Re: The Brin/Kelly challenge

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Thu Apr 06 2000 - 00:04:25 MDT

Steven Kirsch had this to say about the Brin/Kelly challenge:
> that's an interesting question... how to spend $1B over 5 years wisely for
> maximum good.
> i have a couple of years before I have to answer that question myself.
> "maximum good" is of course subjective and each of us has our own value
> system. therefore, there is no one correct answer, just lots of subjective
> answers.
> As for me, I'd spend it first on self preservation of the planet, because to
> me, what good is spending to benefit ourselves if we are all dead?
> So even though there is a small chance that our planet will be destroyed in
> the near future, the consequences are too devasting to think about. I'd
> rather "buy insurance" now to ensure that I've reduced those odds as much as
> possible.
> So first, I'd make sure we had sufficient funding to identify killer
> asteroids. That is money that is incredibly well leveraged because there is
> no doubt that we WILL get hit someday. $20M can save 3 billion lives. That's
> what I call high leverage.
> See
> Next, I'd put some money towards supporting groups that are working to halt
> the spread of nuclear weapons, e.g., Ploughshares, Second Chance Foundation,
> etc. Maybe $10M or so.
> Next, I'd put money towards support of campaign finance reform, e.g., Ellen
> Miller's Clean Money initiatives. This is money that has INCREDIBLE
> leverage. If we can clean up our political system and make our government
> work responsibly, rather than recklessly (as when the Senate didn't ratify
> the CTBT after a few days of debate), it can save millions or billions of
> lives.
> Next, I'd put some money towards improving our educational system. Maybe
> something like Edison Schools. Educating future generations has incredible
> leverage.
> Any thing left I'd invest in medicine. It's not hard to invest this money
> wisely. See for example,
> you may forward my answer.
> -steve

--      Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

                 Member, Extropy Institute
           Senior Associate, Foresight Institute

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