Posts

I scraped all public "Effective Altruists" Goodreads reading lists 2021-03-23T20:28:30.476Z
Funding essay-prizes as part of pledged donations? 2021-02-03T18:43:03.329Z
What do you think about bets of the form "I bet you will switch to using this product after trying it"? 2020-06-15T09:38:42.068Z
Increasing personal security of at-risk high-impact actors 2020-05-28T14:03:29.725Z

Comments

Comment by meerpirat on Books and lecture series relevant to AI governance? · 2021-07-23T14:15:55.442Z · EA · GW

Thanks a lot for compiling this, I'm thinking about switching my career into AI governance and the lists in your Google Doc seem super useful!

Comment by meerpirat on Metaculus Questions Suggest Money Will Do More Good in the Future · 2021-07-22T10:01:14.263Z · EA · GW

Thanks!

Comment by meerpirat on Metaculus Questions Suggest Money Will Do More Good in the Future · 2021-07-22T04:33:47.111Z · EA · GW

Cool questions! I am a bit hesitant to update much:

  • they don’t seem to be too active, e.g. few comments, interest count at around 10 (can you see the number of unique forecasters somehow?)
  • the people doing the forecasts are probably EA adjacent and if they did something akin to a formal analysis, they would share it with the EA community, or at least in the comments, as it seems relatively useful to contribute this
Comment by meerpirat on On what kinds of Twitter accounts would you be most interested in seeing research? · 2021-07-18T16:25:49.891Z · EA · GW

I’ve seen the claim that economist Alex Tabarrok was significantly ahead of the curve on COVID issues. Would be interesting to see how he did or did not reach and convince the people involved in policy making. https://www.twitter.com/ATabarrok

Comment by meerpirat on Increasing personal security of at-risk high-impact actors · 2021-07-18T14:48:17.063Z · EA · GW

Just saw this, which seems like a good step in the intended direction:

Canada will become one of the first countries to offer a dedicated, permanent pathway for human rights defenders, and will resettle up to 250 human rights defenders per year, including their family members, through the Government-Assisted Refugees Program.

https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/2021/07/minister-mendicino-launches-a-dedicated-refugee-stream-for-human-rights-defenders.html

Comment by meerpirat on Building my Scout Mindset: #1 · 2021-07-18T10:18:07.007Z · EA · GW

Seconded, I‘d really like to read more of stream of thought inspections like this. Seems like a great practice and also like a cool way to understand other people‘s thought processes around difficult topics.

Comment by meerpirat on People working on x-risks: what emotionally motivates you? · 2021-07-05T22:30:53.336Z · EA · GW

Good question. I think I’m maybe quarterway there to be internally/emotionally driven to do what I can to prevent the worst possible AI failures, but re this

Say I'm afraid of internalizing responsibility for working on important, large problems

I always thought it would be a great thing if my emotional drives would line up more with the goals that I deliberately thought through to be likely the most important. It would feel more coherent, it would give me more drive and focus on what matters, and downregulate things like some social motivations that I don’t endorse fully. I suppose one might be worried that it’s overwhelming, but that hasn‘t been a thing for me so far. I wonder if humans mostly deal okay with great responsibilities, which is my spontaneous impression.

(btw, I really enjoyed reading your PhD retrospective, nice to see your name pop up here! I’m doing a PhD in CogSci and could relate to a lot)

Comment by meerpirat on Some AI Governance Research Ideas · 2021-07-05T11:18:34.078Z · EA · GW

Yeah. What I thought is that one might want to somehow use a term that also emphasizes the potentially transformative impact AI companies will have, as in „We think your AI research might fit into the reference class of the Manhattan Project“. And „socially beneficial“ doesn‘t really capture this either for me. Maybe something in the direction of „risk-aware“, „risk-sensitive“, „farsighted“, „robustly beneficial“, „socially cautious“…

Edit: Just stumbled upon the word word „stewardship“ in the most recent EconTalk episode from a lecturer wanting to kindle a sense of stewardship over nuclear weapons in military personnel.

Comment by meerpirat on A do-gooder's safari · 2021-07-05T08:50:32.778Z · EA · GW

There is a poll on the Effective Altruism Polls Facebook group on the question "With which archetype(s) from Owen's post "A do-gooder's safari" do you identify the most?"

https://www.facebook.com/groups/477649789306528/posts/1022081814863320/

Comment by meerpirat on Mauhn Releases AI Safety Documentation · 2021-07-03T15:55:24.623Z · EA · GW

I think it's great  that  you're trying to lead by example and I think concrete ideas of how companies can responsibly deal  with the potential for leading the development of advanced or even  transformative AI systems is really welcome in my view. I skimmed three of your links and thought that all sounded basically sensible, though like it will probably all look very different from this, and that I never want to put so much responsibility on anything called an "Ethics Board". (But I'm very basic in my thinking around strategic and government questions around AI, so...). 

One question I had was if you  think it's desirable that AGI will be developed and implemented by a single company, or a group of companies. I think it's probable, but wondered whether there are better  institutions from which an AI Safety person would try to push the AI landscape (e.g. governments, or non-profits, NGOs, international governmental bodies, ...).

Also, your alignment plan sounds like something that still  requires mostly basic research, so I wondered  whether you already have some concrete ideas of concrete research projects  to make  progress here.

Alignment through Education: educate AI systems, just like we educate our children, to allow AI systems to learn human values, e.g. through trial and error.

Also, not  sure why you didn't get feedback here so far, maybe consider crossposting it to lesswrong.com, too.

Comment by meerpirat on Anki deck for "Some key numbers that (almost) every EA should know" · 2021-06-30T21:37:20.694Z · EA · GW

In case suggestions for new cards are still useful, just saw another useful number:

Q: What percentage of people across Europe think the world is getting better? [2015] A: +/- 5% Source: https://ourworldindata.org/optimism-pessimism

Comment by meerpirat on What are some key numbers that (almost) every EA should know? · 2021-06-28T07:56:25.840Z · EA · GW

Cool, really looking forward to add them to my Anki! 

Re: How many big power transitions ended in war

I had the work from Graham Allison in mind here, not sure how set in stone it is but I had the impression it is a sufficiently solid rough estimate:

(2) In researching cases of rising powers challenging ruling powers over the last 500 years, Allison and the Thucydides Trap Project at Harvard University found 12 of 16 cases resulted in war. 

Re: roughly how much they value their own time

I would do a card where people are able to fill in their number, e.g. something like

"Given my current schedule, to get me to do a task that I don't intrinsically value for one hour I'd need to by payed ___ €/$/..."

And you might put Clearer Thinking's calculator as a link, so people can calculate it if they don't already know about this idea: https://programs.clearerthinking.org/what_is_your_time_really_worth_to_you.html

Comment by meerpirat on The unthinkable urgency of suffering · 2021-06-27T07:50:41.274Z · EA · GW

I'm also  a bit surprised, if I'm not mistaken the post had negative karma at one point. People of course downvote for other reasons than controversy, e.g. from the forum's voting norms section:

“I didn’t find this relevant.”
“I think this contains an error.”
“This is technically fine, but annoying to read.”

But I'd be sad if people get the impression that posts like this that reflect on altruistic motivations would not be welcome.

Comment by meerpirat on The unthinkable urgency of suffering · 2021-06-27T07:41:19.239Z · EA · GW

Thanks for writing these words, they rekindled my deeply held desire to prevent intense suffering. It really is weird, the desire also quickly fades in the background for me. In my case, one part is probably that my work and thinking nowadays is more directed at preserving what is good about humanity instead of preventing the worst suffering, which was more of my focus when I thought more about global poverty and animal suffering.

Comment by meerpirat on WANBAM mentee applications are open until the end of July!  · 2021-06-26T19:52:27.776Z · EA · GW

It's Women and Non-Binary Altruism Mentorship . I also couldn't find it on the website but googling did it. 

Comment by meerpirat on What are the 'PlayPumps' of cause prioritisation? · 2021-06-26T09:21:14.231Z · EA · GW

Great share. Really hurt to read, oh man.

Here some more details from the article that I found interesting, too:

Nonetheless, by the 1980s finding fault with high-yield agriculture had become fashionable. Environmentalists began to tell the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations and Western governments that high-yield techniques would despoil the developing world. As Borlaug turned his attention to high-yield projects for Africa, where mass starvation still seemed a plausible threat, some green organizations became determined to stop him there. "The environmental community in the 1980s went crazy pressuring the donor countries and the big foundations not to support ideas like inorganic fertilizers for Africa," says David Seckler, the director of the International Irrigation Management Institute.

Environmental lobbyists persuaded the Ford Foundation and the World Bank to back off from most African agriculture projects. The Rockefeller Foundation largely backed away too—though it might have in any case, because it was shifting toward an emphasis on biotechnological agricultural research. "World Bank fear of green political pressure in Washington became the single biggest obstacle to feeding Africa," Borlaug says. The green parties of Western Europe persuaded most of their governments to stop supplying fertilizer to Africa; an exception was Norway, which has a large crown corporation that makes fertilizer and avidly promotes its use. Borlaug, once an honored presence at the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, became, he says, "a tar baby to them politically, because all the ideas the greenies couldn't stand were sticking to me."

Borlaug's reaction to the campaign was anger. He says, "Some of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They've never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for fifty years, they'd be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things."

Comment by meerpirat on Exploring Existential Risk - using Connected Papers to find Effective Altruism aligned articles and researchers · 2021-06-24T15:22:28.124Z · EA · GW

Same here, thanks a lot for the post! Would be really cool if this leads to new connections in the growing field of longtermist academia.

Comment by meerpirat on What effectively altruistic inducement prize contest would you like to be funded? · 2021-06-23T13:44:35.806Z · EA · GW

Hmm, good question.

Recommending people to apply:

  • for an EA related job where the people end up being seriously considered
  • for an EA fund who ends up getting funded

Forecasting related:

  • maybe writing of comments on EA relevant questions on Metaculus that shift the distribution of forecasts by at least a certain amount
  • writing EA relevant questions on Metaculus

Content related:

  • incentivizing EA related book reviews with a contest
Comment by meerpirat on What are some examples of successful social change? · 2021-06-23T12:11:10.826Z · EA · GW

According to my memory of the Cuba Libre Netflix documentary, Fidel Castro conquered Cuba with fewer than 100 men. At least that was the size of the initial group on his small ship with which he started his guerilla invasion.

Comment by meerpirat on What are the 'PlayPumps' of cause prioritisation? · 2021-06-23T12:06:24.606Z · EA · GW

Maybe some historic examples could be something where readers can look back and all agree that it was a cause where focusing on it made the world worse? Some random ideas:

  • witch hunts
  • appeasing vengeful gods with human sacrifice (ofc you might want to tread carefully around religious topics)
  • the Shoa is a very horrific example of an anti-semitic ‚cause‘ (maybe still too emotional and politically charged, but maybe another genocidal movement could be used as a thing depressingly many people got behind)
  • homosexual conversion movements (maybe also hits too close to home for some readers)
  • „female sexual purity“ as a cause that led to norms of female genital mutilation and honor killings?
  • some sects that predicted the apocalypse and did a lot of harm to their members with their preparations?
Comment by meerpirat on What important questions are missing from Metaculus? · 2021-06-22T15:53:51.973Z · EA · GW

Great initiative! Are you still taking questions?

Comment by meerpirat on Some AI Governance Research Ideas · 2021-06-20T15:57:11.993Z · EA · GW

Thanks, I enjoyed reading the ideas and get a rough overview about what you think is interesting and useful.

One part I stumbled upon and would be interested in thoughts:

Ultimately, you should aim for this research to be able to inform questions like: If you were in control of e.g. Google, what corporate self-governance mechanisms would you put in place in order to ensure the company behaves in a socially responsible way in the face of radical technological change?

I was wondering if it makes sense to frame this as „social responsibility“, especially when it is about radical technological change. Social responsibility is already used for companies to do additional socially beneficial things, and doesn‘t communicate how radical the impact might be and how much it will shape our future and how much care/security mindset might be required if say Google would be first do develop transformative AI systems.

Comment by meerpirat on What are some key numbers that (almost) every EA should know? · 2021-06-18T21:47:08.494Z · EA · GW
  • how many big power transitions ended in war
  • exponential growth numbers (e.g. rule of 72)
  • how many studies on average replicate in some important fields
  • roughly how much they value their own time
  • life expectancy range across all countries
  • average economic growth of the last decades of Europe, US, China, India
  • number of billionaires and millionaires in a few countries
Comment by meerpirat on Intervention Report: Charter Cities · 2021-06-17T18:40:13.702Z · EA · GW

Thanks, that makes sense. I suppose I still suspect that there are more lower-hanging fruit in trying out governance innovations via existing cities, but my intuitions here are pretty uninformed and I'd be happy if EAs look further into it.

Comment by meerpirat on Intervention Report: Charter Cities · 2021-06-17T10:24:27.126Z · EA · GW

Exactly, I also included the money to build the city. Is there a case for not doing that?

do you think there is something unique about German institutional arrangements that allows for cities to better overcome collective action problems

Good question. I’m generally completely out of my depth here unfortunately. One other possibly noteworthy example that comes to mind is that Berlin, ruled by left parties, pushed through very controversial rent control reforms a couple years ago that now have to be rolled back because of a court ruling that the reform didn‘t conform with national legislation. Or what about the voting reform work by Election Science? IIrc they are at least mildly successful at convincing a few local governments in the US to change their voting process.

In case anyone else can chime in, I’d be really interested in comparisons of something like governance autonomy, diversity and innovation across states, cities and countries. The higher those are, the easier it should be to convince local states or city states of innovation reforms.

Comment by meerpirat on What should CEEALAR be called? · 2021-06-16T16:59:15.177Z · EA · GW

I think the name CEEALAR grew on me by now, maybe because it is rewarding for me to be able to remember it correctly, and maybe because it has become kind of an inside joke that the name is a bit awkward. Random ideas anyway:

  • Altruists' harbor
  • Scout manor
  • Residence and Co-Working Centre (RANC Centre)
  • Residence for Altruistic Learning and Doing (RALD)
  • Altruists' Residence for Co-Working (ARFORC)
  • Altruistic Living And Doing Stuff (Altruistic LADS)
Comment by meerpirat on Intervention Report: Charter Cities · 2021-06-16T16:43:10.724Z · EA · GW

Thanks for writing this up, I find the idea of charter cities interesting and this report updated me on at least a few aspects. Also, I'm impressed you pulled this off in ~100 hours!

My main takeaway was that I have failed to properly consider how much cheaper it seems to push for governance innovations in existing regions and cities. Just a random example, my current city Darmstadt started a bureau of citizen participation a few years ago, IIRC with the thinking to involve them in decisions on traffic and building questions. Not huge, but it gave me the impression that cities in Germany have some freedom to just do things if the ruling politicians want to. I could imagine that there are some institutional ideas that would be really difficult to implement in existing cities because there doesn't exist a smooth path consisting of small incremental changes. Though even Robin Hanson's futarchy arguably could start with experimental prediction markets which doesn't seem like such a stretch to imagine.

If a country continues to push economically illiberal policies, despite ample available evidence that such policies constrain growth, it’s unclear how much one more example of a well-governed city will do to convince the government to change. (It’s not as if the economic success of South Korea has convinced North Korea to liberalize.)

I have the impression that people are usually very slow at using evidence from other contries. It regularly frustrates me how people in Germany rarely seem to do this, like there'd be nothing to learn. Charter cities could help in this way as I think it's more intuitive for laypeople, but I think this is only a very small factor.

To examine whether this claim is true, it would be nice to have a formal model that attempts to roughly capture the value that charter cities might generate through spillovers, replication, and experimentation.

Even less easy to capture, in my mind charter cities might strengthen a cultural shift in the direction of „experimentation in governance makes sense, politics should also be thought of with a scientific mindset and not like ideological battle“. With rosecolored glasses on, I see a TV report that explains that politics is difficult and that's why the EU will pour out funds for experimentation with new governance ideas.

And finally, maybe a suggestion of a somewhat related success story: I'm currently reading The WEIRDest People by anthropologist Joseph Henrich and he kind of paints a picture of Europe around the ~13th as a time of competition between cities for companies and industrious people, and where cities copied successful institutions from one another (in case you have the book, search term would be Magdeburg law).

Comment by meerpirat on Vignettes Workshop (AI Impacts) · 2021-06-15T12:18:58.912Z · EA · GW

Sounds like a useful way to spend a German Friday night, cool! Random thought, I wonder if it makes sense to poll participants afterwards for questions that might be put on forecasting platforms.

Comment by meerpirat on Where I can practice judging opportunities to lend or donate or invest, for $25 per decision? · 2021-06-13T07:55:04.388Z · EA · GW

Good question. One idea might be going through the EA funds grants and, where possible, make a preciction on a testable outcome of the project. For example whether a workshop will happen and have more than X attendees; or whether a paper will be published by the researcher on that topic within 2 years. Unfortunately the grant reports might be too little information to do meaningful predictions.

Comment by meerpirat on What complexity science and simulation have to offer effective altruism · 2021-06-10T10:08:21.563Z · EA · GW

This sounds pretty exciting to me, thanks for writing it up. I was reminded by Shahar Avin's work on role playing games to predict the interactions between major players in AI. There might be a possibility to build on the insights from his project as a basis for agent based simulations from the field of complexity theory.

Exploring AI Futures Through Role Play https://www.cser.ac.uk/resources/ai-futures-role-play/

Comment by meerpirat on A proposal for a small inducement prize platform · 2021-06-06T10:58:57.303Z · EA · GW

I‘d also be really interested to see more attempts in this direction. I suspect that there are a many smaller research projects and people interested in working on such projects and this could being those together and result in interesting insights and learning opportunities.

Just in case you weren’t aware, LessWrong has tags on open and closed bounties that also might provide some interesting data: https://www.lesswrong.com/tag/bounties-closed https://www.lesswrong.com/tag/bounties-active

Comment by meerpirat on EA Infrastructure Fund: May 2021 grant recommendations · 2021-06-03T16:22:37.916Z · EA · GW

Thanks! The 80,000Hours article kind of makes it sound like it‘s not supposed to be a big consideration and can be addressed by things IIDM has clearly done, right?

Get advice from people you trust to be honest about whether you’re a reasonable fit for the project you’re considering. Ask around to see if anybody else in your field has similar plans; maybe you should merge projects, collaborate, or coordinate on which project should move forward.

My impression is that the IIDM group is happy for any people interested in collaborating and called for collaboration a year ago or so, and the space of improving institutions also seems very big (in comparison to 80k‘s examples of career advice for EAs and local EA chapters).

Comment by meerpirat on EA Infrastructure Fund: May 2021 grant recommendations · 2021-06-03T10:22:22.542Z · EA · GW

Thanks for the work and the transparent write-up. I’m really glad and impressed our community got the funds going and running.

About the IIDM grant, I noticed some discomfort with this point and would be interested in pointers how to think about this, examples, how big the risk is and how easy preventable this factor is:

In addition, even somewhat successful but suboptimal early efforts could discourage potential top contributors or ‘crowd out’ higher-quality projects that, if the space had remained uncrowded, would have been set up at a later point.

Comment by meerpirat on Forecasting Newsletter: May 2021 · 2021-06-01T22:44:40.909Z · EA · GW

Thanks, lots of great stuff. I overlooked Rootclaim in the January edition, looks like a cool project just for nicely showcasing quantitative Bayesian reasoning. 

Comment by meerpirat on Is capitalism the root of all evil? · 2021-05-16T11:19:37.561Z · EA · GW

I think a paragraph on why you didn't find Singer's response convincing would've improved this question considerably, as it would've allowed people to see where you are coming from and what kind of concrete answer would be useful for you.

Comment by meerpirat on Is capitalism the root of all evil? · 2021-05-16T11:15:59.409Z · EA · GW

There's a popular guide on asking good questions to a technical community, which I found useful (though it's pretty biting): http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html 

People [who seem to be unwilling to think or to do their own homework before asking questions] are time sinks — they take without giving back, and they waste time we could have spent on another question more interesting and another person more worthy of an answer.

We're (largely) volunteers. We take time out of busy lives to answer questions, and at times we're overwhelmed with them. So we filter ruthlessly. In particular, we throw away questions from people who appear to [not put in much effort in doing research or asking a useful question] in order to spend our question-answering time more efficiently, on winners.

I think asking "Is capitalism the root of all evil?" without much context gives the strong impression of a less useful question, as it's very unspecific and in my experience value-laden and requires a tonne of unpacking (the article I linked discusses this a bit).

Comment by meerpirat on Is capitalism the root of all evil? · 2021-05-15T22:51:39.667Z · EA · GW

When I used to give introductory EA talks I got this question now and then, from people who mean well and ask because this is something they are honestly wondering about. I can imagine people downvote because the question gives the impression that you didn‘t spend much time thinking before asking (e.g. what’s meant with capitalist system, what changes seem promising to you). Have you searched for „capitalism“ or „systemic change“ in the forum and didn‘t find any useful discussion that helps specifying your answer? If yes, you could mention that so people know that you invested some of your time already and are really interested in improving your understanding. E.g. this article seems related: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/ktEfsoGfBFGsaiY46/overview-of-capitalism-and-socialism-for-effective-altruism

Comment by meerpirat on EA Groups Survey 2020 · 2021-05-12T10:33:22.769Z · EA · GW

Cool!

The largest proportion of groups are in Europe (37%), followed by US/Canada (29%), the UK (12%), Australasia (7%) and 15% in the rest of the world

You mean Europe = Europe - UK, right?

Comment by meerpirat on Linch's Shortform · 2021-05-11T09:43:39.242Z · EA · GW

Yeah, I can also relate a lot (doing my PhD). One thing I noticed is that my motivational system slowly but surely seems to update on my AI related worries and that this now and then helps keeping me focused on what I actually think is more important from the EA perspective. Not sure what you are working on, but maybe there are some things that come to your mind how to increase your overall motivation, e.g. by reading or thinking of concrete stories of why the work is important, and by talking to others why you care about the things you are trying to achieve. 

Comment by meerpirat on Small and Vulnerable · 2021-05-04T14:42:42.241Z · EA · GW

Thanks, I found this moving. I associate stories like yours with the urge to become stronger/smarter/richer so I can make the suffering stop. Oh, and it reminds me of the story in Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality where Harry almost decides to sacrifice his life to destroy Azkaban.

Comment by meerpirat on Update on Board meeting transparency · 2021-04-26T08:51:37.939Z · EA · GW

Thanks for the update, this sounds pretty reasonable to me. I can well imagine that this will even increase your legibility, as written materials are easier to skim for the information one is looking for.

Comment by meerpirat on If Bill Gates believes all lives are equal, why is he impeding vaccine distribution? · 2021-04-21T07:06:01.132Z · EA · GW

I stumbled on a related IGM poll (a survey of many of the top economists from the US) the other day, and they seem to believe that economic incentives through IP rights are important:

Comment by meerpirat on Concerns with ACE's Recent Behavior · 2021-04-16T13:13:03.357Z · EA · GW

That makes a lot of sense to me, especially the points about how little time this might take and that there is not conflict with prefering the discussion to be public. Thanks! 

I might be a little bit less worried about the time delay of the response. I'd be surprised if fewer than say 80% of the people who would say they find this very concerning won't end up also reading the response from ACE. I'd be more worried if this would be a case where most people would just form a quick negative association and won't follow up later when this all turns out to be more or less benign.

Comment by meerpirat on Concerns with ACE's Recent Behavior · 2021-04-16T11:55:05.200Z · EA · GW

Because I'm worried that this post could hurt my future ability to get a job in EAA, I'm choosing to remain anonymous.

I personally would also find it emotionally draining to criticize possible employers and would understand if one decides against contacting them privately. Not saying this happened here, but another seemingly valid reason I’d want to keep in mind.

Comment by meerpirat on Concerns with ACE's Recent Behavior · 2021-04-16T11:49:38.456Z · EA · GW

Your question reads a bit like you disapprove of the author posting it without doing this. I agree that people criticizing an org should strongly consider contacting the org before their public criticism. But I think there are reasons to not contact an org before, besides urgency, e.g. lacking time, or predicting that private communication will not be productive enough to spend the little time we have at our disposal. So I currently think we should approve if people bring up the energy to voice honest concerns even if they don’t completely follow the ideal playbook. What do you, or others think?

Comment by meerpirat on Status update: Getting money out of politics and into charity · 2021-04-09T22:50:32.316Z · EA · GW

Good point. I suppose I could end up being more optimistic because

  • some politicians might think supporting it will, all in all, still make it more likely for them to win office
  • they might not believe that too many people would take part in this, so they could win relatively cheap virtue points
  • they might just be convinced that this is a great idea and are open to testing it out with voters
  • no idea if true, but I imagine many politicians also don’t have too close relationships with a significant proportion of their (seasonal?) campaign staff and have enough slack cutting other things if necessary? Or to rely more on volunteers?

Probably it would help if you could find ways for the politicians to reap as much positive public recognition from this as possible, e.g. trying to place things like „Voters of both Richard Roe and Jane Doe donated 30.000$ as part of the One America Charity Campaign“ in the local news. Maybe also by letting them recommend a charity they’d like to be associated with.

Another thought, I guess you might face less opposition in areas where campaigning is less professionalized and connected to the respective party‘s campaign apparatuses, who I guess will not like this idea (assuming they exist).

Comment by meerpirat on Status update: Getting money out of politics and into charity · 2021-04-09T14:04:56.981Z · EA · GW

Cool! Maybe you could reach out to politicians who have depolarization as part of their political program, who I expect to more likely want to support/be associated with projects like this.

Comment by meerpirat on Quadratic Payments: A Primer (Vitalik Buterin, 2019) · 2021-04-08T14:48:15.919Z · EA · GW

EA Hannover uses qv for choosing books for our reading club!

An online poll generator for quadratic voting is qv.geek.sg, which wasn’t too easy to find a couple months ago and might be interesting to play around with to get an impression.

Comment by meerpirat on The innocent gene · 2021-04-06T08:44:37.949Z · EA · GW

Thanks, I enjoyed reading this! I read The Selfish Gene some years ago and your post made me realize that my mind hasn‘t yet settled on how to think about all this.

One thought that came up was that we might want to distinguish between evolutionary processes and genes? This is related to the saying „Don’t hate the player, hate the game“, only that the players/the genes are not even real agents with intentions, like you argued. And furthermore we maybe shouldn’t even lay blame on evolution, as it’s just a non-agentic dynamic that probably sprang to life randomly at some point.

Comment by meerpirat on How much does performance differ between people? · 2021-04-02T15:37:53.716Z · EA · GW

Thanks, yes, that seems much more relevant. The cases in that paper feel slightly different in that I expect AI and ML to currently be much more "open" fields where I expect orders of magnitude more paths of ideas that can lead towards transformative AI than

  • paths of ideas leading to higher transistor counts on a CPU (hmm, because it's a relatively narrow technology confronting physical extremes?)
  • paths of ideas leading to higher crop yields (because evolution already invested a lot of work in optimizing energy conversion?)
  • paths of ideas leading to decreased mortality of specific diseases (because this is about interventions in extremely complex biochemical pathways that are still not well understood?)

Maybe I could empirically ground my impression of "openness" by looking at the breadth of cited papers at top ML conferences, indicating how highly branched the paths of ideas currently are compared to other fields? And maybe I could look at the diversity of PIs/institutions of the papers that report new state-of-the-art results in prominent benchmarks, which indicates how easy it is to come into the field and have very good new ideas?