Original post by nadavb

Read & edited by: Garrett Baker


Podcast description

Everyone reasonably familiar with EA knows that AI safety, pandemic preparedness, animal welfare and global poverty are considered EA cause areas, whereas feminism, LGBT rights, wildlife conservation and dental hygiene aren't.

The state of some very specific cause areas being held in high regard by the EA community is the result of long deliberations by many thoughtful people who have reasoned that work in these areas could be highly effective. This collective cause prioritization is often the outcome of weighing and comparing the scale, tractability and neglectedness of different causes. Neglectedness in particular seems to play a crucial role in swaying the attention of many EAs and concluding, for example, that working on pandemic preparedness is likely more promising than working on climate change, due to the different levels of attention that these causes currently receive worldwide. Some cause areas, such as AI safety and global poverty, have gained so much attention within EA (both in absolute terms and, more so, compared to the general public) that the EA movement has become somewhat identified with them.

Prioritizing and comparing cause areas is at the very core of EA. Nevertheless, I would like to argue that while cause prioritization is extremely important and should continue, having the EA movement identified with specific cause areas has negative consequences. I would like to highlight the negative aspects of having such a large fraction of the attention and resources of EA going into such a small number of causes, and present the case for more cause diversification and pluralism within EA.


Subscribe to the podcast if you'd like more narrations of particularly interesting forum posts.

Anchor link to podcast page: https://anchor.fm/ea-forum-podcast

RSS feed: https://anchor.fm/s/62cbeec4/podcast/rss

If you are interested in narrating posts yourself, editing, organizing, or anything else which could help with production, sign up using this form. Alternatively, you can comment on this post, or simply message me or @david_reinstein if perchance you dislike filling out forms.

Also listen to David's podcast Found in the Struce (RSS), where he narrates, and adds additional commentary to interesting EA Forum posts.

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5 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 3:19 PM
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I have a mild preference for narrations to not show up on the front-page of the EA Forum, and instead eg be comments to the relevant posts, or bunded up together in a long intro sequence post each time.

I don't know how unusual this preference is (eg I'm also like maybe in the fifth percentile of EAs for how many podcasts I listen to, for example)

Noted. I was worried it would get annoying, so thanks for confirming that worry. I’ll experiment with posting some not on the front-page, and see if they get significantly fewer listens.

I listen to a good amount of podcasts using the Pocket Casts app (or at least I did for a couple years up until a few weeks ago when I realized that I find YouTube explanations of tech topics a lot more informative). But when I'm browsing the EA Forum, I'm not really interested in listening to podcasts, especially podcast versions of posts I've already read that I could easily re-read on the EA Forum. I think this is a cool project but after the first couple of audio narration posts which were good for generating awareness of this podcast, I don't think it's necessary to continue these top-level posts. I think it would still be worthwhile to experiment with not posting some episodes on the front-page and seeing how that affects the number of listens.

Thanks! This is really good feedback. One person saying something could mean anything, but two people saying the same thing is a much stronger signal that that thing is a good idea.

I'll be a third person here: the narrations are nice, but are starting to clutter the front page.

I'd recommend having one big post where you list all the narrations you've done, with links to the appropriate posts or comments. That post can have the "audio" tag so people find it when they look for audio, and it's a handy way for you to link to the full set of recordings at once if you want people to know about the resource.