeah, unfortunately I suspect that "he claimed to be an altruist doing good! As part of this weird framework/community!" is going to be substantial part of what makes this an interesting story for writers/media, and what makes it more interesting than "he was doing criminal things in crypto" (which I suspect is just not that interesting on its own at this point, even at such a large scale).

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