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Quick takes

21
6d
We’re very excited to announce the following speakers for EA Global: London 2024: * Rory Stewart (Former MP, Host of The Rest is Politics podcast and Senior Advisor to GiveDirectly) on obstacles and opportunities in making aid agencies more effective. * Mary Phuong (Research Scientist at DeepMind) on dangerous capability evaluations and responsible scaling. * Mahi Klosterhalfen (CEO of the Albert Schweitzer Foundation) on combining interventions for maximum impact in farmed animal welfare. Applications close 19 May. Apply here and find more details on our website, you can also email the EA Global team at hello@eaglobal.org if you have any questions.
100
1mo
47
Please people, do not treat Richard Hannania as some sort of worthy figure who is a friend of EA. He was a Nazi, and whilst he claims he moderated his views, he is still very racist as far as I can tell. Hannania called for trying to get rid of all non-white immigrants in the US, and the sterilization of everyone with an IQ under 90 indulged in antisemitic attacks on the allegedly Jewish elite, and even post his reform was writing about the need for the state to harass and imprison Black people specifically ('a revolution in our culture or form of government. We need more policing, incarceration, and surveillance of black people' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Hanania).  Yet in the face of this, and after he made an incredibly grudging apology about his most extreme stuff (after journalists dug it up), he's been invited to Manifiold's events and put on Richard Yetter Chappel's blogroll.  DO NOT DO THIS. If you want people to distinguish benign transhumanism (which I agree is a real thing*) from the racist history of eugenics, do not fail to shun actual racists and Nazis. Likewise, if you want to promote "decoupling" factual beliefs from policy recommendations, which can be useful, do not duck and dive around the fact that virtually every major promoter of scientific racism ever, including allegedly mainstream figures like Jensen, worked with or published with actual literal Nazis (https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/arthur-jensen).  I love most of the people I have met through EA, and I know that-despite what some people say on twitter- we are not actually a secret crypto-fascist movement (nor is longtermism specifically, which whether you like it or not, is mostly about what its EA proponents say it is about.) But there is in my view a disturbing degree of tolerance for this stuff in the community, mostly centered around the Bay specifically. And to be clear I am complaining about tolerance for people with far-right and fasc
18
15d
1
With another EAG nearby, I thought now would be a good time to push out this draft-y note. I'm sure I'm missing a mountain of nuance, but I stand by the main messages:   "Keep Talking" I think there are two things EAs could be doing more of, on the margin. They are cheap, easy, and have the potential to unlock value in unsuspecting ways. Talk to more people I say this 15 times a week. It's the most no-brainer thing I can think of, with a ridiculously low barrier to entry; it's usually net-positive for one while often only drawing on unproductive hours of the other. Almost nobody would be where they were without the conversations they had. Some anecdotes: - A conversation led both parties discovering a good mentor-mentee fit, leading to one dropping out of a PhD, being mentored on a project, and becoming an alignment researcher. - A first conversation led to more conversations which led to more conversations, one of which illuminated a new route to impact which this person was a tremendously good fit for. They're now working as a congressional staffer. - A chat with a former employee gave an applicant insight about a company they were interviewing with and helped them land the job (many, many such cases). - A group that is running a valuable fellowship programme germinated from a conversation between three folks who previously were unacquainted (the founders) (again, many such cases).   Make more introductions to others (or at least suggest who they should reach out to) By hoarding our social capital we might leave ungodly amounts of value on the table. Develop your instincts and learn to trust them! Put people you speak with in touch with other people who they should speak with -- especially if they're earlier in their discovery of using evidence and reason to do more good in the world. (By all means, be protective of those whose time is 2 OOMs more precious; but within +/- 1, let's get more people connected: exchanging ideas, improving our thinking,
25
1mo
CEA is hiring for someone to lead the EA Global program. CEA's three flagship EAG conferences facilitate tens of thousands of highly impactful connections each year that help people build professional relationships, apply for jobs, and make other critical career decisions. This is a role that comes with a large amount of autonomy, and one that plays a key role in shaping a key piece of the effective altruism community’s landscape.  See more details and apply here!
198
1y
6
I'm going to be leaving 80,000 Hours and joining Charity Entrepreneurship's incubator programme this summer! The summer 2023 incubator round is focused on biosecurity and scalable global health charities and I'm really excited to see what's the best fit for me and hopefully launch a new charity. The ideas that the research team have written up look really exciting and I'm trepidatious about the challenge of being a founder but psyched for getting started. Watch this space! <3 I've been at 80,000 Hours for the last 3 years. I'm very proud of the 800+ advising calls I did and feel very privileged I got to talk to so many people and try and help them along their careers! I've learned so much during my time at 80k. And the team at 80k has been wonderful to work with - so thoughtful, committed to working out what is the right thing to do, kind, and fun - I'll for sure be sad to leave them. There are a few main reasons why I'm leaving now: 1. New career challenge - I want to try out something that stretches my skills beyond what I've done before. I think I could be a good fit for being a founder and running something big and complicated and valuable that wouldn't exist without me - I'd like to give it a try sooner rather than later. 2. Post-EA crises stepping away from EA community building a bit - Events over the last few months in EA made me re-evaluate how valuable I think the EA community and EA community building are as well as re-evaluate my personal relationship with EA. I haven't gone to the last few EAGs and switched my work away from doing advising calls for the last few months, while processing all this. I have been somewhat sad that there hasn't been more discussion and changes by now though I have been glad to see more EA leaders share things more recently (e.g. this from Ben Todd). I do still believe there are some really important ideas that EA prioritises but I'm more circumspect about some of the things I think we're not doing as well as we could (
57
3mo
2
EDIT: just confirmed that FHI shut down as of April 16, 2024 It sounds like the Future of Humanity Institute may be permanently shut down.  Background: FHI went on a hiring freeze/pause back in 2021 with the majority of staff leaving (many left with the spin-off of the Centre for the Governance of AI) and moved to other EA organizations. Since then there has been no public communication regarding its future return, until now...  The Director, Nick Bostrom, updated the bio section on his website with the following commentary [bolding mine]:  This language suggests that FHI has officially closed. Can anyone at Trajan/Oxford confirm?  Also curious if there is any project in place to conduct a post mortem on the impact FHI has had on the many different fields and movements? I think it's important to ensure that FHI is remembered as a significant nexus point for many influential ideas and people who may impact the long term.  In other news, Bostrom's new book "Deep Utopia" is available for pre-order (coming March 27th). 
2
3d
Swapcard tips: 1. The mobile browser is more reliable than the app You can use Firefox/Safari/Chrome etc. on your phone, go to swapcard.com and use that instead of downloading the Swapcard app from your app store. As far as I know, the only thing the app has that the mobile site does not, is the QR code that you need when signing in when you first get to the venue and pick up your badge 1. Only what you put in the 'Biography' section in the 'About Me' section of your profile is searchable when searching in Swapcard The other fields, like 'How can I help others' and 'How can others help me' appear when you view someone's profile, but will not be used when searching using Swapcard search. This is another reason to use the Swapcard Attendee Google sheet that is linked-to in Swapcard to search 1. You can use a (local!) LLM to find people to connect with People might not want their data uploaded to a commercial large language model, but if you can run an open-source LLM locally, you can upload the Attendee Google sheet and use it to help you find useful contacts
101
8mo
19
My overall impression is that the CEA community health team (CHT from now on) are well intentioned but sometimes understaffed and other times downright incompetent. It's hard to me to be impartial here, and I understand that their failures are more salient to me than their successes. Yet I endorse the need for change, at the very least including 1) removing people from the CHT that serve as a advisors to any EA funds or have other conflict of interest positions, 2) hiring HR and mental health specialists with credentials, 3) publicly clarifying their role and mandate.  My impression is that the most valuable function that the CHT provides is as support of community building teams across the world, from advising community builders to preventing problematic community builders from receiving support. If this is the case, I think it would be best to rebrand the CHT as a CEA HR department, and for CEA to properly hire the community builders who are now supported as grantees, which one could argue is an employee misclassification. I would not be comfortable discussing these issues openly out of concern for the people affected, but here are some horror stories: 1. A CHT staff pressured a community builder to put through with and include a community member with whom they weren't comfortable interacting. 2. A CHT staff pressured a community builder to not press charges against a community member who they felt harassed by. 3. After a restraining order was set by the police in place in this last case, the CHT refused to liaison with the EA Global team to deny access to the person restrained, even knowing that the affected community builder would be attending the event. 4. My overall sense is that CHT is not very mindful of the needs of community builders in other contexts. Two very promising professionals I've mentored have dissociated from EA, and rejected a grant, in large part because of how they were treated by the CHT. 5. My impression is that the CHT staff underm
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