QRI and the Symmetry Theory of Valence 2020-12-19T18:34:10.021Z
[Link] "Where are all the successful rationalists?" 2020-10-17T19:59:58.175Z
[Link] How understanding valence could help make future AIs safer 2020-10-08T18:53:59.848Z
Shifts in subjective well-being scales? 2020-08-18T18:27:21.789Z
[Link] "Will He Go?" book review (Scott Aaronson) 2020-06-12T22:10:43.100Z
[Link] "Cutting through spiritual colonialism" 2020-05-20T03:15:03.058Z
[Link] "Average utilitarianism implies solipsistic egoism" (Tarsney 2020) 2020-04-29T20:54:12.353Z
[Link] "The Origin of Consciousness Reading Companion" (Putanumonit) 2020-04-07T18:56:11.676Z
[Link] "On hiding the source of knowledge" (Jessica Taylor) 2020-01-27T05:19:10.143Z
[Link] "Moral understanding and moral illusions" 2020-01-26T10:50:44.487Z
[Link] "Evaluating Arguments One Step at a Time" (Ought) 2020-01-11T19:12:31.018Z
[Link] Moloch Hasn’t Won (Zvi) 2019-12-28T23:21:00.487Z
[Link] EA Global 2020 announced (CEA) 2019-12-03T19:31:57.242Z
What is EA's story? 2019-11-30T21:45:45.433Z
[Link] "Status in academic ethics" (Charles Foster) 2019-11-27T23:20:04.510Z
[Link] "Art as the starting point" (Autotranslucence) 2019-11-27T17:10:25.705Z
[Link] A new charity evaluator (NYTimes) 2019-11-26T22:44:23.857Z
[Link] Against "Why We Sleep" (Guzey) 2019-11-15T21:15:08.098Z
[Link] "Progress Update October 2019" (Ought) 2019-10-29T21:34:42.504Z
[Link] "One year of Future Perfect" (Vox) 2019-10-15T18:12:55.663Z
[Link] "Machine Learning Projects for IDA" (Ought) 2019-10-12T17:35:18.638Z
[Link] "State of the Qualia" (QRI) 2019-10-11T21:14:23.412Z
[Link] "How feasible is long-range forecasting?" (Open Phil) 2019-10-11T21:01:53.471Z
Should CEA buy 2019-10-04T23:10:52.237Z
[Link] Experience Doesn’t Predict a New Hire’s Success (HBR) 2019-10-04T19:30:49.479Z
Why is the amount of child porn growing? 2019-10-02T01:09:45.207Z
[Link] Moral Interlude from "The Wizard and the Prophet" 2019-09-27T18:42:16.728Z
[Link] The Case for Charter Cities Within the EA Framework (CCI) 2019-09-23T20:08:19.947Z
[Link] "Relaxed Beliefs Under Psychedelics and the Anarchic Brain" (SSC) 2019-09-11T14:45:35.993Z
[Link] Progress Studies (Jasmine Wang) 2019-09-10T19:55:55.891Z
Campaign finance reform as an EA priority? 2019-08-30T01:46:55.222Z
[Link] BERI handing off Jaan Tallinn's grantmaking 2019-08-27T17:13:30.112Z
[Links] Tangible actions to support Hong Kong protestors from afar 2019-08-18T23:47:03.223Z
[Link] Virtue signaling annotated bibliography (Geoffrey Miller) 2019-08-14T22:41:55.592Z
[Link] Bolsonaro is cutting down the rainforest (nytimes) 2019-08-01T00:45:11.495Z
[Link] The Schelling Choice is "Rabbit", not "Stag" (LessWrong post) 2019-07-31T21:27:22.097Z
[Link] "Two Case Studies in Communist Insecurity" (The Scholar's Stage) 2019-07-25T22:17:05.968Z
[Link] Thiel on GCRs 2019-07-22T20:47:13.076Z
Debrief: "cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics" 2019-07-14T17:04:20.153Z
[Link] "Revisiting the Insights model" (Median Group) 2019-07-14T14:58:39.661Z
[Link] "Why Responsible AI Development Needs Cooperation on Safety" (OpenAI) 2019-07-12T01:19:39.816Z
[Link] "The AI Timelines Scam" 2019-07-11T03:37:22.568Z
If physics is many-worlds, does ethics matter? 2019-07-10T15:28:49.733Z
What grants has Carl Shulman's discretionary fund made? 2019-07-08T18:40:19.414Z
Do we know how many big asteroids could impact Earth? 2019-07-07T16:06:57.304Z
Leverage Research shutting down? 2019-07-04T20:55:34.890Z
What's the best structure for optimal allocation of EA capital? 2019-06-04T17:00:36.470Z
On the margin, should EA focus on outreach or retention? 2019-05-31T22:22:54.299Z
[Link] Act of Charity 2019-05-30T22:29:41.518Z
Why do you downvote EA Forum posts & comments? 2019-05-29T22:52:06.900Z


Comment by milan_griffes on QRI and the Symmetry Theory of Valence · 2020-12-28T18:08:25.620Z · EA · GW

Yes, I only included the part that I thought would be most interesting to forum readers.

Comment by milan_griffes on Desperation Hamster Wheels · 2020-10-30T21:30:49.426Z · EA · GW

Thank you for writing this fantastic post! 

I think understanding & growing more skillful in this territory is extremely important (from an impact-maximizing perspective and from other perspectives too).

I'm reminded of some of the practices I listed here, and of Jessica's post On hiding the source of knowledge as well.

How do you think the professional and social spaces you were participating in during this time interacted with the hamster-wheel feeling?

Comment by milan_griffes on Founders Pledge Report: Psychedelic-Assisted Mental Health Treatments · 2020-10-30T19:57:23.282Z · EA · GW

Further elaboration of the rescaling hypothesis and Griffiths et al. 2006 here:

Comment by milan_griffes on Differences in the Intensity of Valenced Experience across Species · 2020-10-30T19:27:27.049Z · EA · GW

Thanks for this!

I'm curious about how these frameworks interact with Logarithmic Scales of Pleasure and Pain

Comment by milan_griffes on The Risk of Concentrating Wealth in a Single Asset · 2020-10-19T19:57:43.094Z · EA · GW

Yes, I think the crux here is how good you think your judgment/taste is relative to that of all the others who are trying.

Comment by milan_griffes on The Risk of Concentrating Wealth in a Single Asset · 2020-10-18T22:39:36.125Z · EA · GW

Right, so if you had good judgment and a reasonable network, I think you could find a lot of the promising opportunities.

Someone would be like "I have a device that produces bright light at a low cost, and I need funding to manufacture it on a massive scale."

So you'd be like "Really? Let me see this device."

You'd inspect the device, see that it does in fact do the thing the inventor says it does, and then after further diligence on the business plan & team you'd invest.

I think this is roughly how to go about separating the real opportunities from the snake oil.

Comment by milan_griffes on The Risk of Concentrating Wealth in a Single Asset · 2020-10-18T18:05:09.062Z · EA · GW

Thanks for this! Super interesting.

A question I often have about the index-fund approach: if we were in a past historical moment, wouldn't VC-style investment on moonshots perform better than index investing?

e.g. if we were in 1910, wouldn't it be better to invest in a portfolio of moonshots that included Ford and Edison, rather than in a broad market index? (Most of the moonshots would fail but Ford and/or Edison would bring in massively outsized returns)

Comment by milan_griffes on [Link] "Where are all the successful rationalists?" · 2020-10-18T17:54:45.135Z · EA · GW

I'm reminded of Romeo's comment about rationality attracting "the walking wounded" on a similar post from a couple years back.

I actually think rationality is doing pretty good all things considered, though I definitely resonate with Applied Divinity Studies' viewpoint. Tsuyoku Naritai!

Comment by milan_griffes on Five New EA Charities with High Potential for Impact · 2020-10-17T19:36:45.205Z · EA · GW

This is awesome!

Has Charity Entrepreneurship looked into Wren?

(Monthly subscription service for counterfactually-adjusted carbon offsets via reforestation etc.)

Comment by milan_griffes on Avoiding Munich's Mistakes: Advice for CEA and Local Groups · 2020-10-17T19:32:22.742Z · EA · GW

Agree that the Blues can't cancel Trump. Note that being affiliated with Red Tribe isn't sufficient to avoid cancellation (though it probably helps) – see Petraeus, see the Republicans on these lists: 1, 2

Jordan Peterson seems basically impossible to cancel due to a combination of his shamelessness & his virtue (he isn't really Blue Tribe though). Same for Joe Rogan and Tyler Cowen.

Comment by milan_griffes on Avoiding Munich's Mistakes: Advice for CEA and Local Groups · 2020-10-16T15:35:07.716Z · EA · GW

Trump demonstrates that thoroughgoing shamelessness effectively wards off cancellation, at least in the short run.

Comment by milan_griffes on Avoiding Munich's Mistakes: Advice for CEA and Local Groups · 2020-10-14T20:30:26.691Z · EA · GW

Also of The Apology, though that's obviously an extreme case.

Comment by milan_griffes on Avoiding Munich's Mistakes: Advice for CEA and Local Groups · 2020-10-14T20:27:03.232Z · EA · GW

I'm reminded of this.

Comment by milan_griffes on Avoiding Munich's Mistakes: Advice for CEA and Local Groups · 2020-10-14T20:11:43.662Z · EA · GW

I read this piece as proposing a stance towards a social dynamic ("how EA should orient to cancel culture"), rather than continuing litigation of anyone's character.

Comment by milan_griffes on [Linkpost] Some Thoughts on Effective Altruism · 2020-10-09T22:47:44.301Z · EA · GW

I think something like 3a is right, especially given our cluelessness.

Comment by milan_griffes on [Link] How understanding valence could help make future AIs safer · 2020-10-09T17:24:27.212Z · EA · GW
... if we could explain to an AGI what happiness is, then we could get it to create more happiness (or, at least, not create more unhappiness)?

I think this captures #1, #2, #4, #6, #8.

But not #3 and #5, and not really #7, not really #9, not really #10.

Comment by milan_griffes on Crucial questions for longtermists · 2020-10-08T18:55:45.434Z · EA · GW

Some related material in this blog post: How understanding valence could help make future AIs safer

Comment by milan_griffes on Founders Pledge Report: Psychedelic-Assisted Mental Health Treatments · 2020-10-08T18:22:50.649Z · EA · GW
I don't have a strong view on whether having children increases or decreases hedonistic well-being (though it seems likely to increase well-being in desire/preference terms).

Yes, I haven't looked closely but it seems like a complicated topic.

Pollmann-Schult 2018 thinks that the having kids<>life satisfaction relationship depends a lot on the context:

There are, however, considerable cross-country variations in life satisfaction between parents and non-parents. Within Europe, parenthood is more positively associated with happiness in social democratic countries than in conservative, liberal, and Eastern European countries (Aassve et al. 2012).
Notably Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian parents are more satisfied with their lives than their childless counterparts (Kohler et al. 2005; Hansen et al. 2009; Daukantaite and Zukauskiene 2006). A positive association between parenthood and life satisfaction has also been found in Russia (Mikucka 2016).
Parents in the USA and continental European countries, in contrast, experience equal or lower levels of life satisfaction than childless individuals (Alesina et al. 2004; Umberson and Gove 1989; Keizer et al. 2010; Myrskylä and Margolis 2014; Pollmann-Schult 2014; Rizzi and Mikucka 2015).
Comment by milan_griffes on Founders Pledge Report: Psychedelic-Assisted Mental Health Treatments · 2020-10-08T18:03:06.021Z · EA · GW
I wonder which of hedonistic and preference utilitarianism you're more sympathetic to, or which of hedonism and preference/desire theories of well-being you're more sympathetic to. The former tend to go with experiential SWB and the latter with evaluative or eudaimonic SWB (see Michael Plant's recent paper).

As far as I can tell, experiential and eudaimonic well-being converge in the limit, but it's important to prioritize eudaimonic well-being along the way to avoid premature optimization.

e.g. Jhanic states are more hedonic than cocaine or Twitter, but also more difficult to access.

Comment by milan_griffes on If you like a post, tell the author! · 2020-10-06T18:45:34.419Z · EA · GW


Comment by milan_griffes on Getting money out of politics and into charity · 2020-10-06T17:25:21.777Z · EA · GW

How will you build a strong-enough political brand such that people on either side trust the matching service to do what it says it's doing?

Comment by milan_griffes on Founders Pledge Report: Psychedelic-Assisted Mental Health Treatments · 2020-10-02T16:17:24.723Z · EA · GW
Yeah, I don't think we understand this very well yet but it's an interesting thought :)

The rescaling hypothesis and the "no effect from psilocybin-assisted therapy" hypothesis both would explain the "no change in PANAS" result. It seems you're favoring the "no effect" hypothesis.

The rescaling hypothesis seems more concordant with other results from Griffiths et al. 2006:

  • Participants reported an increase in subjective well-being
  • Community observers noted an improvement in participant attitudes

Something like the rescaling hypothesis also fits better with my experience, fwiw.

Comment by milan_griffes on Founders Pledge Report: Psychedelic-Assisted Mental Health Treatments · 2020-10-02T16:11:57.773Z · EA · GW
As I mentioned to you in our correspondence, we think that experiential measures, such as affective balance (e.g. as measured by Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS)), capture more of what we care about and less of what we don't care about, compared to evaluative measures, such as life satisfaction. But I take your point that PANAS doesn't encompass all of SWB.

I wish this preference was more explicit in Founders Pledge's writing. It seems like a substantial value judgment, almost an aesthetic preference, and one that is unintuitive to me!

e.g. favoring affective balance over life satisfaction implies that having children is a bad decision in terms of one's subjective well-being. (If I recall correctly, on average having kids tends to make affective balance go down but life satisfaction go up; many people seem very happy to have had children.)

Comment by milan_griffes on Founders Pledge Report: Psychedelic-Assisted Mental Health Treatments · 2020-09-30T19:14:20.193Z · EA · GW

Thank you for all the work that went into this - I'm very happy that it exists!


A couple points from our correspondence that might be interesting to readers here as well -

From the report:

The evidence on increased prosocial attitudes and behaviours and improvements in subjective well-being is weak. We found only one experimental study that used direct subjective well-being measures before and after taking a psychedelic, and it found no statistically significant improvement.[51] That said, two studies—a prospective[52] and an unpublished[53] one—found improvements on a composite well-being scale and multiple studies found self-reported, self-attributed improvements of subjective well-being, i.e. participants stated that they think the psychedelic experience improved their well-being and prosocial behaviour and attitudes.

I wish this discussion of Griffiths et al. 2006 (footnote [51]):

  1. specified that only one aspect of subjective well-being (affective balance) was measured. Life satisfaction isn't measured by PANAS.
  2. noted that community observers detected a positive change in participant behavior & attitudes (but not in control's behavior & attitudes) two months after the session (see the bottom of Table 4). A third-party observer report of behavior & attitudinal change seems much more objective than a participant self-report of such changes.

Also interesting here – individuals may rescale their assessments of subjective well-being over time. I speculate that the particulars of the psychedelic experience may drive rescaling like this in an intense way.

Comment by milan_griffes on Crucial questions for longtermists · 2020-09-30T18:41:08.099Z · EA · GW

Thanks for this!

fwiw I would definitely bucket consciousness research and neuroimaging under "strategy", though agree that the bucketing is somewhat arbitrary.

Comment by milan_griffes on Crucial questions for longtermists · 2020-09-29T22:16:10.708Z · EA · GW

I propose two additions to this list:

  • Improving our understanding of consciousness / conscious experience
  • Improving our neuroimaging capabilities

Without a solid theory of consciousness, our views about what matters will keep being based on moral intuitions and it will be hard to make progress on disputes.

Comment by milan_griffes on Suggestion that Zvi be awarded a prize for his COVID series · 2020-09-24T20:27:38.583Z · EA · GW


His latest:

Perhaps the administrators of the Forum prize will consider his work for it.

Comment by milan_griffes on A tool to estimate COVID risk from common activities · 2020-09-23T18:47:38.966Z · EA · GW

Here's a pragmatic return-to-work plan (a) that makes use of

Comment by milan_griffes on How Dependent is the Effective Altruism Movement on Dustin Moskovitz and Cari Tuna? · 2020-09-22T23:50:45.680Z · EA · GW

$80m "other" per year seems very high to me, fwiw.

Comment by milan_griffes on How Dependent is the Effective Altruism Movement on Dustin Moskovitz and Cari Tuna? · 2020-09-22T21:11:59.068Z · EA · GW

See also: What's the best structure for optimal allocation of EA capital?

So EA is currently in a regime wherein the large majority of capital flows from a single source, and capital allocation is set by a small number of decision-makers.
Rough estimate: if ~60% of Open Phil grantmaking decisioning is attributable to Holden, then 47.2% of all EA capital allocation, or $157.4M, was decided by one individual in 2017. 2018 & 2019 will probably have similar proportions.
It seems like EA entered into this regime largely due to historically contingent reasons (Cari & Dustin developing a close relationship with Holden, then outsourcing a lot of their philanthropic decision-making to him & the Open Phil staff).
It's not clear that this structure will lead to optimal capital allocation.
Comment by milan_griffes on A tool to estimate COVID risk from common activities · 2020-09-21T20:47:13.056Z · EA · GW

A good thread (a) summarizing a paper on our current understanding of coronavirus transmission dynamics.

Comment by milan_griffes on A tool to estimate COVID risk from common activities · 2020-09-04T19:19:21.753Z · EA · GW

Though perhaps the effect size they found is implausibly large...

Expressed as relative risk, vitamin D reduced the risk of ICU admission 25-fold. Put another way, it eliminated 96% of the risk of ICU admission. Expressed as an odds ratio, which is a less intuitive concept but is often used in statistics because it gives an estimate of the effect of the treatment that would be constant across scenarios with different levels of risk, vitamin D reduced the odds of ICU admission by 98%. Either way, vitamin D practically abolished the need for ICU admission.

Would be great if this replicates in a bigger study. In the meantime, supplementing Vitamin D is cheap & safe.

More Vitamin D discussion:

Comment by milan_griffes on A tool to estimate COVID risk from common activities · 2020-09-04T18:35:26.820Z · EA · GW

In other covid news, we seem to be learning that Vitamin D supplementation is helpful.

A small RCT was recently published: Castillo et al. 2020

From Masterjohn's commentary (a):

The trial was conducted at the Reina Sofía University Hospital in Córdoba, Spain. The trial included 76 patients with COVID-19 pneumonia. Although this is no longer the standard of care, all patients were treated with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin and, when needed, a broad-spectrum antibiotic. Admission to the ICU was determined by a multidisciplinary committee consisting of intensive care specialists, pulmonologists, internal medicine specialists, and members of the ethics committee.
The patients were randomly allocated to receive or not receive vitamin D in a 2:1 ratio. This resulted in 50 patients in the vitamin D group and 26 patients in the control group.

From the abstract:

Of 50 patients treated with calcifediol [a form of Vitamin D], one required admission to the ICU (2%), while of 26 untreated patients, 13 required admission (50%) p-value X^2 Fischer test p < 0.001. Univariate Risk Estimate Odds Ratio for ICU in patients with Calcifediol treatment versus without Calcifediol treatment: 0.02 (95%CI 0.002-0.17).
Comment by milan_griffes on A tool to estimate COVID risk from common activities · 2020-08-30T15:57:37.898Z · EA · GW

Thanks for running the conversion into micromorts – that's helpful.

fwiw back in 2003 the average US commute was ~30 miles/day (I couldn't find more recent data). So that's about one micromort/week from commuting.

Here's some case fatality rate data by age. 0.5% chance of death seems a bit high, though maybe reasonable depending on how you're incorporating the externality.

Comment by milan_griffes on A tool to estimate COVID risk from common activities · 2020-08-29T23:08:35.758Z · EA · GW

Thank you for creating this!

I was surprised by the riskiness estimates in the table on this page:

If an event that accrues 1000 μCoV is considered "borderline reckless", wouldn't that imply a very low risk tolerance for everyday activities like driving a car? (Because driving is fairly high risk and some of that risk is externalized.)

Comment by milan_griffes on Some thoughts on the EA Munich // Robin Hanson incident · 2020-08-29T17:05:55.947Z · EA · GW
Some of Hanson’s writing has probably been, on net, detrimental to his own influence...

Comment by milan_griffes on It's Not Hard to Be Morally Excellent; You Just Choose Not To Be · 2020-08-28T00:03:03.448Z · EA · GW

+1 to Parable of the Talents being excellent, especially given EA's relationship to scrupulosity.

Comment by milan_griffes on The case of the missing cause prioritisation research · 2020-08-19T21:36:59.173Z · EA · GW


100% agree that cultural health is very important, and that EA is under-investing in it. (The "we don't want to just give money to our friends" point resonates, and other scrupulosity-related stuff is probably at play here as well.)

Individuals at social events will be trying to one-up each other with their cleverness. I'm sure I've contributed to this. I've noticed myself becoming jealous when I hear of others who are similar in some ways doing well, which really should make no sense at all.

Thank you for talking about this!

I've noticed similar patterns in my own mind, especially around how I engage with this Forum. (I've been stepping back from it more this year because I've noticed that a lot of my engagement wasn't coming from a loving place.)

These dynamics may not make any sense, but there are deep biological & psychological forces giving rise to them. [insert Robin Hanson's "everything you do is signaling" rant here]

... I think in the anonymous surveys 80K did a while back a bunch of people complained that there was a lot of signaling going on and that status was a big deal.

Right. Last year concerns about status made a lot of heat on the Forum (1, 2, 3), but as far as I know nothing has really changed since then, perhaps other than more folks acknowledging that status is a thing.

(Status seems closely related to scrupulosity & to EA being vetting-constrained; I haven't unpacked this yet.)

Comment by milan_griffes on The case of the missing cause prioritisation research · 2020-08-19T20:48:54.972Z · EA · GW
I haven't seen these specific examples, but there definitely seems to be a similar bias in other groups. Many organizations are afraid to make any kinds of estimates at all...

Reminds me of the thing where corporations don't want to implement internal prediction markets because implementing a market isn't in the self-interest of any individual decision-maker.

Comment by milan_griffes on The case of the missing cause prioritisation research · 2020-08-19T20:44:21.852Z · EA · GW

Here's a list I came up with from thinking about this for ~30 minutes:

Better ways of measuring what matters

Help EAs see more clearly, unpack + resolve personal traumas, and boost their efficacy + motivation

  • Emotional healing as a prerequisite to rationality
  • CFAR, OAK, Leverage, etc.
  • Plus building methods to audit which projects are working, which are failing, which are stagnating
  • Perhaps also a data collection project that vacuums up outcomes from the object-level projects?

Strengthen EA community ties / our sense of fellowship

  • More honesty about how weird effective research methods can be
  • More acknowledgement of the interdependent causal complex that gives rise to good research (e.g. Alex Flint's introduction here)
  • More Ben Franklin-esque Juntos
  • Import more of Silicon Valley's "pay it forward" culture
  • Less reputation management / more psychological safety
  • Less sniping
  • OAK, Bay Area group houses, EA Hotel
  • Again, building out (non-dominating) ways to audit & collect data from the object-level projects

Less scrupulosity

  • Ties into the above but deserves its own bullet given how our collective psychology skews
  • Compassionate fighting against the thought-pattern Scott Alexander describes here

Make EA sexier

  • Market to retail donors / the broader public (e.g. Future Perfect, e.g. 80k, e.g. GiveWell running ads on Vox podcasts)
  • Market to impact investors (e.g. Lionheart) and big philanthropy
  • Cultivating more "I want to be like that" energy
  • Seems easy to walk back if it isn't working because so many interest groups are competing for mindshare

Support EA physical health

  • Propagate effective treatments for RSI & back problems, as above
  • Take the mind-body connection seriously
  • Propagate best practices for nutrition, sleep, exercise; make the case that attending to these is prerequisite to having impact (rather than trading off against having impact)

Advance our frontier of knowledge

  • e.g. GPI's research agenda, e.g. the stuff Michael Dickens laid out in his comment
  • More work on how to solve coordination problems
  • More work on governance (e.g. Vitalik's stuff, e.g. the stuff Palladium is exploring)

Fund many moonshots / speculative projects

  • Fund projects that can be walked back if they aren't working out (which is most projects, though some tech projects may be hard-to-reverse)
  • Worry less about brand management
Comment by milan_griffes on The case of the missing cause prioritisation research · 2020-08-19T20:13:27.365Z · EA · GW

Your list reminds me of this thread: What EA Forum posts do you want someone to write?

Comment by milan_griffes on The case of the missing cause prioritisation research · 2020-08-19T18:08:06.773Z · EA · GW

At a glance, Salesforce's AI Economist seems like an attempted implementation of an IAM.

Comment by milan_griffes on Shifts in subjective well-being scales? · 2020-08-19T17:10:07.750Z · EA · GW

Thanks for this!

How do you think the potential consistency over time (A) squares with the inconsistency between scales & sub-scales that Kaj pointed out?

Comment by milan_griffes on HLI’s Mental Health Programme Evaluation Project - Update on the First Round of Evaluation · 2020-06-23T17:08:02.111Z · EA · GW
Note they are mostly to do with insurance issues.

fwiw I don't think most of this problem is due to insurance issues, though I agree that the US healthcare system is very weird and falls short in a lot of ways.

This also isn't specific to mental health: one might retort to donors to AMF that they should be funding improvements in (say) health treatment in general or malaria treatment in particular.

I don't think this analogy holds up: we've eradicated malaria in many developed countries, but we haven't figured out mental health to the same degree (e.g. 1 in 5 Americans have a mental illness).

I suspect that if there were a really strong 'pull' for goods/services to be provided, then we would already have 'solved' world poverty, which makes me think distribution is weakly related to innovation.

World poverty has been decreasing a lot since 1990 – some good charts here & here.

M-Pesa and the broad penetration of smartphones are examples of innovations that were quickly distributed. The path from innovation to distribution is probably harder for services.

Comment by milan_griffes on [Link] "Will He Go?" book review (Scott Aaronson) · 2020-06-15T19:17:06.745Z · EA · GW

I usually do link posts to improve the community's situational awareness.

This is upstream of advocating for specific actions, though it's definitely part of that causal chain.

Comment by milan_griffes on HLI’s Mental Health Programme Evaluation Project - Update on the First Round of Evaluation · 2020-06-15T17:03:31.942Z · EA · GW
I'm not sure what you mean by going from 0 to 1 vs 1 to n. Can you elaborate?

The link in my top-level comment elaborates the concept.

how much better MH treatment could be than the current best practice

Quick reply: probably a lot better. See ecstatic meditative states, confirmed by fMRI & EEG.

See also Slate Star Codex on the weirdness of Western mental healthcare: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

how easy it would be to get it there

Quick reply: not sure about how easy it would be to achieve the platonic ideal of mental healthcare – QRI is probably more opinionated about this.

Given how much of an improvement SSRIs and CBT were over the preexisting standard-of-care, and how much of an improvement psychedelic, ketamine, and somatic therapies seem to be over the current standard-of-care, I'd guess that we're nowhere close to hitting diminishing marginal returns.

how fast this would spread

Quick reply: if globalization continues, the best practices of the globalized society will propagate "naturally" (i.e. as a result of the incentives stakeholders face). From this perspective, we're more limited by getting the globalized best practices right than we are by distributing our current best practices.

Comment by milan_griffes on [Link] "Will He Go?" book review (Scott Aaronson) · 2020-06-15T16:46:19.809Z · EA · GW

From the part I excerpted:

"You should read it right now (or at least read this Vox interview), if you want to think through the contours of a civilizational Singularity that seems at least as plausible to me as the AI Singularity, but whose fixed date of November 3, 2020 we’re now hurtling toward."

The EA implications of the 2020 US presidential election seem obvious?

See also Dustin & Cari's $20m grant to the 2016 Clinton campaign.

Comment by milan_griffes on MathiasKirkBonde's Shortform · 2020-06-12T23:45:45.515Z · EA · GW
My guess is that it's more efficient to study full time while living in the country. I think living there increases motivation, means you learn what you actually need, means you learn a bunch 'passively', and lets you practice conversation a lot, which is better than most book learning, and you learn more of the culture.


Being there definitely increased my motivation to learn the language, even though I didn't know any Chinese beforehand and wasn't intending to learn any.

Comment by milan_griffes on HLI’s Mental Health Programme Evaluation Project - Update on the First Round of Evaluation · 2020-06-12T19:33:45.876Z · EA · GW
We appreciated the focus on LMICs because the treatment gap for mental health conditions is especially high in these countries (WHO Mental Health Atlas, 2017), particularly in low-resource (e.g. rural) settings.

What do you make of the argument that it's more important to go from 0 to 1 on mental health, rather than from 1 to n ?

Could imagine that mental health in developing countries will resemble mental health in developed countries more and more as a result of economic growth. Developing countries become more similar to developed countries overall, and adopt the best mental healthcare practices of developed countries as part of this.

If mental health in developed countries currently misses out on a lot of upside, it would be way more leveraged to focus on realizing that upside (0 to 1), rather than propagating current best practices (1 to n), because the best practices will propagate regardless so long as the developing world continues to develop.

Comment by milan_griffes on What are the leading critiques of "longtermism" and related concepts · 2020-06-04T20:54:03.030Z · EA · GW

My essay on consequentialist cluelessness is also about this: What consequences?