Bio

Participation
3

Working in healthcare technology and doing some independent AI alignment research on the side.

MSc in applied mathematics/theoretical ML.

Interested in increasing diversity, transparency and democracy in the EA movement. Would like to know how algorithm developers can help "neartermist" causes.

Comments
930

I think you're mostly right, especially about LLMs and current hype (though I do think a couple innovations beyond current technology could get us AGI). but I want to point out that AI progress has not been entirely fruitless. The most salient example in my mind is AlphaFold which is actually used for research, drug discovery etc.

Thanks for correcting me. I do believe they're much less involved in these things nowadays, but I might be wrong.

I indeed haven't seen any expression of racism from either, but I chose carefully to write "racist/euginicist" before for this kind of reason exactly. I personally believe even discussing such interventions in the way that they have been in EA has risks (of promoting racist policies by individuals, organizations, governments) that far outweigh any benefits. Such a discussion might be possible privately between people who all know each other very well and can trust each other's good intentions, but otherwise it is too dangerous.

I appreciate you sharing your experience. It's different from mine and so it can be that I'm judging too many people too harshly based on this difference.

That said, I suspect that it's not enough to have this aversion. The racism I often see requires a degree of indifference to the consequences of one's actions and discourse, or maybe a strong naivety that makes one unaware of those consequences.

I know I can't generalize from one person, but if you see yourself as an example of the different mindset that might lead to the behaviour I observed - notice that you yourself seem to be very aware of the consequences of your actions, and every bit of expression from you I've seen has been the opposite of what I'm condemning.

Edit: for those downvoting, I would appreciate feedback on this comment, either here or in a PM.

Maybe not consciously. Does that make it any better?

I don't think the movement can be ascribed a stance on this. What I said, rather, is:

many EAs are racists/euginicists and want to have such opinions around them

And I stand behind this. They just aren't the people responsible for the interventions you mentioned.

some people here might think that EA should be grappling with racism outside of this incident, in which case opportunities like this are helpful for creating discourse

I think sort of the opposite. Even though I commented elsewhere that I think there's a strong racist/eugenicist element in EA, I think Manifest has little to do with EA and could probably be ignored here if it weren't for the guardian article.

But the problem is that once it came to be discussed here, the discussion itself proved much more damning to EA than that not-really-EA event was in the first place. This isn't the first time that has happened. I guess it's better to know than not to know, but it's really weird to need this outside trigger for it.

I disagree with much of this, but I edited my very-downvoted comment to make clear that it wasn't about the Manifest team, whom I know basically nothing about.

I maintain that it's neither, but I'm particularly curious to hear why you think it's implausible.

Most Israeli Jews would call the phrase "From the river to the see" antisemitic. Myself being relatively on the far left in that group, and having spoken a lot with Palestinians online before the war, I'd argue that it's antisemitic/calls for ethnic cleansing of Jews around 50% of the time. I would not prosecute or boycott someone based on it alone.

Edit: but most Israelis might choose not to come to a conference that would platform such a person, I guess. I think this is a different situation from the current real controversy, but make of it what you will.

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