"Reversing problems" vs "Slowing down problems"post by freedomandutility · 2021-07-16T21:07:27.492Z · EA · GW · No comments
This is a question post.
I think there might be a variety of problems where the solutions can be divided into A) solutions that works by slowing down the problem and B) solutions that work by reversing the problem.
I think allocating resources to solutions that work by reversing problems will usually have greater expected value than allocating resources to solutions that slow problems down, and that this might be a useful heuristic, especially when we're dealing with a lot of unknowns and expected value is very difficult to compare.
A couple of examples:
A) reducing meat consumption - could only slow down future increases in greenhouse gas concentration
B) carbon capture technology - could potentially reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration below its current level
A) slowing down biological processes that produce the effects of ageing - could only slow down ageing
B) reversing damage caused by ageing - could potentially decrease biological age
I assume that there are situations where "the same solution" could start off slowing down a problem, and then with enough improvement / investment it could eventually start reversing the problem, but I couldn't think of an example.
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