1615 karmaJoined Jun 2020


Contractor RA to Peter Singer, Princeton


Hi Aashish, thank you for your reply!

Re: your first question, I think I am very concerned about the impact of PLF techs in the global north, but it's kind of inevitable already - it will happen anyway. I think the question is how to make it develop into more animal friendly versions.

Re: your second question, I am starting to discuss with fellow advocates within the momvent on strategies to react to AI/PLF development in factory farming. I think I only have rough ideas that might be worth discussing further, but nothing worth actually implementing yet.

I think I don't have good answers to your last question because I know close to nothing about factory farming (or anything) in Africa.



I wonder if you have any official view/guidance on when and when not to do cross posting (AAF + EA forum), for people who want to post on the Animal Advocacy Forum?

I haven't spent any meaningful time thinking about this question in the context of Africa. But I have a sense of worry that one of the major drivers of factory farming intensification in Africa in the future is going to be a series of technologies called precision livestock farming technologies, which include AI, robotics, cloud computing, cloud-connected electronic gadgets. In particular, AI is going to be the center of all these.

AI and robotics used in factory farming are largely still in their R&D to pilot testing stages in developed countries (U.S., Canada, Japan, EU) and China. I don't see a reason why they will not get to a point where most factory farms in their countries can be, economically speaking (there might be political reasons against employing such technologies), largely run by AI and robots. And I think the costs of these AI systems and robots will go down and eventually be promoted to and sold to Africa. Their economic advantage might grow so huge that they will drive out the small holder farmers who cannot afford these systems. 

Thank you for doing this!

I have a question about the translation of "utilitarianism" to "功利主義". I have been thinking for very long that this is a bad translation in both the Japanese and Chinese contexts (for those who don't know these languages: "功利主義" is the most popular translation for "utilitarianism" in both Japanese and Chinese). The bad thing seems to be that the words "功利" has a bad connotation, and one that is almost the reverse of utlitarianism, therefore causing people to misunderstand utilitarianism, or have bad impression against it. 

My question is then: Do you think "功利主義" is a bad translation?  (not bad as in it is bad that you, or any translator chose this as the translation. But bad that it was, historically speaking, chosen and established as the popular translation.)

I'm working on plans to do more to support a rigorous search for approaches to animal-inclusive AI (or approaches to advancing wild animal welfare science broadly) that would also rank among the most promising ways to reduce human extinction risk from AI.

Interesting! I am interesting in discussing this idea further with you.

Could it be the case that another way to think about it is to search within the best approaches to reduce human x-risk, for a subset that is aslo animal inclusive? For example, if working on AI alignment is one of the best ways to reduce human x-risk, then we try to look for the subset within these alignment strategies that are also animal friendly?

Apparently Microsoft was also blindsided by this and didn't find out until moments before the announcement.

Not sure how important this is: Judging from the behavior of Satya Nadella during OpenAI's dev day 12 days ago, Microsoft quite likely didn't see that coming at that moment.


Thank you Ren. I want to say take your time, and please prioritize your own welfare on this.

Thank you for the post! 

It seems to me that a lot of how important this is also depends on how the shrimps die. Are they already dead, or still alive, when they are "processed" (e.g. sundried)? I heard shrimp paste companies bragging that from "harvest" to "processing", there were less than 3 hours.

Does anyone have information on this?

However, there are reasons to doubt this. The probabilities of different gambles add up only when the outcomes of those gambles are independent of one another. Are facts about honeybee sentience independent of facts about black soldier fly sentience? That is, do the prospects of their sentience rise and fall together?

In reply to my own comment above. I think it is important to recognize one further point: If one believes a species portofio approach to reduce risk of inefficacy doesn't work because prospects of the concerned species' sentience "rise and fall" together, one very likely also needs to, epistemologically speaking, put much less weight on the existence (and non-existence) of experimental evidence of sentience in their updating of views regarding animal sentience. The practical implication of this is that one might no longer be justified to say things like "the cleaner wrasse (the first fish purported to have passed the mirror test) is more likely to be sentient than other fish species."

Thank you, so much, for the post! I would like to quote the passage that had the most impact (insight) on me:

someone who is concerned with minimizing the risk of futility may avoid single-shot bets with a low probability of success but accept combinations of bets that collectively make success probable. A hierarchicalist would not deem the combination of gambles to be any better than the gambles individually. For example, Shane might resist spending money on shrimp welfare because he thinks that there is a .1 chance that shrimp are sentient. However, he might accept distributing money among shrimp, honeybees, black soldier fly, mealworms, and silkworms; though he thinks each of these has a .9 chance of making no difference, he believes that the probability that the combination of bets will make a difference is .5.

Which leads to the conclusion:

If Shane’s reasoning is correct, then risk aversion about efficacy might not avoid the conclusion that we ought to help the many small. Instead, it might tell us that we should distribute our money across different species of dubious sentience in order to optimize the combined probability of making a difference and maximizing value. 

And of course, the caveat they raised it also important:

However, there are reasons to doubt this. The probabilities of different gambles add up only when the outcomes of those gambles are independent of one another. Are facts about honeybee sentience independent of facts about black soldier fly sentience? That is, do the prospects of their sentience rise and fall together?

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