Written by the core organising team for EAGxCambridge, this retrospective evaluates the conference, gives feedback for the CEA events team, and makes recommendations for future organisers. It’s also a general update for the community about the event, and an exercise in transparency. We welcome your feedback and comments about how we can improve EA conferences in the future.
Attendees’ photos are here, and professional photos are in a subfolder.
We think EAGxCambridge went well.
The main metric CEA uses to evaluate their events is ‘number of connections’. We estimate around 4200 new connections resulted, at an all-told cost of around £53 per connection (=$67 at time of writing), which is a better cost-per-connection than many previous conferences. The low cost-per-connection is partly driven by the fact that the event was on the large side compared to the historical average (enabling economies of scale to kick in) and encompassed 3 days; it was also kept low by limiting travel grants.
Of these 4200 new connections, around 1700 were potentially ‘impactful’ as rated by attendees. (Pinch of salt: as a rule, people don’t know how impactful any given connection is.)
The likelihood-to-recommend scores were on a par with other EA conferences, which are usually very highly rated. (The average answer was 8.7 on a 1-to-10 scale.)
Besides making connections, we also wanted to encourage and inspire attendees to take action.
82% of survey respondents said they planned to take at least one of a list of actions (e.g. ‘change degree’) as a result of the conference, including 14.5% resolving to found an EA organisation and 30% resolving to work full-time for such an organisation or in a primary cause area. After applying a pinch of salt, those numbers suggest the conference inspired people to take significant action. We heard of several anecdotal cases where the conference triggered people to apply for particular jobs or funding, or resulted in internships or research collaborations.
We're very thankful to everyone who made this happen: volunteers, attendees, session hosts, and many others.
For more in-depth commentary, click through to the relevant part of the Google Doc using the links below.
- Main venue: Guildhall first floor
- Secondary venue: ground floor
- Tertiary venue: Lola Lo
- Coordinating with venue staff on the day
- Overall view
- More snacks
- Better acoustics
- Faster wifi
- Food was “incredible” / “amazing” / “extremely good” / “really excellent”
- Attendee Slack
For the sake of the search index, those videos are:
Testing Your Suitability For AI Alignment Research | Esben Kran
Good News in Effective Altruism | Shakeel Hashim
Combating Catastrophic Biorisk With Indoor Air Safety | Jam Kraprayoon
Should Effective Altruists Focus On Air Pollution? | Tom Barnes
Alternative Proteins and How I Got There | Friederike Grosse-Holz
How Local Groups Can Have Global Impact | Cambridge Alternative Protein Project
Global Food System Failure And What We Can Do About It | Noah Wescombe
Infecting Humans For Vaccine Development | Jasmin Kaur
Existential Risk Pessimism And The Time Of Perils | David Thorstad
How To Make The Most of EAGx | Ollie Base
Spreading Life Across The Universe: Best Or Worst Idea Ever? | Anders Sandberg
Missing Data In Global Health And Why It Matters | Saloni Dattani
Alignment In Natural & Artificial Intelligence: Research Avenues | Nora Ammann
What Does It Take To Found A High-Impact Charity? | Judith Rensing
Fireside Chat | Lord Martin Rees
The Rising Cost Of AI Training And Its Implications | Ben Cottier
Fireside Chat | David Krueger
Virtues For Effective Altruists | Stefan Schubert
Anders Sandberg on Exploratory Engineering, Value Diversity, and Grand Futures
The feedback survey defined a connection as “a person you feel comfortable asking for a favour. This could be someone you met at the event for the first time or someone you’ve known for a while but didn’t feel comfortable reaching out to until now. A reasonable estimate is fine.”
By ‘all-told’ cost I mean to include the payment of core organisers, which is often excluded from EAG(x) cost-per-connection figures. The figure that’s more comparable with other EAG(x) retrospectives (i.e. excluding the payment of core organisers) is £43.46 (55 USD at time of writing.) A reason not to take such figures quite at face value is that EA conferences benefit a lot from free labour, particularly from volunteers.
The feedback survey defined impactful connections as “connections which might accelerate (or have accelerated) you on your path to impact (e.g. someone who might connect you to a job opportunity or a new collaborator on your work).”