2023Joined Dec 2014


Rees has also written multiple blurbs for Will MacAskill, Nick Bostrom et al.

Great to see such a detailed, focused, and well-researched analysis of this topic, thank you. I haven't yet read beyond the executive summary yet other than a skim of the longer report, but I'm looking forward to doing so.

A clarification that CSER gets some EA funds (combination of SFF, SoGive, BERI in kind,  individual LTFF projects) but likely 1/3 or less of its budget at any given time. The overall point (all these  are a small fraction of overall EA funds) is not affected.

7.4% actually seems quite high to me (for a university without a long-time established intellectual hub, etc); I would have predicted lower in advance.

An early output from this project: Research Agenda (pre-review)

Lessons from COVID-19 for GCR governance: a research agenda

The Lessons from Covid-19 Research Agenda offers a structure to study the COVID-19 pandemic and the pandemic response from a Global Catastrophic Risk (GCR) perspective. The agenda sets out the aims of our study, which is to investigate the key decisions and actions (or failures to decide or to act) that significantly altered the course of the pandemic, with the aim of improving disaster preparedness and response in the future. It also asks how we can transfer these lessons to other areas of (potential) global catastrophic risk management such as extreme climate change, radical loss of biodiversity and the governance of extreme risks posed by new technologies.

Our study aims to identify key moments- ‘inflection points’- that significantly shaped the catastrophic trajectory of COVID-19. To that end this Research Agenda has identified four broad clusters where such inflection points are likely to exist: pandemic preparedness, early action, vaccines and non-pharmaceutical interventions. The aim is to drill down into each of these clusters to ascertain whether and how the course of the pandemic might have gone differently, both at the national and the global level, using counterfactual analysis. Four aspects are used to assess candidate inflection points within each cluster: 1. the information available at the time; 2. the decision-making processes used; 3. the capacity and ability to implement different courses of action, and 4. the communication of information and decisions to different publics. The Research Agenda identifies crucial questions in each cluster for all four aspects that should enable the identification of the key lessons from COVID-19 and the pandemic response.

At least these ones involve very different cause areas, so should be obvious from context (as contrasted with two organisations that work on long-term risk where AI risk is a focus).

Also, have some pity for the Partnership on AI and the Global Partnership on AI. 

[disclaimer: acting director of CSER, but writing in personal capacity]. I'd also like to add my strongest endorsement of Carrick - as ASB says, a rare and remarkable combination of intellectual brilliance, drive, and tremendous compassion. It was a privilege to work with him at Oxford for a few years. It would be  wonderful to see more people like Carrick succeeding in politics; I believe it would make for a better world.

Seán Ó hÉigeartaigh here. Since I have been named specifically, I would like to make it clear that when I write here, I do so under Sean_o_h, and have only ever done so. I am not Rubi, and I don't know who Rubi is. I ask that the moderators check IP addresses, and reach out to me for any information that can help confirm this.

I am on leave and have not read the rest of this discussion, or the current paper (which I imagine is greatly improved from the draft I saw), so I will not participate further in this discussion at this time.

I note the rider says it's not directed at regular forum users/people necessarily familiar with longtermism. 

The Torres critiques are getting attention in non-longtermist contexts, especially with people not very familiar with the source material being critiqued. I expect to find myself linking to this post regularly when discussing with academic colleagues who have come across the Torres critiques; several sections (the "missing context/selective quotations" section in particular) demonstrate  effectively places in which the critiques are not representing the source material entirely fairly.

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