Rockwell Schwartz

I am a full-time Director for EA NYC (www.effectivealtruism.nyc) and part-time advisor to farmed animal-focused philanthropists. Feel free to contact me by email for any questions or collaboration ideas.

Topic Contributions

Comments

Snakebites kill 100,000 people every year, here's what you should know

Thank you for this write-up! I want to flag that in addressing this problem and possible solutions, there are also significant implications for (wild) animal suffering—e.g. Rileyharris's note about antivenom requiring "milking" of captive snakes and Cienna's comment about predator-play interactions—and I would hope any solution would take this into account in a meaningful way.

I burnt out at EAG. Let's talk about it.

I'm sorry you had this experience. I'm glad you're doing better, were able to put names to some of what happened, and shared it here.

I did not have the exact same experience, but I did have a week of retreats pre-EAG. By Monday, I was too tired to maintain a conversation with my travel partner and I have spent most of the week catching up on sleep and feeling uncharacteristically antisocial.

Two actionable ideas:

  1. Although it makes sense logistically to pair EAG(x)s with retreats and other events, spacing them out might be better. At a minimum, we should implement Manuel's idea of a break of one or two days in between, but I worry that even with that people will want to maximize time together and still fill those days. This might be especially true if we keep having a "conference season" — there were just three large conferences back to back!
  2. Explicitly encouraging people to use Swapcard (or another more functional app lol) year-round might take some of the pressure off for irl 1-1s. Many people delete the app once the conference is over, but it can serve as a longer-term EA networking platform and take some of the pressure off to maximize connections over the course of three days.
I feel anxious that there is all this money around. Let's talk about it

Here's a link to two other thoughts that seem less directly relevant to your question. 

FYI, this just links to this same Forum post for me.

I feel anxious that there is all this money around. Let's talk about it

but it concerns me that entry level positions in EA are now being advertised at what would be CEO-level salaries at other nonprofits

I share these concerns, especially given the prevailing discrepancy in salaries across cause areas,  (e.g. ACE only just elevated their ED salary to ~$94k, whereas several mid-level positions at Redwood are listed at $100k - $170k) and I imagine likely to become more dramatic with money pouring specifically into meta and longtermist work. My concern here is that cause impartial EAs are still likely to go for the higher salary, which could lead to an imbalance in a talent-constrained landscape.

Announcing Alvea—An EA COVID Vaccine Project

EA Consensus
I agree that there is not a consensus and my impression is that this is an area of genuine inconsistency among EAs, though I can't speak to the distribution. I have had conversations with several EAs who either share Marianne's sentiments or feel a significant degree of uncertainty about where they stand, both specifically about Alvea and more generally about tradeoffs of this nature. I don't see their perspectives typically expressed or represented here on the Forum.

Caveating as a Norm
My impression is that even among animal-focused EAs who agree with tradeoffs such as this one, there is still a concern for a cavalierness in how these actions are discussed. The general sentiment is something along the lines of, "EAs wouldn't talk about this so flippantly if the individuals being harmed were human," which may or may not be true. In the context of a post like the OP that is communicating a great deal of pressing information in a palatable three-minute read, I imagine a resolution to this could be as simple as a footnote along the lines of, "We recognize animal testing is an ethically loaded issue. Our reasons for employing it are beyond the scope of this post."

Also, Gavin's comment demonstrates there is seemingly some nuance to Alvea's particular animal testing activities and if they have the capacity I would be interested in learning more.

(I should note as I haven't said it elsewhere that despite these concerns, I am impressed with Alvea's work and look forward to hearing more updates.)

Announcing Alvea—An EA COVID Vaccine Project

I'm disappointed this comment was heavily downvoted as even if people have strong disagreements it is at least a valid perspective to raise. I would like to hear more from the Alvea team about why they went this route and if there were opportunities for harm reduction.