An overview of arguments for concern about automation 2019-08-06T07:56:59.396Z · score: 21 (8 votes)
Rationality vs. Rationalization: Reflecting on motivated beliefs 2018-11-26T05:39:13.987Z · score: 30 (21 votes)


Comment by alexlintz on An overview of arguments for concern about automation · 2019-08-06T13:16:55.202Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Wage growth:

It took a surprisingly long time to find anything on real wage trends in Europe but it looks like, judging by the graphs on page 5 of this paper that Sweden, Norway, and in part the UK are exceptions to quite slow real-wage growth. Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Denmark follow the wage stagnation of the US.

I very much agree though that my analysis is very focused on the US (and the discussion in general). This paper demonstrates that at least on a micro level there are demonstrated effects on wages and employment from automation in the UK. Says

I guess I'd conclude roughly that stagnation is happening in many (if not all) developed countries. I would wager that automation plays some role, though I would guess that role is relatively small in the grand scheme of things (for now).

Money in elections:

I think even if that theory were true though, I would argue that campaign techniques are improving (a la Cambridge Analytica, AgreggateIQ) such that in the near future money may be more persuasive. I don't think we've really seen a campaign between two tech-savvy politicians willing to pay top dollar for voter manipulation (first one in 2020?) but if we did I would imagine campaign contributions to grow in importance. It would definitely be interesting to dive into this a bit more though.

Pace of Automation:

Yes... I agree this is a major blindspot. I haven't looked at this literature much at all and don't really feel qualified to make serious assessments on the quality of the many predictions. I agree there should be something there though. I will add a few sentences following the ILO's literature review on the Future of Work to give people an idea of what is being talked about

Comment by alexlintz on Long-Term Future Fund: April 2019 grant recommendations · 2019-04-09T07:26:13.153Z · score: 20 (12 votes) · EA · GW

Yeah I tend to agree that sending the whole thing is unnecessary. The first 17 chapters of printed version distributed at CFAR workshops (I think, haven't actually been to one) is enough to get people engaged enough to move to the online medium. I'm guessing sending just that small-looking book will make people more likely to read it as seeing a 2k page book would definitely be intimidating enough to stop many from actually starting.

I do tend to think giving the print version is useful as it incurs some sort of reciprocity which should incentivize reading it.

Comment by alexlintz on After one year of applying for EA jobs: It is really, really hard to get hired by an EA organisation · 2019-03-02T10:35:11.710Z · score: 14 (8 votes) · EA · GW

I agree that a quick and decisive input from someone very knowledgeable about EA and the topic involved would be very useful and save a lot of time and indecision for people evaluating career options.

I think we can provide a bit of this though through more engaged online communities around given topic areas. Not nearly as good as in person talks but people can at least get some general feedback on career ideas. I'm hoping to host an event later this year that will gather people interested in a cause area and use that as a catalyst to form a more cohesive online community. As far as I can tell (and in my experience) people tend not to engage much in an online community if they don't really know the people well. Though it's definitely true that some people are more than happy to engage with people they don't know.

I don't know how this could move forward but it seems like someone could potentially make a difference by engineering Facebook or Slack groups focused on certain cause areas to be more active places for general discussion and career advice. This would be so helpful for people who lack close contact with knowledgeable people in EA or within their cause area.

Comment by alexlintz on Rationality vs. Rationalization: Reflecting on motivated beliefs · 2018-11-27T16:16:42.859Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Yes! Totally agree. I think I mentioned very briefly that one should also be wary of social dynamics pushing toward EA beliefs, but I definitely didn't address it enough. Although I think the end result was positive and that my beliefs are true (with some uncertainty of course), I would guess that my update toward long-termism was due in large part to lot's of exposure to the EA community and from the social pressure that brings.

I basically bought some virtue signaling in the EA domain at the cost of signaling in broader society. Given I hang out with a lot of EAs and plan to do so more in the future, I'd guess that if I were to rationally evaluate this decision it would look net positive in favor of changing toward long-termism (as you would also gain within the EA community by making a similar switch, though with some short-term itoldyouso negative effects).

So yes, I think it was largely due to closer social ties to the EA community that this switch finally became worthwhile and perhaps this was a calculation going on at the subconscious level. It's probably no coincidence that I finally made a full switch-over during an EA retreat where the broad society costs of switching beliefs was less salient and the EA benefits much more salient. To have the perfect decision-making situation I guess it would be nice to have equally good opportunities in communities representing every philosophical belief, but for now seems a bit unlikely. I suppose it's another argument for cultivating diversity within EA.

This brings up a whole other rabbit hole in terms of thinking about how we want to appeal to people with some interest in EA but not yet committed to the ideas. I think the social aspect is probably larger than many might think. Of course if we emphasized this we're limiting people's choice to join EA in a rational way. But then what is 'choice' really given the social construction of our personalities and desires....