DavidNash

Community Organiser for EA London

Wiki Contributions

Comments

EA needs consultancies

There is also an Airtable version of that directory that is more up to date, I'll update the google sheet 

Some thoughts on EA outreach to high schoolers

Is engagement the thing you want to optimise for over impact or are the two highly correlated for you?

What are your main reservations about identifying as an effective altruist?

I don't think I've ever called myself an effective altruist, part of it is the small identity idea mentioned in the original post and another part is that it doesn't seem correct to call myself effective when there are large uncertainties about the prioritisation of causes and interventions, so new evidence could come up showing I was actually very ineffective.

On a more practical level, it's easier to have conversations with people who are newer to EA or are sceptical of certain aspects of it when I'm not calling myself an EA and making it seem like something you are either in or out of.

It's also probably easier to find flaws in a topic when it isn't part of your identity, it reduces the chance of defensiveness, and I think I should try and make it easy to always be open to potential problems in EA.

The ten most-viewed posts of 2020

Generally for most engagement there is a vast discrepancy between viewers, people who interact and people who comment/post.

1% rule - link with more details.

Open and Welcome Thread: January 2021

Hey Guy,

It's great to see your intro, if you're interested there is a group on Facebook for disabled and chronically ill people interested in EA.  There are also some other groups mentioned on this directory here that you may find useful.

Can we drive development at scale? An interim update on economic growth work

Leopold Aschenbrenner has written about this here.

"The same technological progress that creates these risks is also what drives economic growth. Does that mean economic growth is inherently risky? Economic growth has brought about extraordinary prosperity. But for the sake of posterity, must we choose safe stagnation instead? This view is arguably becoming ever-more popular, particularly amongst those concerned about climate change; Greta Thunberg recently denounced “fairy tales of eternal economic growth” at the United Nations.

I argue that the opposite is the case. It is not safe stagnation and risky growth that we must choose between; rather, it is stagnation that is risky and it is growth that leads to safety.

We might indeed be in “time of perils”: we might be advanced enough to have developed the means for our destruction, but not advanced enough to care sufficiently about safety. But stagnation does not solve the problem: we would simply stagnate at this high level of risk. Eventually, a nuclear war or environmental catastrophe would doom humanity regardless.

Faster economic growth could initially increase risk, as feared. But it will also help us get past this time of perils more quickly. When people are poor, they can’t focus on much beyond ensuring their own livelihoods. But as people grow richer, they start caring more about things like the environment and protecting against risks to life. And so, as economic growth makes people richer, they will invest more in safety, protecting against existential catastrophes. As technological innovation and our growing wealth has allowed us to conquer past threats to human life like smallpox, so can faster economic growth, in the long run, increase the overall chances  of humanity’s survival.

This argument is based on a recent paper of mine, in which I use the tools of economic theory—in particular, the standard models economists use to analyze economic growth—to examine the interaction between economic growth and the risks engendered by human activity."

Jamie_Harris's Shortform

Does this include how it might limit your ability to move for work, which might be the most important factor in salary/impact?

Cause/charity selection tradeoffs

Could you turn that google doc into a post Sam?

I think it would be valuable to share with others how someone has thought about their morals.

What is a good answer for people new to EA that request advice on volunteering?

I wrote up some thoughts on this after getting this question a few times recently ( taking from some of the previous posts mentioned).

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With volunteering it will depend on the motivation behind wanting to volunteer, which can be one or more of the following.

  • Giving back outside of work/donations
  • Connecting with a community
  • Career capital/building skills
  • New experiences/friends/having fun

 

Once you know what the main driver is, that can determine the best ways to search for a role. If thinking about impact there are some useful heuristics from this 80,000 Hours article.

  • Volunteer for cost effective, labour constrained organisations
  • Use your skills
  • Don’t do replaceable tasks

For career capital it will involve staying up to date with the fields/organisations you're interested in, seeing if volunteering opportunities open up, contacting them to see if there is a way you can help, or spotting a way that you can help them independently.

For connecting with a community it will depend on the community, if you want to connect with your neighbourhood there are organisations like Do It to help match volunteers to opportunities in the UK.

For EA London here is a post by one person on how they decided to find an impactful role in this space. Here are their suggestions

  • Consider how you’d like to weight Direct Impact, Self Care, Career Capital, and any other criteria you’d like to focus on.
  • Identify your personal fit/comparative advantage by looking at past achievements and asking a friend or colleague.
  • Make a list of a wide range of opportunities.
  • Seek out opportunities that will do well on specific criteria.
  • Ask around about opportunities.
  • Consider independent projects that may be high-impact.
  • Make a copy of our spreadsheet (in linked post) and use it to narrow down your options.
  • Create a short-list of the best opportunities. (These might not be the highest-scoring opportunities on the spreadsheet.)
  • Try to get more information about your top options e.g. by talking to someone you’d be working with.
  • Make a consistent, long-term commitment. Volunteering can be net negative if it wastes the time of a staff member or another volunteer at a high-impact charity.

 

If you're interested in supporting an EA group it may be worth considering the following options.

  • Is there a task you enjoy doing/have experience in that is currently missing in your group?
    • Social media
    • Intro conversations
    • Event organising
    • Giving talks
    • Web design
    • Interviewing people
  • Is there a cause/career area you want to explore more? You could create your own subgroup for others in that community to get together and share ideas

 

A few other posts on volunteering and EA

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