Managing Director @ Leaf
2164 karmaJoined Sep 2017Working (6-15 years)Archway, London N19, UK



Jamie is Managing Director at Leaf, an independent nonprofit that supports exceptional teenagers to explore how they can best save lives, help others, or change the course of history.

Jamie previously worked as a teacher, as a researcher at the think tank Sentience Institute, and as co-founder and researcher at Animal Advocacy Careers, which helps people to maximise their positive impact for animals.


Topic Contributions

Definitely overlap, although that seems broader and things aren't being listed there in practice. E.g. these posts were examples of the sort of thing I was thinking of, and weren't tagged there.

(Meta thought, not sure who this should be addressed to)

Is it worth making a Forum tag to the effect of "X-risk without longtermism"? There are quite a few posts on the Forum to this effect now, and it'd be handy to be able to find or link to them all in one place!

FYI I was also confused by the probability metric, reading after your edits. I read it multiple times and couldn't get my head round it.

"Probability of event occurring given protests - Probability of event occurring without protests"

The former number should be higher than the latter (assuming you think that the protests increased the chance of it happening) and yet in every case, the first number you present is lower, e.g.:

"De-nuclearization in Kazakhstan in early 1990s (5-15%*)"

(Another reason it's confusing is that they read like ranges or confidence intervals or some such, and it's not until you get to the end of the list that you see a definition meaning something else.)

Ah yeah I think I wasn't counting organising costs. 

I meant that if you measure cost-effectiveness in terms of impact per $, then EAGx looks way better , but if you measure cost-effectiveness in terms of impact per hour of (attendee) time, then EAGx looks similar. So there's a 'regression to the mean' type effect when you consider additional metrics. 

But you're right I wasn't considering organiser time. Apologies for the "quick thought" comment ending up being confusing rather than helpful.

Appendix: EAGxVirtual is unusually cost-effective


Quick thought that I expect if you accounted for non-financial costs, especially the time spent by attendees that would otherwise have been spent on other impact-focused activities, then the cost-effectiveness would go down substantially.

A weekend at a virtual conference vs an in-person conference probably takes like 50% as much time per attendee? If that's right, by a measure of cost-effectiveness that more like "connections made per hour of work lost", EAGx virtual and EAGx would be roughly equally cost-effective?

Great work! I really like the conditional reasoning test idea; it's something I hadn't really thought about in this context. I haven't reviewed the questions in detail yet but any thoughts on whether they'd be suitable for an application process?

There's psychological research finding that both "extended contact" interventions and interventions that "encourage participants to rethink group boundaries or to prioritize common identities shared with specific outgroups" can reduce prejudice, so I can imagine the Clubhouse stuff working (and being cheap + scalable).


You're right that there are big differences. I'm inclined to agree that some asks should be an "easier sell" too. I'm wondering if you think that these differences notably affect the arguments of this post?

Agree that people might intuitively underweight turnover costs -- I think I was underweighting it before I did some brief research inti the existing soc sci / business literature.

From my post's abstract:

"Google and Google Scholar searches were conducted to identify research on these costs. One key finding was that direct hiring costs are much smaller than the less visible and measurable effects of turnover on an organisation’s productivity; once these costs are accounted for, turnover costs thousands of dollars per lost employee. Given that turnover rates may be around 20% annually in nonprofits, this can amount to substantial costs. There is also evidence from several meta-analyses that higher turnover is correlated with lower organisational performance, though the overall effects of turnover on performance may be very small."


I think I agree with all of these points, with the tentative exception of the 2nd.

I think adding more 'bad cop' advocacy groups into the mix could help motivate (or enforce?) companies to actually act on their intentions. After all, the behaviour-intention gap is real... and it's hard to know their true intentions.

Besides, it could also be that the advocacy groups start by targeting companies that are maybe less frontier but lagging behind on safety commitments or actions. This could help diffuse safety norms faster, and reduce race dynamics where leading labs feel the push to stay ahead of less safety-conscious orgs.

Load more