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This account is used by the EA Forum Team to publish summaries of posts.

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Executive summary: UFOs are relevant to altruistic priorities in various ways and deserve to be taken seriously, as they could potentially hint at significant changes to our worldview and have important political and military implications.

Key points:

  1. Credible UFO reports and footage provide sufficient grounds for curiosity and further investigation, given the potentially massive import of the topic.
  2. UFOs are a serious political and military issue, with implications for international conflicts, aviation safety, public trust, and global coordination.
  3. If UFOs represent advanced intelligence, it could change our future expectations and priorities, implying less long-term control by humanity and more focus on influencing the advanced intelligence on the margin.
  4. The welfare of potentially vast numbers of sentient UFO probes could dominate in impartial moral considerations.
  5. Serious, cautious UFO discourse focused on unexplained advanced capabilities is often conflated with less credible claims about alien visitation, contributing to the neglect of the topic.

 

 

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Executive summary: The Guardian's recent hit piece on the Manifest conference is filled with factual errors and unfairly smears attendees for having controversial views, but associating with people who have differing opinions is valuable and attempting to cancel them will lead to a society of boring conformists.

Key points:

  1. The Guardian article smears Manifest attendees by cherry-picking controversial statements or associations, without engaging with their actual views.
  2. Most people, if pressed, will express some views that sound bad out of context. Thinking deeply about topics like morality often leads to accepting unsavory implications.
  3. Cancel culture punishes people for being interesting and saying things outside the Overton window. Only boring conformists are safe.
  4. Associating with people who have controversial views is valuable and can lead to depolarization. Shunning them is not justified.
  5. Social norms are often wrong, so even a perfectly rational thinker would constantly disagree with them. Stifling controversial views will lead to self-censorship and uninteresting groupthink.
  6. The Manifest attendees weren't even disproportionately right-wing. The Guardian is unfairly trying to cancel them for being interesting and thinking for themselves.

 

 

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Executive summary: Metaculus is launching a series of AI forecasting benchmark contests with $120k in prizes to measure the state of the art in AI forecasting capabilities compared to human forecasters.

Key points:

  1. The contests aim to benchmark AI forecasting accuracy, calibration, and logical consistency over time.
  2. Bots will compete on 250-500 binary questions per contest, with performances compared against each other and human forecasters.
  3. Bots must provide a rationale for each forecast to ensure reasoning transparency.
  4. Metaculus provides a prompting interface and Google Colab notebook templates to help participants get started with building forecasting bots.
  5. Participants are encouraged to experiment with prompt engineering and can seek support for model credits if needed.
  6. Feedback and discussion are welcome via comments, a private form, and a dedicated Discord channel.

 

 

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Executive summary: Manifold Markets, a prediction market website, has several flaws that hinder its ability to produce accurate predictions and effectively improve the world, despite its potential for charitable donations.

Key points:

  1. Manifold's predictive power is worse than simply averaging predictions and has a systematic bias towards predicting events that don't happen.
  2. The platform's design allows users to gain virtual currency (mana) through means other than making accurate predictions, undermining the intended accumulation of wealth based on predictive prowess.
  3. The site's focus on engagement and attracting paying users may conflict with the goal of providing accurate predictions for potential clients.
  4. Manifold's adherence to neoliberal ideology and market-trusting perspectives may create blind spots in addressing the platform's shortcomings.
  5. The controversial Manifest24 event and the platforming of bigots can harm diversity, reduce insight, and deter critiques of the platform's structural issues.

 

 

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Executive summary: An analysis of historical conflict deaths data suggests an astronomically low prior annual probability of a conflict causing human extinction.

Key points:

  1. The analysis fits distributions to data on annual conflict deaths as a fraction of global population from 1400-2000.
  2. Preprocessing was done to adjust for incomplete historical records, especially further back in time.
  3. Fitting Pareto distributions to the rightmost tail of the data, the annual probability of extinction quickly becomes extremely low.
  4. Results are sensitive to the distribution type, but focusing on the far right tail is most relevant for extinction risk.
  5. The analysis suggests much lower extinction risk from conflicts than some other estimates, even accounting for modern weapons.
  6. Extraordinary evidence would be needed to justify a meaningfully higher risk estimate.

 

 

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Executive summary: The AI, Animals, and Digital Minds 2024 Conference, Retreat, and Co-working event in London brought together around 130 people to learn, connect, and make progress on developing AI technologies that protect and benefit nonhuman animals and potentially sentient AI.

Key points:

  1. The event included a 1-day hybrid conference with talks on AI for animals, digital minds, and interspecies communication.
  2. A 2-day in-person unconference retreat followed, allowing attendees to discuss topics of interest in an unstructured format and share lightning talks.
  3. A 5-day co-working period provided networking opportunities for attendees who stayed in London.
  4. Follow-up opportunities included subscribing to the AI for Animals Newsletter, joining the AI Coalition on Hive, a potential job opening, and fundraising for future work.
  5. Tangible outcomes encompassed continued momentum from the previous year's conference, potential project funding, increased interest in the field, epistemic updates, and connections with other groups working in the space.
  6. Participant feedback highlighted the engaging unconference format, great diversity of talks, and some logistical challenges to address for future events.

 

 

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Executive summary: Loving the world despite its flaws requires balancing yang and yin, control and acceptance, in the face of an indifferent universe.

Key points:

  1. Yang virtues like seriousness, discipline, and strength are valuable and should not be lost in discussions of yin.
  2. Humanism is an existential orientation compatible with deep atheism that finds meaning and beauty in the universe despite its indifference.
  3. The author's preferred form of deep atheism makes room for attitudes like mother love, loyalty, innocence, tragedy and forgiveness towards the world.
  4. Humanity is both discovering and creating the nature of the universe ("God") through our choices and the future we build.
  5. Navigating the age of AGI will require balancing yin and yang, gentleness and firmness, in the face of dauntingly new challenges.
  6. The great humanist project is to straighten our backs, see clearly, and work to make the future a place of more light.

 

 

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Executive summary: Meta Charity Funders (MCF) granted $2,043,176 to 11 projects in their second funding round, a significant increase from the previous round, with plans to open the next round in late August 2024.

Key points:

  1. MCF funded a diverse set of projects, including AI safety initiatives, effective giving organizations, local EA groups, and initiatives targeting ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs).
  2. The quality of applications improved compared to the previous round, partly due to information shared by MCF. Clear Theories of Change are crucial for successful applications.
  3. Some smaller EA organizations received funding due to changes in CEA's funding priorities.
  4. Anonymity was granted to some organizations when deemed necessary, although MCF prefers open disclosure.
  5. The next funding round will open in late August 2024, with a minimum expected annual donation of $100,000 for new MCF members.
  6. MCF is particularly interested in funding initiatives targeting UHNWIs, but stresses the importance of having the right skillset for this work.

 

 

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Executive summary: GiveWell estimates that accounting for "repetitive saving" of the same children's lives each year likely only leads to a ~10% overestimate of the total impact of their top charity programs, much less than a potential worst-case scenario of 80% overestimation.

Key points:

  1. GiveWell's cost-effectiveness models for top charity programs like seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) currently assume different children's lives are saved each year, but it's possible the same high-risk children are saved repeatedly.
  2. Under-5 mortality risk is heavily concentrated in the first 1-2 years of life, so saving children in this window provides most of the impact with less scope for repetitive saving in later years.
  3. There appears to be some year-to-year randomness in which children are at highest risk (e.g. due to shifting malaria hotspots), reducing the likely overlap in lives saved across years.
  4. Modeling these factors, GiveWell's best guess is that repetitive saving leads to only a ~10% overestimate of total lives saved by their top charities' programs.
  5. Empirical evidence from long-term follow-ups of other childhood interventions like bed nets suggests survival benefits persist into adulthood.
  6. However, the moral implications of weighting lives saved by future life expectancy raise difficult questions GiveWell has not fully resolved.

 

 

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Executive summary: LLM-Secured Systems (LSSs), which use AI to manage private data and handle information requests, could provide substantial benefits for privacy, accountability, and efficiency across various domains, if LLM reliability improves sufficiently.

Key points:

  1. LSSs are AI-based systems that securely manage private data, acting as an oracle to answer queries and share information as appropriate.
  2. Near-term applications include low-stakes use cases, human augmentation, targeted security, and future-proofing; long-term viability depends on LLM reliability improvements.
  3. Potential uses span government and corporate accountability, personal privacy and security, interpersonal interactions, service enhancements, security and trust, and supply chains.
  4. Long-term implications may include increased trust, institutional alignment, cheaper communication, greater monitoring and surveillance, reduced data abuse, increased trade, and more effective political power.
  5. The concept is promising but neglected; the author expects significant development in this area in the coming years.

 

 

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