Posts

William MacAskill - The Daily Show 2022-09-28T19:31:22.207Z
Nature: Nuclear war between two nations could spark global famine 2022-08-15T20:55:07.823Z
My local EA group has an unfriendly and impersonal vibe (via r/EffectiveAltruism) 2022-07-15T22:27:12.292Z
Does "calibrated probability assessment" training work? 2022-07-06T22:06:47.317Z
Is there a list of causes that have been evaluated and rejected? 2022-03-30T16:36:14.933Z

Comments

Comment by Tyner on Which EAs should be bigger on Twitter? Upvote those who are top priorities. · 2022-09-27T21:20:45.442Z · EA · GW

@Kat_Woods

Comment by Tyner on Any recommendation for how to explain EA funds grants to friend? · 2022-09-26T18:43:32.046Z · EA · GW

If you search the forum for the EAIF tag you can get some more details on past grants.  I'm not sure if this gives you quite what you're looking for, or not.

https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/topics/effective-altruism-infrastructure-fund?sortedBy=magic

Comment by Tyner on EA Forum feature suggestion thread · 2022-09-23T18:38:45.755Z · EA · GW

The reading time estimates on lesswrong crossposts seem to be wrong.  For example, this says 1 but should be 5-10 (I would guess):

https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/fH5adhXF377Bt6fWj/public-facing-censorship-is-safety-theater-causing

Comment by Tyner on Is the game design/art maxim more generalizable to criticism/praise itself? · 2022-09-23T17:42:16.596Z · EA · GW

Doesn't really make sense to me and would lead to some very weird conclusions.  

For example, I'm a manager and one of my staff talks to me and says this report takes a very long time because there are many manual steps, I believe we could automate these steps by using software X which I've used in a previous role and costs $Y.  By the logic of this maxim I should ignore the proposed solution AND ignore the initial complaint.

Because they proposed a solution, now I should think it less likely that the report takes a very long time?  Seems totally nonsensical (or I'm not understanding what you're actually saying).

Comment by Tyner on Defective Altruism article in Current Affairs Magazine · 2022-09-22T13:50:00.249Z · EA · GW

The discussion on Erik Hoel's piece is here:

https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/PZ6pEaNkzAg62ze69/ea-criticism-contest-why-i-am-not-an-effective-altruist

Comment by Tyner on EA for people with non-technical skillsets · 2022-09-20T23:03:15.387Z · EA · GW

>a monthly feature of "humans of EA", showing a wide range of people

really like this idea

Comment by Tyner on Announcing the NYU Mind, Ethics, and Policy Program · 2022-09-19T16:57:37.002Z · EA · GW

Very exciting project, congratulations

Comment by Tyner on Could it be a (bad) lock-in to replace factory farming with alternative protein? · 2022-09-10T22:34:34.041Z · EA · GW

Hi Fai, I agree with whoever encouraged you to post more.  I always enjoy and appreciate your stuff even when we don't 100% agree. 

The below sentence is difficult to parse, what do you actually mean?  That it was economic reasons, or that it was not economic reasons, or something else entirely?

>Well, I personally did not have much hope in humanity's moral progress, until I recently got moderately convinced that it’s less likely than not that we abolished slavery mainly for economic reasons. And in case you think that it is impossible to have moral progress without economic reasons. I tend to disagree, and Will Macaskill also. He wrote in What We Owe The Future that the view that it was economic incentives caused by new technologies that cause slavery to be abolished, is now out of fashion in academia. He thinks that it was pretty much the triumph of the abolitionists. So there's a reason to think that moral progress is a genuine alternative to technologically forced social progress.

Cheers

Comment by Tyner on The Domestication of Zebras · 2022-09-09T17:46:44.945Z · EA · GW

Expanding our exploitation of animals is a moral step backward.  This does not seem like the kind of project EA people or organizations should be supporting.

Comment by Tyner on The Domestication of Zebras · 2022-09-09T17:01:25.983Z · EA · GW

>100 such ideas

here's another with the same vibes

https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/3caZ7LhMsvsS7kRrz/hobbit-manifesto

Comment by Tyner on Eliminate or Adjust Strong Upvotes to Improve the Forum · 2022-09-02T17:59:54.460Z · EA · GW

A smaller change that I think would be beneficial is to eliminate strong upvotes on your own comments.  I really don't see how those have a use at all.

Comment by Tyner on 21 criticisms of EA I'm thinking about · 2022-09-01T21:39:25.804Z · EA · GW

Thanks for writing, I agree with a bunch of these. 

As far as #14, is this something you've thought about trying to tackle at Rethink?  I don't know of another org that would be better positioned...

Comment by Tyner on EAs should recommend cost-effective interventions in more cause areas (not just the most pressing ones) · 2022-09-01T18:57:02.506Z · EA · GW

Another organization that is spending some time on this is sogive.org  They have impact assessments for groups like Planned Parenthood and Muslim Aid.

I can provide an anecdotal use case that is maybe not quite tackled in your write up.  My mother-in-law is a retired dentist.  She gives money to the American Dental Association every year.  This strikes me as an ineffective organization mostly because US dentists are typically quite wealthy.  If I told her "forget all that, give your money to Humane League/Helen Keller/Intelligence.org" I think it would be a non-starter.  If I can tell her about a more effective way to help people with dental issues that's a much shorter moral distance for her to travel.  That was part of why I was really pleased to see Founder's Pledge release their report on Oral Health recently https://founderspledge.com/stories/oral-healthcare 

Comment by Tyner on Methods for improving uncertainty analysis in EA cost-effectiveness models · 2022-08-30T00:29:54.467Z · EA · GW

This is my favorite criticism contest entry.  The amount of actionable information is really great.  I would love to see various organizations move to incorporate these methods, where applicable.  Very nice use of visuals as well.

I know you said in a previous post that you are not involved in EA.  I hope you'll consider staying involved after this criticism contest.  It seems you have a lot of value you could add.

Comment by Tyner on Should GiveWell still recommend GiveDirectly? · 2022-08-29T21:51:07.897Z · EA · GW

I don't really know how giving works for a very wealthy person, but to me it seems unlikely that they or someone on their staff would just look at the GiveWell site and be done.  It seems a lot more likely that they would have a conversation, with GiveWell staff or others, which would create an opportunity for more nuanced advice.  So I really doubt it much matters for that scenario.

"If we had X amount of money we'd do this" page, with milestone targets?

That's a neat idea!

Comment by Tyner on Announcing Animal Advocacy Careers’ introductory course (2022 cohort) · 2022-08-21T00:03:27.319Z · EA · GW

I took AAC online course in 2021.  I thought it was great.  I learned a lot about animal advocacy, existing organizations, needed skills, potential roles...and made a bunch of animal-relevant connections on LinkedIn.  I have subsequently recommended it to anyone who is interested in finding a career in animal advocacy.  If that is you, and you're not sure what steps to take, definitely do the course!

Comment by Tyner on Finding before funding: Why EA should probably invest more in research · 2022-08-18T01:19:04.852Z · EA · GW

Very interesting post, thank you for the research.

Based on your model, should Open Phil etc. be aiming for 50% research in every year?  Or should it be aiming for a very high level of research funding now, knowing that it can take actions on better opportunities in the future?  Maybe the research percentage by year should be something like 100%, 95%, 90%  etc?

Comment by Tyner on [Cause Exploration Prizes] Unlocking America’s Potential, or, “It’s The Senate, Stupid” · 2022-08-15T18:30:34.108Z · EA · GW

I missed that detail, thanks for pointing it out.  To me this makes the case somewhat worse from a practical standpoint.  If these people are well placed in the GOP already then why would such a candidate run 3rd party and not just GOP?

Comment by Tyner on Animal rights initiative with far-reaching consequences and possibly high chance of success · 2022-08-11T21:41:31.025Z · EA · GW

Thanks for posting this again, I'm excited about this project!

Does anyone knows of a US-based charity that is supporting this initiative?  This way I could get my employer giving match.  

Comment by Tyner on [Cause Exploration Prizes] Unlocking America’s Potential, or, “It’s The Senate, Stupid” · 2022-08-11T21:31:51.852Z · EA · GW

Funding things you don't really believe in as a form of sabotage would damage the reputation and future trust of the funder and potentially EA as a whole.

Giving a larger platform (e.g. TV ads) to people with far right ideas could make these ideas more mainstream e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window

Seems like a bad idea.

Comment by Tyner on Oral healthcare in LMIC is a promising new cause area: Founders Pledge (Medium Investigation) · 2022-08-09T20:29:50.956Z · EA · GW

Hi Rosie, great post!

When I looked at this briefly a year ago I flagged two organizations that seemed promising:

https://www.globaldentalrelief.org/

https://www.gcdfund.org/

Both are more holistic than the specific interventions you looked at.  Did you happen to look at either of these in your research?

Thanks!

Comment by Tyner on What are some artworks relevant to EA? · 2022-08-05T23:04:45.406Z · EA · GW

Sorcerer's Apprentice is the original unaligned AI
 

Comment by Tyner on Announcing a contest: EA Criticism and Red Teaming · 2022-08-05T21:14:09.084Z · EA · GW

Question - how did you select judges for your contest?  How did you balance expertise with diversity?

Thanks!

Comment by Tyner on The Operations team at CEA transforms · 2022-08-02T18:45:12.821Z · EA · GW

What is Wytham Abbey?

Comment by Tyner on Corporate campaigns for chicken welfare are 10,000 times as effective as GiveWell's Maximum Impact Fund? · 2022-07-29T18:18:28.685Z · EA · GW

>I would be curious to understand why you assign a probability of only 10 % to chickens, given moral patienthood, having a moral weight larger than 0.01.

Sorry, not sure I understand, my intention was to apply probability of moral patienthood at 95%, not 10%.

Comment by Tyner on Corporate campaigns for chicken welfare are 10,000 times as effective as GiveWell's Maximum Impact Fund? · 2022-07-29T15:28:02.723Z · EA · GW

Great post!

FWIW I re-ran the model with two changes - (a) Probability moral patients = 0.95 and (b) value of chicken compared to human ranging between 1/100,000 and 1/100.  Here are the results:

Ratio between the cost-effectiveness of CCCW and MIF

mu = 14.7838855503632

sigma = 66.74845969785116

percentile5 = 0.0697604616065207

median = 2.0520772418771545

percentile95 = 62.02562191180946

Comment by Tyner on [deleted post] 2022-07-25T22:58:52.785Z

Hmm...okay, maybe I'll just delete, thanks

Comment by Tyner on The EA forum post-writing algorithm (95% > 100 karma, n> 100) · 2022-07-23T18:26:06.727Z · EA · GW

There are dozens of posts/comments that use phrases like ex-ante and modus tollens.  

Comment by Tyner on EA is becoming increasingly inaccessible, at the worst possible time · 2022-07-22T20:32:38.760Z · EA · GW

Hi Ann,

Some quibbles with your book list.  Animal Liberation came out in 1975, not 2001.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29380.Animal_Liberation

You overlooked Scout Mindset, which came out in 2021.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42041926-the-scout-mindset

Also,

>Essentially, neartermist causes served as an on-ramp to EA (and to longtermism). Getting rid of that on-ramp seems like a bad idea.

Do you worry at all about a bait-and-switch experience that new people might have?

Comment by Tyner on Desire theories of welfare and nonhuman animals · 2022-07-17T14:28:41.152Z · EA · GW

Can you clarify the difference between these two paragraphs?  They read the same to me, but I'm guessing I'm missing something here.

(1) i.e. reflective preferences are always prioritized over revealed preferences whenever they disagree, then the result is practically the same, and we may as well ignore non-reflective beings.

(2) However, if we instead allow continuous tradeoffs between reflective preferences and revealed preferences, optionally ignoring revealed preferences in an individual when their reflective preferences are available, then we can get continuous tradeoffs between human and nonhuman animal preferences.

Comment by Tyner on I Reviewed the 4000-page Disease Control Priorities Collection: Fund 4 Programs; Divest from Cost-ineffective Bednets and Deworming · 2022-07-11T20:40:12.689Z · EA · GW

Thanks for posting, I found this interesting.  

However, I also found the way this was written to be somewhat  confusing.  Specifically, are the 4 main ideas your ideas, or are they laid out within the report?  And how do those ideas fit in with the other figures represented in 1-9?  

The first proposal listed is a consulting company that is going to generate profits at hospitals in developed countries and provide free services to hospitals in developing countries.  It's unclear to me that a new consultancy would be profitable.  Certainly, many such organizations already exist.  Why would the market not have already filled this need?  For developing countries, I believe that non-profits such as Red Cross already provide these services as well.  So it's also not clear to me that this is an unmet need.  Also, consulting across cultures is very, very tough.  All your projected gains can be eaten up by these cultural barriers.

The third proposal is advertising on social media for health products.  Could you explain why this would be profitable?

Throughout the post parts 1-9 you cite $ per DALY figures, but I'd be very curious to understand what the evidence base is for any of these.  I tried chasing one down just to get an idea for myself.  Under part 5: 

Screening for hypertension and cholesterol in areas where treatment is affordable ($4/QALY) (p. 397)

This appears to reference this study (or maybe this is a summary of the study?):

https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/pdf/10.1377/hlthaff.2015.0349

It states that in Mexico this screening costs $3.57 per QALY compared to the usual standard of care, so that is a match to the summary.  It actually says the cost is negative in South Africa.

I don't have a great deal of familiarity with these types of studies.  I'm curious if this is such a great opportunity why it hasn't already been acted upon, do you have thoughts on this?

A few thoughts I had that may or may not relate: Regarding the community health workers, maybe practices vary by country, but if they are employed by the government vs. an NGO that would make a difference to the type of intervention e.g. direct vs. advocacy.  There also may be challenges with scaling if community health workers only have a certain scope (e.g. they see people in urban settings but the need is in rural settings).  The very low cost is contingent on the treatment drug being very low cost, $9 per year, and when the drug costs $149 per year then $2000-5000  per QALY, which is obviously much less impressive.  It would be important to know how realistic that drug cost is for the relevant patients.  Finally, this is supposed to be an improvement to the current standard of care, it would be helpful to understand that standard of care, which I don't see laid out in the study.

Comment by Tyner on Does biodiversity loss warrant being it’s own cause area? · 2022-07-11T16:48:41.377Z · EA · GW

A third reason to prevent extinction would be to preserve option value.  This could be because of moral uncertainty.  Or it could be because understanding these species in the future may provide some other benefits to medicine, wild animal welfare, or some other use yet to be found.  

As an illustrative example, if Japanese Dwarf Wheat had gone extinct prior to Borlaug the impact on welfare would have been large and bad.

Comment by Tyner on Does "calibrated probability assessment" training work? · 2022-07-07T18:54:16.413Z · EA · GW

Thanks for the reply.  

First bullet: I read citation #4 and it describes improvement in a lab with like domain (e.g. trivia) not across domains (e.g. trivia => world events) as far as I could tell.  The Shell example is also within domain.

The second bullet is the same info shared in Hubbard's book, not a controlled trial and he doesn't provide the underlying data.

Unfortunately, I don't think any of this info is very persuasive for answering the question about cross-domain applicability.

Comment by Tyner on What are some artworks relevant to EA? · 2022-07-02T15:43:28.710Z · EA · GW

I see, thanks Eric.  Do you have a date for your actual launch?

Comment by Tyner on What are some artworks relevant to EA? · 2022-07-01T20:31:24.696Z · EA · GW

What are the EA games you mentioned here?

Comment by Tyner on Open Thread: June — September 2022 · 2022-06-30T17:57:14.738Z · EA · GW

Hello!  

I am a newer forum member.  I have a BS in Math and an MBA, and work in healthcare data analysis (sometimes called data science); been doing jobs along these lines for 20 years.  I also run a small charitable foundation setup by a now deceased relative.

I've been vegan since about 2015.  In 2018 I started thinking about having a second career that was more directly impactful.  My thinking was something like "Some kind of charity, something to help animals maybe?  But I can't really imagine being a full time sanctuary worker.  Wouldn't someone else be better suited?  Maybe work for a big org like the Humane Society...but they are really focused on pets and I think that is not the biggest problem.  Maybe start my own organization.  Maybe I should continue to work in healthcare as some kind of advocate.  Pro Publica did that great opioid reporting, could I do something with them?"  And on and on; I didn't love any of the options so put the thinking on pause.

In 2020 I read Doing Good Better.  That was the start of a learning binge that has continued through today.  It feels like EA is a great fit for me.  I believe in helping, numeracy, science, taking ideas where they lead you.  Looking back at parts of my younger life it feels like EA just clicks really well with who I have been all along.  

I still don't know if I'll have a second career, or what exactly it would be, but I think I have the framework now to think about it clearly and possibly make a real difference.  I'm currently really interested in extending animal advocacy into the long-term and what challenges and opportunities that might present.

Aside from all that, I enjoy fitness - I ran my first marathon a couple months ago...before that I set several state powerlifting records.  I'm out on trails a lot, there's a notable correlation between my positive affect and time on hiking trails.  I live with my 3-generation family at our home in San Diego, USA.

Comment by Tyner on Critiques of EA that I want to read · 2022-06-21T14:46:48.874Z · EA · GW

>Something to note - the other thing that keeps me up at night is whether the EAA movement is missing out on the impact from animal-inclusive longtermism, which is something else you've argued for and I agree with. I'm currently chatting to some people in that space about possible ways forward.

Ren - I have also reached out to a few folks on this subject.  Let's chat and see if there's some opportunity to collaborate here.

Comment by Tyner on Steering AI to care for animals, and soon · 2022-06-14T15:07:36.511Z · EA · GW

Fai, your link to the paper didn't work for me, is  this the correct link?

 

https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/2202/2202.10848.pdf

Comment by Tyner on The Strange Shortage of Moral Optimizers · 2022-06-10T19:27:47.645Z · EA · GW

Overall, would you recommend reading the book?

Comment by Tyner on EA and the current funding situation · 2022-05-11T19:04:05.085Z · EA · GW

EA funds gave $3 Million to IPA over the last two years:

https://funds.effectivealtruism.org/funds/global-development

Did you mean something different?

Comment by Tyner on What We Owe the Past · 2022-05-05T20:55:46.033Z · EA · GW

I'm not sure I understand your argument.  

Are you saying (a)  we have some non-zero ethical obligation to the past?  Or (b) we have some non-zero ethical obligation to the past AND many people, specific people, EA, or some other group is not sufficiently meeting that obligation?

Claim (a) seems quite weak, in the sense that just about everyone already agrees.  I don't think I have encountered people suggesting all past should be disavowed.  We have a system of wills which very explicitly honors their wishes.  Culturally, there are countless examples of people paying deference to ancestors with museums, works of art, naming of children and places etc. etc.

Claim (b) seems to be a bolder claim, and this is what Gwern implies.  It does seem that the level of ethical concern for ancestors/past is dropping, but I am not at all convinced that it is dropping too far.  If anything I would say that people in the past have been massively too deferential to their ancestors wishes and this downward correction is needed and insufficient.  It also seems to me that it takes substantial effort to work against honoring our past selves due to sunk cost and status quo biases.

Thanks for any clarification you can offer. 👍

Comment by Tyner on Is anyone working on 10K? · 2022-04-29T17:08:03.439Z · EA · GW

I submitted something like this to the FTXFF idea contest, obviously not chosen.  It seems like High Impact Professionals is in or near this space:

https://www.highimpactprofessionals.org/

I thought Probably Good might work on something like this, but doesn't seem like it so far:

https://www.probablygood.org/

Comment by Tyner on Mid-career people: strongly consider switching to EA work · 2022-04-26T18:52:19.657Z · EA · GW

Ah thanks...it was not clear to me that these aren't things that currently exist, cheers

Comment by Tyner on Mid-career people: strongly consider switching to EA work · 2022-04-26T17:09:06.058Z · EA · GW

Thank you for the post.  What did you mean by these two things?  Can you provide more details or links?

>doing research projects in an EA hub

 

>joining an 80k career group for people of the same age

Comment by Tyner on Free-spending EA might be a big problem for optics and epistemics · 2022-04-13T22:54:20.156Z · EA · GW

Maybe, does this apply to non-profits?

Comment by Tyner on Free-spending EA might be a big problem for optics and epistemics · 2022-04-13T00:04:03.279Z · EA · GW

I'm not sure if this perspective is helpful but this issue reminds me of a somewhat analogous situation in the  Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) movement.  Originally the focus was on drastically limiting spending, increasing the savings rate to as high as possible, and retiring shockingly young.  Then, as time passed some people realized they didn't want to live in such austerity.  Other people found that they could move things along faster by focusing on earning more, instead of spending less.  Then there were people who didn't really want to retire but more like get enough income to be comfortable and then downshift their lifestyles.  There were folks who just focused on making as much money as possible and remained in the community even though they were just about getting rich.  Then some people sort of stumbled into the movement having made a ton of money on cryptocurrency or Tesla options or whatever...they never really applied any of the principles but still retired early.

With all these changes in the demographics and mindsets of the community I've noticed that the subjects discussed and the behavior encouraged has notably changed over the years.  It does not look much like what I saw 15 years ago.

Part of the change I've seen is that people with different flavors in mind self-select to associate with others that are similar.  /r/leanfire separates from /r/fatfire etc.  I'm guessing that drift and fragmentation like this are very likely for any group/movement that gets big enough.  I don't know if it is a good or bad thing.

Comment by Tyner on We need 40,000h or maybe even 20,000h · 2022-04-11T18:10:25.813Z · EA · GW

>This kind of support we can give to each other, it doesn't cost a penny to give subjective advice

Hi Martyna,

I wanted to follow up now that a couple months have passed and see if you were able to get more clarity on your path forward?  I can also share what I have decided for now.

  1. I think there's a reasonably high chance that I can get a promotion in my current company which would mean a substantial pay increase; I could probably double my donations.  I have an interview this week for such a role and have seen a few other openings that could also work so I'm feeling cautiously optimistic.  If there are EA "dream jobs" that come up in the meantime I will still apply on the outside chance that I can land one of these roles.
  2. I have another project that I'm uniquely well-positioned to pursue and came to light last month.  I am going to work on this during my spare time and I think it will take 3-9 months.
  3. Those two things are enough for now so I'm going to treat EA as an "interesting hobby" for the time being and just continue learning and reading and making connections so that I can re-evaluate later.

By the way, AAC training is Animal Advocacy Careers.

Cheers!

Comment by Tyner on Announcing What The Future Owes Us · 2022-04-01T15:21:53.212Z · EA · GW

This one is great

Comment by Tyner on Announcing What We Owe The Future · 2022-03-30T21:07:13.559Z · EA · GW

This does not seem to be correct.  The list you linked for e-books is dated 2017, which partly explains why it has old books.  The current NYT list is combined:

https://www.nytimes.com/books/best-sellers/combined-print-and-e-book-nonfiction/

Methodology here:

https://www.nytimes.com/books/best-sellers/methodology/

Correct me if I'm wrong

Comment by Tyner on What is Intersectionality Theory? What does it mean for EA? · 2022-03-29T00:17:42.277Z · EA · GW

Hi John,

My null hypothesis is that everyone wants to keep donations in their community.  Being impartial with regard to time and place and species etc. requires some extra thought or will or persuasion for all of us.  I think this is hard for anyone and I am not sure why this would be harder for POC than anyone else.  You state it's plausible for the most privileged to find this easier, which I agree is plausible, but I think you could also make the case that the opposite is plausible.  

"Someone who has known discrimination, who has known what it feels like to be disadvantaged and voiceless, will more keenly be able to observe and sympathize with others who are voiceless."  or some such.

You're suggesting that they feel a "special obligation" so it seems from my perspective that the burden of evidence would rest with you.  You stated you don't have any studies, just conversations.  That's fine, I just don't find it very convincing so I think the null stands until more evidence comes forth.  Cheers.