Anna and Oliver discuss Children and X-Risk

    This Sunday, Anna Salamon and Oliver Habryka will discuss whether people who care about x-risk should have children.

    A short summary of Oliver’s position is:

    If we want to reduce existential risk and protect the cosmic commons, we have some really tough challenges ahead and need to really succeed at some ambitious and world-scale plans. I have a sense that once people have children, they tend to stop trying to do ambitious things. It also dramatically reduces the flexibility of what plans or experiments they can try.

    And a short summary of Anna’s position is:

    Most human activity is fake (pretends to be about one thing while being micro-governed by a different and unaligned process, e.g. somebody tries to “work on AI risk” while almost all of the micropulls come from wanting to keep fear at bay, or for a different person from wanting to feel busy and important, rather than from actually seeing and caring about AI risk). Returns from stuff that is less fake seem really a lot better than returns from stuff that is more fake—particularly for areas that are easy to be confused about, such as AI risk. I suspect the desire for kids/​lineage is really basic for a lot of people (almost everyone?), (despite being often not very conscious, though usually more conscious at 40 than at 30, and more at 30 than at 20), and that aligning with it leaves most of us with more of a shot at doing real things.

    We’ll be meeting in Zoom at 12pm PT