Comment author: MichaelDickens  (EA Profile) 23 December 2016 04:31:09AM 2 points [-]

I am not donating any money this year, but I did promise GFI that I would donate $25,000 to it early next year. I discussed this with GFI and we agreed that this was about as good as donating the money immediately.

Comment author: MichaelDickens  (EA Profile) 19 December 2016 12:51:52AM 2 points [-]

This article is long enough that it would be helpful to put a table of contents at the top.

Comment author: Rick 09 December 2016 05:00:02PM 0 points [-]

So, this may be an unpopular opinion, but I for one am quite glad that these discussions are being down-voted.

When we consider entertaining these discussions, we can take a consequentialist viewpoint and run a simple cost/benefit analysis to determine if entertaining the discussions is a good idea, such as the following: Benefits = (tractability: chance entertaining discussion will lead to changes in EA thinking) * (impact: amount of marginal good that will occur if change in EA thinking occurs) * (maybe an uncertainty discount, depending on your preference) + (improved reach: benefits of bringing in new EAs who are amicable to these arguments) + (value externalities: benefits that arise from fomenting a culture of openness to new ideas among EAs) Costs = (decreased reach: harms of causing EAs not amicable to these arguments to become disenchanted with EA) + (reputational risk: harms that would arise if people started saying "EAs seem to be amenable to alt-right discussions", which in turn would further scuttle our already struggling efforts to diversity the EA movement and repaint ourselves in a better light)

People pushing the above arguments clearly think that the potential impacts of integrating these thoughts into EA are very very high (e.g., a lot more conservative people could join EA, we'd avert WWIII or something, etc.), even if they admit that the tractabillity is quite low, hence why they are pushing so strongly.

However, I, and many other EAs, believe very strongly that the costs (reputation risk + harming our ability to reach more potential EAs) are higher than the potential benefits. I'd also say that, for many of us, the estimated sign on "amount of marginal good that will occur if change in EA thinking occurs" associated with the above arguments is actually negative, for a variety of reasons.

Now, the people arguing for these arguments will most likely say "but what about intellectual diversity and freedom of speech!" To which I retort A) freedom of speech and the ideals of liberty do not mean that I have to spend my time entertaining your thoughts or that I need to write 10 pages explaining why, exactly, I think you are mistaken, and B) as a consequentialist, I am a fan of pushing and supporting equal intellectual diversity as a vehicle for good, and in this case I very strongly think that entertaining this particular form of intellectual diversity will cause much more harm than good. I do think that we need to push for more intellectual diversity in the EA movement, but there are much better ways to do this than entertain this sort of discussion.

Comment author: MichaelDickens  (EA Profile) 10 December 2016 05:07:05AM 5 points [-]

I don't believe people should vote on posts based on whether they believe the posts do net benefit or net harm. That's what a naive utilitarian approach would suggest, but I don't think we should take a naive utilitarian approach. Instead we should vote based on how meaningfully the post contributes, even if we believe the conclusion is wrong.

I disagree with your claim that we should censor "bad" opinions and I believe this sort of behavior damages healthy discourse in the long run. I'm not downvoting your comment because that would go against my beliefs about how people ought to vote on things. Actually I'm upvoting it because you're saying something relatively novel and it made me think about things in a way I hadn't before.

I do think that we need to push for more intellectual diversity in the EA movement, but there are much better ways to do this than entertain this sort of discussion.

I'd be interested in knowing what ways you think would be better.

Comment author: Owen_Cotton-Barratt 09 December 2016 03:20:52PM 5 points [-]

Thanks for the write-up. I'm excited about people presenting well thought-through cases for the value of different domains.

I want to push back a bit against the claim that the problem is time-sensitive. If we needed to directly specify what we valued to a powerful AI, then it would be crucial that we had a good answer to that by the time we had such an AI. But an alternative to directly specifying what it is that we value is to specify the process for working out what to value (something in the direction of CEV). If we can do this, then we can pass the intellectual work of this research off to the hypothesised AI. And this strategy looks generally very desirable for various robustness reasons.

Putting this together, I think that there is a high probability that consciousness research is not time-critical. This is enough to make me discount its value by perhaps one-to-two orders of magnitude. However, it could remain high-value even given such a discount.

(I agree that in the long run it's important. I haven't looked into your work beyond this post, so I don't (yet) have much of a direct view of how tractable the problem is to your approach. At least I don't see problems in principle.)

Comment author: MichaelDickens  (EA Profile) 09 December 2016 04:04:09PM 4 points [-]

This is enough to make me discount its value by perhaps one-to-two orders of magnitude.

So you'd put the probability of CEV working at between 90 and 99 percent? 90% seems plausible to me if a little high; 99% seems way too high.

But I have to give you a lot of credit for saying "the possibility of CEV discounts how valuable this is" instead of "this doesn't matter because CEV will solve it"; many people say the latter, implicitly assuming that CEV has a near-100% probability of working.

Comment author: HenryMaine 09 December 2016 09:09:59AM *  6 points [-]

I cited Breitbart, Daily Express, and Sputnik for quotes from intelligence chiefs. Is there any reason to believe that they would fabricate quotes from public figures?

My article quotes a variety of sources, including perfectly mainstream sources like Reuters, CBS, local Swedish news, and Vanity Fair. I included a link with a large amount of stats on Muslim integration, including Pew Opinion polls and official government reports of crime rates and sexual violence. I also included video footage from 60 Minutes.

Are these sources "unreliable" too? They paint exactly the same picture of Europe as the links from the mainstream sources. For example, I cited a Breitbart article on an attempt to sneak grenades and automatic weapons into Sweden. How do we evaluate this claim? We can look at one of the other links I provided: a Reuters article about Italian police catching a van with 800 shotguns coming from Turkey.

If we are in a world with 800 shotgun shipments was caught (Reuters claim), then this sounds like the same world where a shipment of grenades and automatic weapons was caught (Breitbart claim).

Rather than being unreliable, the general thrust of the alternative media's reporting on the migrant crisis is consistent with mainstream sources. However, these events mostly do not get amplified by the most prestigious blue tribe bubble: NYT, Atlantic, etc... And the ethnic strife, crime, and terrorism in Europe isn't accurately reflected in the opinion pages within the bubble.

To drive this point home, I will bring up a couple examples where the ethnic strife in Europe got so bad that the prestige media was forced to report on it.

Here is a headline from the New York Times on the Rotherham scandal: 1,400 Children in Rotherham, England, Were Sexually Abused, Report Says.

Some quotes from the article:

LONDON — A report released on Tuesday on accusations of widespread sexual abuse in the northern England city of Rotherham found that about 1,400 minors — some as young as 11 years old — were beaten, raped and trafficked from 1997 to 2013 as the local authorities ignored a series of red flags.

The vast majority of perpetrators have been identified as South Asian and most victims were young white girls, adding to the complexity of the case. Some officials appeared to believe that social workers pointing to a pattern of sexual exploitation were exaggerating, while others reportedly worried about being accused of racism if they spoke out. The report accused officials of ignoring “a politically inconvenient truth” in turning a blind eye to men of Pakistani heritage grooming vulnerable white girls for sex.

Here is the report the NYT is talking about, which was commissioned by the city of Rotherham (due to allegations that the city had known about the child sexual abuse and was covering it up). This report has some startling revelations:

In just over a third of cases, children affected by sexual exploitation were previously known to services because of child protection and neglect. It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered. They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten, and intimidated. There were examples of children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone. Girls as young as 11 were raped by large numbers of male perpetrators.

So, in addition to large weapons shipments into Europe, we now have poor girls getting doused with gasoline and gang-raped. Let me pause for a second and note how insane this would have sounded 5-10 years ago. And yet, here it is in the New York Times. This only scratches the surface of the ethnic tensions that currently exist in Europe.

Rotherham is not an isolated incident. The Cologne gropings were also so big (estimated 1,200 victims and 2,000 perpetrators) that the media had to report on it.

The establishment media admits that mass sexual assault towards women by Muslim immigrants is happening, and admits that terrorist attacks happen like Charlie Hebdo, Paris, but then drops the ball, and no sensible policy fixes are allowed to happen. Mass migration continues because politicians want it, and the media is in bed with them (consider which political parties the media supports, and which political parties the migrants will vote for).

The alternative media is at the forefront of accurate reporting on the migrant crisis, which can be verified through video footage, government crime statistics, and mainstream media agreeing with them on some of the most egregious events (when the event cannot be covered up).

If we are in a world where mass sexual assault is happening, and coverups are happening, and the mainstream admits it, then all of the other claims of alternative media and right-wing media (e.g. Muslim no-go zones, Muslim morality patrols, Sharia Law) suddenly seem much more credible, even if mainstream media denies those claims.

A world where thousands of girls are getting sexually assaulted by Muslim immigrants (admitted by mainstream media), and a world where Muslim no-go zones exist (denied by most mainstream media but verified by video), sound like the same sort of world: they both involve a violent clash of cultures with very different values. Rotherham and Cologne are sufficient to "crack" the multiculturalist narrative that such highly different cultures can integrate safely, and that anyone who disagrees is some sort of racist, right-wing xenophobe. Once that narrative is broken, then other examples of ethnic conflict gain credibility, and it is irresponsible to attempt to baldly dismiss them.

Establishment media—the "reliable sources" who claimed a 90% chance of Hillary winning—faces a crisis of trust. When the mainstream media refuse to honestly discuss reality, when it instead demonizes dissenters, then it's no surprise that people turn towards alternative media, fueling events like Brexit and Trump's election.

Comment author: MichaelDickens  (EA Profile) 09 December 2016 03:43:37PM *  7 points [-]

I'm sorry you're getting downvoted--I'm glad that you're providing a different perspective from the usual political opinions we see on the EA Forum.

Comment author: MichaelDickens  (EA Profile) 09 December 2016 03:38:31PM 7 points [-]

The concerns about US/Russian relations appear particularly important, and it's something that most people seem to overlook. It's plausible to me that a Trump administration has lower risk of causing an extinction-level event than a Clinton administration, and I've never heard a compelling argument for why other concerns matter more.

Comment author: MichaelDickens  (EA Profile) 05 November 2016 03:16:09AM *  1 point [-]

I am willing to take bets on the following proposition:

By the end of 2021, at least one restaurant regularly serves cultured animal tissue for human consumption.

I may accept alternative propositions as well.

Caveat: I have spoken to some of the people involved in clean meat work which may have given me access to information that is not available to the general public.

(Edit: Changed bet wording.)

Comment author: MichaelDickens  (EA Profile) 08 December 2016 10:04:36PM 1 point [-]

Nick Beckstead and I have agreed to bet $1000 at even odds on the proposition

By the end of 2021, at least one restaurant regularly serves cultured animal tissue for human consumption.

Comment author: RyanCarey 08 December 2016 12:03:00AM *  0 points [-]

If you had the right financial accounts, you might just short something, because that's very high variance and anticorrelated with other donors. edit: actually as Michael points out, it has the same variance (though it has more extreme downside risks)

Comment author: MichaelDickens  (EA Profile) 08 December 2016 03:41:26AM 1 point [-]

Going short on an asset has the same variance as going long, but with opposite expected value (actually slightly lower because of borrowing costs).

Comment author: AnnaSalamon 07 December 2016 05:51:41AM *  17 points [-]

I feel that 1-2 such posts per organization per year is appropriate and useful, especially since organizations often have year-end reviews or other orienting documents timed near their annual fundraiser, and reading these allows me to get oriented about what the organizations are up to.

Comment author: MichaelDickens  (EA Profile) 07 December 2016 03:25:31PM 5 points [-]

1-2 posts per year seems arguably reasonable; one post per month (as CEA has been doing) is excessive.

Comment author: MichaelDickens  (EA Profile) 07 December 2016 05:10:38AM 1 point [-]

I don't believe organizations should post fundraising documents to the EA Forum. As a quick heuristic, if all EA orgs did this, the forum would be flooded with posts like this one and it would pretty much kill the value of the forum.

It's already the case that a significant fraction of recent content is CEA or CEA-associated organizations talking about their own activities, which I don't particularly want to see on the EA Forum. I'm sure some other people will disagree but I wanted to contribute my opinion so you're aware that some people dislike these sorts of posts.

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