Comment by milan_griffes on EA Mental Health Survey: Results and Analysis. · 2019-06-24T21:57:15.693Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW
Among our 303 respondents, 1 758 hours of work were lost because of mental illness in the two weeks previous to our survey, compared to 16 737 hours worked, and 1 899 hours missed because of other reasons.

That's three weeks of work lost per person per year (!!)

Comment by milan_griffes on Pros/cons of funding more research on whether psychedelics increase altruism? · 2019-06-24T21:51:16.573Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Some of the discussion on the Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area post relates to this.

In particular, Greg Lewis & I debate the merits of funding more research here & here.

(I'm planning to reply to Greg's latest on that second thread, haven't gotten around to it yet.)

Comment by milan_griffes on Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area · 2019-06-04T22:04:15.991Z · score: 21 (8 votes) · EA · GW

Arguments have been assessed & prizes awarded!

The winners –


And I also paid out a prize to Holly_Elmore, who made what seemed to me to be the best counterargument, though it wasn't one of the top three most upvoted.

No further comments or votes on this thread will be considered for the assessment of the prize.

Comment by milan_griffes on There's Lots More To Do · 2019-06-04T21:48:58.061Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

That accords with my model of Singer's view.

I just wanted to point out that he wasn't arguing against shaming or deploying the legal system. Those routes probably wouldn't do the most good, in practice, but they're definitely on the menu of things to be considered.

Comment by milan_griffes on What's the best structure for optimal allocation of EA capital? · 2019-06-04T21:11:56.824Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Makes sense. Do you have a ballpark estimate of total EA-related giving for 2017? (even if it's a rough one?)

Comment by milan_griffes on There's Lots More To Do · 2019-06-04T21:08:03.235Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Quoting from Famine, Affluence, and Morality:


Despite the limited nature of the revision in our moral conceptual scheme which I am proposing, the revision would, given the extent of both affluence and famine in the world today, have radical implications. These implications may lead to further objections, distinct from those I have already considered. I shall discuss two of these.
One objection to the position I have taken might be simply that it is too drastic a revision of our moral scheme. People do not ordinarily judge in the way I have suggested they should.
Most people reserve their moral condemnation for those who violate some moral norm, such as the norm against taking another person's property. They do not condemn those who indulge in luxury instead of giving to famine relief. But given that I did not set out to present a morally neutral description of the way people make moral judgments, the way people do in fact judge has nothing to do with the validity of my conclusion.

I understand this to mean that while Singer isn't (explicitly) saying we should shame or outlaw people who don't meet the standard he presents, we should morally condemn them (which could be operationalized via shaming, or via the legal system).

Comment by milan_griffes on What's the best structure for optimal allocation of EA capital? · 2019-06-04T20:03:29.490Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for the nitpick :-)


... point out that your data may be missing some areas

I believe you mean "our data", given I derived this from a Rethink Priorities analysis.

Comment by milan_griffes on Is trauma a potential EA cause area? · 2019-06-04T19:11:54.559Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Don't the studies I point to suggest a large impact?

From my answer:


A Cohen’s d of 2.8 is extremely large (“Cohen suggested that d = 0.2 be considered a 'small' effect size, 0.5 represents a 'medium' effect size and 0.8 a 'large' effect size” source). Here’s a good resource for interpreting Cohen’s d.
Comment by milan_griffes on What's the best structure for optimal allocation of EA capital? · 2019-06-04T17:51:15.062Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Got it, thanks.


I think it's more than plausible we could have an alternative structure for capital allocation than the one we have now.

What alternative do you have in mind?

Comment by milan_griffes on What's the best structure for optimal allocation of EA capital? · 2019-06-04T17:49:39.186Z · score: 8 (4 votes) · EA · GW

From the OP:

I'm not claiming that any of the above will necessarily lead to better capital allocation than the current structure, but it seems plausible that they might.

I don't know enough yet to say that an alternative structure would necessarily be better.

I intend to think about this more, and it seems good to do some of that thinking in public fora so that other people can contribute when they're interested + have comparative advantage.

Comment by milan_griffes on What's the best structure for optimal allocation of EA capital? · 2019-06-04T17:33:06.495Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Pointing out that we arrived at where we are for contingent reasons & that there's plausibly unrealized upside in alternative structures seems like a good first step for figuring this out.

I'm not clear on whether you think pointing this out is just unimportant, or if you think it's actually unhelpful.

Comment by milan_griffes on What's the best structure for optimal allocation of EA capital? · 2019-06-04T17:28:30.287Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Sure. "How much of this is attributable to Holden specifically?" is mostly orthogonal to my main point, though I think the degree of centralization is interesting.

(I edited my above comment for clarity.)

Comment by milan_griffes on What's the best structure for optimal allocation of EA capital? · 2019-06-04T17:14:27.497Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

From the OP:

I'm not aware of much discussion of alternative capital structures in the EA community, so exploring this seems valuable.

Why do you think we won't get to a better structure, in practice?

Comment by milan_griffes on What's the best structure for optimal allocation of EA capital? · 2019-06-04T17:13:17.866Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks. I think my main point is pretty orthogonal to this estimate. [edit: my main point is that we arrived at this structure for historically contingent reasons, and it's not clear that the present structure is the best one for optimal altruistic allocation of capital, so perhaps we should consider alternatives.]

---

e.g. if instead we attribute 30% of Open Phil decisioning to Holden, the numbers are then:

  • 23.6% of EA 2017 capital allocation is attributable to Holden, or ~$62.0M in 2017

I think attributing a sizable portion of Open Phil decision-making to Holden is appropriate, as I believe he has final sign-off on all major grants.

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

2019-06-04T17:00:36.470Z · score: 9 (13 votes)
Comment by milan_griffes on Is EA Growing? EA Growth Metrics for 2018 · 2019-06-04T16:17:44.376Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Assuming you mean https://www.effectivealtruism.org

http://www.ea.org is something unrelated to EA.

Comment by milan_griffes on Why did three GiveWell board members resign in April 2019? · 2019-06-04T15:57:03.670Z · score: 6 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Catherine's reply:


Hi Milan,
I’ve responded to each of your questions in turn:
– Why wasn’t the recording of the April 2019 board meeting made public? (As far as I can tell, recordings of all previous board meetings have been made public.) We plan to share the recording of the meeting publicly, as we typically do. In the past, we have often had a lag of multiple months between the meeting date and publishing the recording.
– Was there a catalyzing event that led to the decision to reduce the number of board members? If so, what was this event? There was no catalyzing event. Senior leadership and the Board regularly discuss the Board’s role and state.
– Did Rob, Brigid, and Tom volunteer their resignations, or were they asked to resign? We are not planning to share this on their behalf, as we consider this private information between the individual Board members and GiveWell.
– Which current member(s) of the board is most likely to provide an accountability function to GiveWell’s executive leadership? The role of the Board is to provide accountability for GiveWell’s work, and so we expect all current members of the Board (other than Elie) to serve that function.
– Going forward, under what conditions will GiveWell decide to expand the number of board seats? We will consider expanding the number of seats on a case-by-case basis, and make decisions by weighing the benefit of adding the person to the Board relative to the cost of doing so.
Comment by milan_griffes on There's Lots More To Do · 2019-06-04T14:26:53.992Z · score: 2 (3 votes) · EA · GW
... we're allowed to focus on our own lives whether or not there are people who could use our money more than us.

I agree, though it's worth noting that Singer explicitly argues against this in Famine, Affluence, and Morality, which is a foundational paper for the EA position.

Comment by milan_griffes on Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area · 2019-06-03T16:55:10.091Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thank you :-)

Comment by milan_griffes on Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area · 2019-06-03T16:33:16.513Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Do you feel like you updated after reading the studies I point to?

e.g. were you initially like "there's literally a 0% chance this is real" and now you're like "well, maybe there's a 3% chance that psychedelics are an effective treatment & 70% that psychedelics do something but aren't more efficacious than SSRIs" ?

Comment by milan_griffes on Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area · 2019-06-03T16:31:22.402Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I see, thanks.

Do you assign a non-negligible chance to psychedelics meaningfully outperforming current treatments like SSRIs? ("3% for similar to or better than SSRIs" blurs together the case where psychedelics are just as efficacious as SSRIs and the case where they are massively more efficacious.)

This is important because if there's a small, non-negligible chance of a large effect over that of current treatment, investment could still be warranted.

Comparison point: GiveWell has directed tens of millions USD to deworming programs, even though most GiveWell staffers think there's only a 1-2% chance that deworming effects are real.

Comment by milan_griffes on Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area · 2019-06-03T06:59:49.258Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Got it. This seems like our crux, in that case.

I think it's about 30% - 40% that the psychedelic results found to date are real (i.e. that they replicate).

What's your estimate of how likely the results are to replicate?

Comment by milan_griffes on Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area · 2019-06-03T02:25:03.382Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks, I intend to write a follow-up post that goes into some detail on questions like these. (Probably will publish in a few weeks as I'm booked up until then.)

Briefly: it looks like only Gregory_Lewis & Carl_Shulman made arguments specifically against EA funding more psychedelic research. (Many people made arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area in general, but not about funding more research in particular.)

Gregory didn't close out his argument except to say that he thinks EA shouldn't fund most kinds of research, including confirmatory research about psychedelics. (In his initial post, he pointed to some reasons why he thinks the results of the initial studies won't hold up under further scrutiny, but he doesn't think funding more scrutiny should be an EA priority, and I don't follow why not.)

Carl pattern-matched psychedelic research to interventions like cold fusion, psychic powers, some parenting interventions, some nutritional / diet interventions, and a few other things. (Interventions which have initial promising results that fail to hold up under more scrutiny.)

Our crux here seems to be that the only way to figure out whether a promising early-stage result is real or not is to do confirmatory research. My prior suggests that funding confirmatory research for psychedelics would be a good use of EA funds, and Carl's prior is probably that funding research like this wouldn't be. We haven't yet sorted out our difference here.

So I still hold the view that funding more psychedelic research would be a good use of EA funds.

Comment by milan_griffes on Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area · 2019-06-02T14:48:34.476Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I read Scott as mainly arguing that:

  • (a) the promising results found in psychedelic research so far may not replicate, and
  • (b) even if psychedelics are effective in certain settings, US healthcare infrastructure isn't configured in a way that will promote those settings

(a) seems to be an argument for doing confirmatory research of the initial results (more discussion of that in this thread).

(b) seems like a valid concern (and is currently a live debate amongst psychedelic advocates).

Psychedelic therapy involves both a psychotherapeutic component & a pharmacological component (and a much bigger one than just "here's a prescription for some pills, take one pill a day"), so it sits at the intersection of our pharmacology institutions and our psychology institutions.

I think meditation retreat centers & psychotherapy clinics are interesting comparables for how psychedelic therapy could be structured as it enters the US mainstream.

Comment by milan_griffes on [Link] Act of Charity · 2019-06-02T05:29:33.969Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I think "X is a scam" is generally not a good framing, because its divisiveness distracts from interesting facts about social reality.

I think "functional information-processing institutions are important & we don't have those to the degree we'd like" is an important point (and one I haven't seen made elsewhere in EA).

Comment by milan_griffes on Long-Term Future Fund: April 2019 grant recommendations · 2019-06-02T05:11:59.635Z · score: 18 (6 votes) · EA · GW

Now that the dust has settled a bit, I'm curious what Habryka & the other fund managers think of the level of community engagement that occurred on this report...

  • What kinds of engagement seemed helpful?
  • What kinds of engagement seemed unnecessary?
  • What kinds of engagement were emotionally expensive to address?
  • Does it seem sustainable to write up grantmaker reasoning at this level of detail, for each grantmaking round going forward?
  • Does it seem sustainable to engage with questions & comments from the community at this level of detail, for each grantmaking round going forward?
Comment by milan_griffes on [Link] Act of Charity · 2019-06-01T09:13:58.576Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

If you didn't see it after two read-throughs, I don't think I'll be able to make a summary that conveys the relevance.

Maybe these excerpts draw it out a bit?


Worker: “Do you think any charity other than us would have run the calculation we did, and then actually believe the result? Or would they have fudged the numbers here and there, and when even a calculation with fudged numbers indicated that the intervention was ineffective, come up with a reason to discredit this calculation and replace it with a different one that got the result they wanted?”

...


Carl: “Why don’t you just run a more effective charity, and advertise on that? Then you can outcompete the other charities.”
Worker: “That’s not fashionable anymore. The ‘effectiveness’ branding has been tried before; donors are tired of it by now. Perhaps this is partially because there aren’t functional systems that actually check which organizations are effective and which aren’t, so scam charities branding themselves as effective end up outcompeting the actually effective ones. And there are organizations claiming to evaluate charities’ effectiveness, but they’ve largely also become scams by now, for exactly the same reasons. The fashionable branding now is environmentalism.”

...


Carl: “How do you even deal with this?”
Worker: “It’s already the reality you’ve lived in your whole life. The only adjustment is to realize it, and be able to talk about it, without this destroying your ability to participate in the act when it’s necessary to do so. Maybe functional information-processing institutions will be built someday, but we are stuck with this situation for now, and we’ll have no hope of building functional institutions if we don’t understand our current situation.”
Comment by milan_griffes on Is trauma a potential EA cause area? · 2019-06-01T09:08:30.095Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW
Are you aware of any extremely efficient ways to reduce trauma? Is trauma something that can easily be measured (maybe secondarily through stress hormones)?

There are well-validated instruments for measuring post-traumatic stress disorder. MDMA therapy is proving highly effective at treating PTSD (see my answer for evidential support).

Comment by milan_griffes on Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area · 2019-06-01T00:58:05.923Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW
By (3), do you mean the mental health benefits for people in general?

Yes. Because Kit doesn't include short-termist considerations in his moral calculus (he's not moved by parliamentary theories of moral uncertainty), we discounted short-termist considerations to 0 in our discussion.

Personally, I include short-termist considerations in my moral calculus.

Part of the reason I'm bullish on psychedelic interventions is that there's both a plausible long-termist story & a plausible short-termist story (which seems somewhat additive, when aggregating).

Comment by milan_griffes on Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area · 2019-06-01T00:52:59.124Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW
I expect (1) to be extremely not worth it given the costs of making any substantial improvement in the availability of psychedelics,

Right, as Kit & I hashed out, I think it makes sense to discount (1) to 0.

(Probably almost all of the benefit of increasing capabilities of current researchers can be captured without further liberalizing psychedelics, as most current researchers live in enclaves where de facto psychedelic access is quite liberal (though illicit)).


and (2) to be speculative and to almost certainly not be worth it.

I agree that (2) is speculative, but the possible benefit here is large enough that further research seems justified.

(If the psychedelic experience in a certain context can reliably boost altruism without incurring costs that nullify the effect, that seems like a really big deal that'd be worth knowing about. It would be straightforward to design & execute a study on this, if someone were willing to fund it.)

Comment by milan_griffes on Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area · 2019-06-01T00:41:08.167Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW
I also share your model of mental health disorders being on the far end of a continuous spectrum of unendorsed behavior patterns.

Got it. I'm happy we clarified this!


I agree that it might be positive, it might even be likely to be positive, but I'm not aware of any compelling empirical evidence or other reason to think that it is strong.

Griffiths et al. 2008 & Griffiths et al. 2017 found highly positive effects for psychedelics in healthy-typed people. (Both studies are RCTs & quite well done, as far as I can tell.)

Here's some commentary on the studies.

Comment by milan_griffes on Is preventing child abuse a plausible Cause X? · 2019-06-01T00:33:24.598Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

EA is more concerned with capital allocation than LessWrong, so this doesn't seem surprising.

Being a "top cause area" is basically synonymous with "put EA capital towards this thing."


"What are the tractable interventions of [this particular cause]?" is a question that you can explore without making it about whether it's one of the top causes overall.

At root, we'll only want to explore tractable interventions in cause areas that are plausible candidates for EA capital allocation, so I don't think this framing sidesteps the issue.

Comment by milan_griffes on Why did three GiveWell board members resign in April 2019? · 2019-05-31T23:21:03.143Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Continuing with this... Catherine of GiveWell replied on the open thread, pointing me to Elie's letter.

I followed up with this:


Thanks, Catherine.

I took a look at the letter – some questions I have after reading it:

- Why wasn't the recording of the April 2019 board meeting made public? (As far as I can tell, recordings of all previous board meetings have been made public.)

- Was there a catalyzing event that led to the decision to reduce the number of board members? If so, what was this event?

- Did Rob, Brigid, and Tom volunteer their resignations, or were they asked to resign?

- Which current member(s) of the board is most likely to provide an accountability function to GiveWell's executive leadership?

- Going forward, under what conditions will GiveWell decide to expand the number of board seats?

Comment by milan_griffes on Is trauma a potential EA cause area? · 2019-05-31T22:26:44.670Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

MDMA therapy is showing a lot of promise as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Here's an excerpt from my recent "prizes for arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area" post:

---

3(d). Trauma alleviation

Childhood trauma is plausibly upstream of several burdensome problems. See this excerpt from The Body Keeps Score, a pop-sci review of academic trauma research (on p. 150):


The first time I heard Robert Anda present the results of the ACE study, he could not hold back his tears. In his career at the CDC he had previously worked in several major risk areas, including tobacco research and cardiovascular health.
But when the ACE study data started to appear on his computer screen, he realized that they had stumbled upon the gravest and most costly public health issue in the United States: child abuse.
[Anda] had calculated that its overall costs exceeded those of cancer or heart disease and that eradicating child abuse in America would reduce the overall rate of depression by more than half, alcoholism by two-thirds, and suicide, IV drug use, and domestic violence by three-quarters. It would also have a dramatic effect on workplace performance and vastly decrease the need for incarceration.

Psychedelic therapy seems very promising for resolving PTSD, which could plausibly break the cycle of abuse that creates new traumatic experiences. (Trauma appears to transfer from generation to generation via multiple pathways.)

In particular, MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD is yielding extremely promising results in recent randomized controlled trials (see Mithoefer et al. 2012, Mithoefer et al. 2018, Ot’alora et al. 2018). From the abstract of Mithoefer et al. 2018:


At the primary endpoint, the 75 mg and 125 mg groups had significantly greater decreases in PTSD symptom severity (mean change CAPS-IV total scores of −58·3 [SD 9·8] and −44·3 [28·7]; p=0·001) than the 30 mg group (−11·4 [12·7]). Compared with the 30 mg group, Cohen's d effect sizes were large: 2·8 (95% CI 1·19–4·39) for the 75 mg group and 1·1 (0·04–2·08) for the 125 mg group.
PTSD symptoms were significantly reduced at the 12-month follow-up compared with baseline after all groups had full-dose MDMA (mean CAPS-IV total score of 38·8 [SD 28·1] vs 87·1 [16·1]; p<0·0001).

A Cohen’s d of 2.8 is extremely large (“Cohen suggested that d = 0.2 be considered a 'small' effect size, 0.5 represents a 'medium' effect size and 0.8 a 'large' effect size” source). Here’s a good resource for interpreting Cohen’s d.

In this study, 30 mg of MDMA was used as an active placebo, and the intervention groups were given 75 mg or 125 mg of MDMA.

From Mithoefer et al. 2012, a long-term follow-up of the first MDMA RCT:


We found the majority of these subjects with previously severe PTSD who were unresponsive to existing treatments had symptomatic relief provided by MDMA-assisted psychotherapy that persisted over time...

MDMA helped resolve severe PTSD symptoms in patients who had not responded to other treatment regimens. For 86% of patients, this benefit persisted 17+ months after the MDMA session.

On the margin, should EA focus on outreach or retention?

2019-05-31T22:22:54.299Z · score: 5 (6 votes)
Comment by milan_griffes on Considering people’s hidden motives in EA outreach · 2019-05-31T21:56:49.058Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

+1 to gym memberships having an excellent ROI, self-improvement-wise. (Though it's important to find a type of workout that's intrinsically motivating, otherwise you run into motivation issues that damage the ROI.)

Comment by milan_griffes on Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area · 2019-05-31T17:45:09.853Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW
I've never heard of any psychedelic or spiritual community being focused on long termism in an EA relevant manner.

Some discussion about this in this thread.

Comment by milan_griffes on Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area · 2019-05-31T17:38:44.981Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW
These are distinct, and as I said above, psychedelics could plausibly be a top intervention for mental health.

A crux here is probably that I'm modeling "mental health disorders like depression & anxiety" as on the far end of a continuous spectrum of unendorsed behavior patterns (and the unendorsed behavior patterns of "healthy-typed" people are also on this spectrum), and it seems like you are modeling "mental health disorders" as being in a separate conceptual bucket from the unendorsed behavior patterns of healthy-typed people.

Because I'm modeling all of these patterns on a continuous spectrum, I expect treatments that help with the pathologized cases (e.g. diagnosed depression) will also help with not-pathologized cases (e.g. bad-feeling thought patterns in people without a diagnosis).

Comment by milan_griffes on Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area · 2019-05-31T17:30:11.041Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Yeah, I expect the rollout of psychedelic facilitation to take roughly as long as the rollout of psychotherapy did. Maybe faster, because psychedelic facilitation could leverage the existing training infrastructure of the mental health establishment.

Perhaps the third wave of CBT is a good comparison case. I'm a little fuzzy on the specifics, but it looks like third-wave CBT got started in the 1980s, and was considered the standard best-in-class modality for psychotherapy by the 2000s.

So that would imply a rollout of 1-2 decades from starting point to "standard modality."

Comment by milan_griffes on Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area · 2019-05-31T17:20:43.079Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW
From a longtermist perspective, other technologies and trends might promise a better cure for mental health problems. Genetic engineering, AI based therapy, nanotechnology, declining levels of global trauma as war and material hardship diminish.

I'm sympathetic to this sentiment, though none of the examples you give seem to be at all tractable / anywhere close to being rolled out within the next 10 years.

Also I think the 20th century has good examples of increasing material wealth not correlating with decreasing trauma. (Following Pinker here in thinking that violence is becoming more power law distributed, i.e. fewer episodes but each episode has a more extreme magnitude.)

Comment by milan_griffes on Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area · 2019-05-31T17:16:29.457Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW
Psychedelic therapy isn’t that neglected - it’s in a stage 3 clinical trial and has had a major book published on it already, and plenty of mental health professionals have been covertly working on it as underground psychedelic therapists. There are so many biology PhDs already that the bigger bottleneck appears to be general research funding and FDA regulations.

Doesn't the second sentence here cut against the first?

i.e. doesn't "the bigger bottleneck appears to be general research funding" speak against "Psychedelic therapy isn’t that neglected"?

Comment by milan_griffes on Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area · 2019-05-31T17:13:38.598Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW
Although psychadelics is plausibly good from a short-termist view, I think the argument from the long-termist view is quite weak.

Kit & I worked through the long-termist argument somewhat in this thread.

Comment by milan_griffes on Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area · 2019-05-31T17:06:14.168Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW
More compassion does not equal less antisocial behavior and less suffering.

Could you provide some evidence for this claim?



we already have proven strategies how to solve the problems psychedelics may solve but we need ways to implement them on scale.

The thing to do here would be to compare the effect sizes, the size & probability of potential harms, and the cost-to-treat for each alternative we want to consider.

Here's an analysis that attempts this for a psychedelic intervention, in terms of DALYs (so that the result can be compared to alternatives).

Can you point me to analyses like this for the alternative strategies you have in mind? Or at least back-of-the-envelope calculations that roughly size the effect, potential for harm, and cost-to-treat for the alternative strategies?

Comment by milan_griffes on Latest EA Updates for May 2019 · 2019-05-31T16:44:39.274Z · score: 7 (3 votes) · EA · GW
Marc Gunther with an overview of the intersection of effective altruism and psychedelic research

I feel moved to plug the prize I'm offering for the most popular counterarguments against psychedelics being an effective cause area: Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area

Prizes will be assessed on Monday, so now is a good time to vote for the arguments that seem best to you! (The current tallies are pretty close.)

Comment by milan_griffes on Drowning children are rare · 2019-05-31T16:23:29.384Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Ben, curious for your thoughts on the "other reasons" Jeff gives in this comment.

Comment by milan_griffes on EA Survey 2018 Series: How Long Do EAs Stay in EA? · 2019-05-31T16:20:47.222Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Got it, thanks.

I suppose the salient question then becomes: "why do 40% of folks who get excited about EA end up leaving after a few years?"

Comment by milan_griffes on EA Survey 2018 Series: How Long Do EAs Stay in EA? · 2019-05-31T02:56:04.656Z · score: 13 (6 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for pulling this together!


Longitudinal EA Survey data potentially provides a new source of data on EA retention, tracking how people engage with the EA movement and how that changes over time. This data shows that roughly ~60% of EAs still stay around after 4-5 years. Data based on emails shows a much lower retention rate of ~16% after 4-5 years, but is likely less accurate due to people merely changing email addresses. The original GWWC data suggests a ~74% retention rate over the same time period, but is based on annualizing and extrapolating a single year trend which likely makes for an overestimate.

Do you think the real retention rate is closer to 74%, 60%, or 16%?

What weighting would you give each data source, if you were to aggregate them into a single point estimate of EA's retention rate?

[Link] Act of Charity

2019-05-30T22:29:41.518Z · score: 4 (4 votes)
Comment by milan_griffes on Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area · 2019-05-30T15:55:15.456Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I think psychedelics can make people more altruistic.

Unfortunately, at present I largely have to argue from anecdote, as there are only a few studies of psychedelics in healthy people (our medical research system is configured to focus predominately on interventions that address pathologies).

Lyons & Carhart-Harris 2018 found some results tangential to increased altruism – increased nature-relatedness & decreased authoritarianism in healthy participants:

Nature relatedness significantly increased (t (6)=−4.242, p=0.003) and authoritarianism significantly decreased (t (6)=2.120, p=0.039) for the patients 1 week after the dosing sessions. At 7–12 months post-dosing, nature relatedness remained significantly increased (t (5)=−2.707, p=0.021) and authoritarianism remained decreased at trend level (t (5)=−1.811, p=0.065).

Whether psychedelics make people more altruistic is one of the studies I most want to see.

---

I don't think the psychedelic experience per se will make people more altruistic and more focused on the longterm.

I think a psychedelic experience, paired with exposure to EA-style arguments & philosophy (or paired with alternative frameworks that heavily emphasize the longterm, e.g. the Long Now) can plausibly increase altruistic concern for the far future.

---

if you control for relevant factors like income and religious affiliation

fwiw, controlling for religious affiliation may not be appropriate, because psychedelics may increase religiosity. (Another study I want to see!)

Comment by Milan_Griffes on [deleted post] 2019-05-30T15:44:13.648Z

The Optimizer's Curse & Wrong-Way Reductions

Comment by milan_griffes on Drowning children are rare · 2019-05-30T14:38:38.775Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

It's more a question of what meta-ethical view you hold personally, rather than what philosophers think.

If you hold an anti-realist view such that you think the concept of moral obligation is incoherent, you won't feel morally obligated to do things.

Comment by milan_griffes on Drowning children are rare · 2019-05-30T01:51:28.655Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Ah, and there's also a EA Forum version of Jeff's post, which I missed on my initial pass.

Comment by milan_griffes on Drowning children are rare · 2019-05-29T23:17:04.034Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW
But the idea that we actually aren't obligated to donate just because the cost per life saved is $100,000 instead of $5,000 is ridiculous.

Does everyone who holds a moral anti-realist view think that they aren't obliged to donate at $100k per life, or $5k per life?

Maybe you're just claiming that moral anti-realism is ridiculous?

[Edit: some moral anti-realist views probably preserve the concept of moral obligation, though many don't. So saying that all anti-realists aren't moved by obligation is too strong.]

Why do you downvote EA Forum posts & comments?

2019-05-29T22:52:06.900Z · score: 6 (6 votes)

[Link] MacKenzie Bezos signs the Giving Pledge

2019-05-28T17:55:30.483Z · score: 12 (7 votes)

[Link] David Pearce on understanding psychedelics

2019-05-19T17:32:49.242Z · score: 6 (11 votes)

Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area

2019-05-10T18:13:04.968Z · score: 45 (31 votes)

[Link] "Radical Consequence and Heretical Knots" – an ethnography of the London EA community

2019-05-09T17:31:52.354Z · score: 16 (9 votes)

[Link] 5-HTTLPR

2019-05-09T14:56:50.820Z · score: 16 (4 votes)

[Link] 80,000 Hours 2018 annual review

2019-05-08T17:06:06.726Z · score: 23 (9 votes)

[Link] "A Psychedelic Renaissance" (Chronicle of Philanthropy)

2019-05-06T17:57:41.913Z · score: 24 (6 votes)

Why isn't GV psychedelics grantmaking housed under Open Phil?

2019-05-05T17:10:45.959Z · score: 17 (11 votes)

[Link] Totalitarian ethical systems

2019-05-04T18:37:39.166Z · score: 7 (8 votes)

Is preventing child abuse a plausible Cause X?

2019-05-04T00:58:12.568Z · score: 50 (29 votes)

Why does EA use QALYs instead of experience sampling?

2019-04-24T00:58:15.693Z · score: 55 (23 votes)

Should EA collectively leave Facebook?

2019-04-22T18:54:04.317Z · score: 9 (7 votes)

Should EA grantmaking be subject to independent audit?

2019-04-17T17:18:32.303Z · score: 19 (9 votes)

Is Modern Monetary Theory a good idea?

2019-04-16T21:25:30.508Z · score: 15 (9 votes)

What Master's is the best preparation for an Econ PhD?

2019-04-16T21:04:18.295Z · score: 12 (2 votes)

Complex value & situational awareness

2019-04-16T18:42:58.980Z · score: 15 (7 votes)

[Link] Open Phil's 2019 progress & plans update

2019-04-16T17:31:53.811Z · score: 26 (15 votes)

Who in EA enjoys managing people?

2019-04-10T23:49:16.862Z · score: 6 (3 votes)

Who is working on finding "Cause X"?

2019-04-10T23:09:23.892Z · score: 19 (12 votes)

Why did three GiveWell board members resign in April 2019?

2019-04-03T21:32:23.408Z · score: 12 (4 votes)

Is visiting North Korea effective?

2019-04-02T20:50:23.521Z · score: 0 (14 votes)

Altruistic action is dispassionate

2019-03-30T17:33:19.136Z · score: 24 (8 votes)

Why is the EA Hotel having trouble fundraising?

2019-03-26T23:20:16.794Z · score: 33 (18 votes)

Will the EA Forum continue to have cash prizes?

2019-03-25T17:37:30.519Z · score: 14 (5 votes)

EA jobs provide scarce non-monetary goods

2019-03-20T20:56:46.817Z · score: 41 (27 votes)

Is EA a community of elites?

2019-03-01T06:24:31.846Z · score: 7 (7 votes)

What type of Master's is best for AI policy work?

2019-02-22T20:04:47.502Z · score: 13 (7 votes)

What's the best Security Studies Master's program?

2019-02-22T20:01:37.670Z · score: 7 (2 votes)

Time-series data for income & happiness?

2019-02-20T05:38:23.800Z · score: 8 (3 votes)

What we talk about when we talk about life satisfaction

2019-02-04T23:51:06.245Z · score: 18 (7 votes)

Is intellectual work better construed as exploration or performance?

2019-01-25T22:00:52.792Z · score: 11 (4 votes)

If slow-takeoff AGI is somewhat likely, don't give now

2019-01-23T20:54:58.944Z · score: 21 (14 votes)

Giving more won't make you happier

2018-12-10T18:15:16.663Z · score: 41 (29 votes)

Open Thread #42

2018-10-17T20:10:00.472Z · score: 3 (3 votes)

Doing good while clueless

2018-02-15T05:04:25.291Z · score: 24 (19 votes)

How tractable is cluelessness?

2017-12-29T18:52:56.369Z · score: 13 (7 votes)

“Just take the expected value” – a possible reply to concerns about cluelessness

2017-12-21T19:37:07.709Z · score: 12 (7 votes)

What consequences?

2017-11-23T18:27:21.894Z · score: 25 (24 votes)

Reading recommendations for the problem of consequentialist scope?

2017-08-02T02:07:46.769Z · score: 6 (6 votes)

Should Good Ventures focus on current giving opportunities, or save for future giving opportunities?

2016-11-07T16:10:29.709Z · score: 4 (6 votes)