berglund

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Democratising Risk - or how EA deals with critics

I agree that there is an analogy to animal suffering here, but there's a difference in degree I think. To longtermists, the importance of future generations is many orders of magnitude higher than the importance of animal suffering is to animal welfare advocates. Therefore, I would claim, longtermists are more likely to ignore other non-longtermist considerations than animal welfare advocates would be.

Democratising Risk - or how EA deals with critics

Thanks for writing this! It seems like you've gone through a lot in publishing this. I am glad you had the courage and grit to go through with it despite the backlash you faced. 

Which EA orgs, programs, companies, etc. started as side projects?

Not sure if this fits, but it seems like 80,000 hours started as somewhat of a side project. This 2015 article it says 80k started with Will MacAskill and Ben Todd “forming a discussion group and giving lectures on the topic, then eventually creating 80,000 Hours to spread their ideas.” (They link to this vintage lecture they gave.)

I’m not sure how much of a “side project” this was to Ben and Will. Maybe others know more about that era.

Exposure to 3m Pointless viewers- what to promote?

I agree with Aaron! Given the little time you have, I would make the pitch as simple as possible.

The Explanatory Obstacle of EA

Fair enough. I would guess you can usually have a higher impact through your career since you are doing something you've specialized in. But the first two examples you bring up seem valid.

Submit comments on Paxlovid to the FDA (deadline Nov 29th).

This seems like a good idea.

I submitted the following comment:

I urge the FDA to schedule its review of Paxlovid and to make the timeline 3 weeks or less, as it did with the COVID vaccine.

1000 people are dying of COVID in the US every day. With an efficacy of 89%, Paxlovid could prevent many of these deaths. The earlier Paxlovid is approved, the more lives will be saved.

Thank you for your consideration.

I wasn't sure what topic to put it under so I chose "Drug Industry - C0022." 

The Explanatory Obstacle of EA

I like this framing a lot. I particularly like the idea of replacing the phrase "doing good" with "helping others" and "maximization" with "prioritization."

I understand the impulse to mention volunteering before donations and careers because people naturally connect it with doing good. But I think it would be misleading for the following reasons:

  • As you said, there is currently very little emphasis on volunteering in EA
  • In most cases, individuals can do much more good by changing their career path or donating

I  think we should be as accurate as we can when communicating EA. Being inaccurate might give people the wrong idea and make the movement seem dishonest. 

I help a run a university group and in that context mentioning careers first is probably best choice, because

  • American undergrads often want to have an impactful career, so "helping others with your career" isn't a strange concept to them
  • It's probably the most important thing for individuals to focus on
  • It's what our club focuses on the most

But things might be different if you aren't talking to undergrads. 

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