All of lucarade's Comments + Replies

Introducing Envision: A new EA-Aligned Organization

Alex is correct, Envision is not only targeting future tech leaders, it's targeting future leaders in tech development, policy, academia, and business.

Introducing Envision: A new EA-Aligned Organization

On your last paragraph about other means of accomplishing what Envision has in mind:

• I agree on the importance of using existing ecosystems, and I think Envision is doing what you describe. Ie Entrepreneurship Club, a conference, being a student group, running a pitch competition, leveraging existing opinions and resources rather than producing our own. I would argue what Envision is doing is leveraging the existing ecosystem more than a student think-tank producing papers would be.

• The work of the Wilberforce Society is admirable, and we will cer... (read more)

Introducing Envision: A new EA-Aligned Organization

Thank you, Gregory. You raise excellent points. I will address them individually and then alltogether in conclusion.

1) That's correct, we will have to compete with other student groups. So far, our message appears powerful enough to give us a significant advantage, which will help partially compensate for our lack of a track record.

We also don’t necessarily have to compete. The strategy of partnering with other successful student groups (ie Entrepreneurship Club at Princeton; similar organizations at a handful of universities have expressed excitement ... (read more)

1lucarade5yOn your last paragraph about other means of accomplishing what Envision has in mind: • I agree on the importance of using existing ecosystems, and I think Envision is doing what you describe. Ie Entrepreneurship Club, a conference, being a student group, running a pitch competition, leveraging existing opinions and resources rather than producing our own. I would argue what Envision is doing is leveraging the existing ecosystem more than a student think-tank producing papers would be. • The work of the Wilberforce Society is admirable, and we will certainly seek collaboration with them given this information about their concern for AI and the future of technology. But it doesn’t seem like the type of organization to attract entrepreneurs, future business leaders, and hardcore tech developers (I could be wrong about this). And signing up to write a paper about AI suggests a pre-established interest. Running such a panel is also high-effort, and it seems like it affected a handful of people. Again, not to say anything negative about Wilberforce Society at all – just to make the point that I don’t think this is necessarily far more effective than Envision. I think they serve different goals and should both exist. Conclusion First of all, thank you so much again for taking the time to write out this post. You’ve convinced me of a fair amount of significant changes to our plan, and helped better clarify others. However, you have not persuaded me to change course. I think I’ve argued quite convincingly why Envision adds value – and I welcome any additional arguments for why it does not, or disagreements with my points. For the sake of keeping this at a readable length I skimmed over some points and left the details to inference, so also feel free to ask for clarification. Thank you for the model-building offer. Depending on whether you think the model is still worth it, we would be interested in discussing further. As a final note, Envision is exciting. And exc
Introducing Envision: A new EA-Aligned Organization

Hi AGB,

Great points, I completely agree. On your last question, this is an intriguing one. I think 10% is too low; they'll be sidelined, unless those 10% include most of the leadership and most socially influential individuals. Probably 50% is a good starting level, as long as this increases quite quickly.

Curious to hear everyone else's thoughts on this!

Introducing Envision: A new EA-Aligned Organization

Hi Ben,

You raise good points, thank you for taking the time. To address them:

  1. I don't think Envision is anywhere near as difficult a message to get across as EA. The basic idea already exists in latent form in many students, and the messaging is naturally attractive to those with ambition (who tend to have world-scale goals already), without the negative associations that often exist around the words "altruism" and "impact." The Princeton Futurist Society (Envision's previous name) has only been around for one semester and already has

... (read more)
1Benjamin_Todd5yI'm aware of this from the main post, but I think it's pretty weak evidence. You're essentially trying to integrate the idea of concern for existential risk into tech development, which seems like a similarly difficult task to EA. Moreover, EA had many excellent existing resources and powerful ideas to draw on, such as the importance of global poverty, the biases literature, the evidence-based movement, and so on. I don't see a significant difference in difficulty here. Entrepreneurs are perhaps EAs best target audience. Almost all of GiveWell's donors are either from tech or finance, and then they partnered with Dustin Moskovitz. Ried Hoffman and the Gates Foundation endorsed Will's book. Our blog posts are regularly front page of Hacker News. I could go on. Overall I agree there's some nice features of the messaging that are different (more positive frame etc.) but I think these benefits are relatively small, and don't obviously outweigh the large costs of setting up a new org, in an area that's already extremely crowded by EA effort, and potentially diverting attention from EA groups. I think a more cost-effective strategy would be to try to spread these messages through existing groups. Or by trying to integrate the positive features of the messaging into EA, perhaps starting in the Princeton group. I think with some ingenuity you could get the Princeton EA group to seriously engage 5% of students then become self-sustaining, and that would be an extremely valuable project that would only take a couple of years.
Introducing Envision: A new EA-Aligned Organization

Hi Gleb,

The specifics aren't worked out yet, but we're working with EA Build and will coordinate with individual EA chapters at the universities we found chapters at. The general idea is that members of EA chapters who are interested in technology and the future will help with the setting up and growing of Envision chapters, and we will direct Envision members who seem interested in EA towards the EA chapter. There may be some events co-hosted; this is probably context-specific.

0Gleb_T5yOk, thanks for clarifying. Sounds like there will be a significant focus on collaboration. Also consider collaborating with SHIC if you aren't yet!
Introducing Envision: A new EA-Aligned Organization

Hi Michael,

Great to hear! They are not; although we have some funding, we are still far from fully funded to execute on all our projects. If you're interested, shoot me an email at lrade@princeton.edu and we can discuss further.

Scientific Charity Movement

Have you looked into why SC failed and if there's parallels between its organizational structure and EA's? Although you've convincingly argued that in many of the specifics the two movements differ significantly, there might be useful insights into how to prevent failure modes in a more general sense of a movement seeking to improve altruism.

2Cornelius4yThe movement started around 1870 and was still appears to have been active around 1894 (latest handbook in OP). WW1 was 1914-1918 and WW2 1939-1945. I'd like to know if it survived to 1945. If it did this is its cut off since my guess is that it died very quickly after WW2 when eugenics very rapidly spread throughout the world's collective consciousness as an unspeakable evil. I imagine the movement couldn't adapt quickly enough to bad PR and silently faded or rebranded itself. For instance, the Charity Organization Society of Denver, Colorado, is the forerunner of the modern United Way of America. So I imagine the lesson for EA is to beware the rapid and irreversible effects of having EA tied implicitly to something everyone everywhere has suddenly started to hate in the strongest possible terms. This is probably why it is a good idea for EA to stay out of politics. Once you associate a movement with something political, good luck disassociating yourself when some major bad stuff happens. Or maybe the lesson is just that EA should beware WW3. Who knows.