72 karmaJoined Jul 2020Pursuing an undergraduate degreeSeeking workSydney NSW, Australia


President of EA UNSW and am a Bioinformatics Undergrad. Committed to making pandemics extinct!


My impression of the general EA (policy) community and in particular EA funders is that there is some reservation about using EA as a vehicle/label or having EA-branded candidates in politics. e.g. accidentally polarising existential risk reduction, making it a partisan issue and creating a deadlock.

I think there needs to be some thought on how the European parliament differs from other jurisdictions (see below) where attempts have been made at getting EA ideas to be represented in elected positons. Then additonal thought on what those differences entail, and making the case that this is net positive in expectation. I think this is all fairly tricky to think about.


Carrick Flynn's unsuccessful Oregon campaign, some thoughts to start you off here (extra links in the post too). How does an EA candidate not be seen as just the crypto or billionaire money candidate? Would that be a issue in your jurisdiction to begin with?


EA has lucked into having Andrew Leigh who has literally written an EA-aligned book and is an MP in Australian federal politics (I think he was an MP before coming across EA ideas, so presumably chanced upon he chanced on them organically?). He's spoken at EAGxAustralia but doesn't necessarily publically align with EA. This minimises potential reputational costs both for EA and for Andrew Leigh, but trades off any sort of additonal boost each could give the other. 

Lucking into having a politician that shares many of your same ideas isn't a strategy, but generally engaging with policy makers (lobbying as you mention) gives similar results. I'm not sure how much more a few EA MPs could advance the EA agenda as politicans in democracies are constrained by needing to apply temporal discounting because the electorate votes for their current needs (not the needs of future generations) or just constrained by what is in the vicinity of their party's Overton Window. The downsides don't seem to worth the benefits in a middle power such as Australia. (Don't think Australia can massively slow down AI capabilities given that we have none. We already have senators from the Animal Justice Party which campaigns for animal welfare, why not contribute efforts there.)

Thank you for going through the effort of writing this up!

Ditto this experience of a successful stall (we've also been iterating on a set up similar to yours) but difficulty translating that into regular event attendance (about a handful). EA UNSW (Australia). New member influx tends to come from catching folks who have discovered EA via internet or through event collaborations with other related societies. Tabling at the start of the year has caught such EA internet lurkers.

I was curious about your suggestion that a lot of researchers think that basically all biomedical research is gain/loss of function.

Not completely clear on what the context the researchers were speaking to but a standard strategy in figuring out what genes do is to knock out (loss of function) the gene of interest in a model organism and observe what happens. Synthetic biology also has a lot of 'gain of function' engineering e.g. make microbes produce insulin.

Thank you for the write up. Really appreciate the pops of in the weeds explainers in the forum. Will take the time to read/skim the full report!

I definitely wouldn't mind being reminded of this list once a quarter!

Just wanted to say thank you for going to the effort of compiling this. I have now subscribed to a bunch and created an email filter!

Location: Sydney, Australia
Remote: Yes!
Willing to relocate: No until 2024, after than mostly anyhow
Skills: Bioinformatics, Molecular Biology, Computer Science, Policy writing, Operations, PA, Generalist, Community Building at commuter universities
Email: chelseaqxliang AT
Notes: Interested in the biosecurity space, looking for opportunities to do more policy work. EA references on request.