The Folly of "EAs Should"

we need to stop saying "don't donate to your local theatre" ... because actually [that is a] bad advice a lot of the time

I'm surprised you would say this - I would expect that not donating to a local theatre would have basically no negative effects for most people. I can see an argument for phrasing it more delicately - e.g. "I wouldn't donate to a local theatre because I don't think it will really help make the world a better place" - but I would be very surprised if it was actually bad advice. Most people who stop donating to a charity suffer essentially no negative consequences from doing so.

AMA: Elizabeth Edwards-Appell, former State Representative

Do you think being an EA, believing EA things, or being identified as one, represents any disadvantage (or advantage) in running for office?

EA and the Possible Decline of the US: Very Rough Thoughts

Peaceful Scenarios

Collapse need not be violent or tumultuous. For example, there could be a legal agreement to split the country into different independent countries. Although difficult to imagine, the US could also enter into a treaty with an independent country that would integrate the two, fundamentally altering each.

These seem like quite different scenarios to the others discussed. If the US agreed to let California become independent, or annexed Canada, I would not expect any threat to nuclear security, or AI lab integrity, or drastic loss of life in the process. Annexing Canada could even potentially help continue US international hegemony through increased population and GDP, though it might be bad in other ways.

Why are party politics not an EA priority?

eventually had to quit because the job was effectively unpaid

That's interesting - I've seen it argued that we should massively increase pay for MPs etc. in order to attract higher quality candidates. At the moment the pay and quality of life are both significantly worse than decent candidates could get by being e.g. an executive at a medium sized firm, and perhaps as a result many MPs are just not that bright. In contrast Singapore pays very highly and has a reputation for high competency. 

Very interesting article. Two minor pieces of housekeeping:

  • The paragraph beginning "Dr. Fauci regularly appears on MSNBC" appears twice
  • There are some sections marked with "<>" which appear to be placeholders for subsequent content.
Research on Effective Strategies for Equity and Inclusion in Movement-Building

Blinding may work for musicians


The link you shared does not work, but I assume it was meant to be pointing at the classic study on orchestral interviews from 1997/2000. However, recent re-analysis of the paper (here, here, here, here) shows if anything it supports the opposite conclusion:

This table unambiguously shows that men are doing comparatively better in blind auditions than in non-blind auditions. The -0.022 number is the proportion of women that are successful in the audition process minus the proportion of men that are successful. Thus a larger proportion of men than women are successful in blind auditions, the exact opposite of what is claimed.

The 'fact' that blinded auditions help women overcome bias in non-blinded  auditions came from some dubious pre-replication-crisis analysis, where the authors picked a small subset (often less than three orchestras!) of the data to try to find the effect they are looking for:

The impact of the screen is positive and large in magnitude, but only when there is no semifinal round. Women are about 5 percentage points more likely to be hired than are men in a completely blind audition, although the effect is not statistically significant. The effect is nil, however, when there is a semifinal round, perhaps as a result of the unusual effects of the semifinal round.

... but even with this p-hacking the authors failed to achieve statistical significance. 

So on the whole this suggests that musician interviews is another case where the process was originally biased against men, and blinding helped reduce this bias.

TAI Safety Bibliographic Database

I just wanted to say thanks very much to Jess and Angelica for putting all this together in addition to the analytics above, they were extremely helpful in providing me with lists of relevant papers from relevant organisations that I would have likely missed otherwise. 

Careers Questions Open Thread

I think it depends a lot on industry. In the world of startups frequently changing jobs doesn't seem that unusual at all. In finance, on the other hand, I would be very suspicious of someone who moved from one hedge fund to another every two years.

It also depends a bit on the role. A recent graduate who joins an investment bank as an analyst is basically expected to leave after two years; but if a Director leaves after two years that is a sign that something was wrong. Working as a teacher for two years and then quitting looks bad, unless it was Teach for America, in which case it is perfectly normal.

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