denkenberger

Comments

The Upper Limit of Value

this gives a paltry annual return on investment of 0.075%

which seems large until we note that it implies an annualized rate of return of 0.08%; far more than our estimate above, but a tiny rate of return.

Am I comparing the right numbers? It doesn’t seem like far more to me.

Birds, Brains, Planes, and AI: Against Appeals to the Complexity/Mysteriousness/Efficiency of the Brain

That was an exciting graph! However, the labeling would be more consistent if it were steam engines, piston engines, and turbine engines OR stationary, ship/barge, train, automobile, and aircraft (I assume you mean airplanes and helicopters and you excluded rockets).

What risks from vaccines?

Comparing to other vaccines is helpful. But what about a more outside view of new medical treatments? I'm not sure what the reference class should be, but I think the fact that the mRNA vaccine has never been used before should give us pause.

Covid 9/10: Vitamin D

Maybe the most effective thing would be if there were a vitamin D futures market, to bid up the price to incite more production of it. But at the individual level, I think it makes sense to stock up to increase the price a little bit. If you don't end up needing it, you could always give/sell it to those who do later. The one I bought is good for 1.5 years.

Covid 9/10: Vitamin D

Another interesting piece of evidence is a study on homeless people in Boston (who would likely not be vitamin D deficient because more outdoor time):

"100% of 147 COVID-19 positive subjects were asymptomatic."

Source, which doesn't really make the connection: 
Baggett, T. P., Keyes, H., Sporn, N. & Gaeta, J. M. COVID-19 outbreak at a large homeless shelter in
Boston: Implications for universal testing. medRxiv 2020.04.12.20059618 (2020)
doi:10.1101/2020.04.12.20059618.

Covid 9/10: Vitamin D

I have estimated global vitamin D3 production to be a few tons per year, so at US RDA of 600 UI, we could only provide about 3% of the global population. At your suggestion of 5000 UI/day, it would only be about 0.3% of people. This is why I looked into quickly scaling up vitamin D production. The most promising appeared to be seaweed, but we could not get anyone excited about doing it before there was a shortage. Fortunately, just mega dosing of those testing positive appears to be within our global D3 production capability at current infection rate. However, if we let it run through the population, I don't think we would have sufficient supplies at current production.

We run the Center for Applied Rationality, AMA

Note that that statistic is how long people have been in their current job, not how long they will stay in their current job total. If everyone stayed in their jobs for 40 years, and you did a survey of how long people have been in their job, the median will come out to 20 years. I have not found hard data for the number we actually want, but this indicates that the median time that people stay in their jobs is about eight years, though it would be slightly shorter for younger people.

AGI safety and losing electricity/industry resilience cost-effectiveness

I like your succinct way of restating the case for spending some money on catastrophes other than AI.
It is possible that a loss of industry could be beneficial in the long term. One can adjust the moral hazard parameter to take into account this possibility. However, it does subject us to more natural risk like supervolcanic eruptions and asteroid/comet impacts. And if we actually lost anthropological civilization, we would not be doing any AI safety work. Even just losing industry for a long time I think would make most AI safety work not feasible, but I am interested in your thoughts. Without industry, we would not be able to afford nearly as many researchers. And they would just be doing math on paper.

David C Denkenberger on Food Production after a Sun Obscuring Disaster

This could potentially help many decades in the future. But it would need to be an order of magnitude or more reduction in energy costs for this to produce a lot of food. And I am particularly concerned about one of these catastrophes happening in the next decade.

David C Denkenberger on Food Production after a Sun Obscuring Disaster

Grains are all from the same family-grass. It is conceivable that a malicious actor could design a pathogen(s) that kills all grains. Or maybe it would become an endemic disease that would decrease the vigor of the plants permanently. I'm not arguing that any of these non-recovery scenarios are too likely. However, if together they represent 10% probability, and if there is a 10% probability of the sun being blocked this century, and a 10% probability of civilization collapsing if the sun is blocked, this would be a one in 1000 chance of an existential catastrophe from agricultural catastrophes this century. This is worth some effort to reduce.

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