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My upcoming CEEALAR stay

I also completed Software Foundations Volume 1 last year, and have been kind of meaning to do the rest of the volumes but other things keep coming up. I'm working full-time so it might be beyond my time/energy constraints to keep a reasonable pace, but would you be interested in any kind of accountability buddy / sharing notes / etc. kind of thing?

Prize: Interesting Examples of Evaluations

Simple linear models, including improper ones(!!). In Chapter 21 of Thinking Fast and Slow, Kahneman writes about Meehl's book Clinical vs. Statistical Prediction: A Theoretical Analysis and a Review, which finds that simple algorithms made by getting some factors related to the final judgement and weighting them gives you surprisingly good results.

The number of studies reporting comparisons of clinical and statistical predictions has increased to roughly two hundred, but the score in the contest between humans and algorithms has not changed. About 60% of the studies have shown significantly better accuracy for the algorithms. The other comparisons scored a draw in accuracy [...]

If they are weighted optimally to predict the training set, they're called proper linear models, and otherwise they're called improper linear models. Kahneman says about Dawes' The Robust Beauty of Improper Linear Models in Decision Making that

A formula that combines these predictors with equal weights is likely to be just as accurate in predicting new cases as the multiple-regression formula that was ptimal in the original sample. More recent research went further: formulas that assign equal weights to all the predictors are often superior, because they are not affected by accidents of sampling.

That is to say: to evaluate something, you can get very far just by coming up with a set of criteria that positively correlate with the overall result and with each other and then literally just adding them together.

AMA: Rob Mather, founder and CEO of the Against Malaria Foundation

How has the landscape of malaria prevention changed since you started? Especially since AMF alone has bought on the order of 100 million nets, which seems not insignificant compared to the total scale of the entire problem.

Long-Term Future Fund: November 2019 short grant writeups

In the list at the top, Sam Hilton's grant summary is "Writing EA-themed fiction that addresses X-risk topics", rather than being about the APPG for Future Generations.

Miranda Dixon-Luinenburg's grant is listed as being $23,000, when lower down it's listed as $20,000 (the former is the amount consistent with the total being $471k).


Conversation on AI risk with Adam Gleave

Christiano operationalises a slow takeoff as

There will be a complete 4 year interval in which world output doubles, before the first 1 year interval in which world output doubles.

in Takeoff speeds, and a fast takeoff as one where there isn't a complete 4 year interval before the first 1 year interval.

Tetraspace Grouping's Shortform

The Double Up Drive, an EA donation matching campaign (highly recommended) has, in one group of charities that it's matching donations to:

  • StrongMinds
  • International Refugee Assistance Project
  • Massachusetts Bail Fund

StrongMinds is quite prominent in EA as the mental health charity; most recently, Founders Pledge recommends it in their report on mental health.

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) works in immigration reform, and is a recipient of grants from OpenPhilanthropy as well as recommended for individual donors by an OpenPhil member of staff.

The Massachusetts Bail Fund, on the other hand, seems less centrally EA-recommended. It is working in the area of criminal justice reform, and posting bail is an effective-seeming intervention that I do like, but I haven't seen any analysis of its effectiveness or strong hints of non-public trust placed in it by informed donors (e.g. it has not received any OpenPhil grants; though note that it is listed in the Double Up Drive and the 2017 REG Matching Challenge).

I'd like to know more about the latter two from an EA perspective because they're both working on fairly shiny and high-status issues, which means that it would be quite easy for me to get my college's SU to make a large grant to them from the charity fund.

Is there any other EA-aligned information on this charity (and also on IRAP and StrongMinds, since the more the merrier)?

Tetraspace Grouping's Shortform

The sum of the grants made by the Long Term Future fund in August 2019 is $415,697. Listed below these grants is the "total distributed" figure $439,197, and listed above these grants is the "payout amount" figure $445,697. Huh?

[Link] What opinions do you hold that you would be reluctant to express in front of a group of effective altruists? Anonymous form.

Two people mentioned the CEA not being very effective as an unpopular opinion they hold; has any good recent criticism of the CEA been published?

Logarithmic Scales of Pleasure and Pain: Rating, Ranking, and Comparing Peak Experiences Suggest the Existence of Long Tails for Bliss and Suffering

You mention the Jhanas and metta meditation as both being immensely pleasurable experiences. Since these come from meditation, they seem like they might be possible for people to do "at home" at very little risk (save for the opportunity costs from the time investment). Do you have any thoughts on encouraging meditation aimed towards achieving these highly pleasurable states specifically as a cause area and/or something we should be doing personally?

Tetraspace Grouping's Shortform

In a building somewhere, tucked away in a forgotten corner, there are four clocks. Each is marked with a symbol: the first with a paperclip, the second with a double helix, the third with a trefoil, and the fourth with a stormcloud.

As you might expect from genre convention, these are not ordinary clocks. In fact, they started ticking when the first human was born, and when they strike midnight, a catastrophe occurs. The type depends on the clock, but what is always true is the disaster kills at least one in ten.

The times currently remaining on the clocks are:

  • AI Clock: 3:00 to midnight
  • Biotech Clock: 3:50 to midnight
  • Nuclear Clock: 4:30 to midnight
  • Climate Clock: 3:10 to midnight

Since there are many clocks, ticking somewhat randomly, they can be combined to estimate how long until at least one strikes midnight. 40 seconds of humanity.

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These numbers were calculated using the Metaculus community median predictions of the probability of 10% of people dying from each of the causes from the Ragnarök question series.

I took those values as a constant probability of extinction over a period of 81 years (sort of like what I brought up in my previous shortform post), and calculated the mean time until catastrophe given this.

I mapped 350,000 years (the duration for which anatomically modern humans have existed according to Wikipeda) to 24 hours.

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It is of course possible for human activity to push on the hands of these clocks, just as the clocks can influence humanity. An additional person working full time on those activities that would wind back the clocks could expect to delay them by this amount:

  • AI Clock: 20,000 microseconds
  • Biotech Clock: 200 microseconds
  • Nuclear Clock: 30 microseconds
  • Climate Clock: 20 microseconds

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And these were calculated even more tenuously, by taking 80,000 hours' order-of-magnitude guesses at how much of the problem an additional full-time worker would solve completely literally and then finding the difference in the Doomsday clock time for that.

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