Topic Contributions


On the fence about applying to EAG or EAGx? Talk to someone (me?) who went!

I would be very happy to talk to people! I have been to EAG London three times. 

Once, I didn't know anyone and was too shy to reach out to anyone so floated round different talks. Once, I volunteered on reception and also got in some good conversations and workshops. Once, I spent most of the weekend in individual conversations - coming out inspired and exhausted! 

Very happy to talk to anyone if you message me :) I also used to work in the UK's foreign office and department for international development and am now studying AI. I think I'm nice and approachable!

Intro to EA Virtual Program: my review

I liked this review - useful tips I will consider if facilitating again!

I've found the connections/friendships formed the most valuable part - which would mean a strong +1 for your suggestion of games/debates. In my version of the usefulness list, the personal connections would probably go number one - particularly those nearby that you can eventually meet in person. 

Also, I get the impression from this you'd be a great facilitator!

Rory Stewart discusses GiveDirectly on The Rest is Politics

I listened and come away with the same feeling as I commented above- IMO Rory is being a good ambassador for GiveDirectly here!

Also, I was excited about this because I thought Rory Stewart was the new Comms Director at No. 10, which I've just realised was an April Fools prank...

Rory Stewart discusses GiveDirectly on The Rest is Politics

Thanks! Yes this was just my impression from reading, not listening. I'll hopefully get round to listening later and see if that updates my impression.

Rory Stewart discusses GiveDirectly on The Rest is Politics

In 2015, it seems to be ~2% (£200m/£12bn).  This was general support for cash transfer schemes which included other features though, like nutritional support. Seems very high though still! Can't see anything more recent - my naive guess would be its less than this now.

Link on UK spend 2011-15 on cash transfers.

Rory Stewart discusses GiveDirectly on The Rest is Politics

Thanks v much for posting this transcript! I agree this is on net good and think I took a more positive impression from Rory Stewart's points :)

Someone who has worked in international development for 30 years and headed DfID(!) is only just now finding out about cash transfers, and thinks it's the most effective intervention you can do. (Although perhaps with his caveat about "for a single poor family" makes it true?

I didn't get the impression from this transcript that Rory Stewart has just heard of cash transfers - is there any part which implied that? It felt to me more like bringing-the-listener-with-him kind of speak to convey a weird but exciting idea.

That the head of DfID thinks that it would have been better off spending the money on cash transfers. I had gotten the impression (mostly from posts on the EA Forum) that DfID was fairly well regarded in the space of effective giving so would have at least been aware of cash transfers. 

I would argue his point that 'giving people cash is probably the most effective single intervention that you can do for a very poor family'  is pretty accurate and I think it implies he understands it maybe isn't as effective as larger scale interventions (larger than 'a single intervention for one family'). But agree with you that the joke at the end "We should have kept DfID, but we should have spent the money on cash transfers" is wrong!

Anecdotally, from my experience in DfID in 2019-20, people working on cross-cutting development prioritisation often mentioned cash transfers in a way implying familiarity. The main question wasn't whether this weird idea works, but how it compares to bigger  interventions like conflict-prevention or aid-for-trade.

So I come out even more cheerful about this interview!

A new Our World in Data article on longtermism

I loved this article! and have used it to explain my interests to family who aren't familiar/emotionally connected with longtermism. I also frequently used OWiD pieces (e.g. health + climate) when working in the FCDO - it became IMO the most credible and impartial source for providing new ideas & information to us, and I think OWiD can achieve this for longtermism-related data.

I wondered if it is possible to add a visualisation of a short animation: first, of the hourglass representing past and present (10 millions of) people, then zooming out to have a third section of the hourglass at the top, representing the future-people dripping in to the present-people section. For me,  this would be a more emotive visualisation of (a) the scale and (b) how connected we are to future people, than the existing two visualisations. 

Exposure to 3m Pointless viewers- what to promote?

Thank you all for comments! Filming has been delayed until April/May 2022, so have a good five months to consider and also practice my quizzing.

My feeling at the moment is to keep it simple and positive (e.g. 'I have recently become really interested in effective altruism - which is about trying to have as positive an impact as possible with your time and money - I joined a community of others thinking and working on the same thing ~4 years ago and love it') - allowing people to look up effective altruism if they are interested but not going in to much detail about methodology.

I think the positives of this: some people looking up / getting involved with EA, outweigh the negatives: reinforcing negative impressions or spreading a low-fidelity message which prevents proper understanding later on. But would be really interested if anyone disagrees with this/has examples of this kind of messaging not working well(or also examples of it yes working well).

Exposure to 3m Pointless viewers- what to promote?

I wondered this as well. I think the context here makes me think otherwise:

It's a positive-spirited show where contestants are treated well, so wouldn't be like a debate or a news article.

It's this or not this (rather than choosing to allocate resource in high-fidelity rather than mass media).

Do you think something broad, like Aaron's suggested  'I like thinking about effective altruism, which is the art of doing as much good as you can with your money and your time'   has possible negatives, like being misinterpreted badly or putting people off EA?

Exposure to 3m Pointless viewers- what to promote?

Helpful points, thanks! I think that will be the challenge: sounding like a nice relatable person and not an ad, while also fitting in a plug. I think the formula is to have one topic only in your intro- so would prefer not to but probably will have to sacrifice the hobbies to talk EA... and rely on innate charm and humility to get myself across!

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