39Joined Dec 2021


EA in the mainstream media: if you're not at the table, you're on the menu

Mirror of ‘Effective Altruism’ Is Neither, the article in question. As it is a non-direct mirror should not affect readership numbers.

Punching Utilitarians in the Face

I think these spectrum arguments are doing much more of point (1) 'The “moral intuition” is clearly not generated by reliable intuitions' rather than (2) 'proving too much'.

As such I think these are genuinely useful thought experiments, as then we can discuss the issues and biases we are discussing under (1). For example, I too would be willing to bite the bullet on Cowen's St Petersberg Paradox Persistence edition - as I can point to the greater value each time. I think many people find it counter-intuitive due to risk adversity. Which I think is also a fine point and can be discussed readily! Or maybe someone doesn't like transitivity - also an interesting point worth considering!

I do not think that means we can throw these thought experiments out the window, or point to them being unfair. The moral views that we're are defending are necessarily optimising so it makes sense to point out when this optimisation process makes people think that a moral harm has been committed. Exactly what spectrum arguments are set out to do.

Punching Utilitarians in the Face

I think this Everettian framing is useful and really probes at how we should think about probabilities outside of the quantum sense as well. So I would suggest your reasoning this holds for the standard coin flip case too.

Operations is really demanding

I think this post is excellent for a number of reasons:

  • discusses something underexplored on EA Forum (day-to-day operations)
  • raises perspectives from outside the EA lens (military)
  • raises why this post might be wrong*

*Perhaps there should be more elaborating this second point of different types of ops. I would guess that research EA organizations may have less 'reactive' operations requirements. Though I think working at an 'in the field' organization would be closer to the experience you describe. Of note is that research organizations may have more 'in the field' elements (planning events, meetings, logistics), but I would expect there is less non-systematized logistics - less chance for human error.

I would love to see another post about your experience of operations within the navy, any key lessons learned or advice you could give from what I would imagine is a unique and effective work environment.

Slightly advanced decision theory 102: Four reasons not to be a (naive) utility maximizer

I really enjoyed this post! Thanks for sharing it.

I would be keen to try to understand which of these points raised in 'Concluding thoughts' should be most seriously considered by the average EA. I feel like (3) is often considered, (1) is maybe a push that many individuals get from appeals to novelty. However, (2) I think is under-discussed and I would like to see more modelling using it. For example, some models could attempt to apply this: in mental health of an EA, in motivation of an EA, in persistence of a charity, in persistence of an EA group. I wonder if this is inline with other's intuitions? Or if there are other ways these points could be explored?

As an aside, I think I would have appreciated the 3 summarised points in' Concluding thoughts' points to be included in the TLDR or somehow at the beginning of the article. I think they are really well worded and it might help individuals to get a grasp on the key ideas without having to engage with the entire post. This doesn't detract from the article as a whole, but seems a small cost that could benefit future skim-readers.

Hope you are having a wonderful day!

Exposure to 3m Pointless viewers- what to promote?

I would be hesitant on directly noting comparisons. I think the first clause of your sentence could come off as suggesting other charities are poor. This would be especially bad if any other person on the show mentions a charity. I like Aaron Gertler's plug at DreamHack (from his answer on this post) as it specifically notes the analytic and methodical side of showing expected returns from charitable investment. Just getting good bang for your buck.

I personally find the concept of "best charities are 100 times more effective than others" motivating, and it may be what we imply when saying 'the most effective charities', but I think it encourages an immediate knee-jerk response in many to take the view as something self-righteous, showy, or pompous.

I like the second clause of your sentence.

Listen to more EA content with The Nonlinear Library

Zapier have a guide on using their service for filtering an RSS feed. In your case you should be able to filter based off the link field (ie/ link contains, to create a new RSS feed.

Dm me if you attempt this and are having any issues. Or if sufficient people upvote your comment (say 5+ votes) I'm happy to make a public RSS feed for this.