I agree with this answer.
I don't need to be persuaded to care about animal/insect/machine suffering in the first place.
That's great, because that is also the starting point of my book. From the introduction:
Before I dive deeper, I should clarify the values that underlie this book. A key principle is impartiality: suffering matters equally irrespective of who experiences it. In particular, I believe we should care about all sentient beings, including nonhuman animals. Similarly, I believe suffering matters equally regardless of when it is experienced. A future individual is no less (and no more) deserving of moral consideration than someone alive now. So the fact that a moral catastrophe takes place in the distant future does not reduce the urgency of preventing it, if we have the means to do so. I will assume that you broadly agree with these fundamental values, which form the starting point of the book.
That is, I'm not dwelling on an argument for these fundamental values, as that can be found elsewhere.
Thanks for writing this up! It's great to see more people think about the relationship between animal advocacy and longtermism.
It seems important to distinguish between a) the abolition of factory farming and b) a long-term change in human attitudes towards animals (i.e. establishing antispeciesism). b) is arguably more important from a long-term perspective, and it is a legitimate concern cultivated meat (and similar technologies) would only achieve a).
However, proponents of the "technology-based strategy" usually argue that a) also indirectly helps achieve b), as it allows people to endorse animal rights without cognitive dissonance. I am not entirely sure about this, but it's at least a plausible counterconsideration.
Even without this effect, I don't really understand why you seem to think that abolishing factory farming through non-moral means would cause lock-in. Why can't attitude change / moral progress still happen later?
Thanks for the comment, this is raising a very important point.
I am indeed fairly optimistic that thoughtful forms of MCE are positive regarding s-risks, although this qualifier of "in the right way" should be taken very seriously - I'm much less sure whether, say, funding PETA is positive. I also prefer to think in terms of how MCE could be made robustly positive, and distinguishing between different possible forms of it, rather than trying to make a generalised statement for or against MCE.
This is, however, not a very strongly held view (despite having thought a lot about it), in light of great uncertainty and also some degree of peer disagreement (other researchers being less sanguine about MCE).
I'm somewhat less optimistic; even if most would say that they endorse this view, I think many "dedicated EAs" are in practice still biased against nonhumans, if only subconsciously. I think we should expect speciesist biases to be pervasive, and they won't go away entirely just by endorsing an abstract philosophical argument. (And I'm not sure if "most" endorse that argument to begin with.)
We've now put together a new and improved audio version, which can be found here.