Huge thanks to Alex Zhu, Anders Sandberg, Andrés Gómez Emilsson, Andrew Roberts, Anne-Lorraine Selke (who I've subbed in entire sentences from), Crichton Atkinson, Ellie Hain, George Walker, Jesper Östman, Joe Edelman, Liza Simonova, Kathryn Devaney, Milan Griffes, Morgan Sutherland, Nathan Young, Rafael Ruiz, Tasshin Fogelman, Valerie Zhang, and Xiq for reviewing or helping me develop my ideas here. Further thanks to Allison Duettmann, Anders Sandberg, Howie Lempel, Julia Wise, and Tildy Stokes, for inspiring me through their lived examples.
I did not believe that a Cause which stood for a beautiful ideal […] should demand the denial of life & joy.
– Emma Goldman, Living My Life
This essay is a reconciliation of moral commitment and the good life. Here is its essence in two paragraphs:
Totalized by an ought, I...
To help grow the pipeline of AI safety researchers, I conducted a project to determine how demographic information (e.g. level of experience, exposure to AI arguments) affects AI researchers’ responses to AI safety. In addition, I examined additional AI safety surveys to uncover current issues preventing people from becoming AI safety researchers. Specifically, I analyzed the publicly-available data from the AI Impacts survey and also asked AI Safety Support and AGI Safety Fundamentals for their survey data (huge thank you to all three organizations). Below are my results, which I hope will be informative to future field-building efforts.
This work was done as part of the AI Safety Field-Building Hub; thanks to Vael Gates for comments and support. Comments and feedback are very welcome, and all mistakes are my own.
Alternative Title: The Parable of the Crimp
If you watch really proficient rock climbers, you’ll see they can hold themselves up, dozens of feet above the ground, with just the tips of their fingers on the tiniest ledge of rock, about the width of a pencil, called a crimp. If I had not seen it, I would have said it was impossible. When I tried to do it myself, I became convinced that it’s impossible. The feeling! The aching in your fingers, and the awkwardness of the angle tearing at your finger-bones is unbearable. (When I go climbing, I have to hang on to massive, handle-shaped-handles called Jugs which are literally the easiest of the options.)
I think the crimp holds a few valuable lessons. The first is just how tough people can be with...
I'm want to run the listening exercise I'd like to see.
Give concrete suggestions for community changes. 1 - 2 sentences only.
Upvote if you think they are worth putting in the polis poll and agreevote if you think the comment is true.
Agreevote if you think they are well-framed.
Aim for them to be upvoted. Please add suggestions you'd like to see.
I'll take the top 20 - 30
I will delete/move to comments top-level answers that are longer than 2 sentences.
In the EA movement people will sometimes talk about charitable funds as if they are a new idea. For example, the recent Giving What We Can post " why we recommend using expert-led charitable funds" ( forum discussion) opens with:
Funds are a relatively new way for donors to coordinate their giving to maximise their impact.
There's a bit of a cute response that would be fun to write, except that it isn't quite true:
Donating through a fund that is able to put more time and effort into evaluating charitable options is not a new idea, and is very natural if you're thinking along EA lines. In fact, the idea goes back at to the last time people tried to invent effective altruism, 150 years ago. While that effort has been through a few names over time, at this point...
This is a free idea that I am not currently working on making happen. If you are interested in trying to make it happen, I highly encourage you to undertake further investigations.
As the number of universities with EA student groups grows, EA should develop a wider variety of standardized activities that such groups can run. Reading groups and fellowships are great, but probably less exciting than ideal. Competitive, student-friendly academic activities (e.g., debate, quiz bowls, STEM olympiads, hackathons, moot courts) are often a fun activity for people interested in a particular area.
Thus the idea for Grantmaking Bowl: A collaborative competition wherein EA student groups are asked to analyze a common set of EA granting case studies across several cause areas (which could be based...
People react differently when encountering effective altruism for the first time. Some immediately find the ideas appealing and want to learn more, whereas others are much less enthusiastic about them. We suspect that people who immediately find the ideas appealing are more likely to become highly engaged EAs. Let’s call these people proto-EAs. What makes someone a proto-EA?
In a series of surveys, we studied the moral psychological factors that predict immediate interest in effective altruism. We found that the E (“effectiveness-focus”) and the A (“expansive altruism”) are psychologically distinct factors. Both are required to make someone a proto-EA. But only a few people score highly on both. We hope that a deeper understanding of the psychology of proto-EAs can prove practically useful for the community.