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I'll just throw my name in as well against Greg in case there are any takers. Would be willing to make bets up to 6 figures

Usually, in EA circles, I find there is too much philosophizing and not enough action. But in this case, I feel like biodiversity/ecoresilience has failed to come up with enough philosophical justification for why biodiversity/ecoresilience matters.

We don’t aim to convince more EA’s to care about biodiversity. If you ALREADY support biodiversity conservation, we want to provide answers on how to do it better.

I feel like this is step 1 though. I would feel similar if someone were to recommend DanceVariety Initative, a 2 year old research group building an effective altruism-based recommendation framework for variety in dance styles and the first step wasn't "convince a critical mass of EAs that this is a top priority in the first place".

Effective altruism-based recommendation framework for biodiversity and ecosystems

The EA framework is essentially applying rigor, quantification, measurement, etc. to the world's most pressing problems but there is no reason you can't apply rigor, quantification and measurement to anything (maximizing shareholder value, collecting stamps, getting good at chess, making your NBA team better). What makes it EA is when it is applied to the most pressing problems and I don't think biodiversity/ecoresilience has made a compelling case or put enough effort into it.

Does this not imply that all the people who quit recently shouldn't have?

I agree this is an important consideration. Funnily enough, I think currently, on the margin at least, there is a lot of money in x-risk, in fact, more than we currently know what to do with. I don't think many x-risk organizations are fundamentally constrained on dollars and several organizations could be a lot lot more frugal and have approximately equal results.

At some point, I kinda just want to say "ok, where has the forecasting money gone?", and it seems to have overwhelmingly gone to community forecasting sites like Manifold and Metaculus. I don't see anything like "paying 3 teams of 3 forecasters to compete against each other on some AI timelines questions"

  1. I think your point 1 is a good starting point but I would add "in percentage terms compared to all other potential causes" and you have to be in the top 1% of that for EA to consider the cause neglected. 

3. I didn't make it. It is great though. I was talking about on a yearly basis in the last couple years. That said, I made the comment off memory so I could be wrong.

Yes, it's a meta topic; I'm commenting less on the importance of forecasting in an ITN framework and more on its neglectedness. This stuff basically doesn't get funding outside of EA, and even inside EA had no institutional commitment;


  1. I don't think it's necessary to talk in terms of an ITN framework but something being neglected isn't nearly reason enough to fund it. Neglectedness is perhaps the least important part of the framework and something being neglected alone isn't a reason to fund it. Getting 6 year olds in race cars for example seems like a neglected cause but one that isn't worth pursuing.
  2. I think something not getting funding outside of EA is probably a medium-sized update to the thing not being important enough to work on. Things start to get EA funding once a sufficient number of the community finds the arguments for working on a problem sufficiently convincing. But many many many problems have come across EA's eyes and very few of them have stuck. For something to not get funding from others suggests that very few others found it to be important.
  3. Forecasting still seems to get a fair amount of dollars, probably about half as much as animal welfare. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ip7nXs7l-8sahT6ehvk2pBrlQ6Umy5IMPYStO3taaoc/edit?usp=sharing

Your points on helping future people (and non-human animals) are well taken.

I'm in the process of writing up my thoughts on forecasting in general and particularly EA's reverence for forecasting but I feel, similar to @Grayden that forecasting is a game that is nearly perfectly designed to distract EAs from useful things. It's a combination of winning, being right when others are wrong and seemingly useful, all wrapped into a fun game.

I'd like to see tangible benefits to more broad funding of forecasting that seems to be done in t he millions and tens of millions of dollars.

I would also be the type of person you would think would be a greater fan of forecasting. I'm the number one forecaster on Manifold and I've made tens of thousands of dollars on Polymarket. But I think we should start to think of forecasting as more of a game that EAs like to play, something like Magic the Gathering that is fun and has some relations to useful things but isn't really useful by itself.

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