Comment author: Denise_Melchin 13 April 2018 05:07:28PM 4 points [-]

I've been saying to people that I wish there was a post series about all the practical implications of different philosophical positions (I often have the unflattering impression philosophy EAs like to argue about them just because it's their favourite nerd topic - and not because of the practical relevance).

So special thanks to you for starting it! ;-)

Comment author: MichaelPlant 12 April 2018 10:16:26AM 13 points [-]

However, we can also err by thinking about a too narrow reference class

Just to pick up on this, a worry I've had for a while - which I'm don't think I'm going to do a very job explaining here - is that the reference class people use is "current EAs" not "current and future EAs". To explain, when I started to get involved in EA back in 2015, 80k's advice, in caricature, was that EAs should become software developers or management consultants and earn to give, whereas research roles, such as becoming a philosopher or historian, are low priority. Now the advice has, again in caricature, swung the other way: management consultancy looks very unpromising, and people are being recommended to do research. There's even occassion discussion (see MacAskill's 80k podcast) that, on the margin, philosophers might be useful. If you'd taken 80k's advice seriously and gone in consultancy, it seems you would have done the wrong thing. (Objection, imagining Wiblin's voice: but what about personal fit? We talked about that. Reply: if personal fit does all the work - i.e. "just do the thing that has greatest personal fit" - then there's no point making more substantive recommendations)

I'm concerned that people will funnel themselves into jobs that are high-priority now, in which they have a small comparative advice to other EAs, rather than jobs in which they will later have a much bigger comparative advantage to other EAs. At the present time, the conversation is about EA needing more operations roles. Suppose two EAs, C and D, are thinking about what to do. C realises he's 50% better than D at ops and 75% better at research, so C goes into Ops because that's higher priority. D goes into research. Time passes the movement grows. E now joins. E is better than C at Ops. The problem is that C has taken an ops role and it's much harder for C to transition to research. C only has a comparative advantage at ops in the first time period, thereafter he doesn't. Overall, it looks like C should just have gone into research, not ops.

In short, our comparative advantage is not fixed, but will change over time simply based on who else shows up. Hence we should think about comparative advantage over our lifetimes rather than the shorter term. This likely changes things.

Comment author: Denise_Melchin 12 April 2018 06:58:00PM 5 points [-]

I completely agree. I considered making the point in the post itself, but I didn't because I'm not sure about the practical implications myself!

Comment author: HoldenKarnofsky 26 March 2018 06:18:40PM 1 point [-]

Yes, I mean statutory holidays like Thanksgiving.

Comment author: Denise_Melchin 27 March 2018 05:25:39PM 1 point [-]

It is still unclear to me whether the statutory holidays are supposed to be included in the 25 days paid days off or in addition to.

Comment author: SiebeRozendal 02 January 2018 03:59:10PM *  1 point [-]

This is an interesting project! I am wondering how valuable you have found it, and whether there are any plans for further development. I can imagine that it would be valuable to

  • Increase complexity to increase robustness of the model, but then find some balance between robustness and user-friendliness, perhaps by allowing users to view the model on different 'levels' of complexity.
  • Use some form of crowd-sourcing to get much more reliable estimates, ideally weighted by expertise or forecasting ability.
  • Incorporate some insights from the moral uncertainty literature, so that low probability of something being very bad (e.g. wild animal suffering, or insect suffering) are given appropriate weight.

However, I have no idea how feasible this is, and imagine it would require many and valuable resources (lots of time, money, and capable researchers). Do you already have thoughts on this?

P.S. The link is missing for part IV

Comment author: Denise_Melchin 09 February 2018 12:55:44AM 0 points [-]

Thank you for your comment. I agree our model is only a very basic version and it would be interesting to see it developed further. (Though there are currently no further plans for development that I know of.)

This model was created in about 14 wks of FTEs. I expect a project like you're proposing to take much longer.

Comment author: Kathy_Forth 11 November 2017 11:10:16PM 1 point [-]

"Multiple types of sex offenders exist. We may not have a complete list of different types yet."

This is a direct quote from the article, from a section covering a few different types of sex offenders. Section name: "Why we should not assume that effective altruism repels sex offenders"

I can't cover every single sub-topic in entirety in every single spot where a sub-topic is mentioned. The article would repeat itself a ridiculous amount.

I also cannot remove all mentions of all sub-topics that have not yet been fully covered. That would ruin all the natural connections inherent in the information. The article would seem to leave out a huge number of obviously important things.

This is why I support the implementation of a social norm where one doesn't argue with an author until after they've finished the article.

Comment author: Denise_Melchin 11 November 2017 11:21:00PM 3 points [-]

I agree that is a sensible norm. I'm sorry I implied you personally think that, I'll edit my comment accordingly.

However, since many people will stop reading before the article ends I think it's important to not get people get away with the impression this is what you think.

Comment author: Kathy_Forth 11 November 2017 11:02:41PM *  -1 points [-]

This post is long because:

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about sexual violence. To have accurate ideas about the effective altruism potential of sexual violence reduction as a cause, one needs to be informed about a bunch of things at once. Given the complexity of the issue and the number of common misconceptions, a long length was the only way to do this topic justice.

This is a foundation article. Now that it exists, a series of short articles can be written based on the information and context contained in it to help raise awareness.

Comment author: Denise_Melchin 11 November 2017 11:17:41PM 4 points [-]

I don't disagree with the full content being laid out. I'm glad you wrote such an in depth article.

Although I think it would be better if you created an index of contents and having split it up into a few posts would help as well.

Comment author: Denise_Melchin 11 November 2017 10:47:51PM 4 points [-]

By the way, I think the below sentence is slightly wrong?

The ratio of male rapists to women outside the movement is around 1:8 (3:25), based on a 50/50 gender ratio.

Shouldn't that be 3:50 (in a group of 50 men and 50 women, you expect 6% of 50 = 3 male rapists)?

Comment author: Denise_Melchin 11 November 2017 10:43:23PM *  11 points [-]

Hi Kathy,

as I said before, thank you very much for your research into this! I agree with you that it is an important issue.

I'd be interested to hear about estimates of how much sexual violence lowers quality of life compared to other issues like poverty and depression. My hunch is that it causes similar amounts of suffering (whereby similar means 'within an order of magnitude') but I don't have any evidence for this.

Unfortunately your post is somewhat long which makes it a bit hard to read. More structure and maybe splitting it up into a few posts would help. People, even EA forum readers, tend to be lazy - and it'd be disappointing if thereby fewer people get informed on potential strategies to address sexual violence. I'm happy to work with you on this if you like.

I have to admit that I haven't read your post completely yet myself, so therefore I'm only commenting on one point related to the content for now.

I disagree with your characterisation of people who commit rape. [Edit: Kathy actually doesn't mischaracterise this in the article, but since it's a common misconception which is important to avoid I'll let the rest of the comment stand.]

I think the idea of the dichotomy of 'rapists' and 'non-rapists' is fundamentally misguided and a case of fundamental attribution error.

The type of rapist which you describe in your post who consciously makes the decision to ignore lack of consent isn't the only type of person who commits rape. Therefore the study you're citing only constitutes a lower bound of the number of rapists.

This is more speculative, but I think it's likely lots of people have done sexual activities with someone else without having sufficient evidence that their sex partner is consenting. It's only most of the time they get lucky and the other person wanted the sexual activities as much as them. If they're not so lucky, that makes them rapists.

That said, I do think there's a spectrum here - between people who cannot quite be bothered to properly check for consent to sex every time and people who will happily ignore lack of consent to sex in most situations.

Only addressing the latter of those can thereby only be a start to addressing the whole problem. This also leads to the important question of how the number of rapes committed is distributed. Are most acts of sexual violence committed by a select particularly egregious few or by the presumably more common 'casual rapist'? Answering this question is relevant for picking the strategies to focus on. This is because it seems plausible that different types of people who commit rape require different strategies to stop them.

Thank you for putting so much time and thought into your post.

Denise

Comment author: Denise_Melchin 25 July 2017 01:31:47PM *  0 points [-]

That's a great talk, thank you for it. This is why I've started to mind that people get encouraged to figure out what "their cause area" is.

Apart from the fact that they're likely to change their mind within a few years anyway, it's more valuable for the world for them to focus on what they're good at even if it's not in their preferred cause area. Cooperation between cause areas is important.

(Also, "figuring out what the best cause areas are" might be something that should also be done by people whose comparative advantage it is).

Comment author: Denise_Melchin 06 June 2017 03:34:29PM 3 points [-]

What is your model of why other people in the AI safety field disagree with you/don't consider this as important as you?

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