Comment author: ThomasSittler 15 September 2017 08:36:42AM 1 point [-]

the model is to be read as if the initiative polls well

Have you thought about some cheap ways to get more information on how this is likely to poll (even poor quality info) ?

Comment author: ThomasSittler 15 September 2017 08:34:52AM 0 points [-]

The well-being improvement estimates seem to come from small pilot studies with no control group, showing very large impacts. I don't have enough background to guess how large these impacts are relative to other known treatments or placebo. The smoking impacts come from Johnson et al. 2017 (N = 15), the depression impacts come from Carhart-Harris et al. 2016 (N = 12).

In response to Open Thread #38
Comment author: Denkenberger 22 August 2017 10:20:51PM 3 points [-]

I have found it helpful in talking about donating large percentages of salary to be able to point out how many people do similar amounts of sacrifice. One comparison that has been made was with being vegetarian. But this is hard to compare and still only a few percent of people. More common is people taking a 10% pay cut for positive impact of their job, or donating 10% of their free time (which I am saying is roughly 40 hours per week if one has a full-time job (comments here)). I tried to get some rough estimates of the rates of these behaviors, but has anyone else done it more rigorously or would like to do it?

Comment author: ThomasSittler 24 August 2017 09:31:26PM *  1 point [-]
Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 03 July 2017 02:41:30AM 7 points [-]

Can you speak to any plans on the horizon other than changing the domain name, even if long term?

Comment author: ThomasSittler 22 August 2017 07:20:56PM *  1 point [-]

From CEA's funding prospectus:

We have big plans for effectivealtruism.org over the next year, including the following:

Launch a chapter portal with resources for local groups (90% confident this will happen)

Launch a community portal with a layered discussion forum and aggregated effective altruism-relevant content from the web (70%)

Publish a series of long-form essays that methodically explain the foundations of effective altruism (50%)

Comment author: rhys_lindmark 18 August 2017 04:38:31PM 2 points [-]

I definitely agree that information on these topics is ripe for aggregation/curation.

My instinct is to look to the VC/startup community for some insight here, specifically around uncertainty (they're in the business of "predicting/quantifying/derisking uncertain futures/projects"). Two quick examples:

I would expect an "EA-focused uncertainty model" to include gates that map a specific project through time given models of macro future trends.

Comment author: ThomasSittler 18 August 2017 08:50:51PM 2 points [-]

Could you give specific examples of how ideas from VCs or startups could contribute a novel insight to EA prioritisation? Your links weren't very helpful on their own.

Comment author: ThomasSittler 17 August 2017 08:09:05PM *  3 points [-]

You may be interested in Owen's talk Prospecting for Gold. Among other things it has a mathematical formalisation of the ITN framework.

Comment author: ThomasSittler 13 August 2017 08:29:56AM *  5 points [-]

Thanks for this impressive series of posts, Michael!

In the body text you write:

As far as I’m aware, there are no cost-effectiveness estimates comparing near-term causes like Give Directly and AMF to far-future ones, so I don’t know how much better X-risk charities are supposed to be.

But then you acknowledge in footnote 7 that there do exist such models. Michael Dickens' model is one example, and so are the models we developed during the Oxford Prioritisation Project, which you can tweak to your liking. Since not everyone may read the footnote, one thing you might do would be to amend the body text.

In a Part 2, you outline Six Ways DPR Could Do Good, yet your quantitative model only seems to take into account the first of these, improved treatment for mental health. Do you think it's the biggest effect? Or was it the easiest to model? Do you have plans to model other ways DPR could do good?

Assume the research caused by the rescheduling reveals ways to increase the happiness of each of these 10m people by 0.1 for a single year.

Does this assume that every single person suffering from depression or anxiety in the UK will adopt the new treatment? That seems unlikely. One way to get at this might be to look at current adoption rates of existing medication like SSRIs. These may be lower than adoption rates for new drugs would be, because SSRIs are less effective, but should give an interesting base rate.

You assume a 0.1 change. How does this relate to the studies on psilocybin you cite in part 2? For instance, you might look at how to translate changes on the QIDS (Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology) scale into changes in HALYs. We did something very similar in our model of StrongMinds. In particular Konstantin and Lovisa wrote:

StrongMinds measures impact on the 27-point, linear PHQ-9 scale. To convert PHQ-9 impact to DALYs averted, Global Burden of Disease DALY-weighting of most severe depression (0.658) was divided by PHQ-9 points-weighting of most severe depression (27) to render 0.024 DALYs averted per PHQ-9 point reduced.

Finally, with regard to the £166m figure. It would be useful to get an order of magnitude estimate of the cost of past campaigns to achieve this kind of policy change, and their rate of success. A quick google scholar search throws up: Advancing the Empirical Research on Lobbying, Figueiredo and Richter, a literature review.

I want to stress that although my comment focused on areas of possible improvement in your post, I strongly support your doing this work and I think it's good. Good luck!

Comment author: DominikPeters 03 August 2017 08:11:23PM *  3 points [-]

Under certain circumstances, having moral uncertainty over theories that are purely ordinal may lead to the recommendation to split. Example: Suppose there are three charities A,B,C, and four options: donating 100% to one of A, B, C, or splitting the money equally between them (which we will call S). Let's ignore other ways of splitting. Suppose you have equal credence of 33% in three different theories:

1: A > S > B > C

2: B > S > C > A

3: C > S > A > B

Given the ranking over charities, it is rational in something like a von Neumann-Morgenstern sense to rank S second. But with these theories and these credences, one can see that S is the Condorcet winner and it is also the unique Borda winner, so that S would be uniquely recommended by essentially all voting rules, including Borda, the system favoured by Will MacAskill. In this example, contrary to the example in the OP, option S is not Pareto-dominated by another option, so that the unanimity principle does not bite.

This example crucially depends on only having ordinal information available, since with cardinal information (and expected value maximisation) we would never uniquely recommend splitting, as Tom notes, and so I don't think the argument in favour of splitting from moral uncertainty is particularly strong or robust.

Comment author: ThomasSittler 09 August 2017 11:16:56AM *  0 points [-]

Thanks, your counter-example is correct. I'm wondering how much of the effect is due to the way it individuates options? If we considered all possible ways of splitting S_1, S_2, ..., S_N, could we still construct sensible-seeming moral theories such that all (most?) voting rules recommend a significant amount of splitting?

In response to Introducing Enthea
Comment author: ThomasSittler 09 August 2017 11:11:56AM 2 points [-]

Interesting. Why focus on psilocybin and not other psychedelic substances? From reading the abstract, the systematic review you cite seems to claim similar effects for ayahuasca, psilocybin, and LSD.

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How much donation splitting is there, and should you split?

Cross-posted from my blog . Table of contents Table of contents Summary Many of us split Individual examples EA funds data Naive approach: distribution of allocation percentages Less naive apprach: weighted distribution of allocation percentages Best approach: user totals Other data Arguments for splitting Empirical uncertainty combined with risk aversion... Read More

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