168 karmaJoined May 2020


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Can you elaborate more on characteristics that predict successful founders. How easy is it to identify these before the applicants go through the program?

Can I ask why you picked MSI as an example? If I take your argument seriously, is MSI the family planning charity you recommend I donate to?

I work at a startup designing synthetic proteins using deep learning: https://www.evozyne.com/. Even though the products my company works on are impactful, due to counterfactuality, I think my impact is through ETG.

You don't need a bio background to work in bio-related ML. Getting a CS degree with some bio-related courses/self-study the side seems enough. Also bioinformatics != bio-ML.

As a person who was a biologist and now does ML:

My impression is EAs (especially 80k) think you will make an impact through research only if you are in the top few percent of researchers in the world. I think that is especially hard to achieve in biology (especially wet-lab biology) because:

  • Success in biology is incredibly resource constrained. So getting into a rich lab is key
  • Success in biology is much more luck-dependent than other fields. Intelligence is secondary.

Other reasons to not do biology:

  • Biology postdocs/PhDs work longer and are paid lesser than CS

  • Feedback cycles in biology have long time windows. This means it can take years to know your project failed. Personally, I found this incredibly demotivating but people’s tolerance for this can differ

  • Option value for other jobs is worse. If you have a CS degree and decide to leave academia it’s easier to get an industry job than it’s for bio

I think a stronger case may be made for substituting fish with bivalves, though this is again anecdotal.

I second that this is a problem exacerbated by 80,000 hours. For example, I used to work in biomedical research, and 80,000 hours recommends a career path that involves getting a PhD at a top school. I did my PhD in India, which severely limits my career capital. Eventually, I decided to leave research and move to data science to ETG. To be clear, there were other factors involved and I think it's likely that 80,000 hours is correct that it's only worth being in academic research if you are in the top 0.1%. But it is strangely discouraging nonetheless

There is a list here where I see "Front-end web development" and "back-end web development

I've been in EA for 5+years and I agree this is a shocking amount of money. Even assuming that starting a blog is useful, I doubt that the incentive for someone to start a blog would be substantially different if the prize was let's say $15,000

How do I make cause area restricted donations?

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