[ Question ]

What are EA project ideas you have?

by Mati_Roy1 min read7th Mar 202032 comments


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The question is meant to be broad.

I invite y'all to share your ideas here, as they come to you.

Relatedly, if you see a project idea that has already been done, pointing it out as a reply would be useful!

For sharing existing project lists, I suggest doing it in the following post instead: Concrete project lists


Motivation for asking: From now on, I intend to use my answer here to continuously document new ideas I come up with instead of having them logged privately in Google Docs. This is part of my goal of reducing the time between conceiving of an idea and sharing it (How much delay do you generally have between having a good new idea and sharing that idea publicly online?).

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3 Answers

WHAT: A book like "Strangers Drowning", but focused on the "E" of EA rather than the "A" of EA.

WHY: narrative can be such a tremendous force in changing people's lives. It's often more powerful than argument (even for brainy people).

There's already a lot of world literature and newspaper stories on people who have been tremendously altruistic. There is much less literature about people who have been tremendously altruistic and -- this is key -- have been motivated by their altruism to care about effectiveness and listen to the evidence.

I'd love to have a book with biographies or stories that traces -- in narrative rather than argument -- people whose love for others has pushed them to care about effectiveness, care about evidence, and generally care about a results-oriented outlook that focuses on what 'really works at the end of the day'. (Note that the book should not generally be about people who care about effectiveness and evidence -- but only about people who have deliberately chosen to do so out of altruism (rather than, say, out nerdiness)).

Possible biographies could include: Florence Nightingale, Ignaz Semmelweis, Deng Xiaoping, figures from EA and utilitarianism, some theologians in the 2nd world war who pragmatically looked towards ending the killing (Bonhoeffer, Barth, etc?), etc. Not vouching for this list of examples at all -- it's more to give an idea.

By the way, creating such a book could be a project for EAs with a different skillset than the cliché EAs.

moving my answers in separate comments below this answer.

particularly useful feedback includes, but isn't limited to:

  • links to a similar project that was already done
  • connection with people interested in this project
  • analysis of the usefulness of the project

note: those are just ideas, they might not be a priority, or good at all

I will document ideas from others I want to signal boost in replies to this comment