FJehn

Hi, I’m Florian. I am enthusiastic about working on large scale problems that require me to learn new skills and extend my knowledge into new fields and subtopics. My main interests are climate change, existential risks, feminism, history, hydrology and food security. I hope to find a place where I can work on some (or all?) of these topics, apply my data science skills, work in a team and share my knowledge by writing articles and giving courses and presentations. If you have similar interests or know of an organisation I would fit in well, let’s get in touch!

More info at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/florian-ulrich-jehn-b03a4011b/

Comments

Getting a feel for changes of karma and controversy in the EA Forum over time

That's a valid point. Here's the controversy graph if you exclude all posts that don't have any downvotes:

Overall trend seems to be similar though. And it makes me even more interested what happened in 2018 that sparked so much controversy^^

Getting a feel for changes of karma and controversy in the EA Forum over time

You can ask the API for "viewCount". However, it seems to always return "null". Not sure if this means that you aren't allowed to query for this or if the problem is just me not getting the queries right^^

Getting a feel for changes of karma and controversy in the EA Forum over time

That seems to have been the case. Sorry about that. Does it work now?

Making a collection of freely available mental health resources
  • Name: Replacing Guilt Series
  • What is it? 
    • This is a collection of blog articles by Nate Soares that tackle the problem of using guilt as your main motivator. 
  • Why do you like it? 
    • Motivating yourself can be hard and the default motivator is often guilt and the feeling that you “should” be doing something. These posts try to show that guilt is not a good (and especially not a sustainable) way to motivate yourself and explore more long term approaches to keep your motivation running.  
  • Where to start? 
Making a collection of freely available mental health resources
  • Name: Woebot
  • What is it? 
    • Woebot is a chatbot that does cognitive behavioural therapy with you. 
  • Why do you like it? 
    • While a chatbot is obviously not the same as having a therapist, it is easily available and for some cognitive behavioural therapy exercises you basically only need someone to talk you through it. Woebot is more on the cute side, which I guess could be annoying for some people, but I think it sets a friendly atmosphere. It also helps you to track your mood and has a vast collection of exercises to help with sleep problems, stress and other mental health problems. 
  • Where to start?  
    • You can just download the app (e.g. via Google Play) and start talking to it immediately. 
Making a collection of freely available mental health resources
  • Name: The Happiness Lab 
  • What is it? 
    • The Happiness Lab is a podcast by Dr. Laurie Santos which discusses new scientific insights about happiness research.
  • Why do you like it? 
    • I enjoy listening to this podcast because it is basically a self-help guide, but deeply grounded in scientific research. Also, it has a cheerful tone to it, which makes me more likely to tune in. I think it has helped me to build a more optimistic view on life.
  • Where to start? 
    • In march 2020 The Happiness Lab started a mini series  to help with the mental problems that arose due to the global pandemic. For example, loneliness or struggling to keep relationships intact. As Coronavirus is still around those episodes might be a good starting point, but even after the pandemic they can provide valuable tips on how to cope with more extreme situations.
In diversity lies epistemic strength

It seems like my post created more of a buzz than I anticipated. Many people seem to get the message from it: “we should only care about demographic diversity and nothing else”. I’m sorry that my wording was apparently so vague, as this is not really what I meant. 

To create a fruitful discussion you not only need diversity, but also at least some value alignment and some knowledge about the topic that is being discussed. Given that some value alignment and some knowledge about the topic are present, diversity of perspectives is a powerful way to make sure that the knowledge and insight gained from such a discussion increases. It allows the participants in the discussion to detect each other’s blind spots and challenge their assumptions. And this is where demographic diversity comes into play. I think that you cannot easily (or even at all) measure your subconscious assumptions and biases, but I think that those assumptions and biases originate from the experiences that you have in your life. Those experiences are strongly shaped by demographic markers like age, gender, race, etc.. Therefore, we should make sure to have enough people from different subgroups to not miss out on perspectives that would challenge erroneous assumptions in our thinking. 

Another post from the EA Forum which might have done a better job at highlighting a similar idea is “EA Diversity: Unpacking Pandora's Box”, as it unpacks the different facets of diversity explicitly. Unfortunately, I only came across it after I had published my post. 

In diversity lies epistemic strength

You seem to assume that diversity of perspectives is easy to measure, because you only link it to the professional background of a person. However, I would argue that while profession is important, so is how I grew up and what experiences I had in my life due to sex, gender, race and other markers. Those things you cannot easily measure directly, but they improve discussions, as they lead to more assumptions being challenged. 

In diversity lies epistemic strength

Simply asking someone about their beliefs works if you have something conrete to ask for and know that kind of perspective you want to include. However, how would you know which questions to ask for? Aren't the questions you are asking not based on your own perspectives? What this post aims for is highlighting the importance of perspectives you cannot easily predict. For example, if you would you are doing a Hamming Circle you might have a hunch beforehand which people you would like to include, but during the circle the best feedback and help comes from a person and perspective you never even would have considered to be important. 

And to your second point: Why not both? My post aims to highlight the importance of diverse perspectives. Therefore, I would assume that I would get the most valuable consensus from a group consisting of economist, a biologist, a nurse, a poet, a cop and a prostitute, which are also diverse on race, age and sex. 

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