Ian Turner

593 karmaJoined Jan 2023


My impression is that most CO2 offsets are bogus, basically the climate change version of “just 25 cents will help save a child’s life”. If you subject them to a GiveWell style analysis, I would guess most of these offset programs fall apart, or at least deliver way less than the promised counterfactual impact.

Also logically I think it would make sense to lump offsets in with other charitable giving and subject them to the same scrutiny, and when you do that it just doesn’t make sense to buy offsets. Even within the climate cause area, I really doubt that buying offsets would be cost effective, and I also doubt that climate is the most cost effective cause area right now.

The posts do have the “April Fool’s Day” tag right at the beginning?

I guess the question I have is, if the fraud wasn't noticed by SBF's investors, who had much better access to information and incentives to find fraud, why would anyone expect the recipients of his charitable donations to notice it? If it was a failure of the EA movement not to know that FTX was fraudulent, isn't it many times more of a failure that the fraud was unnoticed by the major sophisticated investment firms that were large FTX shareholders?

Thanks for posting this. I think this is the kind of practical, actionable analysis that we need.

Regarding this:

Given that there is still no way for model developers to deterministically guarantee a model’s expected behavior to downstream actors, and given the benefits that advanced AI could have in society, we think it is unfair for an actor to be forced to pay damages regardless of any steps they’ve taken to ensure the advanced AI in question is safe.

It seems to me that this is begging the question. If we don't know how to make AIs safe, that is a reason not to make AIs at all, not a reason to make unsafe AIs. This is not really any different from how the nuclear power industry has been regulated out of existence in some countries[1].

  1. I think this analogy holds regardless of your opinions about the actual dangerousness of nuclear power. ↩︎

TBH I do wonder if it would be possible to bribe plutocrats into stepping down. How much better off would Uganda be without Museveni?

The FTX estate (which I understand includes Alameda) did a lot of things wrong, but regarding this:

What made the lending out to Alameda fraudulent?

FTX promised many times, in many different forums, that it had sophisticated risk controls that would automatically liquidate customer accounts when limits were breached. Then it turned out that this was true for most counterparties, but Alameda was a big multi-billion dollar exception.

I think there’s an argument that if FTX had kept its promises about risk controls, there wouldn’t have been a criminal conviction, though possibly that would have negatively affected the business in other ways.

Hi Charlie, thanks for your reply.

I am a dilettante and don’t have much further to offer on social desirability bias, unfortunately. You might try connecting with a social scientist, development economist, or staff at one of the EA or EA-adjacent global health and development charities operating at the frontier of evidence for their respective interventions, such as GiveWell, GiveDirectly, Living Goods, IDinsight, DMI, Evidence Action, etc.

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