Comment author: Daniel_Eth 24 April 2017 01:32:39AM 1 point [-]
Comment author: ChristianKleineidam 24 April 2017 08:13:49AM 0 points [-]

It's not clear that Juicero is actually a bad venture in the sense that doesn't return the money for it's investors.

Even if that would be the case, VC's make most of the money with a handful companies. A VC can have a good fund if 90% of their investments don't return their money.

I would guess that the same is true for high risk philanthropic investments. It's okay if some high risk investments don't provide value as long as you are betting on some investments that deliever.

Comment author: Kerry_Vaughan 23 April 2017 07:32:52PM 1 point [-]

I'm not sure that's true. There are a lot of venture funds in the Valley but that doesn't mean it's easy to get any venture fund to give you money.

I don't have the precise statistics handy, but my understanding is that VC returns are very good for a small number of firms and break-even or negative for most VC firms. If that's the case, it suggests that as more VCs enter the market, more bad companies are getting funded.

Comment author: ChristianKleineidam 24 April 2017 07:46:39AM -1 points [-]

I don't think the argument that there are a lot of VC firms that don't get good returns suggest that centralization into one VC firm would be good. There are different successful VC firms that have different preferences in how to invest.

Having one central hub of decision making is essentially the model used in the Soviet Union. I don't think that's a good model.

Decentral decision making usually beats central planning with one single decision making authority in domain with a lot of spread out information.

Comment author: Kerry_Vaughan 21 April 2017 05:11:07PM 8 points [-]

But if I can't convince them to fund me for some reason and I think they're making a mistake, there are no other donors to appeal to anymore. It's all or nothing.

The upside of centralization is that it helps prevent the unilateralist curse for funding bad projects. As the number of funders increases, it becomes increasingly easy for the bad projects to find someone who will fund them.

That said, I share the concern that EA Funds will become a single point of failure for projects such that if EA Funds doesn't fund you, the project is dead. We probably want some centralization but we also want worldview diversification. I'm not yet sure how to accomplish this. We could create multiple versions of the current funds with different fund managers, but that is likely to be very confusing to most donors. I'm open to ideas on how to help with this concern.

Comment author: ChristianKleineidam 23 April 2017 07:30:23AM 2 points [-]

As the number of funders increases, it becomes increasingly easy for the bad projects to find someone who will fund them.

I'm not sure that's true. There are a lot of venture funds in the Valley but that doesn't mean it's easy to get any venture fund to give you money.

Comment author: ChristianKleineidam 22 April 2017 10:38:47AM 3 points [-]

The donation amounts we’ve received so far are greater than we expected, especially given that donations typically decrease early in the year after ramping up towards the end of the year.

How much did you expect?

Comment author: ChristianKleineidam 18 April 2017 03:48:33PM 0 points [-]

If you're passionate about politics and in America, than getting involved now seems like a potentially positive action but it wont be neglected if you align with Democrat positions (but potentially easier to get involved if you are Republican).

Why do you believe it's easier to get involved as Republican?

There are a lot more ways to get involved in state politics than in national policy.

Comment author: ChristianKleineidam 22 November 2016 08:50:59PM 6 points [-]

First, the spread of mini-Trumps across the West would multiply his risks.

I'm not sure what's meant with mini-Trump here. It seems like it you aren't talking about Trump, the human being but about Trump, the symbol.

When thinking about effective actions it's important to be precise.

The fact that Trump seems to have a short attention span for complex arguments doesn't mean that's true for right-wing politicians in Europe. There are shared problem but if we treat everything the same way we loss precision in understanding the problems.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 22 February 2016 09:31:39PM *  1 point [-]

Peter Thiel is widely regarded as a businessman, not an economist or IR theorist.

All your examples are just businessmen, anyway. There's entrepreneurs in every sector and again it's still not clear that energy is the most lucrative field.

Comment author: ChristianKleineidam 24 February 2016 03:06:03PM 0 points [-]

Peter Thiel is widely regarded as a businessman, not an economist or IR theorist.

Why do you think an economist understands more about the world than a businessman that makes his fortune based on predictions about how things evolve? He might not do IR theory but he's a member of the steering committee of Bilderberg which makes him actively involved in interantional relations.

As far as Peter Thiel being just a businessman I think it would be likely that this forum wouldn't exist the way it does if it Peter Thiel hadn't donated money for causes he considers good for society.

Lastly the list of people isn't random. If you show any person in this community the list of those names and ask what they have in common the likely answer wouldn't be that they are all invested into energy.

It might be that they are all smart enough to be public about treating AI risk at a big danger. They are all people who rationally thought about how to do good in the world.

Comment author: Robert_Wiblin 20 February 2016 06:12:30PM 1 point [-]

"A lot of the conflict in the Arab spring was driven by increased food prices."

That sounds plausible, but what's the evidence that it's true? Determining cause and effect in a system like that seems quite tricky.

"If we could find a way to produce food cheaper, the risk of conflicts like the Syrian conflict would be reduced."

Are there any studies seeing if one predicts the other in a time series?

"I don't think we need evidence of resources getting more scarce to justify working on resource production."

As a species we already are working on resource production though - a lot. My claim is that a) the stronger the signals of future scarcity, the more we should invest in trying to produce even more; b) there already exists a system that reliably does this. I think both claims are very strong.

"The historical track record of people making fortunes in resources also indicates that it's a field where individuals can produce large amounts of value for society."

I wouldn't deny you can do good producing timber, food, etc. But what's the evidence that entrepreneurs working on commodities make more money than people contributing to other products?

Comment author: ChristianKleineidam 20 February 2016 10:59:19PM *  3 points [-]

That sounds plausible, but what's the evidence that it's true? Determining cause and effect in a system like that seems quite tricky.

I think there are multiple arguments why we can believe that to be true. Very corrupt political systems like Iran make the political decision to subvention food prices. Do they do it, because those governments want to be nice to their population? Maybe, maybe the also recognize that the government loses stability if it's population doesn't have enough to eat because food prices rise.

While citation by authority isn't prove it, Peter Thiel is well regarded: I think the Arab Spring, I think the fundamental driver for that was the food prices went up 50 percent and people were going to starve and I think it’s smug and complacent to pretend that it was anything other than that.

I opened a question on Skeptics.Stackexchange that might produce further evidence.

As a species we already are working on resource production though - a lot.

Overall we are certainly spending resources on resource production. That however doesn't mean that there aren't areas in resource production that are underfunded.

Sam Altman decided two years ago that resource production is an important field. What did he do? He went out and talks to people in the field of nuclear energy. Helion became a YCombinator company and Peter Thiel's Mithril Capital fund funded Helion. Sam Altman then went on to be chairman of the board of Helion. Sam Altman did same thing with uPower.

Sam Altman isn't chairman of the board of any other YCombinator company. I'm not sure whether Sam Altman self-labels as EA but I think in practice he very much lives the EA values.

I think Sam Altman did make that decision because he rightly thought that the projects of Helion and uPower were otherwise neglegted.

Sam Altman argues in a post about Energy: I think a lot about how important cheap, safe, and abundant energy is to our future. A lot of problems—economic, environmental, war, poverty, food and water availability, bad side effects of globalization, etc.—are deeply related to the energy problem. I believe that if you could choose one single technological development to help the most people in the world, radically better energy generation is probably it. Throughout history, quality of life has gone up as the cost of energy has gone down. [...]

In addition to Peter Thiel and Sam Altman there's also Elon Musk. Both Solar City and Tesla are about creating a sustainable energy future.

SpaceX isn't directly about resource production but it's about spending a lot less resources for going to space. Indirectly it might further be about resource production via asteroid mining in the future.

Bill Gates considers nuclear energy also a valuable cause.

I wouldn't deny you can do good producing timber, food, etc. But what's the evidence that entrepreneurs working on commodities make more money than people contributing to other products?

I don't think that Peter Thiel, Sam Altman, Bill Gates or Elon Musk focus on producing commodities when they invest resources into the cause of energy scarcity.

If you look at more efficient food production I don't think RowBot's Kent Cavender-Bares focuses on commodity production either.

PS: (this forum uses markup. If you start a line with > it formats quotes nicely.

Comment author: ChristianKleineidam 20 February 2016 02:10:57PM 0 points [-]

A lot of the conflict in the Arab spring was driven by increased food priceses. If we could find a way to produce food cheaper, the risk of conflicts like the Syrian conflict would be reduced. Food makes up a high percentage of the budget of poor people. If it's praise can be reduced that would have similar effects than GiveDirectly. Poor people would have more free money.

I don't think we need evidence of resources getting more scarce to justify working on resource production.

If Helion get's fusion to work, we will have cheaper electricity and that will decrease production costs for lot's of goods. That means it's cheaper to produce those goods for poor people. It's also cheaper to produce goods for rich people.

When it comes to metals like iron, astroid mining could drastically reduce costs and thereby create wealth.

The historical track record of people making fortunes in resources also indicates that it's a field where individuals can produce large amounts of value for society.

Comment author: ChristianKleineidam 01 January 2016 07:15:16PM 1 point [-]

Does Guesstimate provide ways for the user to calibrate himself over time when he's overconfident when he starts using it?

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