Are the diarrhea and substance abuse numbers annualized? (does diarrhea cost 85 m YLL/yr)stijn on The extreme cost-effectiveness of cell-based meat R&D
Sorry, I'm not following. The gain is independent of C, and hence (at given U and F) independent of the expected time period. Assume x is such that cell-based meat enters the market 1 year sooner (i.e. x=F). Accelerating cell-based meat with one year is equally good (spares U=0,1.10^11 animals), whether it is a reduction from 10 to 9 years or 100 to 99 years. Only if C/F would be smaller than a year, accelerating with 1 year would not work.shaybenmoshe on Book Review: Deontology by Jeremy Bentham
Thanks for writing this! I really like the way you write, which I found both fun and light and, at the same time, highlighting the important parts vividly. I too was surprised to learn that this is the version of utilitarianism Bentham had in his mind, and I find the views expressed in your summary (Ergo) lovely too.owen_cotton-barratt on What are novel major insights from longtermist macrostrategy or global priorities research found since 2015?
Maybe: "We should give outsized attention to risks that manifest unexpectedly early, since we're the only people who can."
(I think this is borderline major? The earliest occurrence I know of was 2015 but it's sufficiently simple that I wouldn't be surprised if it was discovered multiple times and some of them were earlier.)edoarad on Effective Altruism movement in LMIC and Africa
LMIC - low and middle-income countries.gavintaylor on What coronavirus policy failures are you worried about?
Articles like this make me think there is some basis to this concern:
On Wednesday, Germany's health minister expressed concern that it had not been properly tested.thomas-sepulchre on The extreme cost-effectiveness of cell-based meat R&D
"It can be dangerous to start vaccinating millions... of people too early because it could pretty much kill the acceptance of vaccination if it goes wrong," Jens Spahn told local media.
"Based on everything we know... this has not been sufficiently tested," he added. "It's not about being first somehow - it's about having a safe vaccine."
Thanks for your response!
I think cell-based meat will enter the market within 10 years, so I don't expect C/F to be very big
This makes cell-based meat R&D actually less effective : without discount gain=x⋅UC⋅CF
In term of farm animal suffering, you estimation is U=0.1⋅1011, and C = 1010 . So for each euro invested, you'll avoid the suffering of CF farm animals. The smaller the time we have to wait before cell-based meat enters the market, the less we should donate.
(This is basically because if cell-based meat enters the market in 10 years, instead of 100, its neglectedness is 10 times smaller, therefore your donation is ten times less effective)
It actually depends on why you think it will be 10 years instead of 100 : if you think it's because funding will be bigger, then the neglectedness is smaller. If, instead, you think that's because the cost is smaller (C = 109), then, as previously stated, it doesn't impact the effectiveness of the donationstijn on The extreme cost-effectiveness of cell-based meat R&D
Thanks! I assumed indeed a zero discount rate, because I believe the disutility of farm animal suffering in the future counts the same as the disutility today. Perhaps one could use a very small discount rate, to account for a human extinction probability, but then again, when humans are extinct, there will be no more farm animal suffering. I guess a higher discount rate matters when utility measures greenhouse gas emisions saved. Reducing 1 ton CO2 now is more important than 1 ton later (because in the future the carbon absorption capacity by forests, oceans and carbon capture and storage technologies will be bigger). However, I think cell-based meat will enter the market within 10 years, so I don't expect C/F to be very big.greg_colbourn on Why accelerating economic growth and innovation is not important in the long run
Nice post! Meta: footnote links are broken, and references to  and  aren't in the main body.
Also could  be referring to this post? It only touches on your point though:
thomas-sepulchre on The extreme cost-effectiveness of cell-based meat R&D
Defensive consideration also suggest that they’d need to maintain substantial activity to watch for and be ready to respond to attacks.
In the scenario where the level of funding F is the same every year, if you make a one time donation x, the outcome gets closer by xF years, therefore you've produced U⋅xF utility.
The main assumption behind this result is that some utility U in the future is worth as much as some utility U right now. Therefore, when judging which of two projects is the best, since C only affects how long it will take to complete each project, it doesn't matter. The only quantities that matter are U of course, and the funding F.
What if you want to take into account the fact that no, some utility in the future is worth less than some utility right now, therefore completing quick projects first is better?
Warning : this part will involve math
One common way to do that is to assume that the utility decreases over time in a geometrical manner : 1 utility unit in 1 year is equivalent to τ utility units now, 1 unit in two years is equal to τ2 utility units now, with τ slightly smaller than 1. For example, if τ is equal to 0.99, then one utility point in one century is worth about one third of one now, and the closer τ is to 1, the more you adopt a longtermist point of view.
Ok so now we can compute the total utility of a project with cost C, annual funding F, and per year utility U :
Now, making a one-time donation x, is the same as decreasing the total cost C by x, thus the utility gain of this donation will be :
So we have three factors : U, of course, xF, which is how many years of funding you'll provide with your donation, and τCF which represents how much this future utility is worth, compared to utility right now. Once again, if you think that utility in the future is equal to utility now, which means τ=1, you get gain=U⋅xF, which is the original formula in the post. C matters only if utility in the future is not equal to utility in the present.
Now, we can re-write this formula with your notion of return on investment :
With this version, we see three factors influencing the gains : x, the bigger your donation, the better, UC, the bigger the return on investment, the better, and finally CFτCF, which is a function of CF, the number of remaining years. This function is convex, it starts at 0, reaches a maximum, and its limit is 0 again when CF approches infinity.
#TODO : include a graph of this function, once I figure out how to do that
With this model, when CF is too small, it means that the project will soon be funded with or without you, thus you shouldn't invest in it. On the other extreme, if CF is too big, the benefits will take place too far in the future, and because utility points lose value when too far in the future, you shouldn't invest in it either. In the middle are the best projects.
Anyway, the main point is : the cost C matters only if you think that utility right now is worth more than utility in the future, otherwise only the funding F matters