Jonas Vollmer


Apply to Effective Altruism Funds now

I largely agree with Habryka's perspective. I personally (not speaking on behalf of the EA Infrastructure Fund) would be particularly interested in such a grant if you had a track record of successful writing, as this would make it more likely you'd actually reach a large audience. E.g., Eliezer did not just write HPMoR but was a successful blogger on Overcoming Bias and wrote the sequences.

The rationalist community's location problem

Yeah, that seems very plausible for frugal people who don't pay much rent, don't eat out that often, etc. and updates me against Berlin

The rationalist community's location problem

I know of some EAs who lived in Berlin and found it very difficult to make friends due to the language barriers, and some EAs who had an experience more similar to yours. 

The rationalist community's location problem

Yeah. Adjusting for cost of living and purchasing power, it would be (much?) less, but still a good reason against moving.

The rationalist community's location problem

Upvoted, I would like to see Berlin considered more strongly. Having lived there for two years, I think it's hard to overestimate how high the quality of living in Berlin is, not just in the easily verifiable ways listed above, but also in more subtle ways. E.g., in addition to being much cheaper, restaurants/cuisine just generally seems higher quality compared to many other places. German housing is much better than UK/US housing in ways that seem hard to appreciate for people who haven't lived in both locations, etc.

Edit: To clarify, I don't want to suggest Berlin as the one single best rationalist hub, but as one of the global top 5.

To add some downsides:

  • The language barrier is still a bit of an issue if you care about making friends outside the rationalist community
  • The airports are among the worst in the world
Draft report on AI timelines

Super exciting that this is being shared. Thanks!

Tips/tricks/notes on optimizing investments

Is this still worth it if you're exceeding the FDIC limit of $250k?

Tips/tricks/notes on optimizing investments

If you're investing to donate, consider using a tax-deductible entity

If you ultimately want to give, you can get ~1% extra per year by using a tax-deductible entity.

In the UK, it's a substantial effort to set up a charity, but you have a lot of freedom with respect to how you invest, so you can also implement relatively advanced strategies.

In Switzerland, the effort of setting up a charity is very small, but you do face some limitations on investment options.

I haven't looked into other jurisdictions.

Why don't singularitarians bet on the creation of AGI by buying stocks?

Rather than just saying "just buy some AI companies" I'd be interested in the specific bets people are making, i.e., which stocks to buy, how to weight them, etc. Something like: Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook (or not because Good Ventures already might be overexposed?), Apple, IBM, Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu, perhaps plus some compute manufacturers. Thinking about the allocation seems relevant, too.

Relatedly, we could also think about how this relates to concerns about supporting these companies; perhaps divestment would be better than investing in these companies.

Obviously related, but not mentioned so far: The OP essentially describes mission hedging, see Hauke Hillebrandt: A generalized strategy of ‘mission hedging’: investing in 'evil' to do more good

RAISE post-mortem

I'm sure that wasn't easy, congrats for going through with it and posting such a transparent write-up of your thinking!

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