These are some small EA communication projects which I think independent EA's with reasonable understandings of EA and communication practices can do, without needing to be employed by an EA organization etc. They mostly come from random discussions I have with people and in general are not original to me.
A twitter bot which tweets out forum articles[EDIT: This already exists]
- This could be based on parsing the forum RSS feed
- You could imagine a number of variants: only tweeting articles with >X karma, only tweeting those with a specific tag, only those from specific authors, etc.
- Could also tweet out links to EA newsletters, or parse them and tweet the individual articles linked therein
- Repurposing EAG videos
- Professional content studios squeeze the last drop of value out of every single piece of content they get: they put the full long video on YouTube for diehard fans, take short highlight clips and post them on Instagram, take key quotes and post them on twitter, put compilations on TikTok, etc.
- We have dozens (hundreds?) of hours of video from speakers at EAG, which generally doesn't get a ton of engagement on YouTube.
- Someone with editing skills and reasonable understanding of EA could repurpose this content in a bunch of different ways, without needing to come up with original ideas, write scripts, etc.
- Create posts to drive engagement
- e.g. after EAG create a thread on the Forum asking people to post their biggest takeaways from the event.
- Or you could do this on social media
- It would probably have to be combined with some proactive outreach to get people to post in order to be successful
- Make a map of EA
- Domain of Science created "map of X" for various fields. I honestly don't understand why these videos were so popular, but they are (the map of mathematics got 8.6 million views).
- You could imagine doing something similar for EA.
- Probably you should understand why the original videos were so popular though, if you’re going to replicate the success.
- Anna Riedl made a map of cognitive science and is interested in collaborating if you want to do this project.
Make a scratch off list of EA reading[Anna is working on this]
- Inspired by posters like this one which list famous novels, the intention being that you scratch off each novel as you read it
- You could create this for key EA reading, perhaps based on the readings listed in the handbook, or introductory program
- If you do this, let me know because CEA might be interested in providing the scratch off list to virtual program participants or Forum readers
- Anna is also interested in collaborating on this one
- Summarize prolific authors
- (Or run a contest, similar to Richard Ngo's bounty for compiling Robin Hanson's best posts.)
- "The collected works of (famous intellectual)" is a pretty popular format; the idea is to do something similar for prolific EA authors.
- A lot of EA thinkers have shifted their publications to target more esoteric audiences (e.g. academics), and, as a result, the median EA is less in touch with what e.g. Will MacAskill or Toby Ord are thinking than they were a few years ago.
- I think it will be more successful if it's just excerpts of the most important ideas though, rather than a complete compendium.
- Make podcasts that read out newsletters
- Robert Miles does this for the alignment newsletter, for example
- There are a bunch of other newsletters you could do this for. MichaelA suggests import.ai, ChinAI, CSET's newsletter, and Charlotte Stix's newsletter
- Make videos that read out newsletters
- See previous
- Make a written intro similar to Ajeya's talk
- I ask many group organizers what they give to people who are new to EA as an introduction, and this talk from Ajeya is perhaps the most frequently mentioned thing.
- Organizers usually say that this talk does the best job within EA content of being "warm" and showing the passion and motivation for EA, in addition to the intellectual foundations.
- This helps it appeal to those who have a strong emphasis on care/harm foundation and leftists.
- The Forum provides a transcript of this talk, but presumably someone who optimized it for a written version could do a better job.
- I would suggest talking to group organizers and new people before taking on this project, so that you fully understand the reason why her talk is so good, and how to capture that value in a written version.
- Update Ajeya's talk video
- While her video is good, it is still just a college student talking next to a PowerPoint. A talented video editor could presumably make a better version.
- Summarize "the current thinking around X"
- Analogous to UpToDate in medicine: read literature and talk to experts to understand the consensus opinion around key topics in EA, and advise on best practices.
- Example topics could include:
- Are the next 10 years unusually important?
- How valuable is it to attract another person to EA?
- What are the key disagreements around AI timelines?
- One use case for this is: people who have been involved in EA for a while, but don't work full-time on EA things, often lose track of changing thinking. It would be helpful for them to have e.g. an annual summary of key updates.
- In some cases this is for intellectual interest, but in other cases it would affect their life choices. E.g. I think many people who are casually involved in EA might change their career plans if they understood the arguments around the next decade being unusually important.
- Make summaries of key articles
- Search the EA forum for "research agenda". These are lists people have already curated of the most important reading in various domains. Creating less technical summaries of these is a helpful way for people to easily get up to speed on the most important ideas.
- I'm also interested in summaries of the MIRI conversations
- Similarly, you can make video, podcast, twitter thread, etc. versions of these key articles.
- Turn On Caring into a video
- Turn Most Important Century into a video
- Interviews with EA's
- The EA community contains a lot of impressive people, and those people are a big reason why newcomers are attracted to join
- I'm not really sure if this could actually be captured with a video
- But it would be cool if so
- Expand Luke Muehlhauser's graphs about the Industrial Revolution to include more data points
- Number of (factory) farmed animals
- Number of wild animals (perhaps weighted by neuron count or something similar)
- (Maybe) something about emerging technologies, e.g. number of humans killed by human engineered biological agents
- Turn Brian Tomasik's essays into a book
- Suggested by Anna here
- "Day in the life" write ups
- A lot of EA jobs are pretty weird; many of us do things that literally no one else in the world does.
- John Wentworth's description of his job seemed useful, it possibly counterfactually caused people to become independent researchers
- It would be cool to interview people and write about what their day is like
- Extropians listserv writeup
- From Howie Lempel:
- Surprisingly often, I find out that some longtermist idea was already discussed over a decade ago on the Extropians listserv.
- Seems possible that there’s a bunch of valuable ideas in there that nobody’s ever written up. I don’t know if the density is sufficient to create something worth reading, but maybe somebody else does.
- Also, people sometimes talk about how a lot of ideas that are “in the air” among Bay Area/Oxford longtermists got their start there. I wonder if this could be a cheap/minimal way for a pretty junior person to create content that gives a flavor of longtermist discussion to people who haven’t spent much in-person time in those communities?
- Simplest version might be making a “best of Extropians” document by searching for a few authors’ names and compiling excerpts. The more thorough version might have a bunch more summarizing/distilling.
- I (Ben) think similar things could be said about SL4
- From Howie Lempel:
Note: many of these suggestions involve repurposing existing content. Remember to respect intellectual property laws when doing this, and consider contacting the author of the original work, when appropriate.
These ideas are posted by me personally, not my employer, and in general I've only done a few minutes of thinking about each one.
This is great! I'll be sharing this with anyone in need of ideas of what to work on.
I specifically like the model of "repurpose everything", like after EAG, follow up on it and keep engagement going. I feel like I can use that in my tweeting directly.
Thanks! Yeah let me know if you end up trying the "keep engagement going" type stuff – I'd be curious to hear how successful it is
Will do! First thing has been to write up the workshop I gave at the post EAG student organizer retreat as a Twitter thread. (Link here: https://twitter.com/ChanaMessinger/status/1462420569857560578?t=1EdH2WBZaGO2QxHraD76qg&s=19) Not amazing reach, but something I'll keep playing with.
These are all great suggestions! ❤️
I'd add that even for those who aren't willing/able to put the time into working on projects like these, there's still so much you can do by merely talking about EA and bringing it up slightly more often in casual conversations. Word of mouth is far more powerful than people give it credit for, so simply talking about EA and why it matters to you could be a huge force for good!
I agree that these are great ideas, but I have struggled to get funding for stuff like this, which confuses me. If these are good ideas, why aren't we pushing funding towards making them exist?
See a previous post I wrote on this here:
The Twitter bot for sharing Forum articles already exists.
Thanks! I thought it sounded familiar, but I couldn't find it. I've updated my article
Most of these ideas do sound good to me (the others I'm ~agnostic on), and in general I like the idea of firing off quick posts like this with relatively concrete ideas of useful things for "junior EAs" to do.
For additional ideas/discussion, people might also be interested in Suggestion: EAs should post more summaries and collections and/or Notes on EA-related research, writing, testing fit, learning, and the Forum.
I think contributing to the EA Wiki might also be a good example of a "small EA communication project which independent EAs with reasonable understandings of EA and communication practices can do, without needing to be employed by an EA organization etc." (paraphrasing you).
Thanks! I agree with other suggestions, thanks for adding them
Thanks for this!
This script and these slides are heavily inspired by (and are several years more recent than) her talk--might be useful for someone who wants to do this.
Thanks! That does seem helpful.
I'd like this! In particular, I'd personally like this for various AI-governance-related newsletters, e.g. import.ai, ChinAI, CSET's newsletter, and Charlotte Stix's newsletter. I've subscribed to these and would like to at least skim them but almost never do, but I find it easier to make time for listening than for reading.
Thanks for these concrete suggestions!