PeterSlattery

Behaviour change researcher at BehaviourWorks Australia in Monash University and part of the team at the Rapid Effective Action Development Initiative (https://www.readiresearch.org/).

Failed as an entrepreneur but learned while doing. Might try it again but only if I fix my various health issues and improve my focus. It was rough!

Former EA movement builder for i) UNSW, Sydney, Australia, ii) Sydney, Australia and iii) Ireland, groups.

Did the marketing for the EAGx Australia 2019 conference.

I help run the EA Behavioral Science Newsletter (https://forms.gle/cL2oJwTenwnUNRTc6).

Currently, considering a 'pitstop' and a subsequent pivot into doing more coaching, EA organisation/ conference/ community marketing and growth work rather than focusing on academia.

You can get more of the details of what I do and have done on my Linkedin profile: (https://www.linkedin.com/in/peterslattery1/)

Please feel comfortable reaching out if you would like to connect or think I can help you with something. I don't take myself too seriously and like to help people. I am very busy though and often a bit overwhelmed so there might be a delay in response!

Things that I might be useful for:

Building a social media profile on Linkedin

Helping you get social science research experience

Collaboration on research projects that aim to produce academic outputs (this is probably where I/READI have a comparative advantage)

Mental health struggles/trying to keep feeling good to do good

Setting up/running EA groups

Changing behaviour/marketing/growth ideas

Working with government/policymakers

Leave (anonymous) feedback here: https://forms.gle/c2N8PvNZfTPtUEom7

Topic Contributions

Comments

What “pivotal” and useful research ... would you like to see assessed? (Bounty for suggestions)

Thanks for replying. 

When I say I'd prefer maybe 10x as much research, at .1x the quality, I don't want to miss out on quality overall. Instead, I'd like more small scale incremental and iterative research, where the rigour and the length, increase in proportion to the expected ROI. For instance, this could involve a range of small studies that increase in quality as they show evidence, followed by a rigorous review and replication process.

I also think that the reason for a lot of the current research vomit is that we don't let people publish short and simple articles. I think that if you took most articles and pulled out their method, results and conclusion, you would give the reader about 95% of the value of the article in maybe 1/10th the space/words of the full article. 

If a researcher just had to write these sections and a wrapper rather than plan and coordinate a whole document, they might produce and disseminate their insights in 2-5% of the time that it currently takes. 

Tentative Reasons You Might Be Underrating Having Kids

Thanks for sharing, this was helpful. As a meta point, it would be great for me if I had a way to help crowdfund some rigorous work (e.g., reviews, adversarial debates etc) exploring the arguments for and against EAs having children. I am increasingly on the fence. 

The change in my views is largely driven by emerging beliefs that i) people having EA traits (e.g., being logical, compassionate and impartial) is perhaps most strongly linked to their genetics (see behavioural genetics etc)  and ii) that funding EAs to have kids is going to be very hard to do at scale (for various coordination and PR reasons). I'd love someone to explore those and all the other arguments in more detail. Ideally a few people, some who want/have kids, and some who don't.

EA Tours of Service

Thanks for sharing. This is quite compelling.

Using TikTok to indoctrinate the masses to EA

Not sure on the post title: I assume that it's humour, but we don't want anyone to get the wrong impression. With that said, I just watched the first video, and I really liked it! It's a very engaging way of making an important point. Well done! 

I see a lot of unrealised value from disseminating key concepts and insights from within the EA movement without actually referencing the movement, so I would generally encourage this sort of thing if it is done carefully.

2021 EA Mental Health Survey Results

Thanks for this! If you do this again, I'd love to see a comparison of mental health issues/experiences between a random sample of EAs, members of the public and members of other social movements.

What “pivotal” and useful research ... would you like to see assessed? (Bounty for suggestions)

See >PS> 

 

I think that inviting submissions from research in preprints or written up in EA forum posts is a good idea.

Definitely the former, but which ones? 

>PS> Yeah, the only easy options I can suggest now are to consider some of items in the BS newsletter  

 

As to EA forum posts, I guess they mainly (with some exceptions) don't have the sort of rigor that would permit the kind of review we want... And that would help unjournal evaluations become a replacement for academic journal publications?

>PS> This is probably a bigger discussion, but this makes me realise that that one difference between us is that I probably want the unjournal (and social science in general) to accept a lower level of rigor than most journal  (perhaps somewhere between a very detailed forum/blog post and a short journal or conference article). 

One reason is that I personally think that most social science journal articles sacrifice too much speed for better quality, given heterogeneity etc. I'd prefer maybe 10x as much research, at .1x the quality. To be clear, I am keen on keeping the key parts (e.g., a good method and explanation of theory and findings), but not having so much of the fluff (e.g., summarising much prior or future potential research etc).

A second is that I expect a lot more submissions near the level of conference work or a detailed forum post level, than will be journal level. There are probably 100x more forum posts and reports produced than journal articles. Additionally, there is a lot of competition for journal level submissions. If you expect an article to get accepted at a journal then you will probably submit it to one. On the other hand, if you wrote up a report pretty close to journal level in some regards and have nowhere to put it, or no patience with the demand of a journal or uncertainty, then the unjournal is relatively attractive given the lack of alternatives. 

A submission would simply be giving you permission to publish/host the original document and reviews in the unjournal. Post review, authors could have the option to provide a link to their revised output, or to add a comment.

Actually, I don't propose to host or publish anything. Just linking a page with a DOI ... and review it based on this, no?

>PS>  Yeah, sounds good.

As you know, newsletters such as the EA Behavioral Science Newsletter (https://preview.mailerlite.com/m9i6r0j7h9) curate some options, so this could be an easy place to start.

I think I should go through this carefully, for sure.

One that comes to mind now is "How valuable is movement growth?"

I think reviewing EA forum posts is very valuable, but this is a separate thing from what I'm trying to do with Unjournal. If we include this in the 'same batch of things' it would probably drive away the academics and very serious researchers, no?

>PS>  Yeah, so that's a good point. I think that it gets into the points above. Perhaps you can have different types of submissions (e.g., work in progress, opinion etc?) .You could treat it like some other journals have and scale up expectations over time once it starts getting known?

At least for me, The Awareness/Inclination Model (AIM) in this seemed, for a while, to be a popular theory influencing how EA people thought about movement building.

A review of it this would help with understanding how confident we should be (or have been) in the empirical data presented for these arguments made, and might also throw up some ideas to build on it or test it.

Again, I don't think it has been written up in a way that is aiming at rigorous peer review, is it?

>PS>  Perhaps not.  Maybe that's something that authors need to answer. Regardless, I think that there would be a lot of value in these sort of reports getting peer reviewed by academics/experts, especially where they are influential in the EA community. 

Finally, I think that treating the first few rounds of doing this as being an experiment is probably a good idea. It might be the case that only a certain type of paper/output works, or that reviews are more useful than you imagined even for relatively low level research. Probably hard to tell until you do a few rounds of the process.

I think you might be right. I should dive in and be less delicate with this. Partial excuse for slowness so far: I'm waiting for a grant to come through that should give me some more hours to work on this (fingers crossed)

>PS>  I think you are doing a good job and I am not sure I am giving good advice! However, it could be the case that you want to use this process to test some assumptions and processes (e.g., about how many people will submit, what sorts of articles you will get, how long things will take, how best to show outputs) etc. 

Thanks for your work on it!

A grand strategy to recruit AI capabilities researchers into AI safety research

Also, have you seen this? https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KqbASWSxcGH1WjXrgfFTaDqmOxn3RWzfVw28mrFP74k/edit#

What “pivotal” and useful research ... would you like to see assessed? (Bounty for suggestions)

A quick response that I may build on later. I only scanned your write up of plan so sorry if I missed something there.

I think that inviting submissions from research in preprints or written up in EA forum posts is a good idea. 

A submission would simply be giving you permission to publish/host the original document and reviews in the unjournal. Post review, authors could have the option to provide a link to their revised output, or to add a comment.

As you know, newsletters such as the EA Behavioral Science Newsletter (https://preview.mailerlite.com/m9i6r0j7h9) curate some options, so this could be an easy place to start.

I know this is your idea so maybe you win your own bounty if you like it!?

Would RP not have many research outputs that could be included? READI might also have some upcoming work on institutional decision-making or moral circle expansion that could be considered (though I'd need to talk with the team, etc).

Aside from those, reviewing relevant old but influential reports and top forum posts, could also be valuable. 

One that comes to mind now is How valuable is movement growth?

At least for me, The Awareness/Inclination Model (AIM) in this seemed, for a while, to be a popular theory influencing how EA people thought about movement building. 

A review of it this would help with understanding how confident we should be (or have been) in the empirical data presented for these arguments made, and might also throw up some ideas to build on it or test it. 

Finally, I think that treating the first few rounds of doing this as being an experiment is probably a good idea. It might be the case that only a certain type of paper/output works, or that reviews are more useful than you imagined even for relatively low level research. Probably hard to tell until you do a few rounds of the process.
 

Release of Existential Risk Research database

I love making work for people :) Ok, great! I think that the best way for me to do this is to write up a short forum post explaining  the process and linking to the various documents. Let me know if you disagree. If not,  I'll try to do it in the next week or two and email you in case you miss it.

A grand strategy to recruit AI capabilities researchers into AI safety research

Hey Peter, thanks for writing this up. 

I agree with (and really appreciate)  Max's comment,  so maybe there isn't a need for a grand strategy. However, I suspect that there are probably still many good opportunities to do research to understand and change attitudes and behaviours related to AI safety if that work is carefully co-designed with experts. 

With that in mind, I just wanted to comment to ask that READI be kept in the loop about anything that comes out of this. 

We might be interested in helping in some way. For instance, that could be a literature/practice review of what is known on influencing desired behaviours, surveys to understand related barriers and enables, experimental work to test the impact of potential/ongoing interventions, and/or, brainstorming and disseminating approaches for 'systemic change' that might be effective. 

Ideally, anything we did together would be in collaboration/supervised by individuals with more domain specific expertise (e.g., Max and other people working in the field) who could make sure it is well-planned and useful in expectation and leverage and disseminate resultant insights.  We have a process that has worked well with other projects and that could potentially make sense here also.
 

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