Combination Existential Risks

2019-01-14T19:29:07.246Z · score: 24 (14 votes)

Climate Change Is, In General, Not An Existential Risk

2019-01-11T22:28:54.093Z · score: 28 (19 votes)

GiveWell Top Charities Explained: Helen Keller International

2019-01-09T21:53:49.372Z · score: 5 (2 votes)

What Is Effective Altruism?

2019-01-09T14:10:00.700Z · score: 9 (9 votes)

GiveWell Top Charities Explained: Malaria Consortium

2019-01-08T17:51:19.116Z · score: 7 (4 votes)

Donation Post: 2018

2019-01-03T14:10:00.604Z · score: -1 (3 votes)

Donation Post: 2018

2019-01-03T14:10:00.489Z · score: 19 (11 votes)
Comment by ozymandias on How Effective Altruists Can Be Welcoming To Conservatives · 2018-12-23T17:03:21.767Z · score: 8 (7 votes) · EA · GW

Thank you! You're right. That's absolutely a flaw. In the future, when I write things like this, I'll try to be more careful about highlighting that both I and my conservative friends are American and I can't speak to other countries.

How Effective Altruists Can Be Welcoming To Conservatives

2018-12-20T07:20:01.653Z · score: 57 (30 votes)
Comment by ozymandias on Burnout: What is it and how to Treat it. · 2018-11-07T18:53:18.387Z · score: 7 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Hiring someone to watch my kid instead of trying to work during naps and in the evenings.

Comment by ozymandias on Burnout: What is it and how to Treat it. · 2018-11-07T18:51:55.381Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Getting pregnant may cause insomnia both while you're pregnant and postpartum (even if someone else is taking care of the baby or you've sleep-trained the baby).

At all times, I have a set of topics to think about during downtime, such as showers and walks. (I try to include several different topics, including at least one piece of fiction I'm writing.) If I can't sleep, I lie still in bed and think about one of my topics. I find I get a lot of creative insight, I avoid anxious ruminating, and I often drift off back to sleep.

Don't drink caffeine late in the afternoon, and if you use stims or other insomnia-causing medication try to take them as early as possible.

Comment by ozymandias on Near-Term Effective Altruism Discord · 2018-09-10T02:59:57.805Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I do not intend Near-Term EAs to be participants' only space to talk about effective altruism. People can still participate on the EA forum, the EA Facebook group, local EA groups, Less Wrong, etc. There is not actually any shortage of places where near-term EAs can talk with far-future EAs.

Near-Term EAs has been in open beta for a week or two while I ironed out the kinks. So far, I have not found any issues with people being unusually closed-minded or intolerant of far-future EAs. In fact, we have several participants who identify as cause-agnostic and at least one who works for a far-future organization.

Comment by ozymandias on Please Take the 2018 Effective Altruism Survey! · 2018-04-25T19:36:14.555Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · EA · GW

The EA community climate survey linked in the EA survey has some methodological problems. When academics study sexual harassment and assault, it's generally agreed upon that one should describe specific acts (e.g. "has anyone ever made you have vaginal, oral, or anal sex against your will using force or a threat of force?") rather than vague terms like harassment or assault. People typically disagree on what harassment and assault mean, and many people choose not to conceptualize their experiences as harassment or assault. (This is particularly true for men, since many people believe that men by definition can't be victims of sexual harassment or assault.) Similarly, few people will admit to perpetrating harassment or assault, but more people will admit to (for example) touching someone on the breasts, buttocks, or genitals against their will.

I'd also suggest using a content warning before asking people about potentially traumatic experiences.

Comment by ozymandias on Fact checking comparison between trachoma surgeries and guide dogs · 2017-05-11T22:11:58.225Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · EA · GW

If we're ignoring getting the numbers right and instead focusing on the emotional impact, we have no claim to the term "effective". This sort of reasoning is why epistemics around dogooding are so bad in the first place.

Comment by ozymandias on Why I left EA · 2017-02-19T19:42:09.139Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · EA · GW

I'd be interested in an elaboration on why you reject expected value calculations.

My personal feeling is that expected-value calculations with very small probabilities are unlikely to be helpful, because my calibration for these probabilities is very poor: a one in ten million chance feels identical to a one in ten billion chance for me, even though their expected-value implications are very different. But I expect to be better-calibrated on the difference between a one in ten chance and a one in a hundred chance, particularly if-- as is true much of the time in career choice-- I can look at data on the average person's chance of success in a particular career. So I think that high-risk high-reward careers are quite different from Pascal's muggings.

Can you explain why (and whether) you disagree?

Comment by ozymandias on Introducing the EA Funds · 2017-02-09T14:48:50.375Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · EA · GW

IIRC, Open Phil often wants to not be a charity's only funder, which means they leave the charity with a funding gap that could maybe be filled by the EA Fund.

Comment by ozymandias on 80,000 Hours: EA and Highly Political Causes · 2017-01-29T17:40:21.318Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

Well, yes, anyone can come up with all sorts of policy ideas. If a person has policy expertise in a particular field, it allows them to sort out good policies from bad ones, because they are more aware of possible negative side effects and unintended consequences than an uninformed person is. I don't think the fact that a person endorses a particular policy means that they haven't thought about other policies.

Is your claim that Chloe Cockburn has failed to consider policy ideas associated with the right-wing, and thus has not done her due diligence to know that what she recommends is actually the best course? If so, what is your evidence for this claim?

Comment by ozymandias on 80,000 Hours: EA and Highly Political Causes · 2017-01-29T17:35:12.946Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I don't think it would be wise to try and specify and defend that abstract claim in the same post as talking about a specific situation. I take it as given, at least here. Perhaps I will do a followup, but I think it would be hard to do the topic justice in, say, 5-10 hours which is what I realistically have.

I am confused. If you took it as given, why bother talking about whether Alliance for Safety and Justice and Cosecha are good charities? It surely doesn't matter if someone is good at doing something that you think they shouldn't be doing in the first place. Perhaps you intended to say that you mean to discuss the object-level issue of whether these charities are good and leave aside the meta-level issue of whether EA should be involved in politics, in which case I am puzzled about why you brought up the meta-level issue in your post.

Animal welfare activism is controversial, but it hasn't been subsumed into the culture war in the way immigration, race and social justice have. Some parts of animal welfare activism, such as veganism are left-associated, but other parts like wild animal suffering and synthetic meat most certainly are not. So in my mind, animal welfare activism is suitable for EA involvement.

I disagree that animal welfare activism hasn't been subsumed into the culture war. For instance, veganism is a much more central trait of the prototypical hippie than immigration opinions are. PETA is significantly more controversial than any equally prominent immigration charity.

I think that wild-animal suffering and synthetic meat are mostly not part of the culture war because they are obscure. I expect that they would become culture-war issues as soon as they become more prominent. Do you disagree? Or do you think that the appropriate role of EA is to elevate issues into culture-war prominence and then step aside? Or something else?

AI-risk as offputting is becoming less true over time, but EA should not be aiming to appeal to everyone. Rather I think that EA should be aiming to not take sides in tribal wars.

Do you mean that EA shouldn't take sides in e.g. deworming, because that's a tribal war between economists and epidemiologists? Or do you mean that they shouldn't take sides in issues associated with the American left and right, even if they sincerely believe that one of those issues is the best way to improve the world? Or something else?

Comment by ozymandias on 80,000 Hours: EA and Highly Political Causes · 2017-01-29T16:00:24.070Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I am perhaps confused about what your claim is. Do you mean to say "Chloe Cockburn does not have expertise except in the facts of the law and being a left-wing anti-Trump activist"? Or "Chloe Cockburn has a good deal of expertise in fields relevant to the best possible way to reduce mass incarceration, but her opinion is sadly biased because she has liberal political opinions"?

Regarding her Twitter, I think Chloe Cockburn might have an informed opinion that reducing deportations of undocumented immigrants would reduce incarceration (through reducing the number of people in ICE detention) while maintaining public safety. That would cause her both to recommend Cosecha and to advocate on her Twitter feed for reducing deportations. Indeed, it is very common for people to do awareness-raising on Twitter for causes they believe are highly effective: if your argument were taken to its endpoint, we ought not trust GiveWell because its employees sometimes talk about how great malaria nets and deworming are on social media.

Probably, like all people, Chloe Cockburn supports the causes she supports for both rational and irrational reasons. That is something to take into account when deciding how seriously to take her advice. But that is also a fully general counterargument against ever taking advice from anyone.

Comment by ozymandias on 80,000 Hours: EA and Highly Political Causes · 2017-01-29T14:49:36.004Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · EA · GW

This post seems to me to move somewhat incoherently between:

  • effective altruist charity suggestion lists should not endorse political charities.
  • effective altruist charity suggestion lists should specifically not endorse anti-racist and pro-undocumented-immigrant charities.
  • there is not sufficient evidence to suggest that Alliance for Safety and Justice and Cosecha in specific are effective.

I think dividing these three claims more clearly would make it easier for me to follow your argument.

It would also be more persuasive, for me, if you elaborated more on what your arguments actually were. For instance, on the issue of whether 80,000 Hours should endorse political charities, you mention that it might turn off "traditionalists/conservatives and those who are uninitiated to Social Justice ideology." Of course, an identical critique applies to animal welfare charities: many, many traditionalists/conservatives/non-social-justice-people are turned off by animal welfare activism. And xrisk charities tend to turn off, to a first approximation, everyone. You might, of course, believe that effective altruists should only work on global poverty issues. But it seems like an odd oversight to me to not either address animal welfare and xrisk charities (to which far more money is moved than to Cosecha) or explain why you believe animal welfare and xrisk charities are different.

Similarly, your argument against Alliance for Safety and Justice appears to mostly be that they specialize in helping people of color. To me, this does not seem like an obvious point against them; the question is whether specializing in helping people of color causes more benefit to the world than helping both white people and people of color equally. There is a prima facie case that the former does; after all, many people believe that dysfunctional policing in black and Latino communities leads to both increased crime and mass incarceration. But you seem to disagree, and I'm not sure why. You oppose selective release of black and Latino prisoners (which does not seem to be a policy ASJ is in favor of, although perhaps I'm wrong) and to believe an organization specializing in helping men would be a reducto ad absurdam. I don't, actually, see any problems with donating to an organization that primarily helps men if it seems to be the best way to reduce mass incarceration. Is your belief that it is morally wrong to ever specifically help one group because you believe they are worse off than other groups? (If so, how do you feel about GiveDirectly targeting worse-off people with their cash transfers and having considered the possibility of only transferring cash to women?)

Comment by ozymandias on 80,000 Hours: EA and Highly Political Causes · 2017-01-29T14:23:11.087Z · score: 10 (12 votes) · EA · GW

I am uncertain why someone would choose to figure out what other people's area of expertise is from Twitter. Most people's Twitters contain their political opinions-- as you point out-- and do not contain their CV.

If you look at her LinkedIn, which seems to me to be a more appropriate source of information about her expertise, you'll discover that in addition to being the current program officer at OpenPhil specializing in criminal justice (which is presumably why she was asked), she was also a former advocacy and policy counsel for the ACLU specializing in ending mass incarceration and a lawyer who specialized in holding police accountable for wrongful convictions. This seems to me like a person who does, in fact, have informed opinions about ending mass incarceration.

Comment by ozymandias on Aim high, even if you fall short · 2014-10-13T05:15:23.256Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I've also found that sorbet hits the sweet + cold buttons and I tend to find it tastier than soy or rice milk ice cream.