Episode 44

#44 - Longtermism Revisited: What We Owe the Future


October 3rd, 2022

1 hr 2 mins 4 secs

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About this Episode

Like moths to a flame, we come back to longtermism once again. But it's not our fault. Will MacAskill published a new book, What We Owe the Future, and billions (trillions!) of lives are at stake if we don't review it. Sisyphus had his task and we have ours. We're doing it for the (great great great ... great) grandchildren.

We discuss:

  • Whether longtermism is actionable
  • Whether the book is a faithful representation of longtermism as practiced
  • Why humans are actually cool, despite what you might hear
  • Some cool ideas from the book including career advice and allowing vaccines on the free market
  • Ben's love of charter cities and whether he's is a totalitarian at heart
  • The plausability of "value lock-in"
  • The bizarro world of population ethics

"Bait-and-switch" critique from a longtermist blogger: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/9Y6Y6qoAigRC7A8eX/my-take-on-what-we-owe-the-future

Quote: "For instance, I’m worried people will feel bait-and-switched if they get into EA via WWOTF then do an 80,000 Hours call or hang out around their EA university group and realize most people think AI risk is the biggest longtermist priority, many thinking this by a large margin."

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How long is your termist? Tell us at incrementspodcast@gmail.com

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