I am a professional forecaster and econometrician. One thing I know for sure is you cannot predict more that a few years out at best (think of how Covid changed everything). Sacrificing the current for the future is a fools game. We don't know what the future holds.

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Don't have time for podcasts, but the subject matter interests me. From one-a the teachers of MacAskill, Arif Ahmed: "William MacAskill’s ineffective altruism" on UnHerd. https://unherd.com/2022/11/how-effective-is-william-macaskills-altruism/

From the article, this is a quote from MacAskill:

> “The idea that future people count is common sense. Future people, after all, are people. They will exist. They will have hopes and joys and pains and regrets, just like the rest of us… Should I care whether it’s a week, or a decade or a century from now? No. Harm is harm, whenever it occurs.”

I dunno what it is about smart people. It seems to cause them to have a pea-brain. From the author of the UnHerd article:

> "The second point is that it’s hardly obvious, *even from a long-term perspective,* that we should care more about our descendants in 25000AD — not at the expense of our contemporaries."

Again, MacAskill:

> “It’s worth spending five minutes to decide where to spend two hours at dinner; it’s worth spending months to choose a profession for the rest of one’s life. But civilization might last millions, billions, or even trillions of years. It would therefore be worth spending many centuries to ensure that we’ve really figured things out before we take irreversible actions like locking in values or spreading across the stars."

So, given these statements, MacAskill is an idiot. His approach *might* make some sense, if we could judge what the future is gonna be. Then we *might* be able to tell [Edit: "who" -> "how] our actions will impact the future, and what the best actions would be. Anybody who thinks they have a clue about the future a century from now is an idiot. I rest my case.

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Nov 21, 2022Liked by Nikita Petrov

I wasn't quite sure what to make of this, though it was not without interest. Whether the difference between Scenario A and B is greater than B and C doesn't seem to me like it matters much. In fact, I was reminded of Rousseau's "he who suffers least is happiest, but ever more sorrow than joy, that is the lot of us all," which makes a strong case for Scenario C. And would not animals living and dying in factory farms be better off if their ancestors had perished with the dodo birds?

I liked Dr. Loury's comment about people in 1850 and whether people in 2022 mattered to them, or should have mattered to them. Lately I've been thinking about this but in the opposite direction. How much of the present should be devoted to people living in 2150 or 2300? Is there some magic future day when humanity needs to experience peak happiness and well-being? May 12, 2273? Why not Nov 21, 2022? Rather than sacrifice now for the future, why not let the future sacrifice for now? That's not a suggestion from me -- my time on the planet is of no importance -- it's a philosophical question.

Honestly, these days I'm busy thinking about sacrifices some citizens are being asked to make in 2022 for the good of 2032 (to pick a random close year) when I don't think they will help 2032 at all. In fact, they will likely make 2032 worse. (Since we are on a more theoretical plane, it would be inappropriate for me to mention progressive DAs and their trendy "less is more" ideology.)

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