“If expensive life-extension technology isn't available, or you never succeeded in amassing enough wealth to buy it, would you look back and decide that you would have been happier having tried to make the world a better place? Likewise if the world never gets any better than it is now (and possibly worse) despite your parts in trying to improve it, would you have preferred to have tried to amass wealth instead?”
Well, I don’t know. That’s what I was trying to figure out by asking this question. For the first question, it’s quite likely, as my wealth wouldn... (read more)
I think the possibility of living for a googol years vastly outweighs the amount of happiness I’d get directly from any job. And making the world a better place is agreed by everyone I’ve seen comment on the topic (including Eliezer Yudkowsky - https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/vwnSPgwtmLjvTK2Wa/amputation-of-destiny) to be an essential part of happiness, and the window of opportunity for that might well close in a hundred years or so, when AI is able to do everything for us.
“Look back over the last year. Do you wish you'd done things that made you have a few much happier moments, or do you wish you'd done things that made you a little happier much of the time?”
The latter. Which is interesting for me, because when I was younger, I was obsessed with feeling ecstatic all the time, whereas now I just want to be content.
Well, the main thing I care about right now is happiness.
Which would be better for my level of happiness: living as long as possible, or making the world a better place?
I expect the answer to this question to determine my career. If living as long as possible is more important, then it seems like I should try to make as much money as possible so that I can afford life-extension technology. If making the world a better place is more important, then I should probably aim to work in AI alignment, in which I might have a small but significant impact but (I think) won’t make as much of a difference to my personal lif... (read more)