Other Writings

Contents of this page:

Open Philanthropy Project

I began work at the Open Philanthropy Project in June 2015. My OpenPhil reports thus far are:

Miscellaneous writings

Machine Intelligence

My views on AI have evolved significantly over the time, so only the most recent of these might accurately represent my current views. Thus, I list the most recent articles first:

  1. What Do We Know about AI Timelines? (2016)
  2. What should we learn from past AI forecasts? (2016)
  3. Replies to people who argue against worrying about long-term AI safety risks today (2015)
  4. A reply to Wait But Why on machine superintelligence (2015)
  5. Exponential and non-exponential trends in information technology (2014; w/ Lila Rieber)
  6. Why We Need Friendly AI (2014; w/ Nick Bostrom, in Think)
  7. Can we really upload Johnny Depp’s brain? (2014; w/ Stuart Armstrong, in Slate)
  8. Three misconceptions in Edge.org’s conversation on “The Myth of AI” (2014)
  9. AGI outcomes and civilizational competence (2014)
  10. Exploratory Engineering in AI (2014; w/ Bill Hibbard, in Communications of the ACM)
  11. The Financial Times story on MIRI (2014)
  12. How to study superintelligence strategy (2014)
  13. Facing the Intelligence Explosion (2013)
  14. What is intelligence? (2013)
  15. What is AGI? (2013)
  16. When will AI be created? (2013)
  17. AGI impact experts and Friendly AI experts (2013)
  18. From philosophy to math to engineering (2013)
  19. Friendly AI research as effective altruism (2013)
  20. AI risk and the security mindset (2013)
  21. Transparency in safety-critical systems (2013)
  22. Mathematical proofs improve but don’t guarantee security, safety, and Friendliness (2013)
  23. Intelligence Explosion: Evidence and Import (2013; w/ Anna Salamon, in Singularity Hypotheses)
  24. Intelligence Explosion and Machine Ethics (2013; w/ Louie Helm, in Singularity Hypotheses)
  25. Ideal Advisor Theories and Personal CEV (2013; w/ Chris Williamson)
  26. How can I reduce existential risk from AI? (2012)

Less Wrong Posts

I’ve written many articles for Less Wrong, a community devoted to improving human rationality. I’m a lot more skeptical of most scientific research now than I was when I wrote these, so I don’t really stand by them anymore, although I still suspect the “basic thrust” of most of them is more accurate than its inverse. Here is a complete list of my posts on Less Wrong, listed chronologically and showing the number of community up-votes each has received (as of ~2015).

  1. The Neglected Virtue of Scholarship (169)
  2. Back to the Basics of Rationality (79)
  3. The Best Textbooks on Every Subject (151)
  4. Statistical Prediction Rules Out-Perform Expert Human Judgments (68)
  5. Scientific Self-Help: The State of Our Knowledge (133)
  6. David Chalmers’ ‘The Singularity: A Philosophical Analysis’ (33)
  7. The Urgent Meta-Ethics of Friendly Artificial Intelligence (43)
  8. How to Beat Procrastination (151)
  9. Secure Your Beliefs (39)
  10. Plant Seeds of Rationality (33)
  11. How to Be Happy (125)
  12. Less Wrong Rationality and Mainstream Philosophy (102)
  13. Costs and Benefits of Scholarship (38)
  14. The Neuroscience of Pleasure (34)
  15. Philosophy: A Diseased Discipline (84)
  16. The Good News of Situationist Psychology (54)
  17. The Neuroscience of Desire (53)
  18. How You Make Judgments: The Elephant and its Rider (42)
  19. Build Small Skills in the Right Order (87)
  20. No, Seriously. Just Try It. (44)
  21. Heading Toward: No-Nonsense Metaethics (37)
  22. Being Wrong about Your Own Subjective Experience (38)
  23. What is Metaethics? (29)
  24. On Being Okay with the Truth (31)
  25. Your Evolved Intuitions (15)
  26. Intuition and Unconscious Learning (32)
  27. The Power of Agency (57)
  28. When Intuitions Are Useful (14)
  29. Scholarship: How to Do It Efficiently (109)
  30. Conceptual Analysis and Moral Theory (59)
  31. How and Why to Granularize (62)
  32. Inferring Our Desires (37)
  33. Pluralistic Moral Reductionism (34)
  34. Not for the Sake of Pleasure Alone (36)
  35. Entangled with Reality: The Shoelace Example (18)
  36. Not for the Sake of Selfishness Alone (22)
  37. Optimal Philanthropy for Human Beings (36)
  38. Do Humans Want Things? (23)
  39. Remind Physicalists They’re Physicalists (18)
  40. Are Deontological Moral Judgments Rationalizations? (38)
  41. A Crash Course in the Neuroscience of Human Motivation (113)
  42. A History of Bayes’ Theorem (53)
  43. Is Rationality Teachable? (43)
  44. A Rationalist’s Tale (79)
  45. The Cognitive Science of Rationality (85)
  46. The Optimizer’s Curse and How to Beat It (42)
  47. Knowledge is Worth Paying For (45)
  48. Concepts Don’t Work That Way (55)
  49. Rationality Drugs (26)
  50. Rationality Lessons Learned from Irrational Adventures in Romance (53)
  51. Better Disagreement (67)
  52. Rhetoric for the Good (47)
  53. Great Explanations (23)
  54. Rational Romantic Relationships Part 1: Relationship Styles and Attraction Basics (50) (w/ Minda Myers & Hugh Ristik)
  55. Existential Risk (28)
  56. Living Metaphorically (25)
  57. Hack Away at the Edges (47)
  58. So You Want to Save the World (40)
  59. What Curiosity Looks Like (29)
  60. Can the Chain Still Hold You? (105)
  61. Leveling Up in Rationality (33)
  62. The Human’s Hidden Utility Function (Maybe) (44)
  63. My Algorithm for Beating Procrastination (78)
  64. Get Curious (49)
  65. How to Fix Science (48)
  66. The Power of Reinforcement (92)
  67. Reply to Holden on the Singularity Institute (44)
  68. An Intuitive Explanation of Solomonoff Induction (51) (w/ Alex Altair)
  69. Original Research on Less Wrong (20)
  70. How Can I Reduce Existential Risk from AI? (42)
  71. Overconfident Pessimism (25)
  72. Intuitions Aren’t Shared That Way (31)
  73. Philosophy Needs to Trust Your Rationality Even Though It Shouldn’t (27)
  74. Train Philosophers with Pearl and Kahneman, not Plato and Kant (63)
  75. Decision Theory FAQ (50) (w/ crazy88)
  76. Fermi Estimates (48)
  77. Start Under the Streetlight, then Push into the Shadows (29)
  78. Four Focus Areas of Effective Altruism (40)
  79. Model Combination and Adjustment (48)
  80. How to Measure Anything (46)
  81. Is my view contrarian? (22) [2014]
  82. Quick thoughts on empathic metaethics [2017]