Hanson vs Mowshowitz LiveStream Debate: "Should we expose the youth to coronavirus?" (Mar 29th)

post by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2020-03-26T23:46:08.932Z · LW · GW · 14 comments


   Link to Youtube Stream  

I'm running the first LessWrong LiveStream Debate and Meetup, an experiment in online events.

This Sunday (3/29) at noon PDT, Robin Hanson and Zvi Mowshowitz will debate Robin's policy proposal of deliberate infection of certain parts of the population. This will be on a YouTube LiveStream. After the debate, there will be several chat rooms in Mozilla Hub for a general LW meetup, where you can talk to other LessWrong users and with the two debaters.

After that, there'll be lots of online meetups in Mozilla Hub chatrooms like this one:

Please RSVP for the event here, so we know how many people are coming.


I'll update this page with a link to the live stream and further info on how the Q&A and meetup will happen. I look forward to chatting with people! Check back for updates.

Update: the Mozilla Hub meetup rooms are listed here [LW · GW].

Updated 2: for the Q&A, please leave a comment on this post with a question or PM Jacob Lagerros (jacobjacob [LW · GW]) with your question. He will select the questions he likes and invite you onto the zoom call to ask the question.


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by habryka (habryka4) · 2020-03-29T20:05:35.903Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Respond to this comment if you want to ask a question that will be asked in the Q&A section.

Replies from: AnnaSalamon, None, zrkrlc, zrkrlc
comment by AnnaSalamon · 2020-03-29T20:16:20.149Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

​I think we are unlikely to hit herd immunity levels of infection in the US in the next 2 years. I want to see Robin and Zvi discuss whether they think that also or not, since this bears on the value of Robin's proposal (and lots of other things).

Replies from: Zvi
comment by Zvi · 2020-03-31T19:40:48.920Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think there are plausible scenarios where we reach, likely not full herd immunity of 'everyone can stop washing hands now, we're fine' but certainly levels that substantially impact R0 and can combine with 'ordinary-life-compatible' levels of avoidance (e.g. hand washing and face not touching, mask wearing, increased working from home and delivery, sports without crowds, less air travel, etc) to combine for effective herd immunity. The hope is that it will also include test+trace and thus be well below what it would take otherwise. I believe super spreaders are a big part of the correct model, and that we're probably already at 1%+ infection rates for the USA and 10%+ (likely 20%+) for NYC, and that the first 20% infected is going to knock infection rates down 50%+ due to selection effects (which won't be enough on its own in NYC or other big cities, but is a huge boost even there).

Usual warnings that I know nothing, but that's my best guess.

Robin I think puts substantial probability that we end up 50%+ infected. I have less, but still substantial. I do think it's a scenario worth having a mitigation plan for.

Replies from: AnnaSalamon
comment by AnnaSalamon · 2020-04-05T18:03:14.427Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes; thanks; I now agree that this is plausible, which I did not at the time of making my above comment.

comment by [deleted] · 2020-03-29T20:16:56.097Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

As an authoritarian country with not much consideration for medical ethics, China probably is able to try the deliberate infection route. They also have plenty of medical expertise so this idea was probably considered. Furthermore, if it was successful, I would expect them to announce that, or at least for the information to be leaked. How come we haven't heard about it yet?

comment by zrkrlc · 2020-03-29T20:22:20.440Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What do you think are the odds of a successful vaccine being developed within 3 months? 6 months? A year? Before we achieve herd immunity?

comment by zrkrlc · 2020-03-29T20:15:59.606Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

How long do you think will the peak last? How does your position (and best-policy recommendations) change as this variable changes?

comment by ChristianKl · 2020-03-28T12:30:39.494Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Noon is a pretty poor definition for an international event where noon is at quite different times.

Replies from: habryka4
comment by habryka (habryka4) · 2020-03-28T16:58:16.150Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Oops, fixed. It’s noon PDT.

comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2020-03-27T02:01:40.286Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Please RSVP for the event here, so we know how many people are coming.

comment by romeostevensit · 2020-03-27T10:11:10.520Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

the zoom link to ask your question in the call seems like it will increase the amount of time per question by a lot (and thus decrease total questions) unless you have someone buffering the question line well.

comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2020-03-30T00:01:27.036Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Feedback form if you'd like to fill it out: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd5bgmdN3pGFiGZWCmwqzN6QA3jjVDELJ4x6KhpKZbQDHAH-A/viewform