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Comment by disposableusername on Is there a hedonistic utilitarian case for Cryonics? (Discuss) · 2015-08-27T18:33:38.617Z · EA · GW

Cryonics is as useful for the world as letting any other refrigerator run without a useful function.

That is, it is waste. Still better than some other ways to spend money, but worse than spending it on entertainment. Because at least that's entertaining.

Comment by disposableusername on Rich-country policy changes that could greatly benefit poor countries · 2015-08-27T08:54:25.278Z · EA · GW

Buy sperm from the most talented males in various domains of economic interest. Then offer poor women from all over the world money and citizenship in exchange for surrogate prengancies with said sperm.

Give the resulting children a top-notch education. Their human capital will then be taxed normally, to refinance the expense.

Any rich-country government could do this.

Comment by disposableusername on The Outside Critics of Effective Altruism · 2015-08-22T18:43:35.633Z · EA · GW

But because typical renewable energy pays back the energy investment in about three years, if we just took the energy output of renewable energy and reinvested it, the amount of renewable energy production would grow at about 30% per year.

How many scarce materials would be needed? How much land area? How much toxic waste would be produced, e.g. from solar elecontronic components? Energy investment is not the only input needed for renewables.

(If you have a link that answers these and similar questions, that would be good.)

Comment by disposableusername on Direct Funding Between EAs - Moral Economics · 2015-08-19T14:24:15.260Z · EA · GW

I sent 5 euros to you! :)

What I don't see is how FRI could actually change the future. No matter how much research you publish, there's no reason to predict it will actually influence real decisions which affect real future suffering.

So it is only a theoretical activity (still fun and legitimate, of course).

Comment by disposableusername on My Cause Selection: Dave Denkenberger · 2015-08-19T05:30:17.631Z · EA · GW

Thanks for answering. I don't really care about computer consciousnesses because I'm somewhat of a carbon chauvinist; I only care what happens to biological humans and other vertebrates who share my ancestry and brain architecture. I think the rest is just our empathy misfiring.

AI or em catastrophe would be terrible, but likely not hellish, so it would be merely a dead future, not a net-negative one.

The things I'm most concerned about are blind spots like animal suffering and political risks like irrational policies that cause more harm than benefit. If we include these, I think it's plausible there is net-negative aggregate welfare even in developed countries. Technology might change these, but I think political risks and human biases (moral blind spots) can make any innovation useless or net harmful. I don't know how to address these because I don't believe advocacy actually works.

Comment by disposableusername on My Cause Selection: Dave Denkenberger · 2015-08-17T07:19:44.801Z · EA · GW

I believe that the future will generally be net beneficial.

That seems.... optimistic. Why do you believe that?

Comment by disposableusername on Long-lasting insecticide treated nets: $3,340 per life saved, $100 per DALY averted. How is this calculated? · 2015-08-12T02:26:06.361Z · EA · GW

Depends on how realistic it is to eliminate malaria completely.

Comment by disposableusername on A way of thinking about saving vs improving lives · 2015-08-12T02:25:01.996Z · EA · GW

This number is low enough that nations with average consumption PPP less than 10^{2.2} = 158 are classified to have a negative quality of life. I think this is stupid.

Why do you think it's stupid? Sometimes people get tortured horribly, or die of horrible slow causes. Surely you need some minimum on the positive side to outweigh that?

People can also have a negative quality of life and still keep going and reproducing for various other reasons.

Comment by disposableusername on Effective Altruism Global SF panel on AI: question submissions thread · 2015-07-21T12:00:57.271Z · EA · GW

Assuming human-level AGI is expensive and of potential military value, it seems likely the governments of USA and probably other powers like China will be strongly involved in its development.

Is it now time to create an official process of international government-level coordination about AI safety? Is it realistic and desirable?

Comment by disposableusername on The Bittersweetness of Replaceability · 2015-07-14T08:12:03.209Z · EA · GW

I would also much prefer if altruism was obsolete. You could watch your hero stories on TV and be done with it. :)

Doctors sometimes pompously remark that medicine is the only profession that works towards its own obsolescence.

I see doctors more as organized rentseekers who peddle artificial scarcity. Not only don't they invent the drugs they prescribe, they earn money because we need their permission before we can buy a prescription drug from the pharma industry. We can't even sign a legal waiver to reject this paternalism.

Many times have I brought money into a doctor's practice only to fetch the piece of paper that I needed to buy what I wanted to buy from other people.

Comment by disposableusername on Long-lasting insecticide treated nets: $3,340 per life saved, $100 per DALY averted. How is this calculated? · 2015-07-14T07:48:50.853Z · EA · GW

Aren't you double-counting DALYs here? Imagine 2 charities:

Charity 1 prevents Malaria deaths in children. Charity 2 pays for the costs of living of poor people.

If Charity 1 prevents a Malaria death and then Charity 2 pays for the costs of living of the saved person, each will count each year as a DALY win per x$ donated. But they can't both claim full credit.

Of course, maybe the person won't be poor. Maybe they'll be a great inventor. Or maybe they'll be a violent criminal. Or something in between.

And what is the unpleasantness of using Malaria bed nets in hot regions? It is my understanding that in order to prevent one death, hundreds of people need to use it on a daily basis for years (though I am not an expert on the matter). How much does this reduce quality of life?