Evaluating Life Extension Advocacy Foundation 2020-09-30T18:04:51.346Z
Interview with Aubrey de Grey, chief science officer of the SENS Research Foundation 2020-05-01T09:04:44.979Z
Why is my (our?) reasoning process noisy? 2020-04-25T12:19:44.972Z
Why SENS makes sense 2020-02-22T16:28:42.025Z
How to evaluate neglectedness and tractability of aging research 2019-08-02T10:33:40.647Z
Impact of aging research besides LEV 2019-06-06T10:42:14.703Z
Aging research and population ethics 2019-04-28T07:21:17.888Z
A general framework for evaluating aging research. Part 1: reasoning with Longevity Escape Velocity 2019-01-11T21:33:51.691Z


Comment by emanuele-ascani on Covid 10/1: The Long Haul · 2020-10-07T16:46:37.751Z · LW · GW

I don't know if this has already been discussed, but why the daily deaths in every European country are 1/10th or less of lockdown levels but daily cases are two or three times higher? In the rest of the world daily deaths still seem to follow daily cases but in the US and Japan (to a lesser extent), in which daily deaths are about half of what they were in May (which is still not as extreme as Europe). I may be unaware of other countries in which this is the case.

Comment by emanuele-ascani on Evaluating Life Extension Advocacy Foundation · 2020-10-01T21:06:16.315Z · LW · GW

I think your point was valid though, I changed the title to be less strong

Comment by emanuele-ascani on Evaluating Life Extension Advocacy Foundation · 2020-10-01T20:56:19.417Z · LW · GW

This is an interesting comment, I think you bring up good points.

One reason why I didn't focus much on crowdfunding is that the money that goes in there is not really LEAF's, and it's just one among many focuses they have. If an EA decides to give money to LEAF (through the recurring campaign, or through a grant, for example) that money will probably not go to a crowdfunding campaign, and would probably not make much of an impact on how they decide who to crowdfund. It would go to their other projects. When donating to a campaign you donate to the specific org who benefits from the project of the campaign and not to LEAF. LEAF, unlike other orgs like Open Phil for example, doesn't make grants directly, but only organizes campaigns so that people can bring money to a project. 

You probably already knew all in the paragraph above, so: I think your point is correct. Where exactly they bring money by choosing who to finance is important in order to ascertain if the research which wouldn't otherwise have happened is actually making an impact (an impact at all, given the characteristics of this field, yes). A plus to them from my POV is that they seem internally sympathetic to SENS' approach (it's obvious by reading their introductory articles), although they also financed different approaches (one campaign is for a project involving NMN supplementation led by David Sinclair, a couple of others on biomarkers...). But I admit it's not much and a more detailed look would be ideal. For now, if you are more concerned about the science than YouTube/internet advocacy, policy influencing, etc. it is probably best to donate directly to orgs doing specific scientific research.

Not being able to evaluate much by looking at crowdfunding alone I followed the methodology of trying to gauge the ratio donations : money brought to the field, which I've seen used a lot for evaluating advocacy charities inside EA. 

Maybe we'll be able to ascertain their decision-making regarding crowdfunding better (although probably not a lot better) after the interview, since the first question is about that.


Comment by emanuele-ascani on Evaluating Life Extension Advocacy Foundation · 2020-10-01T08:39:42.309Z · LW · GW

In the past, I've donated to them and supported them in Project4Awesome, but I'm not inside the org. Basically, this is a post trying to evaluate it from an EA standpoint, in a similar way I did for SENS. Their budget should be the recurring campaign and single donations (which I don't expect to be much), the interview should probably make it clearer I hope.

Edit: the post is probably not very on topic for LW, but since I crossposted my analysis of aging research from an EA standpoint I wanted to put this here too for completeness.

Comment by emanuele-ascani on GPT-3 Fiction Samples · 2020-06-26T11:02:29.038Z · LW · GW

I searched if there was a funny cat video called "what do you mean, Fetch?" and I found this. (Not that it was necessary for meaning though - sorry if this is noise).

Comment by emanuele-ascani on [Personal Experiment] One Year without Junk Media: Six-Month Update · 2020-06-22T08:12:14.944Z · LW · GW

Yes, I would find out, but later.

I'm inclined to think that if junk media (social media, news) were only useful for news, completely disregarding them would be probably the best action. Considering every other use though, I'm inclined to think the optimal is being able to reach a compromise of 20m per day maximum, although I'm not sure if it is possible without getting addicted. If it isn't it just might be best to get away, but I'm unsure.

Comment by emanuele-ascani on [Personal Experiment] One Year without Junk Media: Six-Month Update · 2020-06-21T08:42:50.544Z · LW · GW

There haven't been historical events that prompted me to react earlier than everyone else for now (not even covid, my city has never been the center of a big enough outbreak and I just abided to the lockdown rules. I can imagine that an earlier reaction could have been better if I lived in another country/city). The historical events that are important to react early to are probably the ones that would put me/my family/everyone else around in relatively sudden danger: war, political instability, coups, dangerous diseases, and probably other stuff. Things that happened just a handful of times in now developed countries during the twentieth century (maybe they won't happen again, but...).

Comment by emanuele-ascani on [Personal Experiment] One Year without Junk Media: Six-Month Update · 2020-06-20T08:49:05.477Z · LW · GW

I wouldn't have been this nervous 5 years ago, but it seems to me that the world is socially evolving faster now, and I think it's possible not to react fast enough on a historical event. But maybe I just have become more anxious? One other thing is: many times my life changed due to great fucking information I found while farting around the Internet, but at the same time this comes with all the drawbacks Isusr rightly identified. There is also the feeling that I have witnessed society and even art evolve by staying consistently online, and stopping feels like jumping out of a train. I'm not sure how I should act.

Comment by emanuele-ascani on [Personal Experiment] One Year without Junk Media: Six-Month Update · 2020-06-20T08:42:06.423Z · LW · GW

Did you discover COVID-19 earlier just due to keeping up with papers?

Comment by emanuele-ascani on [Personal Experiment] One Year without Junk Media: Six-Month Update · 2020-06-19T22:10:45.713Z · LW · GW

Do you keep up with news of any kind? If so, how? Don't you have fear of missing out something important which you should act upon (both good news or bad news or not even news but simply information)? Not necessarily politics or general news of course.

Comment by emanuele-ascani on What are objects that have made your life better? · 2020-05-22T10:40:20.174Z · LW · GW

Comply's foam tips: they replace the more common tips for in-ear earphones and isolate you from the outside world much more than noise canceling. It's basically having earphones + earplugs, thanks to the foam. If you live in a noisy environment they may radically change your life for the better. You need to learn the correct procedure to fit them properly (it's easy, you can find videos on how to do it for earplugs. It is the same procedure). I recommend them for watching movies or reading/studying while listening to nature sounds.

A gaming console: I bought a PS4 a couple of years ago and it has been one of the best decisions in the last four years. This is valid if you already plan to allocate some time to gaming and if you manage not to get addicted to it.

A beach chair or a big chair with the same inclination to read more comfortably and not fall asleep (this is the problem if you read on the bed). I can't recommend a specific chair, because I don't know exactly where you can find my own.

Tablet: much better for reading anything on the internet. I find it strains my eyes much less. I can't recommend a particular one... I owned two and both were great.

A Kindle e-reader: much cheaper to read, easier due to less weight and having many books in the same place. As a result you will probably read more.

A big desk with adjustable height with a big chair with adjustable height.

I probably have left something out.

Comment by emanuele-ascani on Project Proposal: Gears of Aging · 2020-05-10T10:46:07.906Z · LW · GW

I really like this post. I think it is probably also relevant from an Effective Altruism standpoint (you identify a tractable and neglected approach which might have a big impact). I think you should probably crosspost this on the EA Forum, and think about if your other articles on the topic are apt to be published there. What do you think?

If you read my profile both here and on the EA Forum you'll find a lot of articles in which I'm trying to evaluate aging research. I'm making this suggestion because I think you are adding useful pieces.

Comment by emanuele-ascani on Interview with Aubrey de Grey, chief science officer of the SENS Research Foundation · 2020-05-07T13:37:48.191Z · LW · GW

Absolutely no one had thought of that in the YouTube comment section under his interview with JRE

Comment by emanuele-ascani on Interview with Aubrey de Grey, chief science officer of the SENS Research Foundation · 2020-05-01T15:11:14.335Z · LW · GW

He would probably say that he doesn't care (he works for others, not for himself) and that alchool doesn't affect him, since people already kind of noted this and the answers were these. But tbh, this whole thing is not that interesting to me, and I would classify it as weak evidence for what he belives or not. Usually it is mainly gossip.

Comment by emanuele-ascani on Why is my (our?) reasoning process noisy? · 2020-05-01T08:27:16.976Z · LW · GW

Wow, ok, thank you. This is useful information. I didn't take your ADHD/ADD hypothesis seriously to be honest, but now that you specify the nature of the test to diagnose it, it makes much more sense. I will research more and get tested.

Comment by emanuele-ascani on The Best Virtual Worlds for "Hanging Out" · 2020-05-01T08:24:03.230Z · LW · GW

No, my experience is the gameplays I have seen. From what I've seen it seems very easy to communicate (via voice chat) and interact with environments, which are also very customizable. I don't know anything beyond this.

Comment by emanuele-ascani on The Best Virtual Worlds for "Hanging Out" · 2020-04-30T12:16:30.359Z · LW · GW


Comment by emanuele-ascani on Why is my (our?) reasoning process noisy? · 2020-04-29T20:54:11.044Z · LW · GW

Thank you, I think I will try to pay attention if some "flickering" happens. It is a possibility.

Comment by emanuele-ascani on Credibility of the CDC on SARS-CoV-2 · 2020-03-08T16:05:08.220Z · LW · GW

It's uncanny how sometimes we all arrive at the same conclusions privately

Comment by emanuele-ascani on 2020's Prediction Thread · 2020-01-03T11:09:02.561Z · LW · GW

Regarding "If a survey is performed, most people in the United States will say that curing aging is undesirable. 85%". One similar survey has already been done. The result depends if you specify that an unlimited lifespan would be in health and not in increasing frailty. If you do, > 40% of respondents opt for unlimited lifespan, otherwise 1%.

Comment by emanuele-ascani on We run the Center for Applied Rationality, AMA · 2019-12-23T11:56:47.396Z · LW · GW

Would it be possible and cost-effective to release video courses at a much lower cost?

Comment by emanuele-ascani on SENS and Givewell: Conversation between Holden Karnofsky and Aubrey de Grey · 2019-12-23T11:17:22.678Z · LW · GW

I know this conversation is very old and Holden has matured his outlook on the subject (see Open Philanthropy's grants to aging research, and Open Philanthropy's analysis of aging research, although still dismissive of SENS), but I still want to point out what I think were the mistakes he made here.

Holden didn't seem to get how different in scope the SENS' plan is from the kind of research that a single brilliant researcher can bring forward in the traditional way. SENS needs a plethora of different therapies that would require an entire NIA for themselves to be developed... and this would be enough only for the first phases of research and not for clinical trials. I don't get how he could be confused about this. Quoting Holden:

You [Aubrey] state that you have a high-expected-value plan that the academic world can't recognize the value of because of shortcomings such as "balkanisation" and risk aversion. I believe it may be true that the academic world has such problems to a degree; however, I also believe that there are a lot of extremely talented people in academia and that they often (though not necessarily always) find ways to move forward on promising work.

Also, I'm confused about why Holden put so much weight on Dario Amodei's opinion over Aubrey's. Dario is an AI researcher.

[...] And as my summary of our conversation shows, he [Dario] acknowledges that the world of biomedical research may have certain suboptimal incentives, but didn't seem to think that these issues are leaving specific, visible outstanding research programs on the table the way that your email implies. [...]

Thankfully, the Open Phil Holden obviously doesn't think this is the case.

Comment by emanuele-ascani on What are the biggest "moonshots" currently in progress? · 2019-09-07T14:29:19.608Z · LW · GW

About life extension see SENS Research Foundation as an example of specific org very focused on the moonshot, if you don't already know it.

Comment by emanuele-ascani on Contest: $1,000 for good questions to ask to an Oracle AI · 2019-07-04T14:52:30.623Z · LW · GW

Submission (for low bandwidth Oracle)

Any question such that a correct answer to it should very clearly benefit both humanity and the Oracle. Even if the Oracle has preferences we can't completely guess, we can probably still say that such questions could be about the survival of both humanity and the Oracle, or about the survival of only the Oracle or its values. This because even if we don't know exactly what the Oracle is optimising for, we can guess that it will not want to destroy itself, given the vast majority of its possible preferences. So it will give humanity more power to protect both, or only the Oracle.

Example 1: let's say we discover the location of an alien civilisation, and we want to minimise the chances of it destroying our planet. Then we must decide what actions to take. Let's say the Oracle can only answer "yes" or "no". Then we can submit questions such as if we should take a particular action or not. This kind of situation I suspect falls within a more general case of "use Oracle to avoid threat to entire planet, Oracle included" inside which questions should be safe.

Example 2: Let's say we want to minimise the chance that the Oracle breaks down due to accidents. We can ask him what is the best course of action to take given a set of ideas we come up with. In this case we should make sure beforehand that nothing in the list makes the Oracle impossible or too difficult to shut down by humans.

Example 3: Let's say we become practically sure that the Oracle is aligned with us. Then we could ask it to choose the best course of action to take among a list of strategies devised to make sure he doesn't become misaligned. In this case the answer benefits both us and the Oracle, because the Oracle should have incentives not to change values itself. I think this is more sketchy and possibly dangerous, because of the premise: the Oracle could obviously pretend to be aligned. But given the premise it should be a good question, although I don't know how useful it is as a submission under this post (maybe it's too obvious or too unrealistic given the premise).

Comment by emanuele-ascani on Aging research and population ethics · 2019-04-28T20:59:51.413Z · LW · GW

The definition of LEV I used in the previous post is: "Longevity Escape Velocity (LEV) is the minimum rate of medical progress such that individual life expectancy is raised by at least one year per year if medical interventions are used". So it doesn't lead to an unbounded life expectancy. In fact, with a simplified calculation, in the first post I calculated life expectancy after LEV to be approximately 1000 years. 1000 years is what comes up using the same idea as your hydra example (risk of death flat at the risk of death of a young person), but in reality it should be slightly less, because in the calculation I left out the part when risk of death starts falling just after hitting LEV. We are not dealing with infinite utilities.

The main measure of impact I gave in the post comes from these three values and some corrections:

  • 1000 QALYs: life expectancy of a person after hitting LEV
  • 36,500,000 deaths/year due to aging
  • Expected number of years LEV is made closer by (by a given project examined)
Comment by emanuele-ascani on The Chromatic Number of the Plane is at Least 5 - Aubrey de Grey · 2018-05-12T11:15:59.460Z · LW · GW

Terence Tao even talked about this in his Google+ profile.