T

taoburga

Group Organizer @ Brown Effective Altruism, Brown AI Safety Team
145 karmaJoined Pursuing an undergraduate degreeProvidence, RI, USA

Bio

Participation
5

Studying Behavioral Decision Sciences at Brown University, specialized in rationality and global catastrophic risks. University group organizer at Brown EA and the Brown AI Safety Team (BAIST).

Interned at CHERI, where I researched interventions to improve institutional decision-making (IIDM), and at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, where I researched an intervention to improve moral decision-making from a utilitarian perspective.

Facilitated Intro EA and AI Policy reading groups at Brown.

Self-published Flores Para los Muertos, a book which contains some of what I've written (fiction & philosophy). In Spanish.

How I can help others

Happy to chat about anything, just reach out.

Comments
12

A few quick ideas:
1. On the methods side, I find the potential use of LLMs/AI as research participants in psychology studies interesting (not necessarily related to safety). This may sound ridiculous at first but I think the studies are really interesting.
From my post on studying AI-nuclear integration with methods from psychology: 

[Using] LLMs as participants in a survey experiment, something that is seeing growing interest in the social sciences (see Manning, Zhu, & Horton, 2024; Argyle et al., 2023; Dillion et al., 2023; Grossmann et al., 2023).

2. You may be interested or get good ideas from the Large Language Model Psychology research agenda (safety-focused). I haven't gone into it so this is not an endorsement.

3. Then you have comparative analyses of human and LLM behavior. E.g. the Human vs. Machine paper (Lamparth, 2024) compares humans and LLMs' decision-making in a wargame. I do something similar with a nuclear decision-making simulation, but it's not in paper/preprint form yet.

Please feel free to add comments or ask questions, even if you think your question is probably already answered in the full manuscript. I have no problem answering or pointing you to the answer.

Thanks Clare! Your comment was super informative and thorough. 

One thing that I would lightly dispute is that 360 feedback is easily gameable. I (anecdotally) feel like people with malevolent traits (“psychopaths” here) often have trouble remaining “undiscovered” and so have to constantly move or change social circles. 

Of course, almost by definition I wouldn’t know any psychopaths that are still undiscovered. But 360 feedback could help discover the “discoverable” subgroup, since the test is not easily gameable by them.
Any thoughts?

Thank you for this! These are great resources; I'll dive into them when I have the time.

Glad it was useful! 

I don't feel qualified to give advice on teaching a language to small kids, although I do have a few thoughts. Please take them with a grain of salt, as I've never done this.

I'm assuming you mean your kids, not kids in a classroom? If this is the case:

  • It seems like language interaction is important for kids, so I'm skeptical of the "having them watch cartoons in TL instead of NL" approach, unless they already have a solid understanding of the language.
  • Do you speak this language yourself? If so, you could try to increasingly only speak this language with your kid. E.g., my cousins grew up strictly speaking French with their mother, German with their father, and English in school. Now they're fully fluent in all 3.
  • If you don't speak the language yourself, I'd bet it'll be much harder to make it happen. You could send them to private lessons (depending on age and disposition). You could also try to hire a caretaker/nanny (again depending on age) that speaks the TL and is willing to speak with the kid in that language. I knew a couple of people who spoke decent Spanish because they had a Spanish-speaking nanny growing up.

That's all I could think of. That said, I think a quick Google/YouTube search might uncover much more valuable guidance on this!

Thanks for your comment! I also think EAs sometimes fall into the trap of not considering their own interests and things that make them happy as much as they should. The importance of personal interest and enjoyment in language learning is hard to overemphasize.

Thank you for researching this; this is incredibly valuable.
I noticed that the OUS-Impartial Beneficence subscale correlates well with expansive altruism and effectiveness focus. Maybe I skipped over it, but did you include in your results whether this OUS subscale had higher predictive power than your two new factors?

Thank you for writing this. This is a really useful insight that I’ll be thinking more about as I engage more with IIDM — I have definitely focused disproportionately more on adding good processes than eliminating bad ones. This could be because I’m not very familiar in general with common processes within institutions, as my studies have really only focused on individual decision-making/rationality so far.

Below are a few quick thoughts on that.

Following your Putin-EU example, I wonder how much of Russia’s nimbleness is enabled by one man having so much decision-making power, which might both enable quick decision-making as well as democratic backsliding.

Although you could argue that quicker experimentation might pay off in the long run, I would worry that modern states having too few checks and balances might increase the risk of solo actors making catastrophically bad decisions. At the same time, I worry about vast bureaucracies failing to make important decisions, and that being equally catastrophic.

I agree, as you say, that the need for “caution and consensus vs. experimentation and accountability” depends on the institution and the decision to be made. I’m also not aware of attempts to describe when exactly you would want more of the former vs. the latter.

If you (or others) have good resources on eliminating bad processes/bureaucracy, I’d love to see them.

Thanks. None of the internal links transferred from Google doc so I missed a few when manually creating them here.

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