Peter_Hurford comments on Open Thread #40 - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Milan_Griffes 11 July 2018 12:15:00AM 0 points [-]

I'd argue we don't necessarily know yet whether this is true. It may well be true, but it may well be false.

I think it's almost certainly true (confidence ~90%) that far future effects account for the bulk of impact for at least a substantial minority of interventions (like at least 20%? But very difficult to quantify believably).

Also seems almost certainly true that we don't know for which interventions far future effects account for the bulk of impact.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 11 July 2018 01:54:55AM 2 points [-]

Separately, I'd wager that I feel pretty confident that taking into account all the possible long-term effects I can think of (population ethics, meat eating, economic development, differential technological development), that the effect of AMF is still net positive. I wonder if you really can model all these things? I previously wrote about five ways to handle flow-through effects in analysis and like this kind of weighted quantitative modeling.

Comment author: Milan_Griffes 11 July 2018 04:17:51AM *  0 points [-]

I suspect it's basically impossible to model all the relevant far-future considerations in a way that feels believable (i.e. high confidence that the sign of all considerations is correct, plus high confidence that you're not missing anything crucial).

...the effect of AMF is still net positive.

I share this intuition, but "still net positive" is a long way off from "most cost-effective."

AMF has received so much scrutiny because it's a contender for the most cost-effective way to give money – I'm skeptical we can make believable claims about cost-effect when we take the far future into account.

I'm more bullish about assessing the sign of interventions while taking the far future into account, though that still feels fraught.