6 Reasons to Pursue the Building of Hedonium

The relevant features of desirable conscious experience, in my opinion, are very likely to boil down to natural, discrete physics operations. In other words, evolution-derived brains are not the only possible sources of morally-relevant experience. Building experience-machines based on some combination of a manufactured machine and engineered biological life that are morally-relevant seems to be… Continue reading 6 Reasons to Pursue the Building of Hedonium

Narrowing in on Cause X

BLUF: Since we've unsuspectedly committed moral atrocities in the past and do not appear to have 100% solved ethics, our Bayesian prior should be that we are probably committing some sort of moral atrocity today. Since utilitarian axioms dictate that not doing a vast amount of net-good when it's possible to do so is a… Continue reading Narrowing in on Cause X

Designing an Ideal Utilitarian Welfare Scale

BLUF: I formalize my conception of an ideal utilitarian welfare scale here and state why I think total, non-negative, act, hedonic utilitarianism is right.Epistemic Status: This is in very philosophical territory, so I am still very uncertain this is true. Future qualia research could definitely upend this. However, I believe this scale is currently the… Continue reading Designing an Ideal Utilitarian Welfare Scale

An Entropic Decision Procedure for Many Worlds Living

Here I describe a plausible decision procedure I discovered for acting in the world if the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI) of quantum mechanics is true. This idea might sound a bit crazy, but I feel the majority of the craziness comes from the Many Worlds Interpretation, which many physicists smarter than me think is plausibly… Continue reading An Entropic Decision Procedure for Many Worlds Living

A Decision Procedure for Many-Worlds Living

Update: I consider this post to be out-dated and recommend reading a better description of the decision procedure here: https://www.evanward.org/an-entropic-decision-procedure-for-many-worlds-living/ Here, I describe a decision theory that I believe applies to Many-Worlds living that combines principles of quantum mechanical randomness, evolutionary theory, and choice-worthiness. Until someone comes up with a better term for it, I… Continue reading A Decision Procedure for Many-Worlds Living

The Exponential Impact of Socially-Contagious Philanthropy

If doing any significant amount of good was basically intractable, it would be more permissible for individuals to ignore the utilitarian imperative to do the most good. However, doing incredible amounts of good is in the reach of many of us. We don't necessarily have to research and contribute to Multiverse-wide Cooperation via Correlated Decision… Continue reading The Exponential Impact of Socially-Contagious Philanthropy

Suspend Moral Self-Judgement for Higher-Quality Reasoning

I think most people have an intense psychological need to feel they are 'good'. After all, if we are not 'good', we probably have extra work ahead of ourselves to set ourselves straight ethically and at the very least, preserve our social standing. Some of us do moral calculus all the time in order to… Continue reading Suspend Moral Self-Judgement for Higher-Quality Reasoning

[Link] It’s Supposed To Feel Like This: 8 emotional challenges of altruism – Holly Morgan

You should try to do more good in the world because it’s the right thing to do.Unfortunately, this isn’t always sufficient motivation for people to act accordingly, so altruists[1] often tell non-altruists about the personal benefits of altruismβ€Šβ€”β€Šthe evidence that giving makes you happier, the friendly and supportive communities of altruists you can join, the sense… Continue reading [Link] It’s Supposed To Feel Like This: 8 emotional challenges of altruism – Holly Morgan

Subjective Probability

BLUF: I found an essay by Nick Bostrom that perfectly coincides with my ideals towards Bayesian probability and how I aspire to consciously hold degrees-of-belief and continually update on evidence. For me, belief is not an all-or-nothing thingβ€”believe or disbelieve, accept or reject. Instead, I have degrees of belief, a subjective probability distribution over different… Continue reading Subjective Probability

Necessary EA Institutions Part 1: Daily Impact Journaling

Here, I present the case that one aspiring to do as much good as possible with their lives should experiment with keeping a daily log of their impact. Journaling about impact forces one to reflect on what is, by definition, the most important thing in life. This helps hold one accountable for how they spend… Continue reading Necessary EA Institutions Part 1: Daily Impact Journaling

We Should Have Prevented Other Countries from Ever Obtaining Nukes

Ever since nuclear weapons fell into the hands of the USSR and other countries beyond the United States, human civilization has been under tremendous risk of extinction. For decades now, the Doomsday clock has ticked perilously close to midnight; we continue to flirt with disaster which could strike once any nuclear leader falls into a… Continue reading We Should Have Prevented Other Countries from Ever Obtaining Nukes

Is Life Insurance Rational?

BLUF: Life insurance might be rational for many effective altruism-minded people, but the devil is in the details- that is, one's probable risk of death and the payout per cost of a plan. US military servicemembers are afforded the option of paying $29 a month for $400,000 in life insurance. The norm is that the… Continue reading Is Life Insurance Rational?

The Need for and Viability of an Effective Altruism Academy

Update:Β I posted this idea on the EA Forums where it was well-received but deservingly shot down.Β  While it could be a desirable experiment down the road, there are probably more cost-effective and reliable ways for EA to invest in its own right now, such as ensuring the EA hotel stays well-funded. Summary Effective Altruism may… Continue reading The Need for and Viability of an Effective Altruism Academy

Let’s Not Decouple Suffering from Survivability

In the interest of avoiding the worst possible futures, let's not decouple suffering from survivability. What are some unique elements of the worst possible futures? What features can be found more often in these than other, better futures? I propose that a key feature of the worst possible futures is a strong decoupling of well-being… Continue reading Let’s Not Decouple Suffering from Survivability

“Getting the Hands Dirty for a Good Cause”- a Short Story

In my Plebe (freshman) year literature class, about 7 months ago, I wrote an adventurous short story (~2600 words) that combines effective altruism, the tech world, fake news, and a moral lesson about the possible tragic consequences of naive unilateral action.Β  Let me know what you think! Getting the Hands Dirty for a Good Cause"I… Continue reading “Getting the Hands Dirty for a Good Cause”- a Short Story