Wildlife conservation and wild animal welfare are emphatically not the same thing. "Tech safety" (which isn't a term I've heard before, and which on googling seems to mostly refer to tech in the context of domestic abuse) and AI safety are just as emphatically not the same thing.
Anyway, yes, in most areas EAs care about they are a minority of the people who care about that thing. Those areas still differ hugely in terms of neglectedness, both in terms of total attention and in terms of expertise. Assuming one doesn't believe that EAs are the only people who can make progress in an area, this is important.
In climate change it counts the lawyers already engaged in changing the recycling laws of San Francisco as sufficent for the task at hand.
This is (a) uncharitable sarcasm, and (b) obviously false. There are enormous numbers of very smart scientists, journalists, lawyers, activists, etc etc. working on climate change. Every general science podcast I listen to covers climate change regularly, and they aren't doing so to talk about Bay-Area over-regulation. It's been a major issue in the domestic politics in every country I've lived in for over a decade. The consensus among left-leaning intellectual types (who are the main group EA recruits from) in favour of acting against climate change is total.
Now, none of this means there's nothing EA could contribute to the climate field. Probably there's plenty of valuable work that could be done. If more climate-change work started showing up on the EA Forum, I'd be fine with that the same way I'm fine with EAs doing work in poverty, animal welfare, mental health, and lots of other areas I don't personally prioritise. But would I believe that climate change work is the most good they could do? In most cases, probably not.ramiro on I knew a bit about misinformation and fact-checking in 2017. AMA, if you're really desperate.
I think "offense-deffense balance" is a very accurate term here. I wonder if you have any personal opinion on how to improve our situation on that. I guess when it comes to AI-powered misinformation through media, it's particularly concerning how easily it can overrun our defenses - so that, even if we succeed by fact-checking every inaccurate statement, it'll require a lot of resources and probably lead to a situation of widespread uncertainty or mistrust, where people, incapable of screening reliable info, will succumb to confirmatory bias or peer pressure (I feel tempted to draw an analogy with DDoS attacks, or even with the lemons problem).
So, despite everything I've read about the subject (though notvery sistematically), I haven't seen feasible well-written strategies to address this asymmetry - except for some papers on moderation in social networks and forums (even so, it's quite time consuming, unless moderators draw clear guidelines - like in this forum). I wonder why societies (through authorities or self-regulation) can't agree to impose even minimal reliability requirementes, like demanding captcha tests before spreading messages (so making it harder to use bots) or, my favorite, holding people liable for spreading misinformation, unless they explicitly reference a source - something even newspapers refuse to do (my guess is that they are affraid this norm would compromise source confidentiality and their protections against legal suits). If people had this as an established practice, one could easily screen for (at least grossly) unreliable messages by checking their source (or pointing out its absence), besides deterring them.edoarad on When can I eat meat again?
I was a bit surprised to read what you wrote about Cultivated Meat. I am not an expert, but I've looked into this topic and my understanding is that there are fundamental technical challenges to be solved at least in cell expansion, the rate and specificity of cell growth, and the creation of thick cuts of any tissue. I'm sure that these can be solved in the end, but they seem very difficult (considering that cell expansion is needed for making blood cells and other non-tissue type of cells in the much more heavily funded biomedical field which is also less bottlenecked by medium cost).
I understand that today we may be possible to make some hybrid products, but that these won't really be similar to the real thing. Is this similar to your view?linch on Climate Change Is Neglected By EA
A year ago Louis Dixon posed the question “Does climate change deserve more attention within EA? [EA · GW]”. On May 30th I will be discussing the related question “Is Climate Change Neglected Within EA?” with the Effective Environmentalism group. This post is my attempt to answer that question.
It's definitely possible I'm misunderstanding what you're trying to do here. However, I think it is usually not the case that if you attempt to do an impartial assessment of a yes-no question, all the possible factors point in the same direction.
I mean, I don't know this for sure, but I imagine if you were to ask me to closely investigate a cause area that I haven't thought about much before (wild animal suffering, say, or consciousness research, or Alzheimer's mitigation), and I investigated 10 sub-questions, I don't think all 10 of them will point in the same way. My intuition is that it's much more likely that I'd either find 1 or 2 overwhelming factors, or many weak arguments in favor or against, and some in the other direction.
I feel bad for picking on you here. I think it is likely the case that other EAs (myself included) have historically made this mistake, and I will endeavor to be more careful about this in the future.urikatz on Climate Change Is Neglected By EA
I feel sometimes that the EA movement is starting to sound like heavy metalists (“climate change is too mainstream”), or evangelists (“in the days after the great climate change (Armageddon), mankind will colonize the galaxy (the 2nd coming), so the important work is the one that prevents x-risk (saves people’s souls)”). I say “amen” to that, and have supported AI safety financially in the past, but I remain skeptical that climate change can be ignored. What would you recommend as next steps for an EA ember who wants to learn more and eventually act? What are the AMF or GD of climate change?urikatz on Climate Change Is Neglected By EA
I wonder how much of the assessment that climate change work is far less impactful than other work relies on the logic of “low probability, high impact”, which seems to be the most compelling argument for x-risk. Personally, I generally agree with this line of reasoning, but it leads to conclusions so far away from common sense and intuition, that I am a bit worried something is wrong with it. It wouldn’t be the first time people failed to recognize the limits of human rationality and were led astray. That error is no big deal as long as it does not have a high cost, but climate change, even if temperatures only rise by 1.5 degrees, is going to create a lot of suffering in this world.
In an 80,000 hours podcast with Peter Singer the question was raised whether EA should split into 2 movements: present welfare and longtermism. If we assume that concern with climate issues can grow the movement, that might be a good way to account for our long term bias, while continuing the work on x-risk at current and even higher levels.linda-linsefors on I Want To Do Good - an EA puppet mini-musical!
Watching it yet again, I think it would feel more right if the guy where not so easily convinced, but instead it ended with him, being "hm, that sounds promising, I'm going to learn some more".
Both the puppet really felt like real people with actual personalty to me, up until t=1:57. But then the guy just complexly changes his mind which broke my suspense of disbelief. I think that's the point when mostly started to sound like "yet another commercial".linda-linsefors on I Want To Do Good - an EA puppet mini-musical!
The format of the video is basically: "Do you worry about these things, then we have the solution." Integrated with some back and forth, that I really like.
"Do you worry about these things, then we have the solution." is a standard panther in commercials, for a good reason. I think this is a good panther also for selling idea ideas like EA. But it also means that you can just say you understand my concerns and that you have solutions, you have to give me some evidence, or else is is just another empty commercial.
The person singing about their doubts felt relatable, in that they brought up real concerns about charity that I could imagine having before EA. I don't remember exactly but these seemed like standard and very reasonable concerns. And got the impression that you (the video maker) really understand "my" (the viewers) worries about giving to charity.
But when you where singing about the solutions you fall a bit short. I don't think this video would win the trust of an alternative Linda, that your suggestions for charity is actually better. I think it would help to put in some argument why treatable decides, and how to lift the barriers you mention.
Every charity says they are special, so just it don't count for much. But if you give me some arguments that I can understand for why your way is better, then that is evidence that you're onto something, and I might go and check it out some more.
All that said, I re-wathced the video, and I like it even more now. The energy and the mood shifts are amazing.
On re-watching I also feel that a viewer should be able to easily figure out the connection between focusing on deceases and avoiding building dependency. But I remember that first time I watched is it felt like there where a major step missing link there. I think it is now when I know what they will say, this gives me some more time to reflect and make those connections myself.
But people seeing this on the internet might only watch once, so...amylabenz on Applications are open for EAGxVirtual 2020
Thanks for the feedback, Tyler!
To clarify: most of these questions aren’t actually *application/registration* questions for the event. Rather, they are meant to help us gather information about the community, and most are optional. I notice that you applied on May 12th - we have since gotten feedback that we should clarify that point, so we tried to make a clear distinction between the small number of application questions and the larger number of information-gathering questions. Half of the attendees got an especially long application form and shorter registration form, where the other half got a long registration form and shorter application form.
We hope to use this information to understand the different types of users that we attract and what kinds of content and interactions provide the most value, to help us get a better sense of the value EA Global and CEA as a whole provide the community.
I hope the length of the application doesn’t serve as too much of a deterrent. We don’t have many barriers to entry for this event (ticket prices are on a sliding scale starting at $5, and we expect to admit most applicants who aren’t completely new to EA), and we are hoping it can be the biggest event yet. So far, we have more than 1000 applications, so it looks like we could be on track! I look forward to seeing you there.willbradshaw on Climate Change Is Neglected By EA
I disagree with the way "neglectedness" is conceptualised in this post.
Climate change is not neglected among the demographics EA tends to recruit from. There are many, many scientists, activists, lawyers, policymakers, journalists, researchers of every stripe working on this issue. It has comprehensively (and justifiably) suffused the narrative of modern life. As another commenter here puts it, it is "The Big Issue Of Our Time". The same simply cannot be said of other cause areas, despite many of those problems matching or exceeding climate change in scale.
When I was running a local group, climate change issues were far and away the #1 thing new potential members wanted to talk about / complained wasn't on the agenda. This happened so often that "how do I deal with all the people who just want to talk about recycling" was a recurring question among other organisers I knew. I'd be willing to bet that >80% of other student group organisers have had similar experiences.
This post itself argues that EA is losing potential members by not focusing on climate change. But this claim is in direct tension with claims that climate change is neglected. If there are droves of potential EAs who only want to talk about climate change, then there are droves of new people eager to contribute to the climate change movement. The same can hardly be said for AI safety, wild animal welfare, or (until this year, perhaps) pandemic prevention.
Many of the claims cited here as reasons to work on climate change could be applied equally well to other cause areas. I don't think there's any reason to think simple models capture climate change less well than they do biosecurity, great power conflict, or transformative AI: these are all complex, systemic, "wicked problems" with many moving parts, where failure would have "a broad and effectively permanent impact".
This is why I object so strongly to the "war" framing used here. In (just) war, there is typically one default problem that must be solved, and that everyone must co-ordinate on solving or face destruction. But here and now we face dozens of "wars", all of which need attention, and many of which are far more neglected than climate change. Framing climate change as the default problem, and working on other cause areas as defecting from the co-ordination needed to solve it, impedes the essential work of cause-impartial prioritisation that is fundamental to doing good in a world like ours.