Will Howard

Software Engineer @ Centre for Effective Altruism
70London, UKJoined Aug 2022


I'm a developer on the EA Forum (the website you are currently on). You can contact me about forum stuff at will.howard@centreforeffectivealtruism.org or about anything else at w.howard256@gmail.com


Topic Contributions

Answer by Will HowardMar 03, 202340

Not a book but @Kirsten has some good simple recipes in this post

I like this one and the use of the word "thrice":

DHALL (onions, red lentils, rice)

- fry onions

- add red lentils and thrice that much water and boil until cooked

- add garlic paste and spices 

- whilst cooking cook rice to serve with

- optionally whilst cooking slow fry (caramalise) some onions to serve with.

Thanks for putting this together, this is super interesting!

Am I right in saying there is an implicit negative sign on all of the "bad" ones (depression and deaths under 5)? I found this a bit confusing to read especially with HLI including negative numbers in their ranges. Perhaps adding a "preventing" before all of them would be helpful.

In my experience the base rate is a lot lower than that, I have bet on ~70 markets that have resolved and I can only remember 1 that possibly resolved incorrectly (the second one that you linked). I usually don't bet on ones that are over ~98% for this reason. More common are:

  • Resolution criteria that are very ambiguous
  • Deliberate tomfoolery to manipulate the result of the market (even if it technically resolves correctly)

For all of these problems betting on markets by creators you trust helps, although I guess this is a disadvantage to casual users who don't have time to learn who the trustworthy people are, and it won't scale well. There have been attempts by manifold to help with this:

  • Adding "Trustworthy-ish" badges to creators with a good track record (and I've seen a warning badge for people who have resolved incorrectly in the past)... I have not found the judgement applied on these to be that good
  • Recently, being more proactive in banning people, and banning types of markets that tend to lead to be manipulated ("free money" markets). This seem probably good to me
  • In the codebase there is a `fractionResolvedCorrectly` field tracked for every user, I was hoping they would make this public at some point but they seem to have deprecated it now (maybe because ambiguous resolutions are a bigger issue)

...also sorry for possibly prompting that second market to be resolved incorrectly (although I will die on the hill that either way was reasonable given the market description)

The angle is "maybe existing rich people becoming EAs is better than the other way round". You can probably guess the argument...

Could I get a list of every current/former billionaire who has committed a lot of money to EA (this is for a post I will probably never finish writing)? The ones I know off the top of my head are:

  • SBF (obviously)
  • Dustin Moskovitz
  • Jaan Tallinn

have I missed anyone?

There is already a topic for the FTX discussion which you can add a filter for on the frontpage to reduce how much you see it:

Could you explain the "Number of days of life equivalent to pain of suffering" parameter in your guesstimate model? I don't get that one

I think the big problem with the suffering/day of life estimate is that it assumes suffering can't go negative. If you think suffering can go as low as 0.015 suffering-units it doesn't seem too much of a stretch to think their lives could be net positive.

(this is a general problem with reducing-suffering derived estimates imo)

It's for a sports betting app 🤷‍♂️, not what I initially thought. My friend is doing a health tracking app but apparently he's trying to convince his friend not to use Flutter for their app lol. They (the second order friend) have an engineer who is dead set on Flutter

From the little info I have I am leaning towards suggesting that he use a simple "wrapper around a website" type solution, as it shouldn't require much native functionality, and they'll probably need a web version anyway

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