Topic Contributions


EA coworking/lounge space on

i love this and have been using it a bunch! the cuckoo coworking timer has been down today, though :(

State of the land: Misinformation and its effects on global catastrophic risks

Yes, I agree! I think "too much information and people have a difficult time telling what to trust" is a more accurate and nuanced descriptor than "misinformation"! and that your point about

more general improvements in communication strategies/governance/economic growth could be more important.

would go a really long way.

I wonder that if people could more generally feel like they had a say and a stake in the way that the country is run, to the point where a regular person could advocate for improvements for themselves and their communities, that there would be more understanding and trust in government and public health institutions. I suspect that when people feel like they're screwed, it makes the situation more ripe for misinformation to affect people. Here's a paper that talks about how sharers of misinfo are more likely to express existentially based needs (e.g. fear of death or other threats).

How be productive before your baby turns one

I assumed they were talking about situations where the young toddler was being breastfed still.

How be productive before your baby turns one

I would like to push back on the points in your comment. I think parents in this forum are familiar with the concept of weighing a for sure benefit against much more uncertain risk. Caffeine, White noise, and temperature control can have a very significant and immediate benefit to parental and child well-being. For caffeine, I think most parents would report that it helps for thinking straight and staying calm to have that kind of cognitive boost in the morning. Maybe things would be different if we were 50 years into the future, and caffeine became a scheduled drug based on its addictive properties, but given that caffeine usage is so common, and the benefits are so great, I don't think it makes sense to be advising parents to avoid caffeine at this time -- It's not going to make your kid worse off than other kids in any meaningful way (unless you are having an unreasonable amount of caffeine). If you are worried about your child's brain development, there are many other interventions that have much less of a negative effect on the parent that I would advise doing instead, like iron and vitamin D fortification, and filtering flouride out of tap water. Similarly for white noise and temperature control. If baby is not sleeping that's probably much worse for their development, and also much worse for everyone's well-being, than any risks associated with white noise and temperature control.

Overall, I would say that this level of worrying and research about these kinds of details is counter to my parenting goal of trying to enjoy the experience of being with my kids. Anything you Google related to parenting will come up with risks. The only reliably helpful parenting advice I've found is stuff by Emily Oster, an economist who looks at the data and writes about what is actually worth worrying about, and what isn't.

How be productive before your baby turns one

I'm glad you liked it! My kids are still pretty young, but I'm told it gets much easier as they get older, at least in terms of having enough time and sleep to do things you want to do. Anyone who has older kids -- I'd love to hear how your productivity potential has changed based on how old your kids are.

Donations and budgeting, 15 years in

It's very cool to hear your and Jeff's inner thoughts and motivations on how much to give, and how you converge on something that works for you both. Thanks for sharing.

Also I got so much joy from the surprise super adorable baby in the middle of your post!! Congrats!

doing more good vs. doing the most good possible

Hmmm, I think this is not quite what I am after. If I understand correctly, what you're saying is that we should normalize people having a limited allotment for their "third bucket" budget for saving the world. What I am saying is that we should normalize anyone doing any kind of altruism who is mindful of effectiveness within the work that they are doing.

doing more good vs. doing the most good possible

Yes, it's very common to fall into this pit of EA burnout and have to dig yourself out! I wish it was less common because it can a really draining experience. And I wonder if it's possible to do things a little differently so that it becomes less common. Sasha Chapin describes this as a "toxic social norm":

It's true, people in EA talk about how you shouldn't feel guilty and burn out, but burn out still happens because the "toxic social norm" is that in EA we keep thinking about maximizing impact, and that's just difficult to keep optimizing on without burning out.

doing more good vs. doing the most good possible

The interesting thing about the strategy described in "How to create a vegan world" is that it would encourage people who don't think about morality at all to start eating more plant-based foods. I think if EA really executed on the content of my post, this could happen with charitable giving. Imagine if we were able to get 10% of the population of developed countries to think of effectiveness when they thought about charities or charitable giving, within their chosen cause area. Maybe it would shift the funding landscape just enough so that more effective charities within a cause area have better SEO and show up first on a Google search. That's what I would love to see.

doing more good vs. doing the most good possible

I wish that the effective altruism movement was instead called altruistic rationality. I can't think of a better term than "effective altruism" for optimizing any kind of charitable giving or volunteering that most people in developed countries participate in, but it's difficult to integrate that with the current effective altruism community, given that trying to get people to switch cause areas up front is ineffective and makes people think poorly of the movement. I support both types of activities but the fact that altruistic rationalist activities are called effective altruism, and the fact that most causes are commonly called "non-EA causes" in this movement prevents a broader effective altruism movement from forming.

Load More