All of Anonymous_EA's Comments + Replies

A review of the Schwarzman Scholars program for EAs

Thanks for this post! Schwarzman seems especially promising for folks interested in policy, where a grad degree is often needed and where China expertise is valued.

I think it's worth emphasizing that these degrees only take one year. This is a BIG advantage relative to e.g. law school, an MBA, and even many/most MPP programs. If you think education  (particularly non-STEM grad school) is mostly about signaling rather than learning, then the opportunity cost of an extra one or two years of schooling is really significant. Schwarzman looks like a great way to get a shiny grad credential in a very reasonable amount of time. 

What success looks like

Great post! 

From Scenario 1, in which alignment is easy:

The alignment problem turns out much easier than expected. Increasingly better AI models have a better understanding of human values, and they do not naturally develop strong influence-seeking tendencies. Moreover, in cases of malfunctions and for preventative measures, interpretability tools now allow us to understand important parts of large models on the most basic level and ELK-like tools allow us to honestly communicate with AI systems.

Here you seem to be imagining that technical AI alignmen... (read more)

5mariushobbhahn2mo
Yes, that is true. We made the decision to not address all possible problems with every approach because it would have made the post much longer. It's a fair point of criticism though.
Are too many young, highly-engaged longtermist EAs doing movement-building?

Appreciate the anecdata! I agree that probably there are at least a good number of people like you who will go under the radar, and this probably biases many estimates of the number of non-community-building EAs downward (esp estimates that are also based on anecdata, as opposed to e.g. survey data).

Are too many young, highly-engaged longtermist EAs doing movement-building?

Hi, Vilhelm, thanks for these thoughts! Some quick responses to just a few points:

Fwiw, in Sweden, my 50% confidence interval of the share of highly-engaged longtermists under 25 doing movement-building is  20-35%.  However, I don't think I am as concerned as you seem to be with that number.

20-35% isn't all that concerning to me. I'd be more concerned if it were in the ballpark of 40% or more. That said, even 20-35% does feel a bit high to me if we're talking about college graduates working full-time on community-building (a higher percentage mig... (read more)

Are too many young, highly-engaged longtermist EAs doing movement-building?

Thanks for pointing to these! I had forgotten about them or hadn't seen them in the first place — all are very relevant.

Why is Operations no longer an 80K Priority Path?

Thanks for this! I really appreciate how carefully 80K thinks these questions through and have updated toward this bottleneck having gotten worse fairly recently, as you suggest. With that said, if there was an ops bottleneck in 2018 and 2019 as reflected in  previous surveys of skill needs, and if the ops bottleneck is back as of now, I wonder whether early 2020 was more the exception than the rule. 

To double check this, we would ideally run another survey of org leaders about skill needs, and there's some chance that happens in the next year.

I ... (read more)

Why is Operations no longer an 80K Priority Path?

Just confirming that "longtermist ED" is more the type of skillset I have in mind when I refer to  a "severe" bottleneck. Though I think even "EA-aligned with significant ops skills and potential to grow into ED-type roles" is also highly valuable and in short supply. 

I also like your advice!

Why is Operations no longer an 80K Priority Path?

These are great thoughts, thanks! We definitely have different perceptions, but I really appreciate this perspective.

One crux may be what CarolineJ points to in her comment: "ops" captures a continuum of skillsets, some of which seem much rarer and more urgently needed than others. I am not sure what roles you were hiring for at your orgs, but I agree with CarolineJ that we especially need those with "chief of staff"-type skills. Examples that come to mind are Zach Robinson (Chief of Staff at Open Philanthropy) and Bill Zito (co-founder and COO at Redwood ... (read more)

7CarolineJ7mo
I appreciate the comments of @abrahamrowe on this as well as the discussion. Just mentioning here that the Personal Assistant / Chief of Staff really is a continuum, where you could have Junior PM to COO-level people, as highlighted in this article. [https://www.inc.com/david-finkel/the-4-kinds-of-personal-assistants-which-do-you-need.html]
3abrahamrowe7mo
Looking at other comments here, it seems like more people share your thought. I think maybe the remote/non-remote line is still important. But given that other ops people perceive a bottleneck, I added a note to my answer that I don't think it's really accurate.
8abrahamrowe7mo
Yeah, I think it sounds like people are saying that there is a lack of executive-level talent, which makes sense and seems reasonable - if EA is growing, there are going to be more Executive-y jobs than people with that experience in EA already, so if value-alignment is critical, this will be an issue. But, I guess to me, it seems odd to use "ops" to mostly refer to high-level roles at organizations / entrepreneurial opportunities, which aren't the vast majority of jobs that might traditionally be called ops jobs. I definitely don't think founding an organization is called Ops outside this context. Maybe the bottleneck is something more like founders/executives at EA orgs? I think my experience is that finding really high quality junior ops folks like you describe is not that difficult (especially if we're willing to do some training), and that might hinge more on the remote factors I mentioned before, but I guess I totally buy that finding founders/execs is much harder. I do think that ops skills matter for founding things, but also just having the foresight to hire ops-minded people early on is a pretty equivalent substitution. E.g. if I was running something like CE, I probably wouldn't look for ops related skills (but also I say all this as a person who founded an organization and is ops-inclined, so maybe my life experience speaks to something else?)
4Chris Leong7mo
I guess if you start setting the standards that high, maybe that would lead to far too many jobs becoming a priority path.