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A few months ago I felt like some people I knew within community building were doing a thing where they believed (or believed they believed) that AI existential risk was a really big problem but instead of just saying that to people (eg: new group members), they said it was too weird to just say that outright and so you had to make people go through less "weird" things like content about global health and development and animal welfare before telling them you were really concerned about this AI thing.  And even when you got to the AI topic, had to make people trust you enough by talking about misuse risks first in order to be more convincing. This would have been an okay thing to do if those were their actual beliefs. But in a couple of cases, this was an intentional thing to warm people up to the "crazy" idea that AI existential risk is a big problem.  This bothered me. To the extent that those people now feel more comfortable directly stating their actual beliefs, this feels like a good thing to me. But I'm also worried that people still won't just directly state their beliefs and instead still continue to play persuasion games with new people but about different things. Eg: one way this could go wrong is group organisers try to make it seem to new people like they're more confident about what interventions within AI safety are helpful than they actually are. Things like: "Oh hey you're concerned about this problem, here are impactful things you can do right away such as applying to this org or going through this curriculum" when they are much more uncertain (or should be?) about how useful the work done by the org is or how correct/relevant the content in the AI safety curriculum is.
The EA community aims to make a positive difference using two very different approaches.  One of them is much harder than the other. As I see it, there are two main ways people in the EA community today aim to make a positive difference in the world: (1) identifying existing, high-performing altruistic programs and providing additional resources to support them; and (2) designing and executing new altruistic programs.  I think people use both approaches—though in varying proportions—in each of the major cause areas that people inspired by EA ideas tend to focus on. In this post, I’ll call approach (1) the evaluation-and-support approach, and I’ll call approach (2) the design-and-execution approach. I consider GiveWell’s work to be the best example of the evaluation-and-support approach.[1] Most policy advocacy efforts, technical engineering efforts, and community-building projects are examples of the design-and-execution approach.[2] Both of these approaches are difficult to do well, but I think design-and-execution is much more difficult than evaluation-and-support.  (In fact, recognizing and taking seriously how difficult and rare it is that a well-intended altruistic program is actually designed and executed effectively is one of the central [] insights [] that I find distinctive and valuable about EA’s evaluation-and-support approach.)  I also think design-and-execution—with its long feedback loops and scarcity of up-front empirical evidence—carries a much higher risk of accidentally causing harm than evaluation-and-support, and so depends much more heavily on effective risk-management and error-correction processes to have a positive impact on the world.[3]  I think the riskiness of design-and-execution approaches makes it unclear whether it’s virtuous to be especially ambitious when pursuing these approaches, since ambitious
Not all "EA" things are good - just saying what everyone knows out loud (copied over with some edits from a twitter thread []) Maybe it's worth just saying the thing people probably know but isn't always salient aloud, which is that orgs (and people) who describe themselves as "EA" vary a lot in effectiveness, competence, and values, and using the branding alone will probably lead you astray. Especially for newer or less connected people, I think it's important to make salient that there are a lot of takes (pos and neg) on the quality of thought and output of different people and orgs, which from afar might blur into "they have the EA stamp of approval" Probably a lot of thoughtful people think whatever seems shiny in a "everyone supports this" kind of way is bad in a bunch of ways (though possibly net good!), and that granularity is valuable. I think feel very free to ask around to get these takes and see what you find - it's been a learning experience for me, for sure. Lots of this is "common knowledge" to people who spend a lot of their time around professional EAs and so it doesn't even occur to people to say + it's sensitive to talk about publicly. But I think "some smart people in EA think this is totally wrongheaded" is a good prior for basically anything going on in EA. Maybe at some point we should move to more explicit and legible conversations about each others' strengths and weaknesses, but I haven't thought through all the costs there, and there are many. Curious for thoughts on whether this would be good! (e.g. Oli Habryka talking about people with integrity here [])
BAD THINGS ARE BAD: A SHORT LIST OF COMMON VIEWS AMONG EAS 1. No, we should not sterilize people against their will. 2. No, we should not murder AI researchers. Murder is generally bad. Martyrs are generally effective. Executing complicated plans is generally more difficult than you think, particularly if failure means getting arrested and massive amounts of bad publicity. 3. Sex and power are very complicated. If you have a power relationship, consider if you should also have a sexual one. Consider very carefully if you have an power relationship: many forms of power relationship are invisible, or at least transparent, to the person with power. Common forms of power include age, money, social connections, professional connections, and almost anything that correlates with money (race, gender, etc). Some of these will be more important than others. If you're concerned about something, talk to a friend who's on the other side of that from you. If you don't have any, maybe just don't. 4. And yes, also, don't assault people. 5. Sometimes deregulation is harmful. "More capitalism" is not the solution to every problem. 6. Very few people in wild animal suffering  think that we should go and deliberately destroy the biosphere today. 7. Racism continues to be an incredibly negative force in the world. Anti-black racism seems pretty clearly the most harmful form of racism for the minority of the world that lives outside Asia.[1] 8. Much of the world is inadequate and in need of fixing. That EAs have not prioritized something does not mean that it is fine: it means we're busy. 9. The enumeration in the list, of certain bad things, being construed to deny or disparage other things also being bad, would be bad. Hope that clears everything up. I expect with 90% confidence that over 90% of EAs would agree with every item on this list. 1. ^ Inside, I don't know enough to say with confidence.
On Socioeconomic Diversity: I want to describe how the discourse on sexual misconduct may be reducing the specific type of socioeconomic diversity I am personally familiar with.  I’m a white female American who worked as an HVAC technician with co-workers mostly from racial minorities before going to college. Most of the sexual misconduct incidents discussed in the Time article [] have likely differed from standard workplace discussions in my former career only in that the higher status person expressed romantic/sexual attraction, making their statement much more vulnerable than the trash-talk I’m familiar with. In the places most of my workplace experience comes from, people of all genders and statuses make sexual jokes about coworkers of all genders and statuses not only in their field, but while on the clock. I had tremendous fun participating in these conversations. It didn’t feel sexist to me because I gave as good as I got. My experience generalizes well; Even when Donald Trump made a joke about sexual assault that many upper-class Americans believed disqualified him, immediately before the election he won, Republican women [] were no more likely to think he should drop out of the race than Republican voters in general. Donald Trump has been able to maintain much of his popularity despite denying the legitimacy of a legitimate election in part because he identified the gatekeeping elements of upper-class American norms as classist []. I am strongly against Trump, but believe we should note that many female Americans from poorer backgrounds enjoy these conversations, and many more oppose the kind of punishments popular in upper class American communities. This means strongly disliking these conversations is not an intrinsic virtue, but a decision EA culture ha
Proposing a change to how Karma is accrued: I recently reached over 1,000 Karma, meaning my upvotes now give 2 Karma and my strong upvotes give 6 Karma.  I'm most proud of my contributions to the forum about economics, but almost all of my increased ability to influence discourse now is from participating a lot in the discussions on sexual misconduct. An upvote from me on Global Health & Development (my primary cause area) now counts twice as much as an upvote from 12 out of 19 of the authors of posts with 200-300 Karma with the Global Health & Development tag. They are generally experts in their field working at major EA organizations, whereas I am an electrical engineering undergraduate. I think these kinds of people should have far more ability to influence the discussion via the power of their upvotes than me. They will notice things about the merits of the cases people are making that I won't until I'm a lot smarter and wiser and farther along in my career. I don't think the ability to say something popular about culture wars translates well into having insights about the object level content. It is very easy to get Karma by participating in community discussions, so a lot of people are now probably in my position after the increased activity in that area around the scandals. I really want the people with more expertise in their field to be the ones influencing how visible posts and comments about their field are.  I propose that Karma earned from comments on posts with the community tag accrues at a slower rate. Edit: I just noticed a post by moderators that does a better job of explaining why karma is so easy to accumulate in community posts: []
SOME POST-EAG THOUGHTS ON JOURNALISTS For context, CEA accepted at EAG Bay Area 2023 a journalist who has at times written critically of EA and individual EAs, and who is very much not a community member. I am deliberately not naming the journalist, because they haven't done anything wrong and I'm still trying to work out my own thoughts. On one hand, "journalists who write nice things get to go to the events, journalists who write mean things get excluded" is at best ethically problematic. It's very very very normal: political campaigns do it, industry events do it, individuals do it. "Access journalism" is the norm more than it is the exception. But that doesn't mean that we should. One solution is to be very very careful about maintaining the differentiation between "community member" and "critical or not". Dylan Matthews is straightforwardly an EA and has reported critically on a past EAG []: if he was excluded for this I would be deeply concerned. On the other hand, I think that, when hosting an EA event, an EA organization has certain obligations to the people at that event. One of them is protecting their safety and privacy. EAs who are journalists can, I think, generally be relied upon to be fair and to respect the privacy of individuals. That is not a trust I extend to journalists who are not community members []: the linked example is particularly egregious, but tabloid reporting happens. EAG is a gathering of community members. People go to advance their goals: see friends, network, be networked at, give advice, get advice, learn interesting things, and more. In a healthy movement, I think that EAGs should be a professional obligation, good for the individual, or fun for the individual. It doesn't have to be all of them, but it shouldn't harm them on any axis. Someone might be out ab
On the EA forum redesign: new EAs versus seasoned EAs In the recent Design changes announcement [], many commenters reacted negatively to the design changes.  One comment from somebody on the forum team [] said in response: (bolded emphasis mine) This feels like a crux. Personally I think the EA forum should be a place seasoned EAs can go to to get the latest news and ideas in EA. Therefore, making the EA forum more similar to "the internet [new EAs are] used to" should not really be a priority.  There are so [] many [] other [] spaces [] for [] new [] EAs to get up to speed. It's not obvious to me that the forum's comparative advantage is in being a space which is especially welcoming to new users.  To my knowledge, this tradeoff between designing UX for new versus seasoned EAs has not been publicly discussed much. Which is a shame, because if the EA Forum is a worse space to exist in for seasoned EAs, then seasoned EAs will increasingly retreat to their local communities and there will be less interchange of ideas. (e.g. think about how different Bay Area EAs are from DC EAs) 
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