Will FLI's grant approval to Nya DagBladet appear reprehensible on 31 March 2023.
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resolved Apr 3
Resolved
YES

Criticism [1] [2]. FLI/Max Tegmarks response [3].

Resolves subjectively. The successful approval of a grant from FLI (future of life institute) to Nya DagBladet for a 100,000 USD by FLI appears to me, at the date of market creation (15/01/2023), as extremely reprehensible.

Some reasons I think the grant currently looks extremely reprehensible: the personal connection between Max Tegmark, and a contributor to the newspaper, makes it appear the grant may have been given as an act of nepotism ; the quality and coverage and issues the newspaper works on appears poor; the initial response from Max Tegmark/FLI has not alleviated any of my concerns. 

Could resolve negative if (not an exhaustive list): I have significantly misunderstood FLI's grant approval process; The grant application was for an extremely promising project; it was part of a larger, comprehensive, and well-structured strategy, to engage with agents from all over the political spectrum with the goal of reducing existential risk; Nya DagBladet has been mischaracterised as "far right". 

I will resolve to my own judgement. 


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Reviewing FLIs communications after the fact, it appears many tough questions around the grant have not been answered (I interpret the FAQ as containing moderate to little novel information). For this reason, I am resolving this positive.

Had those questions been answered, I could have potentially looked into the veracity of answers - but we didn't get that far

predicted YES

@ElliotDavies what was your judgement 3 days ago?

@harfe resolved

predicted YES

Its hard to guess the judgement now of Elliot after the rejection statement and I have made risky bets on a subjective market now.

Nonetheless, my guess is currently at approx 60%. It still seems like the grant was still approved, so the assumption this question is based on is arguably still true (source: https://expo.se/sites/default/files/ed-faksimil-loi.jpg contains "has approved a grant"). This is relevant for the question: The question asks whether the "approval" will appear reprehensible, and not whether the final decision was reprehensible. I think its very unlikely that Elliot considers it not reprehensible because FLI made a final decision to not pay the grant, as Elliot was aware of that fact and was still disappointed by the initial statement from Max Tegmark.

Lets check the examples for "could resolve negative". The most likely candidate there is "I have significantly misunderstood FLI's grant approval process;". This is the main reason I am not higher than 60%.

Reasons why I still think this is not a huge argument for Elliot to resolve negative:

At the time Elliot created the market, Elliot has read the initial statement from Max Tegmark,

where it was already described that after grant approval there was another due dilligence stage. So the new info from the newer rejection statement might not be a big update.

However, if it turns out, that the rejection-after-approval method is common from FLI (eg they ultimately reject something like 30% of all their approved grants), Elliot might think to have significantly misunderstood FLI's grant approval process.

The other reasons Elliot gave for potential negative resolution are imo rather unlikely:

Extremely promising project? If that was the case, FLI would have described what the project was. Well-structured strategy with agents across the political spectrum? FLI does not argue this and instead say they misjudged the political orientation of the org.


My personal opinion: I am still somewhat confused how the grant got so far, when it is fairly easy to find red flags very quickly when investigating. Maybe they have barely investigated NDF.

@harfe 'My personal opinion: I am still somewhat confused how the grant got so far, when it is fairly easy to find red flags very quickly when investigating.'

At the very least I think that Tegmark is culpably naive about how nasty European right populists typically are-probably because his brother is one, perhaps because he has views a bit in that direction himself. So many of them have connections to the original classical fascist tradition and/or were founded by real, official neo-Nazis and then "moderated", that it's not really surprising that if you give Euro right-populists money, they embarrass you by turning out to be proper fash.

@harfe "If that [ND's project was promising] was the case, FLI would have described what the project was."
I don't think that's true. With political influence, describing the project ahead of doing it tends to be a losing move, like telling someone the counterintuitive conclusion to an argument before presenting the argument, it's best to avoid it if possible, and just start leading them through the steps. And then if you decide the project wouldn't have even been feasible, you especially wont want to describe it, then.

This was just posted:

https://futureoflife.org/rejection_statement/

https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/LvwihGYgFEzjGDhBt/fli-faq-on-the-rejected-grant-proposal-controversy?commentId=TaiLsj2cgrKQMC4mv

I was pretty much convinced from their new statement and a clearer understanding of the timeline that they did nothing that could be considered reprehensible.

@DeanValentine +1, I found Rob Bensinger's timeline in the comments particularly compelling here (that they posted this within 3-5 days of the hit piece going out, and people were calling them out for a lack of response within hours, and then hating on them for an inadequate hasty response

Manifold in the wild: Records Show That Max Tegmark Signed A Grant

You might be interested by this prediction market I just bet in and commented on: [https://manifold.markets/ElliotDavies/will-flis-grant-approval-to-nya-dag#31OcTJh5wc1DYbfFRPaZ](https://manifold.markets/ElliotDavies/will-flis-grant-approval-to-nya-dag#31OcTJh5wc1DYbfFRPaZ) Of course I will significantly change my mind about Tegmark if it turns out that he was simultaneously intending to give NDF the grant while being aware that they would spread nazi beliefs. While ND does spread nazi beliefs, I believe Tegmark's claim that he wasn't aware of the connection when he was considering NDF's grant application. So indeed I'd say he's a victim of circumstance in having *considered* granting a large bag of money to a nazi media outlet *before* he realized they were a nazi media outlet, and having that consideration made public. If everyone was aware of everything that I ever *considered* doing, I'd find life a lot harder.

One thing that Tegmark says in his response is that "Nya Dagbladet Foundation" is different from Nya Dagbladet itself.

  1. Suppose it turns out they are are basically the same, but Tegmark gives fairly clear reasons why he mistakenly thought they were quite different. Like clearly he was being at least a little sloppy not making the connection, but it maybe seems understandable that he temporarily (before "due diligence") didn't make the connection. Would you resolve it to non-reprehensible, or would the sloppiness always count against him?

  2. I presume that if it turns out that Tegmark is correct and they are indeed quite different, you would resolve to non-reprehensible?

Full disclosure: I bought NO shares, which brought the market down to 80% from 83. I will be buying/selling based on your answer.

@HamishTodd

"Suppose it turns out they are are basically the same, but Tegmark gives fairly clear reasons why he mistakenly thought they were quite different."

I'd give <5% chance to me finding this plausible, since 1) His brother writes for the publication, so will almost certainly know roughly what is is 2) The Foundation hadn't been formed yet, making it hard to be confident that it's sufficently distinct from the newspaper

@ElliotDavies That's fair. I have sold my bets back!

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