All of Harry_Taussig's Comments + Replies

Yale Retreat Handover Doc

Just wanted to let you know that this is extraordinarily helpful for me right now planning my first retreat, thanks Jessica!

EA datasets

That's great! I have to decide by Thursday, so I'll let you know what we're working on :). 

Definitely nothing larger than a few gigabytes I would say. I'm pretty new to data science and we're using pretty simple methods in this project, so I'm guessing we'll also want to do a relatively simple regression or classification analysis on a relatively simple (and maybe small) dataset.

AMA: Tim Ferriss, Michael Pollan, and Dr. Matthew W. Johnson on psychedelics research and philanthropy

Thank you for sending this Sofia, I'm glad you decided to inappropriately answer my question!

2Sophia6moYay! I'm glad :)
AMA: Tim Ferriss, Michael Pollan, and Dr. Matthew W. Johnson on psychedelics research and philanthropy

How do you balance your efforts between helping others and taking care of yourself? 

I've recently been feeling burnt out in a way that is making me less effective in both areas, and I think this is a somewhat common feeling in the EA community because there really is no limit to the amount of good you could do and how hard you could work for it. 

5Dr. Matthew W. Johnson6moI spend time with my family including my 4 year old and wife, play music, listen to music, read non-work material, garden, lift weights, do cardio, try to get healthy sleep, spend time in sunlight near sunset and sunrise, eat healthy, and try to be honest with people including when there is a problem. That's my formula for staying balanced. Not holding myself out as an example, but you asked.
7Sophia6moIt is probably totally inappropriate to respond to questions on an AMA for other people, but I thought I'd mention anyway that I loved a talk (linked below) that Hayden Wilkinson gave, which was very relevant to this. Hayden pointed out that even if, theoretically, your only goal* was to help others as much as you can over your lifetime, you still need to take into account that you are human and what you do now changes what your future self is likely to want to do. If you try and do an extreme amount now, with no plan to give yourself a break from this extreme amount when you need one, then your lifetime impact will probably be less than if you set yourself much less demanding targets. If you then find that the less demanding targets are easy to maintain and you think you really could do more, at that point you can rev up. Likewise, when what you are doing feels too much (even if theoretically, you think you should be doing even more), giving yourself permission to properly take care of yourself in the short-term might be the best way to increase your impact over your lifetime. *For the record, I'd guess that for almost everyone within the EA community, doing as much as they can to help others isn't even their only goal in life, even if it is still a very high priority for them (and for almost all goals that a person might have, self-care for your long-term wellbeing seems really important). I have other goals (like having an enjoyable life) because I am not perfectly selfless, but I think it is plausible that letting myself have other goals increases the chances that this goal (the goal of helping others as much as I can with a significant proportion of my time and money) will be a pretty high priority for me for the rest of my life.
How do you compare human and animal suffering?

Hi Kevin, I definitely agree with your point on longtermism, and thanks for sending that article as I think it gets a lot closer to one my main concerns here which is indefinitely extending a bad future.

How do you compare human and animal suffering?

Thank you so much!! This is really helpful and I'm taking a look at it now, and that last article looks like it gets to the center of my concern.

CEA update: Q1 2021

Are you able to reveal who this YouTube creator is? I'm surprised by how little EA YouTube content there is aside from recorded talks. I feel like an EA-related Veritasium or Kurzgesagt could be super helpful and popular as per this post.

2sky7moThanks for asking. I’m not able to say more at this point about that specific creator. I think you’re asking a good, implied question I share though: which comms channels would be most promising, for creating or sharing additional EA content? I’m interested in analysis of those sorts of questions, and see them as part of the strategic comms role we’re hoping to hire for this year. (I work at CEA).
What posts do you want someone to write?

Has anyone done this yet? If so I'd be interested in the article, otherwise I'd be interested in giving it a go

4JP Addison7moThis post [] probably qualifies, but I didn't love it. I'd pay out if you wrote a good one. But see note about my bar being high, I definitely don't want to make promises.
3Aaron Gertler7moI'm not aware of anything recent that was explicitly pro-"give now". There are some semi-recent posts that weigh both sides of the debate but draw "it depends"-type conclusions. I'd be interested to see your take! You can see posts on this topic collected in the "timing of philanthropy []" tag.
What key facts do you find are compelling when talking about effective altruism?
  1. We are always in an emergency.
    1. We cannot understand or see the extent of suffering that is going on, and have basically no intuition for dealing with this scale of suffering. Our natural response to it becomes indifference.
  2. We are implicitly making decisions of prioritization whether or not we make these decisions consciously. 
    1. Choosing to donate to one charity is choosing to donate to it instead of any other particular charity, whether or not you considered these other options. 
What Makes Outreach to Progressives Hard

Thanks for writing! This definitely helped clarify some of the push-back I often get when trying to explain these ideas to friends.

For reasons that elude my comprehension, many progressives do not seem to conceptualize the current assortment of economic and legal policies that cause some countries to be ~100x richer than others to be a relevant form of oppression. If they do, they are unlikely to give it as high a priority as, e.g., within-country racial disparities or within-country economic inequality. 

This will definitely stick with me. It seems the only way to get around this contradiction is to just not think about it, but maybe I'm missing something?

8Cullen_OKeefe8moI think it's a matter of prioritization and non-quantification: they either don't really appreciate how much bigger/worse extreme poverty is, or else agree that it's very bad but just don't want to get involved in stopping it because they're worried about being Neo-Colonialist or something similar and it's easier to just focus on the domestic context.
Kessler Syndrome in Effective Altruism

I have run into a similar problem here when trying to introduce EA to others. It feels intuitive to give others an example cause area, like AI safety or global poverty, but then the other person becomes much more likely to align EA with just that cause area, and not the larger questions of how we do the most good.  

At the same time, it seems hard to get someone new excited about EA without giving some examples of what the community actually does.

Great post, thanks!