Comment author: lukeprog 21 April 2017 05:58:59AM 7 points [-]

Thanks, this was really interesting.

Comment author: lukeprog 26 March 2017 12:14:24AM 11 points [-]
In response to comment by Telofy  (EA Profile) on Anonymous EA comments
Comment author: Ben_Todd 09 February 2017 10:42:18AM 6 points [-]

My impression is that many of the founders of the movement are moral realists and professional moral philosophers e.g. Peter Singer published a book arguing for moral realism in 2014 ("The Point of View of the Universe").

Comment author: lukeprog 09 February 2017 10:45:38PM 3 points [-]

Plus some who at least put some non-negligible probability on moral realism, in some kind of moral uncertainty framework.

Comment author: RobBensinger 07 February 2017 11:04:24PM 7 points [-]

Anonymous #39:

Level of involvement: I'm not an EA, but I'm EA-adjacent and EA-sympathetic.

EA seems to have picked all the low-hanging fruit and doesn't know what to do with itself now. Standard health and global poverty feel like trying to fill a bottomless pit. It's hard to get excited about GiveWell Report #3543 about how we should be focusing on a slightly different parasite and that the cost of saving a life has gone up by $3. Animal altruism is in a similar situation, and is also morally controversial and tainted by culture war. The benefits of more long-shot interventions are hard to predict, and some of them could also have negative consequences. AI risk is a target for mockery by outsiders, and while the theoretical arguments for its importance seem sound, it's hard to tell whether an organization is effective in doing anything about it. And the space of interventions in politics is here-be-dragons.

The lack of salient progress is a cause of some background frustration. Some of those who think their cause is best try to persuade others in the movement, but to little effect, because there's not much new to say to change people's minds; and that contributes to the feeling of stagnation. This is not to say that debate and criticism are bad; being open to them is much better than the alternative, and the community is good at being civil and not getting too heated. But the motivation for them seems to draw more from ingrained habits and compulsive behavior than from trying to expose others to new ideas. (Because there aren't any.)

Others respond to the frustration by trying to grow the movement, but that runs into the real (and in my opinion near-certain) dangers of mindkilling politics, stifling PR, dishonesty (Sarah Constantin's concerns), and value drift.

And others (there's overlap between these groups) treat EA as a social group, whether that means house parties or memes. Which is harmless fun in itself, but hardly an inspiring direction for the movement.

What would improve the movement most is a wellspring of new ideas of the quality that inspired it to begin with. Apart from that, it seems quite possible that there's not much room for improvement; most tradeoffs seem to not be worth the cost. That means that it's stuck as it is, at best -- which is discouraging, but if that's the reality, EAs should accept it.

Comment author: lukeprog 09 February 2017 10:33:08PM *  4 points [-]

I think EA may have picked the lowest-hanging fruit, but there's lots of low-ish hanging fruit left unpicked. For example: who, exactly, should be seen as the beneficiaries aka allkind aka moral patients? EAs disagree about this quite a lot, but there hasn't been that much detailed + broadly informed argument about it inside EA. (This example comes to mind because I'm currently writing a report on it for OpenPhil.)

There are also a great many areas that might be fairly promising, but which haven't been looked into in much breadth+detail yet (AFAIK). The best of these might count as low-ish hanging fruit. E.g.: is there anything to be done about authoritarianism around the world? Might certain kinds of meta-science work (e.g. COS) make future life science and social science work more robust+informative than it is now, providing highly leveraged returns to welfare?

Comment author: lukeprog 09 December 2016 06:22:24PM 6 points [-]

GiveWell's post like this, for 2016, is here.

Comment author: lukeprog 09 December 2016 06:20:07PM 19 points [-]

Just FYI, I'm currently writing up a report on phenomenal consciousness and moral patienthood — but not moral weight, not yet — for the Open Philanthropy Project. Some conversations from this investigation have been published already, see here.

Comment author: lukeprog 01 December 2016 06:49:50AM 17 points [-]

I donated to MIRI this year, too, and it is striking — given that you and I coming at the question from different backgrounds (i.e. with me as past MIRI executive) — how similar my reasons (this year) are to yours, including my reaction to Open Phil's write-up, my reservations, my perception of how field dynamics have changed, etc.

(Note: I work at Open Phil but wasn't involved in thinking through or deciding Open Phil's grant to MIRI. My opinions in this comment are, obviously, my own.)

Comment author: lukeprog 13 November 2016 04:42:02AM 1 point [-]

I like this idea. I'll make some suggestions (not already made elsewhere on this page) as replies to this comment.

Comment author: lukeprog 15 November 2016 05:30:28AM 1 point [-]
Comment author: lukeprog 13 November 2016 04:42:02AM 1 point [-]

I like this idea. I'll make some suggestions (not already made elsewhere on this page) as replies to this comment.

Comment author: lukeprog 13 November 2016 05:08:42AM 1 point [-]
Comment author: Kelly_Witwicki 11 November 2016 06:03:51PM *  1 point [-]

And FRI and SP both have articles on wild animals, not sure which is better for purposes here. SP's is a bit more introductory/accessible maybe, and also expresses more philosophical arguments for why we should care; FRI's a bit more academic and does not address some typical introductory reactions.

FRI's: https://foundational-research.org/the-importance-of-wild-animal-suffering/

Comment author: lukeprog 13 November 2016 05:02:20AM 3 points [-]

Seems like this one should probably count for 2009 rather than 2016…

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