99Joined Oct 2021


EA culture is special; we should proceed with intentionality


I think GiveWell and OP's early commitment to transparency were admirable, if unusual and time-consuming. Not all groups will go as in-depth, of course, but I think it's usually good when EA leaders and emerging leaders are brave enough to practice their reasoning skills in the real world of their projects, and to show their thinking as it develops.

Using TikTok to indoctrinate the masses to EA

I love the talksfast approach for this content. I feel like you’re delivering as close to Forum-level density as you can in a short TikTok, which is very satisfying to my brain. Hats off!

I burnt out at EAG. Let's talk about it.

Something like this has happened to me too.

One bit of advice I haven’t seen here yet: Consider making it an extremely high priority to work out vigorously daily or every other day, even while at a conference. A short HIIT (high intensity interval training) can do wonders for stabilizing one’s energy and increasing one’s tolerance to stress.

At one conference, a group of us met up to work out together in the morning. That was lovely! It encouraged some of us to go to bed at a reasonable time the night before too, which was an added bonus.

If you invite others to workout with you, you’ll get multiple benefits — the workout itself, productive social time, helping others who might not have gotten a workout in otherwise, and additional community-building cred.

I also agree that we all need to cancel sometimes! However, I find I also have to hold myself accountable for cancelling only very very rarely, lest I slip into a pattern of overcommitting, burning out, and then canceling on people. EAs are very kind about mental health, but that kind of pattern would still cost me opportunities. I have to try really hard to focus on prevention instead.

A_lark's Shortform

Does the Forum have an auto-save feature for drafts?

Could it?

I made the foolish mistake of drafting a post recently, within the Forum. My computer died and I lost the draft :(

Free-spending EA might be a big problem for optics and epistemics

A lot of good points here.

A few thoughts on the benefits of a frugal community:

  • norms of frugality can help people avoid some of the consumeristic rat race of broader society. I don’t want EAs caught up in “keeping up with the Jones’s.” I want EAs keeping up with good ideas and good actions.
  • I think we want a community where someone who uses careful reasoning to take an impactful role for $60K/yr feels just as welcome in EA as someone who uses careful reasoning to take an impactful role for $160k/yr.
Free-spending EA might be a big problem for optics and epistemics

I’m uncomfortable with this too, but more comfortable than I used to be.

Privileged people have a lot of power/leverage in the world. That leverage can be squandered, used for selfish means, or used for good.

If we think EAs have uniquely good ideas for identifying and solving neglected, pressing global problems, I want people with lots of leverage to learn from EA. The counterfactual is they use their leverage to do less altruistic or less effective things. I am willing to put money toward avoiding that.

Free-spending EA might be a big problem for optics and epistemics

I agree that it’s possible to be unthinkingly frugal. It’s also possible to be unthinkingly spendy. Both seem bad, because they are unthinking. A solution would be to encourage EA groups to practice good thinking together, and to showcase careful thinking on these topics.

I like the idea of having early EA intro materials and university groups that teach BOTECs, cost-benefit analysis, and grappling carefully with spending decisions.

This kind of training, however, trades off against time spent learning about eg. AI safety and biosecurity.

Free-spending EA might be a big problem for optics and epistemics

These points concern me too. When you say, I hope they will be taken seriously, I’m unsure who you have in mind. Taken seriously by who?

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