Posts

Announcing the Future Forum - Apply Now 2022-07-06T17:35:55.528Z
Prefrosh outreach is a low hanging fruit 2022-04-17T01:01:56.074Z
Good practices for changing minds 2022-04-07T15:20:11.617Z
Nikola's Shortform 2022-04-07T01:19:28.273Z
Helping newcomers be more objective with career choice 2021-12-21T04:49:14.754Z
An organic pitch for undergrads: do it when people ask what your major is 2021-12-20T04:57:15.852Z
Not all x-risk is the same: implications of non-human-descendants 2021-12-18T21:22:03.772Z
EA outreach to high school competitors 2021-12-17T17:18:51.917Z
Do sour grapes apply to morality? 2021-12-16T18:00:49.207Z
A model for engagement growth in universities 2021-12-15T19:11:09.454Z

Comments

Comment by Nikola on My Most Likely Reason to Die Young is AI X-Risk · 2022-07-04T23:57:33.135Z · EA · GW

Thank you for writing this. I've been repeating this point to many people and now I can point them to this post.

For context, for college-aged people in the US, the two most likely causes of death in a given year are suicide and vehicle accidents, both at around 1 in 6000. Estimates of global nuclear war in a given year are comparable to both of these. Given a AGI timeline of 50% by 2045, it's quite hard to distribute that 50% over ~20 years and assign much less than 1 in 6000 to the next 365 days. Meaning that even right now, in 2022, existential risks are high up on the list of most probable causes of death for college aged-people. (assuming P(death|AGI) is >0.1 in the next few years)

One project I've been thinking about is making (or having someone else make) a medical infographic that takes existential risks seriously, and ranks them accurately as some of the highest probability causes of death (per year) for college-aged people. I'm worried about this seeming too preachy/weird to people who don't buy the estimates though.

Comment by Nikola on Good practices for changing minds · 2022-04-07T15:49:20.461Z · EA · GW

Strongly agree, fostering a culture of openmindedness (love the example from Robi) and the expectation of updating from more experienced EAs seems good. In the updating case, I think making sure that everyone knows what "updating" means is a priority (sounds pretty weird otherwise). Maybe we should talk about introductory Bayesian probability in fellowships and retreats.

Comment by Nikola on 'Hot takes' from EAGx Boston · 2022-04-07T14:48:57.892Z · EA · GW

Great post, Joshua! I mostly second all of these points.

I'd add another hot take:

Both the return of fellowships and retreats mostly tracks one variable, and that is time participants spend in small (eg. one-on-one) interactions with highly engaged EAs. Retreats are good mostly because they're a very efficient way to have a lot of this interaction in a small period of time.  More in this here.

Comment by Nikola on Nikola's Shortform · 2022-04-07T14:32:58.136Z · EA · GW

I agree, to clarify, my claim assumes infinite patience.

Comment by Nikola on Nikola's Shortform · 2022-04-07T01:19:28.456Z · EA · GW

Skipping time to determine net positivity of experience

[inspired by a conversation with Robi Rahman]

Imagine that it’s possible to skip certain periods of time in your life. All this means is you don’t experience them, but you come out of them having the same memories as if you did experience them.

Now imagine that, after you live whatever life you would have lived, there’s another certain 5000 years of very good life that you’ll live that’s undoubtedly net positive. My claim is that, any moments in your life you’d prefer to “skip” are moments in which your life is net negative.

I wonder how many moments you'd skip?

Comment by Nikola on Some thoughts on vegetarianism and veganism · 2022-02-16T02:16:24.904Z · EA · GW

I think that it's relevant that, for some veg*ns, it would take more energy (emotional energy/willpower) not to be veg*n. For instance, having seen some documentaries, I am repulsed by the idea of eating meat due to the sheer emotional force of participating in the atrocities I saw. Maybe this is an indicator that I should spend more time trying to align my emotions to my ethical beliefs (which would, without the strong emotional force, point towards me eating animal products to save energy), but I'm not sure if that's worth the effort.

Maybe this implies that we shouldn't recommend documentaries on animal farming to EAs because it would lead to emotional bias against eating animal products? But I'm pretty sure seeing those documentaries expanded my moral circle in a very good way.

Comment by Nikola on Helping newcomers be more objective with career choice · 2021-12-21T14:48:53.537Z · EA · GW

Thanks, you're completely right, that sounds negative. Changed the title to "Helping newcomers be more objective with career choice", which probably gets across what we're trying to get across better.

Comment by Nikola on A model for engagement growth in universities · 2021-12-17T16:47:18.565Z · EA · GW

Strong agree with the idea that we should emphasize actions people are taking and avoid hero-worship-like phrases. I was mostly using my own mental shorthand when I said "superhuman" and forgot to translate to other-people-speak.

Regarding the makeup of fellowship groups, I think probably giving people an option to attend some socials which are generally attended by highly engaged people could be good? So that, if there's a lack of engagement in their cohorts, they can make up for it by finding a way to interact with engaged people somewhere else.

Haven't though much about what was most important about the Cambridge residencies, but some important aspects are definitely:

  • Encouraging us to think big (aim for us one day becoming as good as the best groups, and then even better)
  • Providing advice and support with organizing 
  • Holding intro talks and events (Kuhan has a very good intro presentation), and having one-on-ones with promising organizers
Comment by Nikola on Do sour grapes apply to morality? · 2021-12-17T16:36:44.604Z · EA · GW

They're standard deviations, updated the figures, thanks! I agree strongly, this is weak evidence at best.