All of Nathan Young's Comments + Replies

Our plan to share "PR FAQs" for new Forum features

Sounds great. I look forward to reading them. Thanks for making this forum a place I want to spend time.

Stephen Fry narrating a video on effective altruism, explaining the cause-prioritisation framework while giving us the appropriate emotional response to helping others

I think it can come across as quite pushy to say "you should look at this thing which pushes a worldview".

eg I'd much rather provide a useful tool than say "EA is full of useful tools". Or a useful donation opportunity than say "EA is the place you should find your donation opportunities".

So I did end up sharing this video with the following tweet "I care a lot about effective charities. This video gives a good explanation as to why. Also contains lots of random acts of kindness that made me cry".

Tried to frame it as "here's why I do what I do" and then add random acts of kindness as a hook/I literally did cry.\.

3lukefreeman1dThanks Nathan! This is great to hear! I actually completely agree with that approach and it's the approach that I always encourage people to take 😀 Sharing that you care about something (and explaining why, how it makes you feel etc) is one of the best ways of advocating. It's human, it's authentic, and people in your life like to know what you're interested in and what you care about. I've found that people are really supportive and interested when I take this approach 😀 We're publishing a new guide to talking about EA/effective giving soon which includes tips like this. Will share it on the Forum when we do 😀
2lukefreeman2dThanks for letting me know! I'd really appreciate learning more about the feelings/reasoning behind rarely wanting to share it unless someone specifically asked. Understanding this feeling/reasoning is vital in helping to create more spreadable ideas. Feel free to DM me also 😀
Part 1: EA tech work is inefficiently allocated & bad for technical career capital

Hybrid models

These are effectively a subsidy from the developer org to the org they are doing the work for. To some extent this makes them a small grant funding body which distributes to any org claiming to be effective. I would be concerned about free-riding.

It might be better to a charge a normal/slightly discounted rate for "effective" projects and then let the subsidy be delivered  by other funders.

2Peterslattery6dThanks for mentioning. Yeah, that makes sense. I think that you could limit it to a certain portion of the work (say no more than 25% of work can be subsidised etc). I'd be ok with the external funding alternative if it didn't add too much extra friction.
Predicting Open Phil Grants

I would like a similar set of questions around GiveWell recommendations. You could ask for 10 charities they said they might look into, the forecast their final value for money score. Then, you could resolve based on what they found in any they looked into.

- No risk to them.
- Might help them search
- Only requires names of charities they are researching

Are there fictional books (novels, poetry, comics) on an EA?

UNSONG by Scott Alexander is good if you want a EAish fanfic of the Bible/ modern politics.

EA Forum feature suggestion thread

Ability to submit questions to a monthy poll. Then everyone who has signed up gets the poll.

EA Forum feature suggestion thread

I nearly posted this just now and then realised I already did a year ago. 

EA Forum feature suggestion thread

I still think you are all wrong about this. 

EA Forum feature suggestion thread

Option to donate to author.

Some blog articles are really good and I would pay a bit to authors I liked.

EA Forum feature suggestion thread

Ability to mark items in this thread as “complete”

This thread is the best place to suggest feature requests and it's pretty hard to use because you can't tell which items have been done and which haven't.

You should write about your job

People could write about jobs they've tried and why they didn't work.

You should write about your job

Love how many posts have been written off the back of this. Great work Aaron. I wonder if there is other underrated private knowledge which people could easily write articles about?

1Nathan Young13dPeople could write about jobs they've tried and why they didn't work.
Further thoughts on charter cities and effective altruism

Are they actual finances of OP and FP available somewhere? Are Mark’s figures right?

Founders Pledge is not a foundation at all and, indeed, Founders Pledge members can decide where to allocate their money, it is not centrally decided by FP as an org (though of course we try to convince our members to give to high-impact causes).

 

4Charles_Dillon 15dThe Open Phil grants DB is here:https://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/grants [https://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/grants] Good Ventures has a similar database that only differs slightly.
Further thoughts on charter cities and effective altruism

Thanks Mark for writing this and for your hard work to alleviate poverty.

Am I right in saying then that the key disagreement is the reference class used in the Rethink Priorities model? That Mark thinks that the original group was unrepresentative?

All Possible Views About Humanity's Future Are Wild

I guess the point that gets me a bit is "is a stable galactic civilisation run by a single misaligned AI wild in the sense the author means?"

Pro wild:

  • building megastructures
  • galactic AI is pretty wild

Anti wild

  • Internal life of this AI might be trivial
  • Processes might be tremendously repetitive - if you have no aims, is turning all matter and energy into paperclips hard?

I guess for me the jury is still out, but that case does feel different to me, at least some times.

2Holden Karnofsky6dI think it's wild if we're living in the century (or even the 100,000 years) that will produce a misaligned AI whose values come to fill the galaxy for billions of years. That would just be quite a remarkable, high-leverage (due to the opportunity to avoid misalignment, or at least have some impact on what the values end up being) time period to be living in.
All Possible Views About Humanity's Future Are Wild

Also, for me, they “stable galactic civilisation” doesn’t quite do the wildness there justice.

At that point, the consciousness might live lives that are as beyond our imagination as the the life of an archaeologist is to a cow.

To horrendously misquote CS Lewis: “ We are… like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

I have just so little conception of what the life of the average stable galactic citizen might be like.

1Nathan Young21dI guess the point that gets me a bit is "is a stable galactic civilisation run by a single misaligned AI wild in the sense the author means?" Pro wild: * building megastructures * galactic AI is pretty wild Anti wild * Internal life of this AI might be trivial * Processes might be tremendously repetitive - if you have no aims, is turning all matter and energy into paperclips hard? I guess for me the jury is still out, but that case does feel different to me, at least some times.
All Possible Views About Humanity's Future Are Wild

I like your style. It’s concise yet narratival.

This makes me think of David Deutsch’s point that far from being powerless, creative minds are the only thing that can one day turn an empty bit of space into any structure permitted by physics (with enough hydrogen in the original space).

I guess I think it’s also quite wild that we are the only thing in the way of this wild future. If we nuke ourselves into oblivion etc etc this process might be delayed by millions of years.

Book Giveaway Impact Analysis (Doing Good Better in NZ)

Thanks for doing this. Have you considered suggesting the EA infrastructure fund funds much wider book giveaways?

1Ivan Burduk21dThat's a good suggestion, thank you. I hadn't considered that. I would feel more confident in making a suggestion to the EA infrastructure fund after we implement the improvements and do a follow up analysis. However, the EAIF wouldn't administer the books themselves - it would probably need to be done via some organization (e.g. CEA). CEA already gives away many books through the virtual programs, so perhaps getting people onboarded onto those is a good strategy. Alternatively, groups can also apply for funding for book giveaways through CEA. I could see a book giveaway being offered alongside the virtual programs being potentially valuable - but the question would be if it would have a net value increase, or if it would detract from the value of the programs (due to some percentage of people choosing the book over committing to the program, and then not actually reading the book). I have a feeling it is probably net positive, and could potentially be a precursor to the virtual program, as it provides more flexibility and less commitment. But again, wider distribution seems to be more of an organization-level implementation than a particularly 'funding-constrained' issue.
EA needs consultancies

Will ponder. Thanks again for going to the effort. I largely agree regardless.

EA needs consultancies

Thanks for writing this.

I think your logic follows for research, policy etc. But I’m not sure about all the things you name.

Why is it reasonable to assume the best people to hire for web development, marketing or events management would be EAs rather than a standard web dev org?

If anything it seems to me you’d prefer aligned people took impactful roles rather than replicating non impactful roles in the EA community. The whole point of 80k is that there is more impact by choosing non-standard careers.

What’s more, it feels off. I think if I heard that the l... (read more)

7Linch1moA related confusion to me is why there is EA comparative advantage in policy/research, like naively you'd expect external policy groups, consultancies, and academia to do a fine job of it. Yet in practice I think many EA orgs have paid academics to investigate questions of interest to EAs, and while there's a lot of interesting work, the hit rate is lower than what we might naively have expected (moderate confidence, lukeprog and others can correct me on whether this gestalt view is correct). So maybe this is a useful reference class to consider.

Yeah, I originally had the same thought, and I considered e.g. web development, event management, legal services, and HR services as not benefiting enough from EA context etc. to be worth the opportunity cost of EA talent, but then several people at multiple organizations said "Actually we've struggled to get what we want from non-EA consultants doing those things. I really wish I could contract EA consultants to do that work instead." So I added them to the list of possibilities for services that EA consultancies could provide.

I'm still not sure which con... (read more)

4Vhanon1moYour question: Answer from the post: I think the emphasis is on the relationship with the EA community. You do not need to be an EA-dedicated consultancy team, but you should have some group dedicated to serving EA interests. I believe this is what all consultancy firms do. They take care of their customer organisations, by becoming familiar with the expectation, aspirations, and goals. (And it is easier if the people carrying out the work share the same aspirations of the organisations they serve, just because they are likely to be more receptive) Here, the post is only asking new or old consultancy to give some attention to the EA community.
Shallow evaluations of longtermist organizations

Superb work. Thanks for doing it. Would l love to see more of this kind of thing.

Open Thread: June 2021

I struggled for a long time to fit forum content into my workflow, but have found something that works well for me:

  • I use feedbin as a space for long form content.
  • I subscribe to newsletters and the forum's digest using the feedbin email
  • Reading forum articles fits as an activity kind of like scrolling through twitter.
You can now apply to EA Funds anytime! (LTFF & EAIF only)

I love the idea of suggesting people who should be funded but I imagine many might need a prompt.

How about occasionally putting questions on the forum or little Google forms asking for recommendations.

Yeah, I plan to keep sending the form around in the coming months. Using the EA Forum question feature is a great idea, too. Thank you!

Forum update: New features (June 2021)

Thanks for your work and the work of all others involved, including at LW.

Forum update: New features (June 2021)

Could we effectively repost them? Have some way of sending them back through the system and seeing if new users like them?

What should the norms around privacy and evaluation in the EA community be?

I guess you could ask people to veto their evaluation being published and if they do describe only whether it was positive or negative but not who it was about our what it was.

3NunoSempere2moI find the simplicity of this appealing.
[Podcast] Suggest a question for Jeffrey Sachs

What interventions are underrated in his opionion?

[Podcast] Suggest a question for Jeffrey Sachs

What are the key things he thinks the average EA doesn't know about global development?

EA Forum feature suggestion thread

A way to get an RSS feed which is filtered int he same way as the main feed. 

2JP Addison2moSounds legit.
Intervention Report: Charter Cities

I'd listen to a podcast:
 

  • of this report
  • Of the authors of this report  being questioned (ideally on the charter cities podcast)

I'm on it. Podcast reading HERE

  • Minimal commentary and explainers (trying to cut back)
  • I got through about half the report, tbc soon
4finm2moNoted...
1marklutter2moI agree with most of the report, there are some smaller differences which I spell out in the comment below
EA Twitter Job Bots and more

Eesh.

(Thanks for downvoting something you didn't like. That's genuinely useful)

EA Twitter Job Bots and more

Upvote this if you liked the way the original comments were structured.

1Nathan Young2moEesh. (Thanks for downvoting something you didn't like. That's genuinely useful)
EA Twitter Job Bots and more

I orginally structured the comments differently but I'm told that was unhelpful, so I've made a google form instead 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdiAmNJ4VEXGOp-mHvxbbq9Dj3eznIm8ICAYSHO836qcWCbYA/viewform

-3Nathan Young2moUpvote this if you liked the way the original comments were structured.
EA Twitter Job Bots and more

Yeah though I imagine we could find ways to avoid duplicates.

EA Twitter Job Bots and more

Some people think that I should include a downvotable comment so this thread doesn’t give me lots of karma.

I don't think this. I think that it points out that for no reason, we rank comments and posts the same even though posts are far more work. That's a problem but this isn't the solution.

However, if you want to rob me of karma, go on, my suggestion would be to upvote this comment and downvote every single sub comment.

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EA Twitter Job Bots and more

Can you see any ways this is likely to go very badly? If you think this is a bad idea, why?

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EA Twitter Job Bots and more

What features would you like in this area?

What would you like us to add to our roadmap?

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EA Twitter Job Bots and more

Operations

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EA Twitter Job Bots and more

Research

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EA Twitter Job Bots and more

What roles should we retweet and what should the codes be?

The bots would retweet one set of codes each.

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0Nathan Young2moOperations
0Nathan Young2moResearch
EA Twitter Job Bots and more

Biorisk

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EA Twitter Job Bots and more

AI Safety

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EA Twitter Job Bots and more

Which cause areas should we use and what should the codes be? I intend to take the top 5 cause areas by upvotes. 

The intention would be to have a bot for each cause area.

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0Nathan Young2moBiorisk
0Nathan Young2moAI Safety
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