[ Question ]

What (other) posts are you planning on writing?

by vaidehi_agarwalla1 min read4th Apr 20206 comments


Personal Blog

This is the second round of a questionI asked last year about what posts you are planning on writing, so that people can share progress and get community feedback and support.


  • If you answered the post last year and/or had posting plans, how did they go? If you didn't end up posting, what happened?
  • What are some open questions or uncertainties you have about the planned post?
  • If you have plans for multiple posts, which are you most excited about, and why?

Posting Resources

New Answer
Ask Related Question
New Comment

4 Answers

Local Career Advice Bottlenecks

Status: First draft, series of 3 posts.

The Local Career Advice Network ran a group organisers' survey to evaluate overall career advice bottlenecks in the community. There will likely be 3 write-ups on the following topics:

  • the main bottlenecks group organisers' observe their members' facing
  • the main bottlenecks group organisers face when trying to give high quality careers advice
  • evaluation of career advice events and activities run by groups

Key uncertainties/questions

  • Nothing as of now. I'll add to this comment as thoughts arise.

A bunch of posts related to The Precipice

I recently finished Toby Ord's The Precipice, and thought it was an excellent and very important book. I plan to write a bunch of posts that summarise, comment on, or take inspiration from various parts of it. Most are currently very early-stage, but the working titles are below.

Key uncertainties/questions:

  • Is there anyone who's already planning to write similar things? I probably won't have time to write all the things I've planned. So if someone else is already likely to pursue ideas similar to some of these, we could potentially collaborate, or I could share my notes and thoughts, let you take that particular topic from there, and allocate my time to other things.

Working titles:

  • Defining existential risks and existential catastrophes
  • My thoughts on Toby Ord's policy & research recommendations
  • Existential security
  • Civilizational collapse and recovery: Toby Ord's views and my doubts
  • The Terrible Funnel: Estimating odds of each step on the x-risk causal path (this title is especially "working")
    • The idea here would be to adapt something like the "Great Filter" or "Drake Equation" reasoning to estimating the probability of existential catastrophe, using how humanity has fared in prior events that passed or could've passed certain "steps" on certain causal chains to catastrophe.
    • E.g., even though we've never faced a pandemic involving a bioengineered pathogen, perhaps our experience with how many natural pathogens have moved from each "step" to the next one can inform what would likely happen if we did face a bioengineered pathogen, or if it did get to a pandemic level.
    • This idea seems sort of implicit in the Precipice, but isn't really spelled out there. Also, as is probably obvious, I need to do more to organise my thoughts on it myself.
    • This may include discussion of how Ord distinguishes natural and anthropogenic risks, and why the standard arguments for an upper bound for natural extinction risks don’t apply to natural pandemics. Or that might be a separate post.
  • Developing - but not deploying - drastic backup plans
  • “Macrostrategy”: Attempted definitions and related concepts
    • This would relate in part to Ord’s concept of “grand strategy for humanity”
  • Collection of notes
  • A post summarising the ideas of existential risk factors and existential security factors?
    • I suspect I won’t end up writing this, but I think someone should. For one thing, it’d be good to have something people can reference/link to that explains that idea (sort of like the role EA Concepts serves).

Running self-directed projects

Status: early stage

I've run a number of projects over the last few months and thought it might be useful to share my experiences and successes/failures and lessons learnt. I may also be presenting the insights from these projects at some point.

Key uncertainties/questions

  • How valuable would people find this?

Career Change Interviews

Status: First Draft

This is a writeup on qualitative research I and Benjamin Skubi did in summer 2019 on 20 EAs at various stages of a career change process. It'll cover:

  • stages of our interviewee's EA journeys (an alternative perspective to the funnel model which will focus on an indivdual's journey)
  • what inspires a career change, what the change process looks like, commonly mentioned bottlenecks and useful resources
  • recommendations/useful tips for career changers and group organisers

Key uncertainties/questions

  • I'm not sure whether to keep the recommendations in the same writeup in a separate section or create a new post with the recommendations.

You can see the updates from my previous posts here