The ten most-viewed posts of 2020

I'd still be curious how many unique views there are - I'm pretty surprised at the high view counts above. I had expected the discrepancy between unique views and upvotes to be smaller.

Are there just a lot of silent readers who never upvote or do the same readers who already upvoted click on the post again and again (to read the comments)?

New infographic based on "The Precipice". any feedback?

This looks great! And I agree with Aslan that the minesweeper edition feels very different and I am glad you created it.

One note: existential risks are a distinct concept to both extinction risks and global catastrophic risks. Table 6.1 in Toby's book describes existential risks which is what you are depicting here - existential risks include extinction risk but also the risk that humanity will turn into a permanent dystopia as well as permanent civilisational collapse (but humanity lives on).

Global catastrophic risks are different again: they are risks that kill at least 10% of the human population.

The Folly of "EAs Should"

I don't currently know of a reliable way to actually do a lot of good as a doctor.

I do know of such a way, but that might be because we have different things in mind when we say 'reliably do a lot of good'.

Some specialisations for doctors are very high earning. If someone was on the path to being a doctor and could still specialise in one of them, that is what I would suggest as an earning-to-give strategy. If they might also do a great job as a quant trader, I would also suggest checking that out. But I doubt most doctors make good quant traders, so it might still be one of the best opportunities for them.

I am less familiar with this and therefore not confident, but there are also some specialisations Doctors without Borders have a hard time filling (while for some, there is an over-supply). I think this would be worth looking into, as well as other paths to deliver medical expertise in developing countries.

Careers Questions Open Thread

Hi Ana,

It's great to hear you are so passionate about learning and doing research! My best guess would be that you should focus on getting some real world job experience for a year or so. While you may not have as much statistical knowledge yet as you might want, I suspect it is better for you to learn them in a supportive 'real work' environment than on your own. Given that you have a PhD and soon two Master's (impressive!) I expect employers will trust they can train you up in the skills you need, so you don't have to learn them outside of a job first.

Something employers will often want to see is some evidence that you can solve their problems outside of a research/academic context. I expect it will be a lot easier for you to find a role you are really passionate about once you have some job experience, even if that means doing something that is not your dream job yet in the meantime.

Good luck!

Careers Questions Open Thread

This is not only relevant to my career, but I asked a couple of questions here about the impact of UK civil service careers.

How high impact are UK policy career paths?

Personal context that I did not add to the main body (as I want it to be helpful for other people too): I am currently a civil servant, just starting in a new role which I expect to stay in for a year or so.

In my previous role, my main goal was to gain generic career capital and become more optimistic about having an impact through my career. In my free time, I have been trying to think about my values, and am currently still thinking about what I believe about cause prioritisation as well as how to practically have an impact in the world (see the above questions).

If I don't find it plausible that the UK civil service has particularly good leverage compared to other options (e.g. earning to give), I will likely still focus on generic career capital in my role until I have a better sense of what my general views on how to best have an impact in the world are. If I do find it plausible that the UK civil service is a very promising path to have a high impact compared to other options, I will try harder to find out how to specifically have a high impact within the civil service and what my personal fit is, given that I am already there anyway.

I am not a UK national and thanks to Brexit unfortunately this will not change, so a few paths are not possible for me: e.g. Dfid now having been merged in the Foreign Office rules it out as well as options related to national security.

richard_ngo's Shortform

Hi Richard, I just wanted to say that I appreciate you asking these questions! Based on the number of upvotes you have received, other people might be wondering the same, and it's always useful to propagate knowledge like Alex has written up further.

I would have appreciated it even more if you had not directly jumped to accusing EA of being misleading (without any references) before waiting for any answers to your question.

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