28 karmaJoined Jun 2019


Given the gender ratio in EA and rationality, it would be surprising if women in EA/rationality didn’t experience more harassment than women in other social settings with more even gender ratios.

Consider a simplified case: suppose 1% of guys harass women and EA/rationality events are 10% women. Then in a group of 1000 EAs/rationalists there would be 9 harassers targeting 100 women. But if the gender ratio was even, then there would be 5 harassers targeting 500 women. So the probability of each woman being targeted by a harasser is lower in a group with more even gender ratio. For it to be the case that women in EA/rationality experience the same amount of harassment as women in other social settings the men in EA/rationality would need to be less likely to harass women than the average man in other social settings.

It is also possible that the average man in EA/rationality is more likely to harass women than the average man in other social settings. I can think of some reasons for this (being socially clumsy, open to breaking social norms etc) and some against (being too shy to make advances, aspiring to high moral standards in EA etc).

(I also posted this comment on LessWrong.)

It could be done in a privacy preserving way so people wouldn't be selling their personal data:

"“We collect no location data, no movement profiles, no contact information and no identifiable features of the end devices.”

The newspaper reports PEPP-PT’s approach means apps aligning to this standard would generate only temporary IDs — to avoid individuals being identified. Two or more smartphones running an app that uses the tech and has Bluetooth enabled when they come into proximity would exchange their respective IDs — saving them locally on the device in an encrypted form, according to the report.

Der Spiegel writes that should a user of the app subsequently be diagnosed with coronavirus their doctor would be able to ask them to transfer the contact list to a central server. The doctor would then be able to use the system to warn affected IDs they have had contact with a person who has since been diagnosed with the virus — meaning those at risk individuals could be proactively tested and/or self-isolate."

From: https://techcrunch.com/2020/04/01/an-eu-coalition-of-techies-is-backing-a-privacy-preserving-standard-for-covid-19-contacts-tracing/

Do you know what makes those ethics alarm bells ring? I also have some reservations about this. People allowing governments to track them in exchange for lottery tickets sounds pretty dystopian and an idea that we might want to avoid spreading. Also, I think one reason why I feel a bit uncomfortable about this idea is that it seems to involve entertainment - which is tasteless in this horrible tragedy that's happening. But then, if it works and saves lives it might be worth it.

If I discovered that this idea was right and should be implemented, probably the best way to advance it would be to share it widely; writing to newspapers and people with large followings, lobbying politicians, sharing on social media etc. (Assuming that there isn’t some other better idea that I could promote instead.) It would be interesting to see a trial of this in some country, for example Singapore (because they already have the app but not enough people are using it) or the UK (they’re making the app and they already have a national lottery that’s popular).

What other ways of incentivizing people to use these apps might work? At first I thought about paying people, but that would be expensive. Lottery is cheaper. For example, if the UK government used 52 million per year on this, its cost would be 80 pence per person (+running costs). But few people would be incentivized to use the app for a year with that little money if they received it directly.

But before implementing this, the governments might want to wait and see how many people start using the app voluntarily. Only if that doesn’t work, they could start incentivizing with the lotteries. Then that policy would be easier to justify to people and the government might save money if they don’t have to use the lotteries at all.