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ea247 comments on What if you’re working on the wrong cause? Preliminary thoughts on how long to spend exploring vs exploiting. - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: ea247 10 February 2017 08:49:55PM 3 points [-]

Thanks. Good question. While researching this I did include a probability that I would be convinced of far future causes, but given the monster length of my post as is, decided not to include it. :P

My 95% confidence range of increased value of the best option actually ranges from 80% as good as my current one (ie making a poorer decision than I’d previously come to) to one million times better, because I put a greater than 2.5% chance of being convinced of a far future cause. However, the bulk of my probability lies closer to the smaller amounts, averaging out to the ~500x range.

However, I think that this will change dramatically over the years. I am trying to prioritize considerations that rule out large swathes of the decision space. I think that near the beginning of researching I will be able to make a decision on some calls that might rule out the higher values, narrowing my confidence interval so it no longer includes the extremely high numbers. This would lower the value of the marginal year of research quite a lot. That’s hard to include in the calculations though, and it very well might not happen, or may actually become wider or have higher upper bounds.