1477Joined Mar 2017


Was community director of EA Netherlands, had to quit due to long covid

I have a background in philosophy,risk analysis, and moral psychology. I also did some x-risk research.


I'm predicting a 10-25% probability that Russia will use a weapon of mass destruction (likely nuclear) before 2024. This is based on only a few hours of thinking about it with little background knowledge.

Russian pro-war propagandists are hinting at use of nuclear weapons, according to the latest BBC podcast Ukrainecast episode. [Ukrainecast] What will Putin do next? #ukrainecast via @PodcastAddict

There's a general sense that, in light of recent losses, something needs to change. My limited understanding sees 4 options:

  1. Continue on the current course despite mounting criticism. Try to make the Ukrainians lives difficult by targeting their infrastructure, limit losses until winter, and try to reorganize during winter. This seems a pretty good option for now, even though I doubt Russia can really shore up its deeply set weaknesses. They can probably prepare to dig in, threaten and punish soldiers for fleeing. This wouldn't go well for either party long-term, but Russia might bet on outlasting/undermining Western support. Probability: 40%?

  2. Negotiation: I don't think Putin wants this seriously, as even the status quo could be construed as a loss. Ukraine will have a strong bargaining position and demand a lot. Undesirable option. Maybe 10%? 20%? (Metaculus predicts 8% before 2023:

  3. Full-scale mobilisation of the population and the economy. This is risky for Putin: there's supposedly a large anti-war sentiment in Russian culture, a legacy of the enormous losses during the 2nd World War. People don't like to join a poorly-equipped poorly managed and losing army, even if it were a good cause.. This may be chosen, Putin may be misinformed and badly reading the public's sentiment. I have no idea how this would develop internally. I doubt it will make a big difference in the course of the war, except by prolonging the war a bit. Maybe 25%? Maybe 50% if Putin underestimates public resistance.

  4. Escalation by other means: I don't know how many options Russia has. Chemical weapons, electro magnetic pulse, a single tactical nuclear strike on the battlefield for deterrence, multiple nuclear strikes for strategic reasons, population strike for deterrence. In the mind of Putin, I can see this as preferable: it leads to a potential military advantage, has limited risk for destabilising his internal power base. I don't know how the international community would respond to this, nor how Putin thinks the international community would respond. In my (uninformed) view, only China can make a real difference here as the West already has stringent sanctions. I don't know how China would respond to this. They wouldn't like it, but I think the West won't really punish China for its support in the short term. I'd say on this inside view, 10-25% seems reasonable. I'm setting the point estimate at 15%.

I like the post and your hands-on attitude!

May I suggest to change the title to something more descriptive?

Eg "Requesting feedback: funding proposal for remote training of healthcare workers in LMICs"

Also: it's generally considered bad form to claim your organisation is highly effective, especially in such an early stage.. better to use the phrase "potentially highly effective"

I briefly worked in a research consortium which worked on the EUs precautionary principle, which is under attack by industry: they're basically raising the bar for evidence and definitely push back against regulation a lot.

See eg this:

Thank you Chris, that's understandable.

How about public feedback on just the top 4 though? Or even just the #1. I find it odd that, in a competition of this scale, no specific reasons are provided for why you picked these winners.

A lot of people put a lot of effort into these reports. Providing reasons why you pick certain winners seems to be like a basic aspect of running a competition in a way that's respectful to participants. This helps participants to compare their own submissions and learn from that. (I think the reward for good faith submissions is a nice contribution to that, and I'm grateful for it, but I don't think it's a replacement)

Same as for Columbus, I doubt that individual contributions played a large counterfactual role in factory farming. I'd guess it's largely due to systemic factors, except maybe in China where it was a more conscious decision.

I'm confused by your wild animal welfare argument. If their welfare is net negative, then killing them reduces overall suffering, unless cruel methods are used?

I'm not sure how counterfactual the actions of Columbus were. It seems to me there was a strong of push towards colonization from many West European nations?

Drawing attention to harmful actions that are easy to replicate, but not obvious to think of.

I think this applies more strongly to current harm, where there's also attention for people who really shouldn't get attention.

There's also a trickier case with current harm: drawing the attention of the harmful actor/supporters of the harmful actor could be dangerous.

Hey, thanks for the engagement.

The 1bn is not being spent very well by the NIH. A lot of it went to organisations without the necessary infrastructure or expertise. They're not conducting the necessary research to determine viral persistence.

The planned trials by the NIH are not very exciting, and are going slow.

The "private venture" is the organisation I'm affiliated with. It has a funding gap of ~80 million at the moment and is primarily funding constrained. I'll write more about LCRI in a new post soon :)

Could you elaborate what made the top 4 stand out specifically?

Is there any chance that I could get feedback on my submission, which hasn't received a prize?

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