Judgement as a key need in EA

by Benjamin_Todd1 min read12th Sep 202016 comments


RationalityForecastingEpistemic Humility

In the last couple of years, I’ve noticed people playing with the idea that one the things the community most needs is people with identifiably good judgement.

In the 2020 EA Leaders Forum (EALF) survey, respondents were asked which traits they would most like to see in new community members over the next five years, and judgement came out highest by a decent margin.

You can see this data in a new blog post on 80,000 Hours, where I speculate about some of the reasons that judgement is so valued. In brief:

  1. Good judgement seems prized in general.
  2. Good judgment seems even more important when aiming to do good — especially in a longtermist paradigm — due to a lack of feedback and established best practice, which means we have to rely more than average on judgement calls.
  3. The bottlenecks the community currently faces require people with unusually good judgement (e.g. many of our priority paths).

I also try to clarify what good judgement means and how it differs from related concepts like decision-making and intelligence.

Fortunately, it seems possible for people to improve their judgement. In the second half of the post, I summarise some of the best research I’m aware of into how to improve your judgement into a prioritised list of steps. This is mainly about how to improve forecasting because that's where we seem to have the best evidence.

Read here