Posts

Announcing Alvea—An EA COVID Vaccine Project 2022-02-16T13:50:34.287Z
Which EA orgs, programs, companies, etc. started as side projects? 2021-12-17T12:13:02.911Z
Annual Reviews Aren't Just for Organizations 2021-12-16T13:05:23.533Z
A Framework for Technical Progress on Biosecurity 2021-11-03T10:57:41.853Z
Writing About My Job: Co-Founder of a Longtermist Biotech Startup 2021-11-02T19:42:54.834Z
New Intuitions for Cultured Meat 2021-10-05T10:40:01.704Z

Comments

Comment by kyle_fish on A huge opportunity for impact: movement building at top universities · 2021-12-14T15:23:37.755Z · EA · GW

Wow, I’m thrilled about this! I’ve been wondering recently why EA “Campus Centres” aren’t more of a thing, and am delighted to see a big push in that direction. Thank you for an excellent plan and write-up!

Comment by kyle_fish on We’re Rethink Priorities. Ask us anything! · 2021-11-15T17:13:43.260Z · EA · GW

What is your process for identifying and prioritizing new research questions? And what percentage of your work is going toward internal top priorities vs. commissioned projects?

Comment by kyle_fish on How can we make Our World in Data more useful to the EA community? · 2021-11-04T14:50:52.062Z · EA · GW

A few things that jump to mind:

  • Data on the development of EA-related fields (e.g. growth of AI safety/alignment as an academic discipline, including things like funding, number of publications, number of faculty/graduate students, etc.)
  • Data on the history of philanthropy (e.g. how much have private philanthropists spent over the years, and on what?)
Comment by kyle_fish on EA Forum engagement doubled in the last year · 2021-11-04T11:19:40.705Z · EA · GW

This is great to see! Do you have a sense of what fraction of the EA community is engaging with the forum? I'm curious how much of this growth is driven by the increased size of the EA community, versus an increased percentage of community members using the forum.

Comment by kyle_fish on Announcing the Patient Philanthropy Fund · 2021-10-29T11:33:06.840Z · EA · GW

Really helpful, thank you!

Comment by kyle_fish on Announcing the Patient Philanthropy Fund · 2021-10-27T17:30:18.253Z · EA · GW

This is huge, congrats on the launch! I'm so excited for this fund to exist. How did you decide on the growth targets for the different phases? And will the balance be visible publicly (á la EA Funds) or disclosed some other way?

Comment by kyle_fish on Introducing High Impact Professionals · 2021-10-19T17:27:40.217Z · EA · GW

Could you elaborate on your definition of "high impact professionals" as your target audience? I'm not sure I understand who exactly you're hoping to reach. Some examples (real or fictitious) of the types of people you have in mind would be helpful! 

Comment by kyle_fish on The crux of the cultivated meat feasibility debate · 2021-10-07T18:41:08.812Z · EA · GW

The core of our disagreement seems to be here:

This estimate assumes that all biological functions in an organism can be replicated with technologies, and that these technologies can reach the same efficiency as the biological functions that reached high efficiency due to evolution and natural selection.

I don’t think this is realistic. Perhaps in isolation you could build systems that efficiently accomplish some of these functions, but in the case of cultured meat they all have to be compatible with/support the growth of animal cells and tissues. This is an enormous handicap. All of the technologies you cite as analogous (solar panels vs plants, cars vs horses, planes vs birds, recombinant vs porcine insulin) represent new approaches that are completely free from the limitations of the biological systems they’ve replaced. I don't think any of them should be counted as precedents for the type of innovation cultured meat would require.

Comment by kyle_fish on New Intuitions for Cultured Meat · 2021-10-07T11:14:36.381Z · EA · GW

We might not have to replicate the animal systems precisely, but we'd definitely need cheap solutions to the problems of contamination (3rd sentence), sensitivity/robustness (5th sentence), waste management (6th sentence), and scalability (7th and 8th sentences). All of these are currently huge issues for any biomanufacturing.

Comment by kyle_fish on New Intuitions for Cultured Meat · 2021-10-07T01:34:01.232Z · EA · GW

I don't think cars, solar panels, and recombinant insulin are analogous technologies here. Cars and solar panels won out because they are completely new approaches to transportation and solar energy capture that are not constrained by the biology of the systems they're replacing. Cultured meat seems severely handicapped by its reliance on the growth of animal cells and tissues. 

Recombinant insulin is still manufactured in biological systems (bacteria and yeast), but they are much simpler than mammalian cells and can efficiently express a protein that is only present in tiny amounts in the pig pancreases it used to be purified from. 

Comment by kyle_fish on New Intuitions for Cultured Meat · 2021-10-06T12:03:03.429Z · EA · GW

There's been some discussion over the years of genetically engineering farm animals so they don't experience pain, but I don't know of any efforts to remove sentience entirely. 

Comment by kyle_fish on New Intuitions for Cultured Meat · 2021-10-06T10:56:57.451Z · EA · GW

This is a good point. I don't want anyone to write off cultured meat on the basis of my argument alone, but I do want to push us toward much more nuanced conversations. Ideally, discussions of feasibility will include an evaluation of all relevant systems and the ways in which they could improve over animals, weighed against their limitations. I’d refer anyone who is interested in a more rigorous and technical evaluation to the Humbird report.

That said, for me the relevant question isn’t whether it’s strictly possible to make cultured meat competitive in the long run, but whether pursuing cultured meat as a strategy is the best/most cost effective use of money and talent. I think arguments of the style I made can be very helpful for quick comparative evaluations. For example, plant-based meat looks far more promising than cultured meat through this lens, because it is a fundamentally different approach that circumvents many of the limitations of mammalian and avian biology.

Comment by kyle_fish on Cultured meat predictions were overly optimistic · 2021-09-16T12:55:49.063Z · EA · GW

As a former cultured meat scientist, I think these predictions have been off in large part because the core technical problems are way harder than most people know (or would care to admit). However, I also suspect that forecasts for many other deep tech sectors, even ones that have been quite successful (e.g. space), have not fared any better. I’d be curious to see how cultured meat predictions have done relative to plant-based meat, algal biofuels, rocketry, and maybe others.

Comment by kyle_fish on A Comparison of Donor-Advised Fund Providers · 2021-05-11T10:33:47.523Z · EA · GW

fidelity: their "open an account" page (https://www.fidelitycharitable.org/open-account.html) directs to their program guidelines (https://www.fidelitycharitable.org/content/dam/fc-public/docs/programs/fidelity-charitable-program-guidelines.pdf), with the relevant info on page 17. on closer inspection, it looks like disbursement of 5% of net assets per year could be a policy for fidelity charitable as a whole, not necessarily for each individual account. even so, they claim to require active grantmaking and say they will start making grants from any account that hasn't disbursed anything for two years (top of page 18). i don't know if this policy is commonly applied, but at the very least it's a risk. 

vanguard: their "open an account" page (https://www.vanguardcharitable.org/open-an-account/consent/)  has a link to their policies and guidelines, with the relevant information under heading "minimums, timing, and amounts", subheading "minimum account activity".

i didn't see any minimum activity info on the schwab website and haven't had a chance to check others. 

Comment by kyle_fish on A Comparison of Donor-Advised Fund Providers · 2021-05-10T11:59:54.816Z · EA · GW

another relevant minimum is minimum account activity—have you or others incorporated this into your comparisons? for example, it looks like fidelity requires disbursement of 5% of net assets per year (averaged over 5 year periods), whereas vanguard requires at least one $500 grant every 30 months.