Comment author: Dunja 10 September 2018 10:16:31PM 1 point [-]

Part of being in an intellectual community is being able to accept that you will think that other people are very wrong about things. It's not a matter of opinion, but it is a matter of debate.

Sure! Which is why I've been exchanging arguments with you.

Oh, there have been numerous articles, in your field, claimed by you.

Now what on earth is that supposed to mean? What are you trying to say with this? You want references, is that it? I have no idea what this claim is supposed to stand for :-/

That's all well and good, but it should be clear why people will have reasons for doubts on the topic.

Sure, and so far you haven't given me a single good reason. The only thing you've done is reiterate the lack of transparency on the side of OpenPhil.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 10 September 2018 10:26:03PM *  0 points [-]

Sure! Which is why I've been exchanging arguments with you.

And, therefore, you would be wise to treat Open Phil in the same manner, i.e. something to disagree with, not something to attack as not being Good Enough for EA.

Now what on earth is that supposed to mean? What are you trying to say with this? You want references, is that it? I have no idea what this claim is supposed to stand for :-/

It means that you haven't argued your point with the sufficient rigor and comprehensiveness that is required for you to convince every reasonable person. (no, stating "experts in my field agree with me" does not count here, even though it's a big part of it)

Sure, and so far you haven't given me a single good reason.

Other people have discussed and linked Open Phil's philosophy, I see no point in rehashing it.

Comment author: Dunja 10 September 2018 10:08:04PM 1 point [-]

Oh no, this is not just a matter of opinion. There are numerous articles written in the field of philosophy of science aimed precisely to determine which criteria help us to evaluate promising scientific research. So there is actually quite some scholarly work on this (and it is a topic of my research, as a matter of fact).

So yes, I'd argue that the situation is disturbing since immense amount of money is going into research for which there is no good reason to suppose that it is effective or efficient.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 10 September 2018 10:13:03PM -1 points [-]

Oh no, this is not just a matter of opinion.

Part of being in an intellectual community is being able to accept that you will think that other people are very wrong about things. It's not a matter of opinion, but it is a matter of debate.

There are numerous articles written in the field of philosophy of science aimed precisely to determine which criteria help us to evaluate promising scientific research

Oh, there have been numerous articles, in your field, claimed by you. That's all well and good, but it should be clear why people will have reasons for doubts on the topic.

Comment author: Dunja 10 September 2018 09:30:05PM *  2 points [-]

Again: you are missing my point :) I don't care if it's their money or not, that's beside my point.

What I care about is: are their funding strategies rooted in the standards that are conducive to effective and efficient scientific research?

Otherwise, makes no sense to label them as an organization that's conforming to the standards of EA, at least in the case of such practices.

Subjective, unverifiable, etc. has nothing to do with such standards (= conducive to effective & efficient scientific research).

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 10 September 2018 10:05:27PM *  0 points [-]

are their funding strategies rooted in the standards that are conducive to effective and efficient scientific research?

As I stated already, "We can presume that formal, traditional institutional funding policies would do better, but it is difficult to argue that point to the level of certainty that tells us that the situation is "disturbing". Those policies are costly - they take more time and people to implement." It is, in short, your conceptual argument about how to do EA. So, people disagree. Welcome to EA.

Subjective, unverifiable, etc. has nothing to do with such standards

It has something to do with the difficulty of showing that a group is not conforming to the standards of EA.

Comment author: Dunja 10 September 2018 08:26:50PM *  2 points [-]

Again, you are missing the point: my argument concerns the criteria in view which projects are assessed as worthy of funding. These criteria exist and are employed by various funding institutions across academia. I haven't seen any such criteria (and the justification thereof, such that they are conducive to effective and efficient research) in this case, which is why I've raised the issue.

we're willing to give a lot of money to wherever it will do the most good in expectation.

And my focus is on: which criteria are used/should be used in order to decide which research projects will do the most good in expectation. Currently such criteria are lacking, including their justification in terms of effectiveness and efficiency.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 10 September 2018 09:25:25PM 0 points [-]

Open Phil has a more subjective approach, others have talked about their philosophy here. That means it's not easily verifiable to outsiders, but that's of no concern to Open Phil, because it is their own money.

Comment author: Elizabeth 10 September 2018 08:45:40PM 2 points [-]

I don’t often argue the merits of bednets versus cash transfers, which means I get intellectually sloppy knowing I won’t be challenged.

OK, but in that case wouldn't it be better to stick around people with opposing points of view?

This seems like a pretty severe misreading to me. Ozy is saying that they want to hone their arguments against people with expertise in a particular field rather than a different field, which is perfectly reasonable.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 10 September 2018 08:51:27PM *  2 points [-]

You're right, I did misread it, I thought the comparison was something against long term causes.

In any case you can always start a debate over how to reduce poverty on forums like this. Arguments like this have caught a lot of interest around here. And just because you put all the "near-term EAs" in the same place doesn't mean they'll argue with each other.

Comment author: Dunja 10 September 2018 01:21:44PM *  1 point [-]

(1) I think it is standard practice for peer review to be kept anonymous,

Problem wasn't in the reviewer being anonymous, but in the lack of access to the report

(2) some of the things you are mentioning seem like norms about grants and writeups that will reasonably vary based on context,

Sure, but that doesn't mean no criteria should be available.

(3) you're just looking at one grant out of all that Open Phil has done,

Indeed, I am concerned with one extremely huge grant. I find the sum large enough to warrant concerns, especially since the same can happen with future funding strategies.

(4) while you are looking at computer science, their first FDT paper was accepted at Formal Epistemology Workshop, and a professional philosopher of decision theory who went there spoke positively about it.

I was raising an issue concerning journal articles, which are nonetheless important even in computer science to solidify the research results. Proceedings are important for novel results, but the actual rigor of reviews comes through in journal publications (otherwise, journals would be pointless in this domain).

As for the rest of your post, I advice comparing an output of groups of smaller or similar size that have been funded via prestigious grants, you'll notice a difference.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 10 September 2018 08:21:00PM *  0 points [-]

Open Phil gave $5.6MM to Berkeley for AI, even though Russell's group is new and its staff/faculty are still fewer than the staff of MIRI. They gave $30MM to OpenAI. And $1-2MM for many other groups. Of course EAs can give more to a particular groups, that's because we're EAs, we're willing to give a lot of money to wherever it will do the most good in expectation.

5

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