To be stuck inside of Mobile

279Joined Nov 2022

Bio

Now the bricks lay on Grand Street

Where the neon madmen climb

They all fall there so perfectly

It all seems so well timed

Comments
21

there's arguably something both a bit unseemly and pointless about writing on a message board about how specific private individuals should conduct their own financial affairs

I think you would care about this specific investment if you had more context (or at least I expect that you believe you would deserve to understand the argument). In some sense, this proves Jonas right.

discussing whether it was a good idea to invest $580m in Anthropic (HT to someone else for this example). The financial difference is ~30x, the potential impact difference seems much greater still.

There is a write-up specifically on this, that has been reviewed by some people. The author is now holding it back for ~4-6 weeks because they were requested to.

(For onlookers, I think the above comment is a valuable warning but is still pessimistic and speculative.)

Thank you for your incredibly detailed and expert perspective here. This seems very valuable.

There seems to be anxiety and concern about EA funds right now. One thread is here.

Your profile says you are the head of EA funds.

Can you personally make a statement to acknowledge these concerns, say this is being looked into, or anything else substantive? I think this would be helpful.

My guess is that the main reason you are not seeing a lot of communication is that there is not a major problem.

However, if there was a problem, I think the EA institution cannot simply quickly backfill 8 figures of funding by making a formal legal promise, or by delivering a cash transfer in a week's time. 

If there was a plan to implement this backfilling, I think there are a lot of steps upstream to seeing messaging:

  • The ties mentioned above might create legal or risk management challenges.
  • The nature of the FTX collapse presents issues with clawbacks, and this has unique legal characteristics.
  • Separate from legal issues, this sort of commitment or backfilling has to be coordinated at the most senior levels, it probably involves meetings with the two boards, and other stakeholders.
  • How this could be communicated has to be considered (the Wytham Abbey purchase is going poorly)

There are other possibilities or side actions: CEA probably has other sources of funding, and it might prefer to use those to show diversity.

All of the above should take weeks of time under normal conditions: there’s a legal dependency, an executive/leadership dependency, and then a media/communications dependency. All of these processes are slow, must be done in “serial’, and this is occurring one of the busiest times possible.

CEA has continued its operations, including proactively distributing new funding guidelines in a way that suggests a disciplined, thoughtful rollout.
 

Hi Jason, 

It has been a few days since this answer of yours (and other comments) have appeared. This has caused a little anxiety. This has appeared in several private discussions.

Below is an external, non-sympathetic take. Can you check this content over and give your perspective or reaction?

Here is some public information:

  • If you look at the its entry on the forum wiki, it is clear that most of CEA's funding, excluding FTX, is from a major institution in EA.
  • If you look at the new EV entity, you will find that the board members include people from that EA institution.
  • If you visit the EA funds website and look at the funding managers, you will almost always find one person from the major EA institution, and that person is often the most senior person on that fund.
  • Additionally, if you follow staff transitions, you will find that people have moved between CEA and that EA institution.
  • Lastly, if you watch YouTube videos about EA funds, you will find information that suggests to me one explanation for the role of EA funds (e.g. allows smaller, speculative or exploratory grants, offloads operations costs).

I believe the above is good evidence that CEA serves important, irreplaceable roles for both EA and that EA institution. That EA institution has access to a large amount of funding.

The collapse of EA funds or other CEA entities would be destructive. From the above, I am certain this would not be allowed to happen if it was just required backfilling the $14M of FTX funding, which has additional value in averting harm to grantees and other projects.
 

There’s several people or entities who did not seek FTX funding or consequential associations with SBF.

I think individuals who did this because they had private negative information, or the ability to perceive FTX or SBF's enterprises accurately prior to November, should be somewhat rewarded in states of the world where FTX fails due to fraud.

It seems like there are strange and bad community effects if the opposite is true, especially if impact is much more difficult than it seems, funding or status gradients are distorted, and evaluating communication and expertise in a public setting is made further difficult than it already was.

I’m pretty confused by this ontology that includes Peter Singer as a radical.

  • One of Peter’s historic contributions to human society is increased attention to animal welfare. I know for a fact that he supports thoughtful reduction of suffering, in a way that is not militant or vegan.
  • Another one of Peter Singer’s contributions is that it seems wrong to let a child die to avoid damaging a suit.
  • In the past, Peter’s income has exceeded 7 figures USD, he donates large amounts of it, maybe about ⅔, which I think is far from radical. In contrast, Will MacAskill reportedly keeps his spending at about 26K pounds.

For completeness, my understanding is that, as a philosophical principle, Peter supports the choice of parents to end their own child’s severely disabled life, especially or only as an option for those parents who may understand their newborn is suffering[1].

I do not find the above points radical compared to other narratives that I think could be made about EA.

For a number of reasons that are separate and distinct from points made in this comment, I think it would be good to either not make simple negative characterizations of Peter Singer, or to engage much more comprehensively. 

I think a lot of low quality discussion will produce more work for certain people, or have consequential effects in ways that some people may not expect. 
 

  1. ^

    If a newborn infant is likely to have a really bad life, then I think we shouldn't say this life must be preserved no matter what. Now, I'm not in a position to judge which infants are going to have good lives or bad lives. The parents of those children are in the best position to judge, provided they get accurate information on the prospects of their child and the impact the child will have on them and their family as well. 

    https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2021/09/29/1039417879/why-peter-singer-the-drowning-child-ethicist-is-giving-away-his-1-million-prize
     

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