BarryGrimes

I'm an Events Associate at the Centre for Effective Altruism. I'm part of the team that produces the EA Global conferences in San Francisco and London each year. I'm also CEA's main point of contact for EAGx organisers, providing them with advice and resources to help them run high-quality events.

In addition to my role at CEA, I also provide communications support to the Happer Lives Institute on a voluntary basis.

I practice secular Buddhism and try to meditate for at least 1 hour every day. Buddhist philosophy drives my commitment to effective altruism and doing the best I can to reduce the suffering of others.

Comments

Are social media algorithms an existential risk?

Good point. I worded that clumsily. I've edited the post so it incorporates the full quote now.

Are social media algorithms an existential risk?

I'm not sure this answers your question but the Edelman Trust Barometer has been tracking levels of trust in societal institutions (government, business, NGOs and media) for the last 20 years. The trend shows a widening division between the "Informed Public" and the "Mass Population" using the following definitions:

Informed Public 

  • 500 respondents in U.S. and China; 200 in all other markets
  • Represents 17% of total global population 
  • Must meet 4 criteria
    • Ages 25-64 
    • College-educated
    • In top 25% of household income per age group in each market
    • Report significant media consumption and engagement in public policy and business news 

Mass Population 

  • All population not including informed public 
  • Represents 83% of total global population
Are social media algorithms an existential risk?

The argument that concerned me most was that disinformation spreads 6 times faster than the truth.

The implication is that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for people to establish what the truth is. This undermines democracy and the ability to build consensus. I think we will see this play out with the results of the US election in November and the extent to which people believe and accept the result. 

CEA Mid-year update (2020)

Thanks Edo! We use a number of metrics to track the success of our events. I’ve pulled together a few charts for you that show success on four measures:

  • Likelihood to recommend
  • Valuable experiences
  • New connections
  • Maintained motivation

You’ll see that our likelihood to recommend score was much lower than usual for the EA Global: Virtual in March, but we learned lessons from that event which contributed to the EAGxVirtual score being comparable with previous in-person events.

In terms of valuable experiences, EAGxVirtual was much more successful at changing the minds of attendees, particularly first-time attendees. However, the number of people making important connections was lower than EA Global: London 2019.

The main difference we’ve noticed between virtual and in-person events is the number of new connections made (see slides 4 and 5).  This feels significant because attendees consistently report one-on-one meetings and new connections as their most valuable experience at our events. In-person events seem to be much more effective at generating new connections but there isn't much of a difference in terms of generating at least one important connection. Perhaps we could make some tweaks to the virtual format to increase the number of new connections at future events.

You’ll also see that our virtual events have been very successful at maintaining the motivation of attendees, more so than EA Global: San Francisco 2019. In particular, we received lots of positive feedback about the virtual format from community members who wouldn’t normally be able to attend an in-person EA conference.

> Also, I'm curious, what CRM are you using and for what purpose? 

We are using Zoho CRM. The major use case for it right now is processing event applications: it's integrated with our application forms, ticketing systems, bulk mailing software etc. to provide a unified overview of everyone who has applied for an event. (This is briefly mentioned above in the "Systems Improvements" section of this post.) We also use it to identify attendees who are good fits for specific parts of the event, for example creating a list of first-time attendees who might benefit from our "Guides" program. Other CEA projects sporadically use the CRM to identify specific people who match some criteria (e.g. if we are trying to brainstorm potential group organizers in some location) but this is not the main use case.

Do research organisations make theory of change diagrams? Should they?

Having a well-developed Theory of Change has been essential for developing HLI’s communications strategy too. Without org-wide agreement on our route to impact, it would have been impossible to think about the changes in behaviour we are trying to bring about. It influences our audience personas, the communication channels we use, our writing style, and our branding.

Although much of our strategic planning remains internal, I think it’s important to be transparent about our high-level ToC so others can provide feedback, place our research in the correct context, and decide if they want to collaborate with us.

What was the first being on Earth to experience suffering?

Thank you for providing such a thoughtful and helpful answer. I'm looking forward to working my way through your recommended reading as soon as I can.

EA Global Live Broadcast

We’re excited to announce that meeting slots have been extended all the way through to next Sunday, March 29 so please continue to make new connections and schedule one-on-one meetings.

EA Global Live Broadcast

We hope you’ve enjoyed participating in the first-ever EA Global virtual conference. We’d really value your feedback to help us plan more virtual events for the EA community over the coming months.

If you're short on time, you can complete this survey in about 5 minutes, but the more detail you can provide in the open text questions, the better.

Take the survey now at https://efctv.org/virtual

EA Global Live Broadcast

Thanks for the suggestion! Because of the time zone differences, we've squeezed as much content as possible into a 4 hour window. However, if you're watching live on YouTube you can pause the broadcast at any time, and then catch up again by watching at 1.5x speed.

We'll be sending out a feedback survey after the Sunday broadcast, and we'd be really grateful to hear about people's experiences and suggestions.

I'll post the survey link here when it's live.

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