Last month, MIRI research fellow Carl Shulman1 participated in a recorded debate/conversation about effective altruism and flow-through effects. This issue is highly relevant to MIRI’s mission, since MIRI focuses on activities that are intended to produce altruistic value via their flow-through effects on the invention of AGI.
- Nick Beckstead, research fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University
- Paul Christiano, UC Berkeley grad student and blogger at Rational Altruist
- Holden Karnofsky, co-founder of GiveWell
- Carl Shulman, MIRI research fellow
- Rob Wiblin, executive director at the Center for Effective Altruism
Recommended background reading includes:
- Holden Karnofsky’s essay “Flow-through effects“
- Paul Christiano’s essay “My outlook“
- MIRI’s interview with Nick Beckstead on the importance of the far future
To summarize the conversation very briefly: All participants seemed to agree that more research on flow-through effects would be high value. However, there’s a risk that such research isn’t highly tractable. For now, GiveWell will focus on other projects that seem more tractable. Rob Wiblin might try to organize some research on flow-through effects, to learn how tractable it is.