173Joined Jan 2020


(p-)Zombie Universe: another X-risk

Yep- I was going to have a 'what we should do' section and then realised that I had nothing very helpful to say. Thanks for those resources, I'll check them out. 

(p-)Zombie Universe: another X-risk

Thanks for flagging- yes I have definitely taken more of the MacAskill-Ord-Greaves party line in this post. Personally, I'm pretty uncertain on total utilitarianism so this should reflect that a little more. 

Two Podcast Opportunities

Hi Finn, I'd be happy to help out with these (on recording voice especially, I don't think I can commit time for audio editing at the moment). I've already got a mic for my podcast (Samsung Q2U) so if that was good enough, I wouldn't need as much set-up time. 

Response to Recent Criticisms of Longtermism

Framing my proposal as "hiding criticism" is perhaps unduly emotive here. I think that it makes sense to be careful and purposive about what types of content you broadcast to a wider audience which is unlikely to do further research or read particularly critically. I agree with Aaron's comment further down the page where he says that the effect of Torres's piece is to make people feel "icky" about longtermism. Therefore to achieve the ends which I take as implicit in evelynciara's comment (counteract some of the effects of Torres's article and produce a piece of work which could be referenced on wikipedia), I think it makes more sense to just aim to write a fairer piece about longtermism, than to draw more attention to Torres's piece. I'm all for criticism of longtermism and I think such an article would be incomplete without including some, I just don't think Torres's piece offers usable criticism. 

Response to Recent Criticisms of Longtermism

Not sure how much to weight this, but perhaps it would be better to have a straightforwardly pro-longtermism piece in one of these outlets, rather than a response to Torres. If edited for Aeon or Current Affairs as a response piece this would need to offer detailed exposition of Torres's arguments, and might just result in getting more people to read the original. 

I don't know if either outlet publishes a "letter to the editor" style post. If they did, that might be a better short format which would mostly reach readers of Torres's article, rather than a full article which would likely just expand the reach of the original. 

great shout with the asterisks, normally italics is my go to but it isn't possible in titles. 

Thanks Stefan, I clarified the 'we' but let me know if there are other changes that could make it clearer. I guess I was treating it as a jumping off point for thinking about the trajectories of the field of Longtermist research/ interventions in the future more than a very specific forecasting question (hence the vagaries). But if that means people won't be as keen on answering I can shape it up a bit. 

EA Creatives and Communicators Slack

Hi! I'm Toby. I do a bit of writing and podcasting but would love to do some more. I'm particularly flexible at the moment for more EA projects, so I'd be very interested in joining the slack. (The idea is that you would message me with a link right? I'm not very familiar with slack). 

Everyday Longtermism

The way I see this argument in this post is that you pick out a value/ capacity which you think would be especially desirable for the future to hold- in this case "good decision-making"- and then track back to the individual acts which might help propagate it. 

If this is the correct model of the argument, might it be the case that more narrowly defined values/capacities are more memetically strong and morally robust? In my opinion many aspects of "good decision-making" might lead to worse outcomes- for example the focus on character in politicians mentioned above might be present in the best possible worlds but in many nearer possible worlds it is a failed proxy which leads to politicians selected because they seem reliable rather than because they have the best policies. Or perhaps many people who learn a few decision-making skills become over confident and stray into a naive version of the goal. In contrast, more finite goals such as "abolish factory farming", "promote anti-racism"  are (in my opinion) less likely to lead to false proxies and clearly propagate along social networks because they incorporate their own ends. Not every aspect of an imperfect decision-making practice is bad or leads to bad outcomes, but with more narrow goals like those mentioned above, falling short of the goals is always bad. My impression is that this is a sign of a better proxy for what is good. 

I'd love to know whether people think this is on the right track- I don't know very much about the strength of the "good decision-making" goal so it would be great to hear more about its strengths. 

Load More