8+ productivity tools for movement building 2021-04-13T13:15:03.041Z
What are some EA projects for students to do? 2020-11-17T12:47:48.200Z


Comment by EmmaAbele on What are some EA projects for students to do? · 2020-11-18T14:59:58.706Z · EA · GW

That is very helpful- thank you EdoArad!

(and I'll be sure to update you on how our program turns out)

Comment by EmmaAbele on What are some EA projects for students to do? · 2020-11-18T14:55:14.897Z · EA · GW

Thank you so much!
I agree and am adding this to our list of types of projects to suggest to students :)

Comment by EmmaAbele on What are some EA projects for students to do? · 2020-11-18T14:52:35.721Z · EA · GW

Thank you Brian!
We have considered this, and have it as part of our "funnel", but still think there is room for this kind of projects program in addition. 

I also like the idea of EA Uni groups encouraging interested members to start these other (EA related) student groups you mention (Alt Protein group, OFTW and GRC). At Brown, we already have OFTW and GRC, and I'm in the process of getting some students from Brown EA to start an Alt Protein group as well :)

Comment by EmmaAbele on How we promoted EA at a large tech company · 2020-11-15T14:57:10.929Z · EA · GW

This is really cool! Thank you for doing this!

Also, I'm curious - to what extent is AI safety is discussed in your group? 

I noticed the cover of Superintelligence has a quote of Bill Gates saying "I highly recommend this book" and I'm curious if AI safety is something Microsoft employees discuss often.

Comment by EmmaAbele on Update on civilizational collapse research · 2020-10-17T00:19:37.434Z · EA · GW
I do think there is a good case for interventions aimed at improving the existential risk profile of post-disaster civilization being competitive with interventions aimed at improving the existential risk profile of our current civilization.

I'd love to hear more about this and see any other places where this is discussed.

Comment by EmmaAbele on [deleted post] 2020-09-06T19:58:33.449Z

(I'm only addressing a small part of your question, not the main question)

When we are looking at the potential branches in the future, should you make the choice that will lead you to the cluster of outcomes with the highest average utility or to the cluster with the highest possible utility?

I'd say the one with the highest average utility if they are all equally likely. Basically, go with the one with the highest expected value.

Comment by EmmaAbele on Suggest a question for Bruce Friedrich of GFI · 2020-09-06T19:28:16.952Z · EA · GW

What do you think are the most likely ways that plant based and cell based products might both fail to significantly replace factory farmed products?

Comment by EmmaAbele on A curriculum for Effective Altruists · 2020-08-31T17:01:00.243Z · EA · GW

Sounds very exciting!

And seems like there is some overlap with EA Uni group fellowships so I would be happy to talk to you about those if you want; although maybe better to talk to the community builders more involved in syllabus writing. ( this Intro Fellowship I'm running at Brown EA )

Comment by EmmaAbele on A curriculum for Effective Altruists · 2020-08-31T10:09:16.409Z · EA · GW

Hi Max,

I'm curious how big you are thinking this "EA curriculum" might be. Are you thinking of something similar to an EA Uni group fellowship (usually ~4 hours/ week for ~ 8 weeks) or are you thinking of something much larger?

Comment by EmmaAbele on A curriculum for Effective Altruists · 2020-08-31T10:07:03.577Z · EA · GW

I agree with Marisa

Rather than a single body of knowledge being a standard education for EAs, I like the fellowship structure that many EA Uni groups use.

For me, one of the main goals in running these fellowship to expose students to enough EA ideas and discussions to decide for themselves what knowledge and skills they want to build up in order to do good better. For some people, this will involve economics, statistics, and decision analysis knowledge, but for others, it will look totally different.

(For fellowship syllabus examples you can check out this Intro Fellowship I'm running at Brown EA, and this In-Depth Fellowship run by EA Oxford).

Comment by EmmaAbele on EA syllabi and teaching materials · 2020-07-15T18:51:46.138Z · EA · GW

Also the EA Oxford In-Depth Fellowship

Comment by EmmaAbele on AGI safety and losing electricity/industry resilience cost-effectiveness · 2020-06-24T10:12:04.262Z · EA · GW

Thanks so much for your response Ross!

The values obtained for table 1 on reduction in far future potential were obtained from a survey of existential risk researchers at Ea global 2018 see methods:

Yeah that makes sense - I was just curious if the reasonings in the introduction were from the reasonings of those who filled out the survey. But thanks for clarifying!

Surviving the new environment might also favour the development of stable yet repressive social structures that would prevent rebuilding of civilization to previous levels. This could be facilitated by dominant groups having technology of the previous civilization.

Very interesting and makes sense - thank you!

Comment by EmmaAbele on AGI safety and losing electricity/industry resilience cost-effectiveness · 2020-06-21T09:00:59.063Z · EA · GW

I have two questions/clarifications:

(1) Regarding:

Reasons that civilization might not recover include: ...

Are the reasons mentioned in this section what leads to the estimated reduction in far future potential in Table 1? Or are there other reasons that play into those estimates as well?

(2) Regarding:

Another way to far future impact is the trauma associated with the catastrophe making future catastrophes more likely, e.g. global totalitarianism (Bostrom & Cirkovic, 2008)

Intuitively I feel that the trauma associated with the catastrophe would make people prioritize GCR mitigation and thereby make future catastrophes less likely. Or is the worry that something like global totalitarianism would happen precisely in the name of GCR mitigation?
I'd be curious to hear more thoughts on this, but also I haven't read the book cited there, so maybe that would clear up my confusion :)

Thank you for all your great work on this - super exciting!

Comment by EmmaAbele on [Paper] Surviving global risks through the preservation of humanity's data on the Moon · 2020-06-16T13:56:27.203Z · EA · GW

I am wondering why you say that "Human reconstruction will be beneficial to the next civilization."

I think it would be great if we could leave messages to a future non-human civilization to help them achieve a grand future and reduce their x-risk (by learning from our mistakes, for example). But I don't feel that human reconstruction is particularly important.

If anything, I worry that this future advanced civilization might reconstruct humans to enslave us. And if they are not the type to enslave us, then I feel pretty good about them existing and homo sapiens not existing.

Comment by EmmaAbele on Toby Ord’s ‘The Precipice’ is published! · 2020-06-01T11:14:53.116Z · EA · GW

Such a great book!

I am struggling to get my friends and family to read it though as they are put off by it being quite a sizeable hefty book (even when I tell them they can skip the footnotes).

Are there plans to make a short/abridged paperback version that might spread more widely outside of the EA community? I'd love to see the main ideas and thoughts become somewhat common knowledge. Or is it more important to have fewer people have a deep understanding then many people have a surface level understanding?

Comment by EmmaAbele on Melbourne University Effective Altruism Study · 2020-05-25T09:02:46.399Z · EA · GW

Are there results from this? I would love to see :)

Comment by EmmaAbele on How should longtermists think about eating meat? · 2020-05-18T12:05:07.999Z · EA · GW

I agree with the previous answers- that is, I think the best argument here has to do with moral circle expansion affecting the long term future.

In addition, eating meat could increase existential risk through its effects on worsening climate change and the emergence of natural pandemics.

See this chart to compare greenhouse gas emissions per kg of different food products to see how much more animal products contribute to climate change. In total, animal agriculture contributes around 14% to 18% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

Animal agriculture also contributes to the emergence of zoonotic pandemics (which are 60% of all pandemic outbreaks). It is hard to know by how much, but the authors of this ebook estimate 70% of zoonotic diseases come from industrial animal agriculture (with uncertainly 50% - 90%). Also, see this article on the subject by Liz Specht from GFI.

I am very uncertain about this, but potentially, eating meat could also increase the chances of a global power conflict over resources like land, water, and energy because animal products require much more of these resources per calorie of food.

Also, I wonder if antibiotic resistance could increase the chances of an existential pandemic caused by airborne bacteria (something like an extremely contagious and extremely deadly version of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis). If that is the case, then eating meat would probably make this worse since the use of antibiotics in farm animals is a significant contributor to the spread of antibiotic resistance. Again, I'm very uncertain here - it's just a thought.

Comment by EmmaAbele on Remote local group leaders? · 2020-02-26T18:45:38.522Z · EA · GW

This is a great idea! From starting a group at Brown University last year, I can say that it definitely would have been helpful to have a remote volunteer helping out.

It is very hard to start a well-run EA group at your university because it requires that you have a lot of time and a good idea of how to start and lead the group. Having volunteers help remotely would make the process a lot easier.

Here are some things that I think could be helpful for a remote volunteer to do for a small EA university group:

  • Give advice on how to structure the group (while understanding that the student has the better understanding of the university culture)
  • Make a website, facebook page, etc.
  • Email and coordinate with speakers to come and talk at the university
  • Complete funding applications
  • Make posters and posts that can be spread on social media
  • Suggest readings (with discussion question) for group meetings
  • Give one-on-one career coaching calls (This is already done by people at EA Oxford and I think it is very helpful)
  • If the person can visit during the start of the semester it would be helpful if they could run Intro to EA workshops and set up a table to talk to students about EA (at the activities fair or just in general)
Comment by EmmaAbele on “The Vulnerable World Hypothesis” (Nick Bostrom’s new paper) · 2020-02-09T06:22:43.871Z · EA · GW

I only recently got around to reading this, but I'm very glad I did! I definitely recommend reading the full paper, but for those interested, there is also this TED talk where you can get the gist of it.

In any case, the paper made me wonder about the possibility of having a sort of 'worst case scenario bunker system' capable of rebuilding society. I imagine such discussion was not included in this paper because it isn't relevant to protecting against a "devastation of civilization" (death of at least 15% of world population) and is relevant only in near-extinction level catastrophes. Even so, I am curious to hear what people think of this idea and would love to read your thoughts.

To elaborate for clarity, when I say 'worst case scenario bunker system', I obviously don't know specifically how this would work, but I am imagining some kind of really intense and massive bunker system, perhaps in space if not underground, that would have resources for people to stay alive as well as massive archives of information on rebuilding society. Then, there would have to be some system for choosing which people retreat to the bunkers during a disaster so that they would be qualified and well equipped to rebuild society. Additionally, it may prove wise to maintain a rotation of people (and other species) living in this safe haven so that it may be guaranteed ready at any given time. Of course, this all seems extremely difficult to pull off, but the stakes also seem extremely high. Additionally, perhaps if society is rebuilt from such a bunker after a global catastrophe, it would be rebuilt in a way that preempts the semi-anarchic default condition from the start.