A Path Forward this Century

post by WyattTessari · 2019-10-12T16:43:56.269Z · score: 19 (13 votes) · EA · GW · 4 comments

TLDR: Seeking feedback on this short work of macrostrategy and political philosophy for the 21st century. Summaries available p 63-67.

Hi everyone, my name is Wyatt Tessari L'Allié. I am a member of EA Toronto and a former and future politician.

In 2015 when I learned about AGI, X-Risk and the many disruptions promised by digital age, I took a step back to figure out for my own sake what I should be campaigning for and why. Four years of research and thought later, the result is this short book. It contains three parts: 1) a global issue prioritisation, 2) a new political narrative and 3) a rough sketch of the direction we should take. It is first and foremost a political document, meant as a call to action for a global audience and as the basis for any future political engagement on my part.

I know the EA community to be both familiar with these issues and really good critical thinkers, so before I seek to get it edited and published I'm hoping a few of you won't mind taking a look at this third draft and providing some feedback. Feel free to be blunt: if there are flaws to the logic, or if the message is not realistically net positive, I'd rather know now than later.

Specifically:

Reference links to the factual claims will be added in the 4th draft. For now the Sources section at the end should give you a sense of where my data is coming from

Anyway, here it is - if you don't have time to read it all, summaries are available on pages 63-67:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1I7luXyCgJUtDvikx_KzB9BHufLsyItsNfpjJvUVbaC8/edit?usp=sharing

Thanks kindly for your time and I look forward to hearing you thoughts (either in the comments below or by email)

Wyatt - wyatt@wyatttessari.ca

P.S. I'm seeking collaborators on this and other related projects so if it resonates let's connect


4 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Matt_Lerner (mattlerner) · 2019-10-13T19:54:50.459Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Hey Wyatt, this is impressive! Your writing is very clear and the document overall is very digestible (I mean that as a genuine compliment). "Life stewardship" seems a reasonable enough lens with which to view these issues. I know you're still writing, so this may be premature, but I think it's probably possible to significantly pare down this document without sacrificing meaning, perhaps by more than half.

It might help us to know who the target audience is for this work. I think EAs will find these concepts familiar and may appreciate your framing; your thoughts may or may not resonate/convince. There is probably also some segment of the general public that will find this interesting.

As a work of political philosophy, I think the book is a little bit hamstrung by a lack of engagement with other work in the field. Without speaking to your specific arguments, I feel confident in saying that this will probably create some resistance among readers who have a serious interest in philosophy. Political and moral philosophers have, of course, been struggling with some of these issues for centuries, and I think it's vital to build on, respond to, rebut, and otherwise integrate the large body of existing literature that you're making a good-faith effort to contribute to.

comment by WyattTessari · 2019-10-13T22:11:27.322Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Hello Matt, thanks for the kind words and glad you liked it. With regards to length, it's something that I'm grappling with. The main points can definitely be made more concisely (I'm guessing most EAs could skip the entire first part) but I've also been told by those less familiar with the topics like AGI to beef it up and add a lot more examples and descriptions to help people understand better. So I may end up making the book longer (to make it accessible to a greater number of people) and then creating a shorter summary version for communities like EA.

Also, points very well taken re the book's limitations as a work of political philosophy. This is where my lack of academic credentials (no formal training in philosophy/ethics/politics, just a bachelor's in engineering) lets me down. I'm not sure what the best solution to this is, although I might try to team up with/get help from people with PhDs.

comment by Khorton · 2019-10-13T09:38:47.141Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

I don't find it resonates because I disagree with your cause prioritization. (For example, I'd rather die than be uploaded to a computer.)

I also think you trivialise people's fears by putting 'terrorism' and 'the collapse of nations'(!) on the same level as 'healthcare' (and below 'aging population').

comment by WyattTessari · 2019-10-13T14:22:06.097Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Cheers, I appreciate the open feedback.

The thinking on the prioritisation is that the transition to the digital age represents a major shift akin to the hunter-gatherer/agricultural or agricultural/industrial ones. Hence it being considered 'more impactful' on our long-term future than even large recurrent events like (non-X-risk) terrorism.

As for making life a priority over even things like extreme suffering, I did not come to that conclusion lightly - and I would recommend reading the chapters on 'Our physical landscape' and 'First you must exist' to better understand the rationale.

All that said, thanks again for sharing your reaction! I will definitely keep that in mind as I continue to improve the book.