Evie Cottrell

Hey, I'm Evie!

I just finished my last year of high school. I ‘dropped out of school’ to self study maths and physics and move to Oxford. This was an unconventional choice, but I’m extremely happy that I was able to make it. I am currently on a grant from the EA Infrastructure Fund.

I've done work experience at the Future of Humanity Institute, interned at Charity Entrepreneurship, and attended ESPR.

My blog is eviecottrell.com

I’ve been really engaged in the EA community for the past year or so. Before discovering EA, I had been thinking along the lines of ‘how can I have the greatest positive impact on the world with my career?’ for a few years. For example, I was very politically engaged, vegan, and cared a lot about social issues. It feels great to now be immersed in a community of people who share my values.

Awarded an Open Phil Undergrad Scholarship and recently became an Atlas Fellow.

Topic Contributions


Fill out this census of everyone who could ever see themselves doing longtermist work — it’ll only take a few mins

Given that I was aiming to spend only a few mins on the census, I don't expect that I would have scrolled through the post to find the description of the cause area. 

But some people might, so could be useful. 

Fill out this census of everyone who could ever see themselves doing longtermist work — it’ll only take a few mins

Pretty confused by what some of the cause areas are (e.g. epistemic institutions). I expect my responses were less helpful/ accurate bc of not knowing what some of them meant.

How to become more agentic, by GPT-EA-Forum-v1

Wow haha this is pretty cool! And also an entertaining read

Seven ways to become unstoppably agentic

Thank you for the comments!

I agree with some of what you wrote. I don't want the subtext of the post to be "you should amass social capital  so that senior people will do you favours."

Some thoughts:

  • It’s generally the case that ‘social domineeringness’ is a trait that is rewarded by society. Similar to intelligence, people who have this quality will probs be more likely to achieve their goals. (This makes me kinda uncomfortable, but I think it’s broadly true and it doesn’t seem good to ignore it).
  • Given that this is the case, I want to encourage this quality in EAs. 
  • However, I would rather see EAs have this quality when interacting with non-EAs. Like, if young EAs all start asking senior EAs for favours, the EA landscape will become competitive and zero-sum.
  • BUT it seems strictly good for EAs to be socially domineering in non-EA contexts. Like… I want young EAs to out-compete non-EAs for internship or opportunities that will help them skill build. (This framing has a bad aesthetic, but I can’t think of a nicer way to say it.)

I’m curious about the specific parts that you think people would be allergic to.

Seven ways to become unstoppably agentic

My guess is that it’s just very context dependent — I’m not sure how generalisable these sorts of numbers are. 

It also seems like the size of favours would vary a ton and make it hard to give a helpful number.

Seven ways to become unstoppably agentic

[On the title -- you gotta have fun with these things haha]

Thanks Gavin! 

Yes, the laws of equal and opposite advice defo apply here. 

I also wonder whether this sort of thing becomes zero sum within a small enough environment (e.g. if everyone starts lowering their bar for asking for help, people will raise their bar for saying yes, because they will be inundated with requests). Could lead to competitor dynamics (discussed in the comments of this post), which seems unfortunate.

I really like the point of spending years 'becoming yourself'. Like, I probs just want my younger siblings to chill out and spend a lot of time with their friends and doing stuff that feels hedonically good to them. I like the point about groundedness. I felt ungrounded and uncertain when I was first immersed in EA, and I think this could (?) have been less if I was older. I'm kinda unsure, and think it's maybe inevitable to feel unsettled when you are introduced to and immersed in a very new culture/worldview in a short space of time. 

Where is Elizabeth's post on being a potted plant? Could you send it?

What’s the theory of change of “Come to the bay over the summer!”?

This comment is great, and resonates with a lot of the stuff I found hard when I was first immersed in the community at an EA hub.

Three Reflections from 101 EA Global Conversations

I really really loved section 2 of this post!! It articulates a mindset shift that I think is important and valuable, and I've not seen it written out like that before.