Comment author: RyanCarey 02 May 2018 11:32:16PM 1 point [-]

I think this has turned out really well Max. I like that this project looks set to aid with movement growth while improving the movement's intellectual quality, because the content is high-quality and representative of current EA priorities. Maybe the latter is the larger benefit, and probably it will help everyone to feel more confident in accelerating the movement growth over time, and so I hope we can find more ways to have a similar effect!

Comment author: ThomasSittler 05 March 2018 11:15:34AM *  7 points [-]

I agree, and this is a mistake I've made in the past in a big way, especially around 2015 when I was enthusiastically promoting mass outreach with low-fidelity translations.

Here's an additional data point, which is more about the mechanics of translation itself rather than the broader strategy of delaying outreach, but does tend to support the views defended in this post: I've found that writing articles in French about EA from scratch results in much better text than translating from English. The translated stuff always feels a bit alien and uncool. (And this is for what I believe were high-quality translations, with less-than-stellar translations, the results could be outright disastrous.)

Comment author: RyanCarey 05 March 2018 12:08:49PM 6 points [-]

Is it still alien and uncool if you look at an article as a whole and just rewrite it from scratch in French, rather than translating each line? (Kind-of like if I lose my copy of an essay and then rewrite the same ideas in new prose.)

Comment author: RyanCarey 13 February 2018 09:44:10AM *  3 points [-]

I donated to MIRI and GCRI.

Also, the link to Zvi's writeup seems to be missing?

Comment author: RyanCarey 22 January 2018 12:28:22AM 5 points [-]

Is there some reason not to have them sorted by cause?


AI alignment prize winners and next round [link]

From Announcement: AI alignment prize winners and next round :  We (Zvi Mowshowitz, Vladimir Slepnev and Paul Christiano) are happy to announce that the AI Alignment Prize is a success. From November 3 to December 31 we received over 40 entries representing an incredible amount of work and insight. That's... Read More
Comment author: Daniel_Eth 19 January 2018 11:48:01PM *  18 points [-]

Thanks for taking the time to write this post. I have a few comments - some supportive, and some in disagreement with what you wrote.

I find your worries about Peak Oil to be unsupported. In the last several years, the US has found tons of natural gas that it can access - perhaps even 100 years or more. On top of this, renewables are finally starting to really prove their worth - with both wind and solar reaching new heights. Solar in particular has improved drastically - exponential decay in cost over decades (with cost finally reaching parity with fossil fuels in many parts of the world), exponential increase in installations, etc. If fossil fuels really were running out that would arguably be a good thing - as it would increase the price of fossil fuels and make the transition to solar even quicker (and we'd have a better chance of avoiding the worst effects of climate change). Unfortunately, the opposite seems more likely - as ice in the arctic melts, more fossil fuels (that are now currently under the ice) will become accessible.

I think "The Limits of Growth" is not a particularly useful guide to our situation. This report might have been a reasonable thing to worry about in 1972, but I think a lot has changed since then that we need to take into account. First off, yes, obviously exponential growth with finite resources will eventually hit a wall, and obviously the universe is finite. But the truth is that while there are limits - we're not even remotely close to these limits. There are several specific technological trends in that each seem likely to turn LTG type thinking about limits in the near term on their head, including clean energy, AI, nanotechnology, and biotechnology. We are so far from the limits of these technologies - yet even modest improvements will let us surpass the limits of the world today. Regarding the fact that the 1970-2000 data fits with the predictions of LTG - this point is just silly. LTG's prediction can be roughly summarized as "the status quo continues with things going good until around 2020 to 2030, and then stuff starts going terribly." The controversial claim isn't the first part about stuff continuing to go well for a while, but the second part about stuff then going terribly. The fact that we've continued to do well (as their model predicted!) doesn't mean that the second part of their model will go as predicted and things will follow by going terribly.

I have no idea how plausible a Malthusian disaster in Sub-Saharan Africa is. I know that climate change has the potential to cause massive famines and mass migrations - and I agree that has the potential to increase right wing extremists in Europe (and that this would all be terrible). I don't know what the projected timeframe on that is, though. I also hadn't heard of most of the other problems you listed in this section. Unfortunately, after reading your section on peak oil which struck me as both unsubstantiated (I mean no offense by this - just being straightforward) and also somewhat biased (for instance I can sense some resentment of "elites" in your writing, among other things), I now don't know how much faith to have in your analysis of the Sub-Saharan African situation (which I feel much less qualified to judge than the other section).

I agree it is good for people to be thinking about these sorts of things, and I would encourage more research into the area. Also, I hadn't heard of Transafrican Water pipeline Project, and agree that it would make sense for EAs to evaluate it for whether it would be an effective use of charitable donations.

Comment author: RyanCarey 20 January 2018 09:56:31AM 6 points [-]

obviously the universe is finite

We can go only as far as to say that the accessible universe is finite according to prevailing current theories.

Comment author: RyanCarey 14 January 2018 12:01:42PM *  2 points [-]

I haven't read the whole paper yet, so forgive me if I miss some of the major points by just commenting on this post.

The image seems to imply that non-aligned AI would only extinguish human life on Earth. How do you figure that? It seems that an AI could extinguish all the rest of life on Earth too, even including itself in the process. [edit: this has since been corrected in the blog post]

For example, you could have an AI system that has the objective of performing some task X, before time Y, without leaving Earth, and then harvests all locally available resources in order to perform that task, before eventually running out of energy and switching off. This would seem to extinguish all life on Earth by any definition.

We could also discuss whether AI might extinguish all civilizations in the visible universe. This also seems possible. One reason for this is that humans might be the only civilization in the universe.

Comment author: RyanCarey 10 January 2018 08:57:39PM 0 points [-]

I revisited this question earlier today. Here's my analysis with rough made-up numbers.

I think each extra time you donate blood, it saves less than 0.02 expected lives.

Suppose half the benefits come from the red blood cells.

Each blood donation gives half a unit of red blood cells. (Because a unit of blood is ~300ml)

Each red blood cell transfusion uses 2-3 units on average, and saves a life <5% of the time.

So on average every ~5 donations would save 0.1 lives (supposing the red blood cells are half of the impact)

But each marginal unit of blood is worth much less than the average because blood is kept in reserve for when it's most needed.

So it should be less than 0.02 lives saved per donation, and possibly much less. If saving a life via AMF costs a few thousand dollars, and most EAs should value their time at least tens of dollars an hour, then pretty-much all EAs should not donate their blood, at least as far as altruistic reasons go.

I could be way wrong here, especially if the components other than red blood cells are providing a large fraction of the value.

Comment author: RyanCarey 31 December 2017 02:37:10PM 2 points [-]

Perhaps you could re-evaluation this question in light of Bostrom's findings in Astronomical Waste? The overriding impacts relate to risk of extinction of all life (which alien contact could bring about, or perhaps could avoid) rather than opportunity costs of technological development.

Comment author: FlorentBerthet 31 December 2017 10:17:24AM 0 points [-]

Any investment related to ET is probably not cost-effective, because there are probably no ET in our Universe (or at least not in our neighborhood).

Here's my take on why:

Also, watch this excellent talk by Stuart Armstrong on the Fermi Paradox:

Comment author: RyanCarey 31 December 2017 02:29:16PM 5 points [-]

Many cost-effective interventions probably don't work. You have to look at the probabilities.

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