Wiki Contributions


Would an EA have directed their career on fixing the subprime mortgage crisis of '07-'08 before it happened?

What would it have taken to do something about this crisis in the first place? Back in 2008, central bankers were under the assumption that the theory of central banking was completely worked out. Academics were mostly talking about details (tweaking the tailor rule basically). 

The theory of central banking is already centuries old. What would it have taken for a random individual to overturn that establishment? Including the culture and all the institutional interests of banks etc? Are we sure that no one was trying to do exactly that, anyway?

It seems to me that it would have taken a major crisis to change anything, and that's exactly what happened. And now there are all kinds of regulations being implemented for posting collateral around swaps and stuff. It seems that regulators are fixing the issues as they come up (making the system antifragile), and I don't see how a marginal young naive EA would have the domain knowledge to make a meaningful difference here.

And that goes for most fields. Unless we basically invent the field (like AI Safety) or the strategy (like comparing charities), if the field is sufficiently saturated with smart and motivated people, I don't think EA's have enough domain knowledge to do anything. In most cases it takes decades of work to get anywhere.

I think your title could be a bit more informative.

Holden's writing seems to follow a hype cycle on the idea of transparency. i.e. first you apply a fresh new idea too radically, you run into it's drawbacks, then you regress to a healthy moderate application of it.

As someone who has felt some of the drawbacks of being outside this "inner ring", I wouldn't complain about the transparency per se. Lack of engagement, maybe, but that turned out to be me. 

I'm still waiting for concrete suggestions. I also think your project would be more fruitful if you interviewed these people in person and published the result.

Would removing the “crap” have been sufficient to make it polite? I like to be direct.

How can I handle depictions of suffering better emotionally?

I can’t look inside your head, but if the mere thought of something makes you suffer, it probably means it reminds you of something that you are trying to ignore, i.e. trauma.

Assuming that this is indeed the case, I would further speculate that you are ignoring this memory or unpalatable insight because you subconsciously expect that thinking of it would disturb you to the point of getting in the way of whatever you would prefer to be doing, like idk, whatever your daily pursuits are.

The solution then, given these assumptions, would be to set aside some time (a week or two) to sit on a pillow and have nothing to do. This tends to bring unresolved trauma to the forefront by itself, simply because there is finally space for it.

Unfortunately you always find that there is more stuff to deal with, so this kind of spiritual work is a lifelong process (of getting progressively happier). I wholeheartedly recommend it.

(lots of downvotes, so where are all the comments?)

I want to reward you for bringing up the topic of power dynamics in EA. Those exist, like in any community, but especially in EA there seems to be a strong current of denying the fact that EA's are constrained by their selfish incentives like everyone else. It requires heroism to go against that current.

But by just insinuating and not delivering any concrete evidence or constructive suggestions for change, you haven't really done your homework. I advise you to withdraw this post, cut out half the narrative crap, add some evidence and a model, make a recommendation, then repost it.

EA considerations regarding increasing political polarization

What does "cancelling" mean, concretely? I don't imagine the websites will be closed down. What will we lose?

EA considerations regarding increasing political polarization

I've been trying to figure out why cancel culture is so powerful. If only ~7% of people identify as pro social justice, why are social media platforms so freely bending to their will? Surely it's not out of the goodness of their hearts, what is the commercial motive? I don't buy the idea that it is simply a marketing stunt. Afaict a pro-SJ stance does not make a company look much more favorable at this point.

But then I found this:

For context, Facebook is the social media company that has been most reluctant to be political, and apparently this is really making them bleed financially.

Why are marketing people so willing to go out of their way to do "the right thing" instead of the profitable thing? Is this something cultural? Some more digging showed that the NAACP and the ADL are leading this charge of boycotting Facebook, but I don't know what to make of that.

Concerning the Recent 2019-Novel Coronavirus Outbreak

Re exercise: I worry that putting myself in a catabolic state (by exercising particularly hard) I temporarily increase my risk. Also by being at the gym around sweaty strangers. Is this worry justified?

Moloch and the Pareto optimal frontier

I like this model but I think a more interesting example can be made with different variables.

Imagine x and y are actually both good things. You could then claim that a common pattern is for people to be pushing back and forth between x and y. But meanwhile, we may not be at the Frontier at all if you add z. So let's work on z instead!

In that sense, maybe we are never truly at the frontier, all variables considered.

Related to this line of thinking: affordance widths

Does climate change deserve more attention within EA?

If you take this model a step further, it suggests working on whatever the most tractable problem is that others are spending resources on, regardless of its impact, because that will maximally free up energy for other causes.

Sounds like something someone should simulate to see if this effect is strong enough to take into account.

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