King Causes

NB: This analysis was made for our own purposes in order to try and map out general big picture cause areas, their trade-offs, and most importantly, their probable timelines. This analysis is by no means done and will evolve over time. We believe that every cause on this list (and really only the causes on this list) are worth pursuing to the best of ones ability given their particular time, energy, talents and circumstances. This of course applies to those who are aligned with the values of Effective Altruism and seeking to maximize the amount of good they can do for the world.

InterventionCategoryTime till shit goes downConfidenceConsequencesTime to resultsConfidenceBenefitsNotes
AI SafetyX-risk prevention??“A disney land with no children” – Nick Bostrom, Superintelligence??All other X-risks and forms of suffering are solved.AI timeline will determine how compelling pursuing every other possible action is.
Nuclear Non-proliferationX-risk preventionImmediate ThreatN/AMutually assured destruction.N/AN/AReduction in probability of nuclear war or an accident.Not clear at all how achievable this is, nor how large of a role diplomacy plays in mitigating risk.
IQ gains – wide & smallMultiplier effectN/AN/ACountries who are a threat to global stability become more intelligent and powerful. Eg. China?3 (implement) + 20 (child development) = 23 years90%Increases in societal success and stability. More international cooperation on many issues including AI safety, biorisk and nuclear proliferation.Nutritional interventions. From time of intervention till fetus enters 20s.
InterventionCategoryTime till shit goes downConfidenceConsequencesTime to resultsConfidenceBenefitsNotes
IQ gains – few & mediumMultiplier effectN/AN/AMay accelerate X-risk threats as fast as it creates minds to help solve them. In particular around nano-tech and AI10 (tech) + 10 (gov.) = 20 years50% (Unclear how long for tech development.)Increases in productivity and innovation. Depending on effect sizes, could help solve X-risksSomatic engineering. Development and governmental approval (US or faster abroad).
IQ gains – few and massiveMultiplier effectN/AN/AMay accelerate X-risk threats as fast as it creates minds to help solve them. In particular around nano-tech and AI. Given correlation between IQ and Effective Altruism it seems there will be more good than harm? But there are no guarentees.5 (tech.) + 15 (gov.) + 20 (child development) = 40 years80% (unclear how long for gov. approval).Brilliant minds to work on every other problem listed and drive forward innovation.Germline engineering. Perfecting Cas9 accuracy and governmental approval. Development of intervention = 5 years (80% conf.) Gov approval = 15 years (60% conf.) 20 years for child development and effects of intervention to bear fruit.
Biorisk controlX-risk preventionImmediate Threat90%Release of biological weapons that cause mass casualties and societal instability. Maybe knock on societal collapse. Stalls many years of technological progress.5 years60% (unclear rate of scientific progress. Seems that some pretty effective things can be achieved quickly, however)Biological weapons no longer a threat. Progress within the field of synthetic biology.Shocking how easily accessible the DNA codes for many super pandemics are and how cheap + accessible genetic synthesis technologies are. Will be a continuing research race.
InterventionCategoryTime till shit goes downConfidenceConsequencesTime to resultsConfidenceBenefitsNotes
Mars colonizationX-risk preventionN/AN/AGiven short AI timelines and the challenge of space colonization, it is possible that money and minds are currently being squandered space colonization. There is nowhere to hide from AI.15 years70% (5 years to launch first rockets, 5 to collect data and develop life support systems, 5 to refine and launch these for first colony).A multiplanetary species would be better able to survive existential risks like biological weapons, nuclear war, climate change, asteroids, and supervolcanoes. Opens public attitudes towards using genetic engineering – Martin ReesTime till first colony. Would be able to survive but not flourish. Due to harsh conditions and many unforseen obstacles.
Animal welfareAltruism30 years – contribution to climate changeContinued astronomical amounts of animal suffering.5 years90%Reduction in net animal suffering; weakening of climate change and other forms ecological degredation.Almost every food has been engineered in artificial meat form and enough economies of scale and developed world access to purchase in most stores
Climate changeMultiplier effect30 years60%Issues ranging from sea level rise to highly volatile weather patterns mass extinctions and arable land decline.N/AN/AFewer catastrophic weather events, arable land preserved, ecological diversity maintained: planet continues to be habitable.Depends on positive or negative feedback loop rate.
InterventionCategoryTime till shit goes downConfidenceConsequencesTime to resultsConfidenceBenefitsNotes
Political talent boostMultiplier effectN/AN/AContinued poor inter nation coordination and conflict. Poor allocation of many resources. Unresolved societal coordination problems. Possibility of war, myopic regulation and unnecessary suffering.8 years (USA), 20 years (international)50%Stable societies will be better able to solve the coordination problems related to existential risks.Either the result of intelligence enhancement, better incentives for political engagement, better political structures, more effective education.
Nano-Technology RegulationX-risk preventionCurrently not qualified to resolve this questionxxxxxx


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