Philosophy event series introducing EA at the University of Zurich 2022-01-04T12:49:20.461Z
The Metaethics and Normative Ethics of AGI Value Alignment: Many Questions, Some Implications 2021-09-15T19:05:19.514Z
Resources on Animal Ethics and Helping Animals 2021-09-10T23:22:44.401Z


Comment by Dario Citrini on Cover story on EA in Time magazine · 2022-08-10T19:49:19.388Z · EA · GW

Agreed! I've just read the articles you mentioned today and really liked them. Links:

vox article by Dylan Matthews: "How effective altruism went from a niche movement to a billion-dollar force – Effective altruism has gone mainstream. Where does that leave it?"

New Yorker article by Gideon Lewis-Kraus: "The Reluctant Prophet of Effective Altruism – William MacAskill’s movement set out to help the global poor. Now his followers fret about runaway A.I. Have they seen our threats clearly, or lost their way?"

Comment by Dario Citrini on EA Dedicates · 2022-07-30T13:14:50.134Z · EA · GW

One major difference is between people who care about multiple things and people who have decided that their life’s work should be world improvement.

Does the first rule out the second? And does the second rule out the first?

Comment by Dario Citrini on The Berlin Hub: Longtermist co-living space (plan) · 2022-05-22T23:40:22.875Z · EA · GW

Oh wow, thank you for this elaborate response!
FWIW, I don't think nr 2 is a big negative, if it's a net negative at all.

Does that answer your question, does it raise more?

Yes, it answers my question. And no, it didn't raise more, at least for the moment.

Comment by Dario Citrini on The Berlin Hub: Longtermist co-living space (plan) · 2022-05-14T09:48:43.139Z · EA · GW

This sounds super cool! Reading the full post, I got the (maybe unqualified) impression that a lot of thought went into making this robust and making it work well.

Not only has CEEALAR’s hotel successfully been running for almost four years by now. In addition, they were facing significant hurdles we don’t expect to impinge on our own project: [...]

Reading this makes me optimistic about both the future of CEEALAR's hotel and also the Berlin hub. But I also wonder whether there're factors / hurdles that CEEALAR hasn't faced that you expect the Berlin hub might face.. What do you think?

Comment by Dario Citrini on Future Matters #1: AI takeoff, longtermism vs. existential risk, and probability discounting · 2022-05-14T09:12:29.231Z · EA · GW

I'm super excited about this! This newsletter is very valuable for me: I often find myself saving a link or two for later (that I might perhaps get around to someday) when reading an EA forum post, but here, there were five resources you linked to that I've just scheduled time to read / check out.

Also, I found the interview really interesting – fanaticism in decision theory and ethics is one of my key uncertainties re "putting ethics into practice, knowing about longtermism" and global priorities research. To make things even more.. frightening(?), I'm not sure how much taking moral uncertainty into account could help against fanaticism.. Fanaticism is certainly a thorny issue, so I'm glad there seems to be increasingly much research being done on that front.

One more point of feedback: In a comment on the March 2022 edition, someone mentioned they think it's too long for a newsletter. I personally think otherwise, so consider this one vote *against* trying to make the newsletter shorter. :)


Comment by Dario Citrini on The longtermist AI governance landscape: a basic overview · 2022-03-21T15:55:20.586Z · EA · GW

I am very new to AI governance and this post helped me a lot in getting a better sense of "what's out there", thank you! Now, what I'm about to say isn't meant so much as "I felt this was lacking in your post" but more as simply "reading this made me wonder about something": What about AI governance focused on s-risks instead of only/mostly x-risks? The London-based Center on Long-Term Risk (CLR) conducts pertinent work on the foundational end of the spectrum (see their priority areas). Which other organisations are (at least partly) working on AI governance focused on s-risks?

Comment by Dario Citrini on 23 career choice heuristics · 2022-03-03T09:23:13.056Z · EA · GW

I really like this list and think it will be helpful for me!
Do you have thoughts on the relative importance of these various heuristics? Maybe something like a heuristic for which heuristics are most important for one's situation?

Also, you wrote:

Scale, number helped - do something that impacts many people positively
Scale, degree helped - do something that impacts people to a great positive degree

I'd like to point out that "people" doesn't quite capture who EA is trying to help (considering that we strive to do what's impartially good, we arguably ought to reject speciesism and substratism, thus also taking into consideration minds that are non-human and/or digital and/or "???").
I'm not sure what's the best term to use (also depends on the situation in which you use one of the terms), but "sentient beings" / "sentient minds" / "moral patients" seem like terms that  better capture what EA as a community is concerned with.

Comment by Dario Citrini on The case against degrowth · 2022-01-07T14:01:50.223Z · EA · GW

I really liked your clear outline on your position, and this definitely contained some food for thought that I found to be nicely presented. That being said, I am still much more agnostic re which position to take (esp. after reading some of the comments here) than you seem to be. You wrote:

Third, degrowthers argue that technological innovations do not allow for a sufficient decoupling between GDP and environmental impacts. But they neglect that a decoupling between economic wealth (GDP) and well-being is less realistic.

Maybe this is misguided, but why not attempt to pursue both in a twin strategy?
What if both decouplings are insufficient on their own but sufficient when combined?
This also ties in to a concept I've come across recently: agrowth.
Quoted from The new theory of economic 'agrowth' contributes to the viability of climate policies:

"One can be concerned or critical about economic growth without resorting to an anti-growth position," states the author [Jeroen van den Bergh]. He goes on to highlight that an "agrowth" strategy will allow us to scan a wider space for policies that improve welfare and environmental conditions. Policy selection will not be constrained by the goal of economic growth. "One does not need to assume that unemployment, inequity and environmental challenges are solved by unconditional pro- or zero/negative growth. Social and environmental policies sometimes restrain and at other times stimulate growth, depending on contextual factors. An "agrowth" strategy is precautionary as it makes society less sensitive to potential scenarios in which climate policy constrains economic growth. Hence, it will reduce resistance to such policy," he indicates.

In a practical sense, van den Bergh states that it is necessary to combat the social belief -- widespread among policy circles and politics -- that growth has to be prioritized, and stresses the need for a debate in politics and wider society about stepping outside the futile framing of pro- versus anti-growth. "Realizing there is a third way can help to overcome current polarization and weaken political resistance against a serious climate policy."

Comment by Dario Citrini on Have you considered switching countries to save money? · 2022-01-04T12:30:17.200Z · EA · GW

My brief research several months ago led me to believe that if I ever were to move to South America, it would probably be Uruguay. It's the most Swiss-like country there by far (I've lived in Switzerland all my life and think that I wouldn't be happy for long in a country that is too different from Switzerland). From wikipedia:

Uruguay is a developed country with a high-income economy, and is ranked first in Latin America in democracy, peace, low perception of corruption,[11] and e-government.[12][13] It is first in South America when it comes to press freedom, size of the middle class, and prosperity.[11] On a per-capita basis, Uruguay contributes more troops to United Nations peacekeeping missions than any other country.[11] It is the lowest ranking South American nation in the Global Terrorism Index, and ranks second in the continent on economic freedom, income equality, per-capita income, and inflows of FDI.[11] Uruguay is the third-best country on the continent in terms of Human Development Index, GDP growth,[14] innovation, and infrastructure.[11] Uruguay is regarded as one of the most socially progressive countries in Latin America.[15] It ranks high on global measures of personal rights, tolerance, and inclusion issues,[16] including its acceptance of the LGBT community.[17] The country has legalized cannabis, same-sex marriage and abortion. Uruguay is a founding member of the United Nations, OAS and Mercosur.

Comment by Dario Citrini on What is the best press out there on Effective Altruism? · 2021-12-30T10:56:59.702Z · EA · GW

My favourite press article on EA is probably Zachary Pincus Roth's Washington Post article from September 23, 2020, titled "The Rise of the Rational Do-Gooders". There's a few things I like about it that I haven't found in a large share of the many other such articles I've read and nothing that I particularly dislike about it.

Comment by Dario Citrini on [Creative writing contest] Blue bird and black bird · 2021-09-19T16:54:17.913Z · EA · GW

To me, this comment exemplifies what I have in mind when I emphasise that negative feedback should be honest but also delivered in a compassionate manner. :) And I also liked that you shared some of the investigation of your reaction to it!

Comment by Dario Citrini on Cultured meat predictions were overly optimistic · 2021-09-16T14:01:07.155Z · EA · GW

I've also wondered what reasons there might be for the apparent discrepancy between these predictions and reality. I feel like the point re technical problems you emphasised is probably among the most important ones.  My first thought was a different one, though:  wishful thinking. Perhaps wishful thinking re clean meat timelines is an important factor for explaining the apparently bad track record of pertinent predictions. My rationale for wishful thinking potentially being an important explanation is that, in my impression, clean meat, even more so than many other technologies, is tied very closely/viscerally to something – factory farming – a considerable share (I'd guess?) of people working on it deem a moral catastrophe.

Comment by Dario Citrini on [Creative Writing Contest] The Reset Button · 2021-09-16T10:35:18.588Z · EA · GW

Wow, ... this was powerful, ... and moving!

Comment by Dario Citrini on Open Thread: August 2021 · 2021-09-06T11:38:49.194Z · EA · GW

Hey everyone, excited to be part of this! :) My name is Dario Citrini.

I was born, grew up in, currently live and also study in Zurich, Switzerland. I've just completed my second semester of studying political science (major) and philosophy (minor) at the University of Zurich. I currently plan to pursue a master's in political science with a specialisation in PPE (philosophy, politics, economics) and am generally interested in interdisciplinary research on “the big questions”, especially regarding suffering, the future, and uncertainty.

The plight of badly-off humans and other animals has been a constant emotional involvement and intellectual interest of mine for many years, but only comparably recently have I embarked on my path to study how I could apply my compassion more systematically in a way that helps me to be more effective in making this world a better place. I've been fascinated by the philosophy of and social movement around EA since early 2020 and am excited about the profound impact EA has had on my life ever since.

Hundreds of sometimes broad, sometimes more specific intellectual interests have accumulated over the last few years. Those I'm currently most excited about (varyingly hardly to somewhat or maybe moderately versed) include, in no particular order:

  • effective altruism (esp. crucial considerations / viewquakes)
  • metaethics (and meta above that) (esp. moral epistemology)
  • moral (axiological and deontic) uncertainty (and meta above that)
  • global priorities research and axiology
  • population ethics, longtermism(s) / ethics of the (far) future, risk ethics, and fanaticism
  • suffering-focused ethics (esp. asymmetries, commensurability, and lexicality in ethics)
  • transhumanism and the intersection of sci-fi, technology, science, and philosophy
  • collective action problems and international relations
  • evolutionary psychology and moral psychology (esp. their intersection)
  • game theory and decision theory
  • moral circle expansion (esp. animal ethics, wild animal suffering, artificial sentience)
  • the philosophy, politics, and economics of emerging technologies (esp. interdisciplinary research on AGI (artificial general intelligence) value alignment)

I occasionally post stuff I find interesting and important on facebook and I have recently posted on my blog for the first time. I'm soon going to make an EA Forum post about this  compilation of resources on animal ethics and helping animals.

Please feel free to reach out to me to recommend or/and ask for any resources on any topic! :)