Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

Brian_Tomasik comments on Four Focus Areas of Effective Altruism - Less Wrong

40 Post author: lukeprog 09 July 2013 12:59AM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (57)

You are viewing a single comment's thread. Show more comments above.

Comment author: Brian_Tomasik 03 August 2013 10:05:25AM *  2 points [-]

The 2-50 bounds seem reasonable for EV(happiness)/EV(suffering) using normal people's pleasure-pain exchange ratios, which I think are insane. :) Something like accepting 1 minute of Medieval torture for a few days/weeks of good life.

Using my own pleasure-pain exchange ratio, the future is almost guaranteed to be negative in expectation, although I maintain ~30% chance that it would still be better for Earth-based life to colonize space to prevent counterfactual suffering elsewhere.

Comment author: Pablo_Stafforini 03 August 2013 11:44:17AM *  2 points [-]

It is worth pointing out that by 'insane', Brian just means 'an exchange rate that is very different from the one I happen to endorse.' :-) He admits that there is no reason to favor his own exchange rate over other people's. (By contrast, some of these other people would argue that there are reasons to favor their exchange rates over Brian's.)

Comment author: Adriano_Mannino 04 August 2013 02:00:33AM *  1 point [-]

Also, still others (such as David Pearce) would argue that there are reasons to favor Brian's exchange rate. :)

Comment author: Pablo_Stafforini 04 August 2013 02:44:55PM 0 points [-]

That's incorrect. David Pearce claims that pains below a certain intensity can't be outweighed by any amount of pleasure. Both Brian and Dave agree that Dave is a (threshold) negative utilitarian whereas Brian is a negative-leaning utilitarian.

Comment author: Adriano_Mannino 10 August 2013 03:27:13PM *  2 points [-]

Not so sure. Dave believes that pains have an "ought-not-to-be-in-the-world-ness" property that pleasures lack. And in the discussions I have seen, he indeed was not prepared to accept that small pains can be outweighed by huge quantities of pleasure. Brian was oscillating between NLU and NU. He recently told me he found the claim convincing that such states as flow, orgasm, meditative tranquility, perfectly subjectively fine muzak, and the absence of consciousness were all equally good.

Comment author: davidpearce 28 July 2014 07:53:42AM 0 points [-]

Can preference utilitarians, classical utilitarians and negative utilitarians hammer out some kind of cosmological policy consensus? Not ideal by anyone's lights, but good enough? So long as we don't create more experience below "hedonic zero" in our forward light-cone, NUs are untroubled by wildly differing outcomes. There is clearly a tension between preference utilitarianism and classical utilitarianism; but most(?) preference utilitarians are relaxed about having hedonic ranges shifted upwards - perhaps even radically upwards - if recalibration is done safely, intelligently and conservatively - a big "if", for sure. Surrounding the sphere of sentient agents in our Local Supercluster(?) with a sea of hedonium propagated by von Neumann probes or whatever is a matter of indifference to most preference utilitarians and NUs but mandated(?) by CU.

Is this too rosy a scenario?