Wiki Contributions


How can we make Our World in Data more useful to the EA community?

Maybe a page on AI capabilities and progress could be useful to explain to people why there are chances that very powerful AI appear this century m ? For instance one graph that I'd love to see would be when we expected a breakthrough and when it actually happened, things on the scaling of models and the scaling of performances, the evolution of the use of AI in industry, the evolution of investment in AI, the evolution of the distribution of funds or researchers between academia and private sector etc. I'm not sure that all of that is tractable but that would be great !

Decomposing Biological Risks: Harm, Potential, and Strategies

Thanks David, that's great ! 

"The first reason not to pursue the one-country approach from a policy perspective is that non-existential catastrophes seem likely, and investments in disease detection and prevention are a good investment from a immediate policy perspective. Given that, it seems ideal to invest everywhere and have existential threat detection be a benefit that is provided as a consequence of more general safety from biological threats. There are also returns to scale for investments, and capitalizing on them may require a global approach." 

I feel like there are two competing views here that are very well underlined thanks to your comment :

  • From a global perspective, the optimal policy is probably to put metagenomic sequencing in the key nodes of the travel network so that we're aware of any pathogen as soon as possible. I feel like it's roughly what you meant
  • From a marginalist perspective, given the governance by country it's probably much easier to cover one country who cares about national security with metagenomic sequencing (e.g the US) than to apply the first strategy.

 I expect the limiting factor not to be our own resource allocation but the opportunities to push for the relevant policies at the right moment. If we're able to do the first strategy, i.e if there's an opportunity for us to push in favor of a global metagenomic plan that has some chances to work, that's great ! But if we're not, we shouldn't disregard the second strategy (i.e pushing in one single country to have a strong metagenomic sequencing policy being implemented) as a great way to greatly mitigate at least X-risks from GCBRs.

"Second, a key question for whether the proposed "one country" approach is more effective than other approaches is whether we think early detection is more important than post-detection response, and what they dynamics of the spread are. As we saw with COVID-19, once a disease is spreading widely, stopping it is very, very difficult. The earlier the response starts, the more likely it is that a disease can be stopped before spreading nearly universally. The post-detection response, however, can vary significantly between countries, and those most able to detect the thread weren't the same as those best able to suppress cases - and for this and related reasons, putting our eggs all in one basket, so to speak, seems like a very dangerous approach."


Yes, I agree with this for GCBRs in general but not for existential ones ! My point is just that conditionally on a very very bad virus and on awareness about this virus, I expect some agents who are aware quite early about it (hence the idea to put metagenomic sequencing in every entry points of a country) to find ways to survive it, either due to governments or due to personal preparation (personal bunkers or this kind of stuff).

I hope I answered your points correctly ! 

Thanks for the comment !