Kat Woods

2896Joined Sep 2014


Think it would be high-impact or fun to meet? Book a 20-minute slot here https://calendly.com/katwoods/location-independent-eag


This is the most EA thing ever and it makes me so happy.

Thanks to this comment, I'm now working on setting this up!

Alex's is great, and I'm working with him to make it so it's automatically updating. Will also probably be switching to Notion which will allow for a lot more intuitive sorting and filtering. 

Thanks for sharing this! This is inspiring me to do more things like this

I once did something similar where I took a week to just read and understand the AI safety fundamentals course on my own. Dedicating a whole week to it as opposed to a couple hours a week felt a lot more interesting and engaging.

There's something really powerful about setting an ambitious and short goal as opposed to something more moderate and spread out.

For those who don't program, this is what ChatGPT says this code means:

"This code defines a function getAlignment that takes in an object called results and returns a string indicating a combination of good/evil and lawful/chaotic alignments.

The function first initializes two variables, goodEvil and lawfulChaotic, to the string 'neutral' and 'Neutral', respectively. It then checks the engagementPercentile property of the results object. If the engagement percentile is less than 0.33, goodEvil is set to the string 'evil'. If the engagement percentile is greater than 0.66, goodEvil is set to the string 'good'.

The function then calculates the ratio of commentCount to postCount in the results object, and uses this ratio to set the value of lawfulChaotic. If the ratio is less than 3, lawfulChaotic is set to 'Chaotic'. If the ratio is greater than 6, lawfulChaotic is set to 'Lawful'.

Finally, the function checks if both lawfulChaotic and goodEvil are equal to 'neutral'. If they are, the function returns the string 'True neutral'. Otherwise, it returns the concatenation of lawfulChaotic and goodEvil with a space in between."

I don't code, so I have no idea if this is accurate, so please let me know if it's off. 

Neutral good! Which is indeed how I identify. 

I do predict  that most EAs are either lawful good or neutral good. 

I've been working with Deena for a little over a year now and I can personally attest to her being fantastic to work with. During that time I experimented with four other coaches/consultants, and she's the only one I've stuck with. 

Main benefits of working with her:

  • Practical intelligence and experience that's sorely lacking in EA. While most EAs are talented at abstract ideas, we tend to be less experienced at hand-on implementation. Deena excels at this
  • Inspiring and confidence-giving. If you suffer from impostor syndrome or anxiety, Deena is great to work with. I feel like whenever I'm facing a complex ball of ambiguity, a conversation with her will leave me feeling confident and knowing what to do next.

Love this! Not sure if it will win out in the battle arena of EA cause areas, but cultivating deep friendships should definitely be a top personal priority if you care about your happiness. 

Relatedly, one way to have better friendships is to make them location-independent, given how most people move so much nowadays. I've managed to maintain very close friendships with a lot of friends despite moving a lot, and here's a short article I wrote about how to do it

The 80/20 of it is to set up regular calls. If you have to organize a hangout each time, it will fizzle out. Make it the strong default.

I'd also add that if you want to have a good romantic relationship, it's important to maintain good friendships. Putting all of your emotional needs onto one person leads to all sorts of problems. It also distorts your epistemics

I’m surprised and sad to hear you now think that way about our past experience. The last time you reached out to me you were overwhelmingly positive towards me. Let me know if you’d like to talk about this more. 

On a minor note, I felt important to say about the quote: we didn't claim there was only one disgruntled ex-employee. In fact, the next sentence says: "While this person, no doubt, wasn’t the only disgruntled ex-employee".

Hi anonymous,

First, I want to say that I do believe you have good intentions. Second, an important point about source diversity: we have heard from many people in the community that one particular disgruntled ex-employee was previously widely spreading these accusations. 

While this person, no doubt, wasn’t the only disgruntled ex-employee, most people hear these allegations secondhand, and this creates an echo chamber where it can appear that there were more disgruntled ex-employees than actually existed.

I’d also like to ask, when did you get this information? There was a period in which we had an open disagreement with one of the former employees, and we believe we have since rectified it. It’s possible we already addressed some of these issues after you heard about them.

This is a problem with unsubstantiated rumors and gossip: people might hold an opinion about something even after that problem was fixed.

I have general sense that they had a pattern of taking on young, idealistic interns with poor ability to stand up for themselves and exploiting them to a standard many would consider unacceptable (e.g. manipulating them into accepting unreasonably little pay, and sometimes not following through on payment when they thought they could get away with it).

We can provide concrete evidence in terms of bank screenshots and recorded interviews showing that this is not true. We are happy to talk to CEA about it if they would like. 

For mentorship, I do not know the standard for mentorship, but some previous interns found working at Nonlinear to be lifechanging. Some, I’m sure, wished there had been more mentorship. 

Some people have not liked that we have unpaid internships, but we have always been up front and clear about that in our job ads and interviews. 

For the accusation of the payment being delayed, we have heard that particular employee’s claims, and we can show receipts of DMs and bank transactions showing that they were saying things that are verifiably incorrect. 

As I understand things, in July 2022 a group of Nonlinear employees and interns quit because they were unhappy with either their own treatment or the treatment of their coworkers.

There were two employees who left in June. This is a complicated topic and would rather respect our ex-employees’ privacy by not mentioning the details publicly. Happy to talk with CEA about it.  

I've also heard that Emerson can be retributive, and that some people around Nonlinear were scared about Emerson finding out they'd spoken badly about him. (Generally speaking, to the extent that things were bad at Nonlinear, I have the general sense that Emerson, and not Kat, was the main source of bad behavior.)

This is a vague accusation that is hard to address. We can’t prove a negative.

I feel quite conflicted about posting this because:

  • The people I've spoken to also think that Nonlinear has done a lot of good, despite their mistreatment of employees and interns. But I've recently become quite weary of this "ends justify the means"-type reasoning

This is gossip without providing any evidence and is impossible to disprove. 

I personally am a mix of a rule utilitarian combined with a moral counsel approach due to moral uncertainty. 

I can't share any specifics because anything specific was told to me in confidence; I also have no way of knowing whether the things I've heard were exaggerated. Additionally, a lot of what I was told I remember only vaguely.

This is a good a reason to hear both sides before publicly accusing somebody of something. 

Given that none of the people wronged spoke up, it's not clear that I should (due to concerns about the reliability of secondhand knowledge, for example).

In the future, I would ask both sides first before making allegations like this, especially in a public forum, because most people won’t come back to re-read the comments later. 

But I decided to post anyway because I like to think that I've learned the hazards of waiting until after misbehavior is publicly revealed to write about the evidence that I had all along. Sorry for any unfortunate consequences of this comment.

People should definitely look into allegations against nonprofits. However, it’s important to look into them, not just report hearsay without doing proper due diligence. It’s important that EAs maintain good epistemics, not just publicly report any gossip that they’ve heard. 


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