edoarad's Shortform

post by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2019-08-16T13:35:05.296Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW · 26 comments


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2019-11-12T16:16:55.846Z · score: 16 (7 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

AMF's cost of nets is decreasing over time due to economies of scale and competition between net manufacturers. https://www.againstmalaria.com/DollarsPerNet.aspx

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2019-11-19T16:30:59.446Z · score: 8 (3 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

How about an option to transfer Karma directly to posts/comments? Perhaps to have the transfer be public (part of the information of the karma of the comment). This may allow some interesting "trades" such as giving prizes for answers (say, like in stackexchange) or have people display more strongly support for a comment.

Damn.. As stated, when people can pay to put Karma in posts, there is a problematic "attack" against it. left as an exercise :)

I still think that Karma transfer between people and prizes on comments/posts can be very interesting

comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2019-11-21T01:18:03.619Z · score: 8 (5 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Off-the-cuff objection: this works inasmuch as karma is a game to get a fancy high number. But if you think of karma as the measure of the site's trust in a user, I don't want the site to trust the user less because they have elected to reward other users.

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2019-11-21T06:20:40.351Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Also, what do you think of karma as a measure to the contribution of a post to the community? I realize that I am conflating this with a measure of trust, but these are not the same.

When I upvote, I usually think of how useful I think of the post for the community. Say, downvote a post because it was a waste of my time

comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2019-11-21T16:58:56.854Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Karma is awarded definitely as a recognition of the usefulness of the contribution. The user's overall karma is an unprincipled straight addition of those "usefulness scores". Still, it's the closest thing the site has to it's trust in the user and we use it to award:
 a) More influence in the form of higher-powered votes
 b) More ability to moderate one's own posts (ability to moderate personal blogposts at 50 karma, and those that have been promoted to the frontpage or community at 2000)

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2019-11-21T06:12:19.871Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Yea, makes sense. I guess that I'm just piggybacking on the karma to make trade easier.

Maybe you can have Total gained Karma and Unused Karma, where the site's trust is based on theTotal, and you can only pay using the Unused but any gain is to them both. This still leaves an option for two members to juts transfer eachother karma and artificially increase thie trust level. This is not that bad as it only amounts to 2 times as large, and I do not realy think that people on the forum would do that.

comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2019-11-21T16:55:06.291Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

We've been thinking about how to make strong upvotes more costly to the user, but my memory is that Oliver (of LessWrong) wanted users not to have to manage resources.

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2020-02-09T14:40:54.596Z · score: 7 (6 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

MIT has a new master's program on Development Economics. https://micromasters.mit.edu/dedp/

It is taught by Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee, the recent Nobel Laureates. Seems cool :)

comment by Alex_Berezhnoy · 2020-02-09T19:16:21.842Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Here's a review [EA · GW] of several courses from the program. I'm currently studying the third course out of five, and then I want to apply for on-campus accelerated Master's at MIT. I'll be happy to answer questions about the program if you have them.

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2020-01-13T13:22:30.508Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Basic Research vs Applied Research

1. If we are at the Hinge of History, it is less reasonable to focus on long-term knowledge building via basic research, and vice versa.

2. If we have identified the most promising causes well, then targeted applied research is promising.

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2019-11-15T15:36:31.896Z · score: 7 (5 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Statisticians Without Borders is a volunteer Outreach Group of the American Statistical Association that provides pro bono services in statistics and data science. Their focus is mostly on developing countries.

They have about 800 Volunteers.

Their Executive Committee consists of volunteers democratically elected from within the volunteer community every two years.

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2020-02-23T10:50:14.698Z · score: 6 (2 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

[a brief note on altruistic coordination in EA]

  1. EA as a community has a distribution over people of values and world-views (which themselves are uncertain and can bayesianly be modeled as distributions).
  2. Assuming everyone have already updated their values and world-view by virtue of epistemic modesty, each member of the community should want all the resources of the community to go a certain way.
    • That can include desires about the EA resource allocation mechanism.
  3. The differences between individuals undoubtedly causes friction and resentment.
  4. It seems like the EA community is incredible in it's cooperative norms and low levels of unneeded politics.
    • There are concerns about how steady this state is.
    • Many thanks to anyone working hard to keep this so!

There's bound to be a massive room for improvement, a clear goal of what would be the best outcome considering a distribution as above, a way of measuring where we're at, an analysis of where we are heading under the current status (an implicit parliamentary model perhaps?), and suggestions for better mechanisms and norms that result from the analysis.

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2020-02-23T19:06:44.835Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

This 2015 post by Rob Wiblin [EA · GW] (One of the top-voted in that year) is a nice example of how the community is actively cohesive

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2019-09-07T16:30:39.328Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Some efforts to improve scientific research:

https://www.replicationmarkets.com - A prediction market for the replicability of studies.

https://www.darpa.mil/program/systematizing-confidence-in-open-research-and-evidence - A DARPA project with the goal of giving a confidence level to results in social and behavioural studies.

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2019-09-07T06:04:26.145Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

In the recent 80k podcast, Vitalik and Rob talked about how future de-urbanisation might lead to lower risk of catastrophe from nuclear explosions and biohazards.

This seems like a very interesting argument to lower the importance of biorisk reduction work. It seems plausible that in 20 years, advances in communication technologies would allow people to easily work remotely, advances in energy (say, solar) can allow people to live outside of the grid, advances in additive manufacturing (3d printing) and in agriculture can perhaps allow small communities to live physically isolated from the rest of the world. Also, advances in self-driving deliveries can keep isolated communities "untouched" by other people (even though, food and other materials may be transferred). This isolation is likely to enhance resilience.

This all should be contrasted with trends such as increasing ease of traveling, general increased wealth, increased competition, automation leading to more people-centric jobs, more monopolization of the food industry. These may lead to perhaps greater urbanization (but note that it is not mutually exclusive).

Vitalik Buterin: Like in nuclear case, like I did the math once and if you spread out everyone equally across the entire earth’s surface then we say 7.6 billion people divided by 150 million square kilometers of land mass gives you 51 people per square kilometer and at that rate nuclear bombs become a less cost-efficient way of killing people than hiring samurais to run around with swords and like with bio as well, right? Like the thing has to spread somehow and there’s definitely the possibility of like second and third generation stuff that just spreads across the entire world through insects and it comes up with a way of getting around oceans and gets around other things, but…
Robert Wiblin: That’s a heavy lift.
Vitalik Buterin: Yeah, it’s like a big lift, but also just in general like us kind of moving away from sort of city based like a very high density living is definitely something that I think about sometimes. Like I can easily see technology leading to it one of these days. Sort of a partial move away away from that over the next century or so.
Robert Wiblin: Yeah, so it’s a very interesting proposal that I’ve never heard before. I guess it’s like something of an offensive strict zoning requirements. Maybe we’ll have to bring back zoning in order to prevent the bio apocalypse. I just worry that even if there was a huge risk of everyone dying this way, it would just be like too hard to coordinate people to like provide a sufficient incentive to get people to move away from cities because the economic rewards of agglomeration are so vast.
Vitalik Buterin: I mean people have a private incentive to move away from cities.
Robert Wiblin: Yeah. I guess… I guess it has to be that the risk has to be demonstrated. So I suppose like maybe you need a huge disaster and then we fix it this way.
Vitalik Buterin: There is like definitely going to be panic and supply chain disruption and like all of those things in the meantime. I mean unless it somehow comes in some like very small and orderly way.
Robert Wiblin: Yeah. Have you, have you presented this idea to, to anyone and kind of gotten any feedback on like whether this is, whether this is a like possible method of reducing existential risk in the long term?
Vitalik Buterin: Not in the context of reducing it existential risks but like, I mean I have kind of talked to people about kind of moderate de-organization in general and there’s definitely people that are bullish on it. Like they’re basically just because you know, telecommuting is getting better and better. Self driving cars could eventually turn into self driving helicopters and even just drone helicopters and like Uber Eats and using all of those things can easily make like living 45 kilometers away from a city center much more tolerable than it used to be. Another interesting thing is self driving buses as a medium density transportation solution. When I was at the radical exchange conference in Detroit, I talked to a guy from, from the Boston government about this and he was really bullish on them. So the interesting thing also with driving buses is that they are like first of all very low infrastructure.
Vitalik Buterin: Like you don’t have to build the tracks and all these other things. But also right now, 60% of the cost of a bus is the driver.
Robert Wiblin: Wow.
Vitalik Buterin: Yeah. So if you get rid of the driver, like suddenly becomes a way more affordable and also you keep, once you have no driver, then it becomes economical to split up the buses in half. So they’re twice as frequent. And then you can talk about dedicated lanes for them. You can also talk about like the IT infrastructures. So you hook them up to the traffic of lights, make sure they always get priority, and then we start thinking about buses being like almost as good as subways and then this becomes something you can roll out in like a city of pretty much any population level. So yeah. And that’s, there’s definitely, these are these sort of trends of different kinds that do make it seem like it’s possible. The kind of high density metropolis as like basically at its peak right now and will even start tapering off slightly.
comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2020-01-09T17:55:12.625Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

I think that some causes may have increasing marginal utility. Specifically, I think that it may be true in some types of research that are expected to generate insights about it's own domain.

Testing another idea for a cancer treatment is probably of decreasing marginal utility (because the low hanging fruits are being picked up), but basic research in genetics may be of increasing marginal utility (because even if others may work on the best approaches, you could still improve their productivity by giving them further insights).

This is not true if the progress in a field relies on progressing along a single "dimension" (say, a specific research direction that everyone attempts), or if researchers in that field can easily and productively change their projects and expertise.

It is true if there are multiple dimensions available, and progress along a different dimension wields insight for others to use.

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2019-10-09T08:52:54.509Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

https://collapseos.org An operating system that should work from scrap materials in the case of civilizational collapse. Very interesting. It turns out that there is an active subreddit on civilizational collapse r/collapse. It seems that WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIEEE!

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2019-09-07T10:02:59.244Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Createquity was an initiative to help make the world a better place by better understanding the arts.

In 2013 they had an interesting blog post on what EA means about the importance of their work.

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2019-11-19T19:42:01.910Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

I sometimes think about what would happen if EAs were completely aligned with one another, there was absolute trust and familiarity, and moral trade was easy and comprehensive. A world in which information flows easily and updates the "EA Worldview". A world in which if someone finds a projects which seems like the most important, it would be extremely simple to use one another to make that happen. A world in which people in EA work on what they can contribute most to, irrespective of their favored cause. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one 😇

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2019-11-19T20:11:40.017Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

And having great self-directed infrastructure. Coaching and psychological assistance, best learning materials and methods, easier funding for individuals

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2019-10-26T06:22:55.819Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Vox's Future Perfect recommended this volume on mindfulness in the Current Issues in Psychology Journal. Most of it will be closed access by Oct 30th.

This journal seems incredible anyway. Each volume is supposed to present the state of the art in different domains of psychology.

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2019-08-16T13:35:05.426Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)


Summary: academia has a lot of problems and it could work much better. However, these problems are not as catastrophic as an outside perspective would suggest. My (contrarian, I guess) intuition is that scientific progress in biology is not slowing down. Specific parts of academia that seem to be problematic: rigid, punishing for deviation, career progression; peer review; need to constantly fundraise for professors. Parts that seem to be less of a problem than I initially thought: short-termism; lack of funding for young scientists.

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2020-04-24T13:42:22.339Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Perhaps some EA orgs can distribute "impact shares" of their organization/project to volunteers based on their success, where 'impact prizes' are given by a third party, perhaps much later on. That may have much more motivational value than paying similar amount of (comparably very small) amount of money, and the records of which might enable some sort of better vetting mechanism

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2020-04-13T20:00:07.060Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Note to self: read on moral enhancement some day

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2019-11-25T22:54:05.464Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Nightdreaming on different aspects of Capacity Building for EA:

Community Building, in the sense of getting more people who are better engaged and with good supporting communities.

Increasing Prestige and normalizing EA-Weirdness in academia, governments and elsewhere.

More money for EA as a whole. Securing sources for the future of the movement, perhaps using some sort of donor advised fund.

Better infrastructure for Altruistic Coordination. Implementations that can increase "liquidity" in moral trade, from donations to knowledge transfer to volunteering opportunities.

Improving research and general productivity. Institutionally or individually.

Better Tools and Frameworks for figuring out what is the most good. Say, the discussions around ITN.

Display that we are actually doing good right now. Just figured that pretty much anything can help build better capacity, but the question is which is better?

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2019-10-10T19:08:20.526Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Reading Multiagent Models of Mind [? · GW] and considering the moral patienthood of different cognitive processes:

A trolly is headed toward an healthy individual lying carelessly on the track. You are next to a lever, and can switch the trolly to a second track, but on that track there is an individual with a split brain. What do you do?