All of RuHats's Comments + Replies

Organizational Update: Magnify Mentoring Applications Open

Just wanted to share some positive feedback for Magnify (previously known as WANBAM) - I found it a really helpful and positive experience. I was matched with an excellent and well suited mentor and and found the community Slack very supportive and friendly.

Aww, thank you!! I am super pleased to hear that :)
Cape Town Summer EA Office

I definitely wouldn't say a harsh environment or suffering was necessary!  I also wouldn't say it's a dichotomy, but I do think the two priorities would lead you to different locations.

"Cape Town is not Africa" is flippant but there's substance behind it. I really don't think it's contentious to say that Cape Town feels much more like a city in Europe than in another African country.

To share context from tech startup world (particularly since you've emphasized that as a strength of CT as a tech hub in the post), successful startups that expand from Ca... (read more)

Hi, I’d love to be part of the call to discuss this further.
Thanks for following up. This is very interesting. I'd like to think more about what lessons from the startup world might be applicable in our case.
Cape Town Summer EA Office

I was very surprised to see this! I live in Cape Town and would definitely be keen to be part of this if this existed.

However, I think you need to be clearer about your priority between two conflicting goals here

  1. A really enjoyable place for EAs to spend time and work together.
  2. Launch/promote EA for Africans. To be really frank, Cape Town is not Africa. Lagos or Nairobi (or even Joburg)  would make a better base if this goal is the priority.

(I say this having been part of a team that launched an pan-African startup incubator based in Cape Town, which we later reflected was a nice choice for our lives, but worse for fulfilling our mission. Happy to go into more detail if useful.)

I don't think the dichotomy being presented here is true. We can plausibly have both of these things. The claim that "Cape Town is not Africa" also doesn't seem very obvious to me. I can see the possible assumptions here maybe being something like "Africa must necessarily be a harsh environment to live in" or "some degree of material suffering is necessary to understand African perspectives." I don't think either of these are true. I'm really interested in your perspective on this though. I'll reach out to discuss this further
“Launch/promote EA for Africans. To be really frank, Cape Town is not Africa. Lagos or Nairobi (or even Joburg) would make a better base if this goal is the priority.” Important comment - there is certainly a benefit for EA to balance productivity and efficiency with insulating itself from the issues it seeks to impact (e.g. GH&WB). Lived experience of a city like Lagos or Nairobi could be extremely valuable for many over access to surfing and good views of coastline. People willing to tackle the short and medium term problems of Africa should be willing to get knee deep in the reality. My impressions is that safety in Lagos ha degraded further in the last few years so I wonder how this could be managed.
Critiques of EA that I want to read

I think that these factors might be making it socially harder to be a non-longtermist who engages with the EA community, and that is an important and missing part of the ongoing discussion about EA community norms changing.


This has felt very true for me!  

I came across EA way back around 2011 when I was at university, pre-longtermism... EA at that point formalised a lot of my existing thinking/values and I made graduate career decisions in line with 80k advice at the time. I started getting more involved again about a year ago and was surprised ... (read more)

I think something you raise here that's really important is that there are probably fairly important tensions to explore between the worlds that having a neartermist view and longtermist view suggest we ought to be trying to build, and that tension seems underexplored in EA. E.g. an inherent tension between progress studies and x-risk reduction.