PabloAMC

Hi there! I'm an EA from Madrid. I am currently finishing my Ph.D. in quantum algorithms and would like to focus my career on AI Safety. Send me a message if you think I can help :)

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Some unfun lessons I learned as a junior grantmaker

My intuition is that grantmakers often have access to better experts, but you could always reach to the latter directly at conferences if you know who they are.

Some unfun lessons I learned as a junior grantmaker

No need to apologize! I think your idea might be even better than mine :)

Some unfun lessons I learned as a junior grantmaker

Mmm, that's not what I meant. There are good and bad ways of doing it. In 2019 someone reached out to me before the EA Global to check whether it would be ok to get feedback on one application I rejected (as part of some team). And I was happy to meet and give feedback. But I think there is no damage in asking.

Also, it's not about networking your way in, it's about learning for example about why people liked or not a proposal, or how to improve it. So, I think there are good ways of doing this.

Some unfun lessons I learned as a junior grantmaker

A small comment: if feedback is scarce because of a lack of time, this increases the usefulness of going to conferences where you can meet grantmakers and speaking to them.

I also think that it would be worth exploring ways to give feedback with as little time cost as possible.

EA and the current funding situation

I don't think we have ever said this, but the is what some people (eg Timnit Gebru) have come to believe. That was why, as the EA community grows and becomes more widely known, it is important to get the message of what we believe right.

See also the link by Michael above.

EA and the current funding situation

My intuition is that there is also some potential cultural damage, not from the money the community has, but from not communicating well that we also care a lot about many standard problems such as third world poverty. I feel that too often the cause prioritization step is taken for granted or obvious, and can lead to a culture where only "cool AI Safety stuff" is the only thing worth doing.

EA is more than longtermism

Thanks for posting! My current belief is that EA has not become purely about longtermism. In fact, recently it has been argued in the community that longtermism is not necessary to pursue the kind of things we currently do, as pandemics or AI Safety can also be justified in terms of preventing global catastrophes.

That being said, I'd very much prefer the EA community bottom line to be about doing "the most good" rather than subscribing to longtermism or any other cool idea we might come up with. These are all subject to change and debate, whether doing the most good really shouldn't.

Additionally, it might be worth highlighting, especially when talking with unfamiliarized people, that we deeply care about all present people suffering. Quoting Nate Soares:

One day, we may slay the dragons that plague us. One day we, like the villagers in their early days, may have the luxury of going to any length in order to prevent a fellow sentient mind from being condemned to oblivion unwillingly. If we ever make it that far, the worth of a life will be measured not in dollars, but in stars. That is the value of a life. It will be the value of a life then, and it is the value of a life now.

Bill Gates book on pandemic prevention

Without thinking much over it, I'd say yes. I'm not sure buying a book will get it more coverage in the news though.

The Effective Altruism culture

I would not be as strong. My personal experience is a bit of a mixed bag: the vast majority of people I have talked to are caring and friendly, but I (rarely) keep sometimes having moments that feel a bit disrespectful. And really, this is the kind of thing that would push new people outside the movement.

The Effective Altruism culture

Hey James!

I think there are degrees, like everywhere: we can use our community-building efforts in more elite universities, without rejecting or being dismissive of people from the community on the basis of potential impact.

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