All of Lizka's Comments + Replies

EA conferences in 2022: save the dates

Thanks for flagging this! I'll update the website with "likely June, July, or August" and similar language for now. 

What are some artworks relevant to EA?

I often think of Dr. Seuss's cartoon about foreign children, which I think applies in a variety of contexts:

(His cartooning has a complicated history.)

What are some artworks relevant to EA?

Thank you for sharing these! (A great way to learn Illustrator, I'd bet.)

What are some artworks relevant to EA?

Good point. Also, Bosch's stuff (e.g. the Garden of Earthly Delights, which you linked) has a bunch of moralizing/satirizing that's arguably relevant. For instance, his famous "Ship of Fools" painting is an illustration of Plato's allegory representing "the problems of governance prevailing in a political system not based on expert knowledge" (or generally coordination issues, rhetoric-vs-demonstrated-skill, etc.).

What are some artworks relevant to EA?

I absolutely love that Ted Chiang story (and so many of the others, in both that collection and the other).

Thank you so much for the other recommendations!

What are some artworks relevant to EA?

Good point. Here are a couple of historical pieces & thoughts on types of things historical art can do.

[Disclaimer: written quickly, links are half-assed.]

  • Picasso's Guernica (see Wikipedia -- it's a very famous anti-war/anti-Fascist painting from 1937). I think it probably deserves its fame as a powerful way to communicate the horror of the war.

There are many more extremely moving pieces of art from other terrible historical events. Notebooks from GULAG camps by Eufrosinia Kersnovskaya survive. (Some images here --- note that they're quite graphic.... (read more)

1Stephen Clare11dThere's lots of great paintings of utopias or apocalypses too, like the Garden of Earthly Delights [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Garden_of_Earthly_Delights] (though not clear if it's utopic or apocalpytic!)
1TobiasH12dI think Da Vinci's Studies of the Fetus in the Womb [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studies_of_the_Fetus_in_the_Womb] are also quite beautiful and apparently (one of) the first drawings of a fetus' positioned accurately.
Differential progress / intellectual progress / technological development

This post is concise and clear, and was great for helping me understand the topics covered when I was confused about them. Plus, there are diagrams! I'd be excited to see more posts like this.
[Disclaimer: this is just a quick review.]

The Unweaving of a Beautiful Thing

This story is really beautiful.

(Thank you for writing it!)

6atb1moThanks for reading it, and for writing this comment. Critique groups aside, writing tends to be quite a solitary activity, so it's nice to know that someone enjoyed the story and that the words weren't just being written into the void!
World's First Octopus Farm - Linkpost

I really appreciate this comment-- thank you for taking the time to write it out.

World's First Octopus Farm - Linkpost

Please let me know if 1) you know of something I can read to get a summary of the relevant facts (this is really vague, but maybe someone knows a good resource), or 2) you know of ways I can help with this. (Writing letters somewhere? Volunteering some hours for a project? Donating? Posting on social media?)

This news has been driving me crazy, so I might as well try to channel that productively.

(So far, I posted a fiction review I thought was very relevant when I first read the news, but I wish I had a better sense of what would actually be helpful.)

7Neil_Dullaghan1moEurogroup for Animals (a European Union lobby group representing other animal advocacy organizations) has encouraged EU citizens to submit feedback [https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12950-Animal-welfare-revision-of-EU-legislation/public-consultation_en] in the EU's animal welfare legislative review - though it is better to make a submission on behalf of an organization rather than as an individual citizen. In addition to answering the multiple choice/tick-box format questionnaire prepared by the European Commission (which addresses cage-free hens and fish welfare among other issues), one can add in a request to ban/restrict such cephalopod farming under the section "Is there any other comment you would like to add?" Deadline: 21st January 2022 (Midnight Brussels time) Eurogroup also has a report [https://www.eurogroupforanimals.org/files/eurogroupforanimals/2021-12/2021_12_03_efa_pp_Decapod%20crustaceans%20and%20cephalopod%20molluscs.pdf] on "Decapod Crustaceans and Cephalopod Molluscs in EU Animal Welfare Legislation" and include the legal basis for banning such practices on pages 13& 14 of their white paper. [https://www.eurogroupforanimals.org/files/eurogroupforanimals/2021-09/2021_10_04_No%20Animal%20Left%20Behind%20White%20Paper_The%20need%20for%20a%20new%20kept%20animals%20regulation.pdf] I have not independently researched how strong this legal argument is. I also think much of what Kieran wrote above [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/jSaAitdE5ejv4xj4P/world-s-first-octopus-farm-linkpost?commentId=ve322g26eCc3aHDWS#comments] sounds right.
World's First Octopus Farm - Linkpost

This is it, all the people involved. There is no team B working on this.

That is really awful to hear, and I'm incredibly grateful to the people who are working on this.

Thanks for pointing this out--- and I'd love to hear how I can help change this fact.

2Charles He1moIt seems possible that you are already doing this? To explain, I think EA has the potential to have really talented leadership in animal welfare. Think of the people we know about: * Kieran Grieg, who understands the economics of the new octopus farm and has a global perspective. * Jennifer Jacquet and Becca Franks, who are internationally respected and lead projects to support fish [https://vimeo.com/396527910] and octopus welfare [https://issues.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Jacquet-et-al.-The-Case-Against-Octopus-Farming-37-44-Winter-2019.pdf] . * Lewis Bollard [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/s/6gFGprxo27o7desCs] who helped fund Becca Franks, and most of the farm animal movement. If the above is true and they are useful leaders, it seems like that we can develop more talent and institutions through the work of CEA and other meta-EA activities? Many thousands of people on the internet will write and petition to end this octopus farm. That’s valuable. But EA offers different competencies and theories of change that seem hard to get elsewhere. I bet many people would give up a lot to have the opportunity to support new leaders and create a competent, global movement to help animals. But you know more than me about CEA (maybe at some point you will learn about other approaches and tell us about it? I don't know.)
EA conferences in 2022: save the dates

Thanks for pointing this out! You're right, and I've edited the post to clarify.

6evelynciara18hWanted to flag that the EAG website [https://www.eaglobal.org/] still says "summer" and "fall".
Lizka's Shortform

Thanks for coming to the workshop, and for writing this note!

Lizka's Shortform

Uncertainty is super important, and it's really useful to flag. It's possible I should have brought it up more during the workshop, and I'll consider doing that if I ever run something similar.

However, I do think part of the point of a Fermi estimate is to be easy and quick.

In practice, the way I'll sometimes incorporate uncertainty into my Fermis is by running the numbers in three ways:

  1. my "best guess" for every component (2 hours of podcast episode, 100 episodes),
  2. the "worst (reasonable) case" for every component (only 90? episodes have been produced, a
... (read more)
1david_reinstein1moNote that tools like Causal and Guesstimate make including uncertainty pretty easy and transparent. I agree, but making uncertainty explicit makes it even better. (And I think it's an important epistemic/numeracy thing to cultivate and encourage). So I think if you are giving a workshop you should make this part of it at least to some extent.
1david_reinstein1moI think this would be worth digging into. It can make a big difference and it’s a mode we should be moving towards IMO, and should this be at the core of our teaching and learning materials. And there are ways of doing this that are not so challenging. (Of course maybe in this particular podcast example it is now so important but in general I think it’s VERY important.) “Worst case all parameters” is very unlikely. So is “best case everything”. See the book “how to measure everything” for a discussion. Also the Causal and Guesstimate apps.
Help CEA plan future events and conferences

Thanks so much for taking the time to write up these thoughts. Lots of people seem to be having this experience, so I really appreciate that you brought it up.

We have in fact been prioritizing one-on-one meetings, as attendees have been reporting that they get a lot of value from them. And we’re always looking for ways to improve our approach, so we would love ideas on how to better support those meetings.

It sounds like you are pointing out the following things: 1) Some of the most engaged attendees are in one-on-one meetings for most of the conference, wh... (read more)

1Charles He1moThis was a very thoughtful response, yes, I am saying 1, 2 and 3. I also think Kirsten and Rachel's experiences are valuable (maybe they have distinct ideas that are less directly expressed). For next steps (?) I don't know if or how these points should be addressed. I guess this requires involvement by the event organizers at a high level, and is interwoven with other considerations that might be difficult for a user like myself to be aware of. While taking into account the above, maybe we could brainstorm some more lower-level systems (e.g. to facilitate for 1:2 or 1:3 matching) if CEA decides this is useful?
Help CEA plan future events and conferences

Thanks so much for sharing your experience! I think your suggestions are excellent. We’re exploring ways to support group meetings and shorter meeting times at EA Global.

Help CEA plan future events and conferences

Thanks for this comment, and for boosting Charles’ message!

Help CEA plan future events and conferences

Thanks for these comments! I agree: more nooks and quiet spaces would be great.

Help CEA plan future events and conferences

I really appreciate this feedback. Communicating uncertainty in reasonable ways and getting the “message of EAG” right is super difficult, so I think there’s probably a lot of room for brainstorming on this front.

Help CEA plan future events and conferences

Thanks for this idea! This sounds interesting, so I’m curious if you have more thoughts on how this would work, and whether you feel it should be integrated into an “EA Global” conference, or if you are picturing it as a separate event.

1JJ Hepburn1moI have many thoughts and always keen for a call. calendly.com/jj-hepboin/ [https://calendly.com/jj-hepboin]
Lizka's Shortform

I recently ran a quick Fermi workshop, and have been asked for notes several times since. I've realized that it's not that hard for me to post them, and it might be relatively useful for someone.

Quick summary of the workshop

  1. What is a Fermi estimate?
  2. Walkthrough of the main steps for Fermi estimation
    1. Notice a question
    2. Break it down into simpler sub-questions to answer first
    3. Don’t stress about the details when estimating answers to the sub-questions
    4. Consider looking up some numbers
    5. Put everything together
    6. Sanity check
  3. Different models: an example
  4. Exampl
... (read more)
1Jordan Pieters2moI attended and thoroughly enjoyed your workshop! Thanks for posting these notes
1david_reinstein2moI don’t see mention of quantifying the uncertainty in each component and aggregating this (usually via simulation). Is this not fundamental to Fermi? (Is it only a special version of Fermi, the “Monte Carlo” version?)
Wikipedia editing is important, tractable, and neglected

Thanks for this post! I appreciated it. 

It seems worth listing or crowd-sourcing articles that people should focus on, and attaching that to existing project compilations and resources. (Michael seems to point in this direction in a comment, too.)

Maybe you or someone else can write up a quick list of topics to explore, or a meta strategy for identifying such topics? One thing that springs to mind as a possible starting point is simply checking to see which of the EA Forum Wiki tags/pages don't have a corresponding Wikipedia page, or have a poor one (a... (read more)

Someone (who is not me) just started a proposal for a WikiProject on Effective Altruism! To be accepted, this proposal will need to be supported by at least 6-12 active Wikipedia editors. If you're interested in contributing to such a WikiProject, please express "support" for the proposal on the proposal page.  

Here are some topics that I noticed don't have a page and would probably meet Wikipedia's notability criteria:

  • The Life You Can Save (organization)
  • Giving Green
  • Evidence Action
  • ALLFED
  • Animal Equality
  • Cluelessness (see Google Scholar)
  • Moral patienthood
  • Moral uncertainty
  • Rationalist community
  • The Alignment Problem
  • The AI Does Not Hate You
  • The Scout Mindset
  • X-Risk: How Humanity Discovered Its Own Extinction

To check whether a subject seemed notable, I looked it up on Google News or Google Scholar and tried to see at a glance whether there are multiple indep... (read more)

December 2021 monthly meme post

Meta point: I appreciate the test and how it's being addressed. 

The Case for Reducing EA Jargon & How to Do It

Jargon glossaries sound like a great idea! (I'd be very excited to see them integrated with the wiki.)

A post I quite like on the topic of jargon: 3 suggestions about jargon in EA. The tl;dr is that jargon is relatively often misused, that it's great to explain or hyperlink a particular piece of jargon the first time it's used in a post/piece of writing (if it's being used), and that we should avoid incorrectly implying that things originated in EA. 

(I especially like the second point; I love hyperlinks and appreciate it when people give me a term to G... (read more)

3Pablo2moThis is an idea I've considered and I'd be interested in making it happen if I continue working on the Wiki. If anyone has suggestions, feel free to leave them below or contact me privately.
Lizka's Shortform

Superman gets to business [private submission to the Creative Writing Contest from a little while back]


“I don’t understand,” she repeated. “I mean, you’re Superman.”

“Well yes,” said Clark. “That’s exactly why I need your help! I can’t spend my time researching how to prioritize while I should be off answering someone’s call for help.”

“But why prioritize? Can’t you just take the calls as they come?”

Lois clicked “Send” on the email she’d been typing up and rejoined the conversation. “See, we realized that we’ve been too reactive. We were taking calls as they... (read more)

Why fun writing can save lives: the case for it being high impact to make EA writing entertaining

I just want to link this article on "Research Debt" and the distillation of ideas: https://distill.pub/2017/research-debt/

A couple of passages:

There’s a tradeoff between the energy put into explaining an idea, and the energy needed to understand it. On one extreme, the explainer can painstakingly craft a beautiful explanation, leading their audience to understanding without even realizing it could have been difficult. On the other extreme, the explainer can do the absolute minimum and abandon their audience to struggle. [...] Research debt is the accumul

... (read more)
7Miranda_Zhang2moInteresting! I feel like literature reviews are somewhat related to this - almost like, concept distillation or summarization. As far as I can tell, literature reviews are fairly in-demand within the EA community.
Why fun writing can save lives: the case for it being high impact to make EA writing entertaining

I agree with this. I also think writing can only be "bad" with respect to a goal of some kind, whereas it can be "boring" regardless of its goal.

Very often, that goal is to engage the reader, communicate clearly and memorably, etc. -- for those things, boring -> bad.

A couple of random/extreme examples off the top of my head, assuming a generic purpose of "being useful to readers" (I haven't thought this through):

  • Legal texts are (probably) often boring writing but not bad writing.
  • Some Buzzfeed articles are (probably) bad writing but not boring writi
... (read more)
5Will Bradshaw3moYeah, I should have said that a decent rate of info transfer is often only one of several desiderata, and sometimes a piece can score well enough on other dimensions that it can perform poorly on that (i.e. be relatively uninteresting) and still not be "bad". (That said, even writing that needs to be fulfil other functions should generally try to be as interesting/readable as possible within those constraints. Some legal judgements are actually quite easy to read, while others are awful [https://loweringthebar.net/2017/02/octopoid-embrace.html].)
Why fun writing can save lives: the case for it being high impact to make EA writing entertaining

I find I really like this comment. I don't really know exactly why and don't have time to spend figuring that out, but I figured I'd put that out there. (I suppose if you're looking for encouragement to write more, there it is. )

Also, +1 to "people are more likely to act when emotionally engaged rather than merely intellectually."

Should EA Global London 2021 have been expanded?

I don’t have time to go into great depth for every one of your questions, but I’ll try to give quick replies to as many as I can.

It’s fair to separate errors from disagreements, and I focused mostly on disagreements in my original reply. (There are more things that should be classified as disagreements than should be classified as errors, and I think that the disagreements in this case mattered more to the discussion, which is why I focused on them. It’s possible I should have deleted the “some errors” line in my reply once I drafted it.) Things I think ar... (read more)

4Will Bradshaw3moI think some of the disconnect/confusion in the follow-on discussion here is being caused by my failing to update from a model of "CEA made a difficult COVID cost/benefit calculation" to one of "CEA didn't think COVID was a major concern" sufficiently quickly/completely. (Most of my post was written under the former model.) I need to think more about that before I try to clarify my position here, because I'm not 100% sure what it is.
Should EA Global London 2021 have been expanded?

I think it's very important that CEA in particular is highly transparent about the decisions it makes and why it makes them – to the point, if necessary, of investing in extra capacity to make this extra transparency possible.

I agree, for many forms of transparency (like information people need to make decisions), though less so for other forms (our internal reasoning about event management). We’re doing a lot right now to scale up our capacity.

“ I do think there was quite a bit that could have been done to increase transparency relatively easily, inc

... (read more)
Should EA Global London 2021 have been expanded?

I think this is a complete list of everything that was done, before and after the decision to expand. Is that correct? If so, what's the subset of things that were done to compensate for expansion?

Some of the things I listed were added to the COVID Protocol only after the decision to expand. One example of this is that we weren’t planning on requiring tests before we decided to expand. We also decided to closely monitor the number of people who were present in any given room, especially during lunch, when we thought more people would be unmasked. (Very ... (read more)

Should EA Global London 2021 have been expanded?

This is true, thank you for pointing it out! I plan on following up with people who could not attend for a bunch of different reasons, and this is one such reason. I really do appreciate you pointing it out, though, since it could be a real confounder, and I'm editing a note in my original response to that end.

EA Slack Groups - Mental Health, SW Eng, Entrepreneurs (and more!)

This is just a super quick note that there is also

1--alex--3moUpdated to include!
Should EA Global London 2021 have been expanded?

Note/disclaimer: I recently started working on the Events Team (I do communications and impact assessment), and I shared this response with them before posting it (for edits and comments). Still, the thoughts here are mine.

The tl;dr:

I think you bring up some good points. I agree that we could have planned further in advance, been more transparent, and done more to reduce COVID risk at the event. I think these are important points, and I’ll discuss them below.

But in the end, I think it was right to increase the size of EAG: it roughly doubled the value prod... (read more)

I think that we managed the increase in capacity well, and we didn’t significantly worsen the experience relative to a 500 person conference: logistics were smooth, COVID risk wasn’t much higher, and they got access to nearly 500 extra people. In fact, due to the increased value from access to the extra attendees, I think the change might have been net positive for the initial 500 attendees (but we’re not sure overall).

Finally, I want to point this out as something I agree is correct, and is pretty remarkable given the short timeframe and lack of staff. I ... (read more)

3Will Bradshaw3moON EVENT SAFETY I think this is a complete list of everything that was done, before and after the decision to expand. Is that correct? If so, what's the subset of things that were done to compensate for expansion? Yeah, I should have noted that the marquees did increase safety by reducing density, even if they weren't safer per square meter than the main event. I do think, though, that the impression given was that the marquees would be relatively safer places to meet for those uncomfortable with the indoor spaces, and I don't think that was the case. Do you agree? (It's fine if you agree but also think it wasn't that important.) Seems like if you're already on the honour system, you might as well ask people to take a test every day?
1Will Bradshaw3moON TRANSPARENCY Yeah, I think this is the crux here. Especially post-event, the untransparency aspect is the part of my criticisms that I care about most, and if I were persuaded they were wrong I'd have a lot less to say. Some background that didn't come across in the post is that, given CEA's place in the community and the kinds of projects it takes up (and the impact of that on others in the community who might want to do similar projects), I think it's very important that CEA in particular is highly transparent about the decisions it makes and why it makes them – to the point, if necessary, of investing in extra capacity to make this extra transparency possible. I think this is important both to make sure the core functions that CEA carries out are being done as well as possible, and to let other orgs learn from CEA's lessons, updates and mistakes. I wouldn't apply the same standards of transparency to all EA orgs (though I think we should generally be aiming for high transparency in most areas). That said, I do think there was quite a bit that could have been done to increase transparency relatively easily, including (in escalating order of effort): * Including a few sentences and links in the expansion notification post, explaining and supporting the key updates underlying the change. * Writing a short Forum post summarising the various short arguments that were later made in private to me during feedback on this post. * Publishing any quick-and-dirty models and other materials CEA used to make the decision to expand. * Publishing redacted or summarised versions of the advice CEA received from its COVID advisory board (I think this should have been done for ~all COVID decisions made by the CEA events team). It's possible I'm underestimating the amount of work some of these would have required; in that case, though, now (i.e. after the event) seems like a great time to write that up more carefully for publication. Beyond the question of
2Will Bradshaw3moON ADMISSIONS One important thing that came out of my discussions with CEA prior to the event was that many high-priority attendees applied later than expected, after many tickets had already been assigned. This seems like it significantly strengthened the case for expansion – but also suggests that the process by which tickets were assigned early was quite flawed. Do you agree with that assessment? Yup, this seems like it would have helped a lot on all fronts. What was the reason for opening applications so late? COVID uncertainty?
3Will Bradshaw3moI'm going to separate some of my responses into separate comment threads here, since there's a lot to unpack. First, and most importantly: Can you enumerate what these are? It's not really clear to me from your response, though I may have missed it. (I'm assuming we're both operating on a model where "errors" are not the same thing as "disagreements".)

I anticipate that some people who were excluded from participation due to covid policy are unhappy with it and are not counted in the survey. I know at least a few people who were accepted but were not able to participate because being vaccinated with Sputnik V is not enough. That said, the EAG coronavirus policy is understandable; and people are unhappy in a different way than OP.

Lizka's Shortform

Reflection on my time as a Visiting Fellow at Rethink Priorities this summer

I was a Visiting Fellow at Rethink Priorities this summer. They’re hiring right now, and I have lots of thoughts on my time there, so I figured that I’d share some. I had some misconceptions coming in, and I think I would have benefited from a post like this, so I’m guessing other people might, too. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to write anything in depth for now, so a shortform will have to do.

Fair warning: this shortform is quite personal and one-sided. In particular, when I t... (read more)

Thanks for writing this Lizka! I agree with many of the points in this [I was also a visiting fellow on the longtermist team this summer]. I'll throw my two cents in about my own reflections (I broadly share Lizka's experience, so here I just highlight the upsides/downsides things that especially resonated with me, or things unique to my own situation):

Vague background:

  • Finished BSc in PPE this June
  • No EA research experience and very little academic research experience
  • Introduced to EA in 2019

Upsides:

  • Work in areas that are intellectually stimulating
... (read more)
8Peter Wildeford3moNote to onlookers that we at Rethink Priorities will pay up to $2000 for people to upgrade their computers and that we view this as very important! And if you work with us for more than a year, you can keep your new computer forever. I realize that this policy may not be a great fit for interns / fellows though, so perhaps I will think about how we can approach that.
[Creative writing contest] Blue bird and black bird

I'm highly enjoying the "death of the author" interpretation (and even just its existence), thanks! :)

[Creative writing contest] Blue bird and black bird

Fair point, thank you! If I have some time, I might replace the sprout with some other kind of risk (maybe something flammable), but I haven't though about it very carefully yet, and would definitely take suggestions. 

[Creative writing contest] Blue bird and black bird

For what it's worth, I highly enjoyed reading this interaction:) +1 to Dario and everyone else here. 

[Creative writing contest] Blue bird and black bird

Thanks for the feedback! I definitely dislike propaganda, and would be curious to see which parts felt the most propaganda-y to you. Also, to echo Dario, below--- I appreciate your very kind delivery of the negative feedback. :)
I don't know if I will ever end up spending much time improving the story, as my life is pretty hectic at the moment, but I would be interested in any specific improvements you suggest. (So far, I haven't really tried much, but I've considered ways of addressing the inadequacy of the oak sprout metaphor by e.g. replacing it with something flammable.) 

6Linch4mosomething flammable seems reasonable. Maybe also removing snake eggs (though that might be considered too violent for a pro-vegetarianism children's book).

See, the thing is, I can't find any improvements because the entire premise feels to me inherently propaganda-ish. I'm sorry, I can try to break it down into more detail, but I suspect that it will be unfixable for me.

I'm going to try to rank the main bullet points of my discomfort in order of how important they are, most to least.

• I feel very uncomfortable with the entire dynamic of a 'right way / wrong way' pair. Partly this is because of individual cases where people using it ticked me off, but fundamentally it is that the idea of the character 'who ex... (read more)

[Creative writing contest] Blue bird and black bird

To be honest, I didn't think very hard about the names. The thought process was roughly: 1) I want to make a story whose characters are birds, and I could have a smart black bird. 2) Incidentally, I like that it doesn't have to be technical or complicated--- there are birds you can call "blackbirds," and there are birds you can call "bluebirds," so 3) I'll call my characters "black bird" and "blue bird." And I liked the colors this suggested, so that didn't veto the decision. :) 

In any case, I'm glad you liked it, thanks! 

[Creative writing contest] Blue bird and black bird

Thanks for the comments! The urgency argument makes sense. I'm not sure if I'll end up changing things, but I'll consider it, and thanks for pointing this out! 

1Harrison D4moSaw this quote somewhere and it made me think of this comment again:
Disentangling "Improving Institutional Decision-Making"

An update: after a bit of digging, I discovered this post, "Should marginal longtermist donations support fundamental or intervention research?", which contains a discussion on a topic that is quite close to "should EA value foundational (science/decision theory) research," (in the pathway (1) section of my post). The conclusions of the post I found do not fit into my vague impressions of "the consensus." In particular, the conclusion of that post is that longtermist research hours should often be spent on fundamental research (which is defined by its goal... (read more)

3MichaelA4mofwiw, I think I still broadly endorse the post and its conclusions. (I only skimmed your post, so can't comment on how my views and my post aligns/conflicts with the views in your post.)
Impact chains

For what it's worth, I've seen "pathway to impact" used in the way you seem to use "impact chain" (e.g. and e.g., and I used it a bunch), and it seems somewhat more natural to me. It's possible that "pathway to impact" is just a niche term that clicked with me, though, and I definitely agree that it's a useful concept. 

1Emrik4moThanks! I like "impact chain" better because it's not just a detailed visualisation. Using the term "chain" emphasises that you should segment it into independent links so that you feel where the probability seeps out.
Disentangling "Improving Institutional Decision-Making"

Thank you for this comment! 

I intuitively would’ve drawn the institution blob in your sketch higher, i.e. I’d have put fewer than (eyeballing) 30% of institutions in the negatively aligned space (maybe 10%?). 

I won't redraw/re-upload this sketch, but I think you are probably right. 

In moments like this, including a quick poll into the forum to get a picture what others think would be really useful.

That's a really good idea, thank you! I'll play around with that.

re: "argument for how an abstract intervention that improves decision-making woul

... (read more)
EA Forum Creative Writing Contest: Submission thread for work first published elsewhere

I think this is a really cool work/parable: "That Alien Message." It's by Eliezer Yudkowsky, so I don't know if it's too well known to count, but it still seems worth collecting in this context. (The topic, or "relevance" from an EA point of view, of the story is a spoiler, but should be pretty clear.) 

7Jackson Wagner4moThere are several Yudkowsky stories that involve EA-adjacent elements, although perhaps all of them are too well-known to count -- "Three Worlds Collide [https://www.lesswrong.com/s/qWoFR4ytMpQ5vw3FT]" is probably the most complex exploration of abstract ethical ideas, although it's more making a statement about the complexity of human value systems than about taking action in an EA direction. It's also a complex multi-chapter story too long to read in one sitting. There are also Yudkowsky's "Dath Ilan [https://yudkowsky.tumblr.com/post/81447230971/my-april-fools-day-confession]" stories, which take place in a semi-utopian world where civilization is much better at coordination. They're full of interesting ideas, especially relevant to the "Improving Institutional Decisionmaking" wing of the EA movement, but they're also somewhat scattershot exercises in world-building mixed with jokes and opinion, rather than a tightly -constructed story. I think the most contest-relevant Yudkowsky story is probably "The Sword of Good [https://www.yudkowsky.net/other/fiction/the-sword-of-good]" -- it's short, and it features a protaganist who goes from blindly accepting the status quo, to suddenly realizing the injustice of all the needless suffering that persists in the world. This feels very relevant to EA, and would probably strike a chord with the experiences of many people in the "Global Health & Development" and "Farmed Animal Welfare" wings of the movement. The biggest downside of the story is that the EA message only shows up as a plot twist in the last quarter of the story -- so it wouldn't make for good public reading at conferences, since people would spend the first 75% of their time wondering why they were being subjected to a random fantasy tale.
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