What Is the Total Global Capability for Suffering and Joy? The Neuro-Mass and Well-Being Distribution on Earth – A Call for a Collaborative EA Project
The composition of the biosphere is a fundamental question in biology – how much do we have of anything?
Yet for most of the history of biology, no global estimation of the biomass of organisms existed. Only in 2018, a paper was published that estimated the global biomass of different taxa (groups of organisms) . The results are nicely summed up in figure 1 in the paper.
I am convinced a similar project should be done for the neural mass, and capability for well-being, on Earth. My guess is that well-being capability should be explored through intelligence, as the capability for well-being is probably highly correlated to information processing, i.e. intelligence. We know that neuro-mass is not highly correlated with intelligence  (think of a human and an elephant), and thus I will guess it is not highly correlated with well-being capability. On the contrary, there are other measurable factors, such as cortical neurons and neuron packing density, that are known to affect general information processing capacity , and are known for at least some animals.
This project will be a milestone in cause prioritization & resource allocation, as it will allow us to understand which groups of creatures have the largest capability for suffering and joy on Earth. For example, think of the implication of a finding that non-human organisms have a global 10x well-being capability or vice versa.
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