Associate Director / Research Manager @ ERA (Existential Risk Alliance, Cambridge)
346 karmaJoined Jul 2022Working (0-5 years)


Supporting a global EA community is expensive - e.g flying people to conferences in the US and UK from places like South Africa and India is often ~4X the price of local attendees travel costs; we have to sponsor travel and work visas.


Well, it is, but only as long as you assume that all conferences should be held in the US and the UK in the first place (for discussions on this, see this and this). 

It can be difficult to construct and maintain co-leadership roles.

This might generally be true, but some of the more prominent EA organisations have successfully pulled this off, with Rethink Priorities having both Peter and Marcus as Co-CEOs or Open Philanthropy with their temporary Co-CEO split

- limited data available (Co-CEOs still in the minority, few successful case studies of Co-CEO partnerships that lasted decades, not just years)
- RP splits their portfolio and so does OP, so a split in executive leadership seems reasonable - I'm unsure what such a split might look like for CEA 


I know we use the term "Fellowship" for anything and everything in the EA community, but wouldn't a program that charges tuition etc. be more accurately described as a "Course", "Class", "Training" or "Bootcamp"?

Or, to be less adversarial: How did you decide on the name for this program? :)

I still get this: "The private share link you tried to reach is not available. The owner of this base may have unshared or deleted it. Please contact them if you need access."


Hi bethhw!

Thanks for taking the time to write up this post. Many of us have gone through similar things and can relate to the struggle you are experiencing.

Regarding the "I can't do anything about it" part

  1. I see this meme a lot in the AI safety community. I think it's a function of a) the underlying complexity of the problem and b) the reverance we have for some of the people working on this, with a dash of c) "my academic background is completely irrelevant" and d) "it's too late for me to build the skills I need to contribute" thrown in there.
  2. I won't argue against a) and b) - the problem IS hard and the people working on it ARE often very impressive with regards to their intellectual chops.
  3. But c) and d) are a completely different story, and I want to push back hard against them. People routinely underestimate how many different skills a given field can benefit from. AI Safety needs cognitive scientists, STEM people, historians, activists, political scientists, artists, journalists, content editors, Office Managers, educators, finance specialists, PAs- if you truly think your background is irrelevant, send me a DM and I'm happy to take bets on whether I can find a position that would benefit from your skillset. ;-) 
    (Anecdotally, I used to be a teacher, and I'm now working on case studies for AI Standards, field-building and Research Management. It turned out people really appreciate it when you can explain something in clear terms, organize processes well and help others to engage with important but thorny ideas.)

On building skills: The field is so young and nascent that literally nobody is "on the ball" and while this is deeply concerning from an x-risk perspective, it is good news for you - there is a limited number of key concepts and models to understand. For many people, it's is not too late to learn about these things and to build skills, and there are many resources and programs to support this.

Last but not least: Reach out to me if you'd like to discuss your options or just want to talk to a kind voice. I'd be happy to. :)

If you find reading criticism from the last group demotivating and "bad faith", try this podcast with the great Habiba Banu on EA and the Left:

I think it does a great job pointing out both agreements and disagreements between EA and the Left.

"Respondents low in engagement were also slightly more likely to have heard of EA via the Slate Star Codex / Astral Codex Ten blog and via podcasts. (...) As we have discussed in previous reports, these differences are likely, in large part, explained by which sources have recruited more EAs more or less recently, since these newer EAs are less likely to be highly engaged."

Is this statement not contradicted by the fact that SSC/ACX has decreased in importance with regards to attracting new members? i.e. shouldn't we expect these people to be more involved since they have been, on average, part of the movement for longer?

It's a bit more complicated, as I understand (from Wikipedia):

"In 1998, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2009, the United States Congress voted whether to ban all human cloning, both reproductive and therapeutic (Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act). Divisions in the Senate, or an eventual veto from the sitting President (George W. Bush in 2005 and 2007), over therapeutic cloning prevented either competing proposal (a ban on both forms or on reproductive cloning only) from being passed into law. On 10 March 2010, a bill (HR 4808) was introduced with a section banning federal funding for human cloning. Such a law, if passed, would not have prevented research from occurring in private institutions (such as universities) that have both private and federal funding. However, the 2010 law was not passed.

There are currently no federal laws in the United States which ban cloning completely. Fifteen American states (Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, North Dakota, New Jersey, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Virginia) ban reproductive cloning and three states (Arizona, Maryland and Missouri) prohibit use of public funds for such activities.

Ten states, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey and Rhode Island, have "clone and kill" laws that prevent cloned embryo implantation for childbirth, but allow embryos to be destroyed."

In global comparisons like this ( Policy/index/SCBooklet/World.pdf), the US is routinely classified as not having a complete ban on human cloning.

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