Stefan_Schubert's Comments

BenMillwood's Shortform

Even if it's legal, some people may think it's unethical to lobby against an industry that you've shorted.

It could provide that industry with an argument to undermine the arguments against them. They might claim that their critics have ulterior motives.

edoarad's Shortform

Some parts of the world aren't closing in much on the US.

Regarding the global power structure, what matters is probably not overall global levels of convergence, but rather whether some large countries (e.g. China) converge with the US.

Regarding that question, it probably doesn't matter that much if a country is very poor or somewhat poor - since only relatively rich countries can compete militarily and politically anyway.

But from the perspective of global poverty and welfare, it obviously matters a lot whether a very poor country manages to reduce their level of poverty.

The Moral Value of Information - edited transcript

Thanks for doing this, I think it's a great talk.

The images ended up a bit too small, I think. Is it possible to make them larger somehow? I think that would be great. Thanks.

Study results: The most convincing argument for effective donations

Eric Schwitzgebel responded as follows to a similar comment on his wall:

According to the contest rules, the "winner" is just the argument with the highest mean donation, if it statistically beats the control. It didn't have to statistically beat the other arguments, and as you note it did not do so in this case.

But many won't interpret it that way and further clarification would have been good, yes.

Edit: Schwitzgebel's post actually had another title: "Contest Winner! A Philosophical Argument That Effectively Convinces Research Participants to Donate to Charity"

I'm Linch Zhang, an amateur COVID-19 forecaster and generalist EA. AMA

Relatedly, on the nature of expertise. What's the relative importance of domain-specific knowledge and domain-general forecasting abilities (and which facets of those are most important)?

Problem areas beyond 80,000 Hours' current priorities

Yes, though it's possible that some or all of the ideas and values of effective altruism could live on under other names or in other forms even if the name "effective altruism" ceased to be used much.

EA considerations regarding increasing political polarization

I agree with those who say that the analogy with the Cultural Revolution isn't ideal.

Yes, there are some relevant similarities with the Cultural Revolution. But the fact that many millions were killed in the Cultural Revolution, and that the regime was a dictatorship, are extremely salient features. It doesn't usually work to say that "I mean that it's like the Cultural Revolution in other respects - just not those respects". Those features are so central and so salient that it's difficult to dissociate them in that way.

Relatedly, I think that comparisons to the Cultural Revolution tend to function as motte and baileys (specifically, hyperboles). They have a rhetorical punch precisely because the Cultural Revolution was so brutal. People find the analogy powerful precisely because of the associations to that brutality.

But then when you get criticised, you can retreat and say "well, I didn't mean those features of the Cultural Revolution - I just meant that there was ideological conformity, etc" - and it's more defensible to say that parts of the US have those features today.

EA considerations regarding increasing political polarization

Good point. Maybe it could be possible to convince some pundits and thought leaders to participate in such tournaments, and maybe that could make them less polarised, and have other beneficial effects.

Stefan_Schubert's Shortform

I wrote a blog post on utilitarianism and truth-seeking. Brief summary:

The Oxford Utilitarianism Scale defines tendency to accept utilitarianism in terms of two factors: acceptance of instrumental harm for the greater good, and impartial beneficence.

But there is another question, which is subtly different, namely: what psychological features do we need to apply utilitarianism, and to do it well?

Once we turn to application, truth-seeking becomes hugely important. The utilitarian must find the best ways of doing good. You can only do that if you're a devoted truth-seeker.

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