I'm an electrical engineering undergraduate. Soon after I graduate, I plan to take a Giving What We Can Further Pledge to live on maybe $28,000 per year (to be adjusted for inflation and reevaluated if/when I have a child) so I can donate most of my income to Charity Entrepreneurship global health & development charities. I also dream of working on something especially impactful in biosecurity, climate tech, nuclear security, or global health and development. I currently donate to the GiveWell All Grants Fund and offset my carbon footprint by donating to Tradewater.
I'd love advice about the most high impact specialty to chose within electrical/electronics engineering
Proposing a change to how Karma is accrued:
I recently reached over 1,000 Karma, meaning my upvotes now give 2 Karma and my strong upvotes give 6 Karma. I'm most proud of my contributions to the forum about economics, but almost all of my increased ability to influence discourse now is from participating in the discussions on sexual misconduct. An upvote from me on Global Health & Development (my primary cause area) now counts twice as much as an upvote from 12 out of 19 of the authors of posts with 200-300 Karma with the Global Health & Development tag. They are generally experts in their field working at major EA organizations, whereas I am an electrical engineering undergraduate.
I think these kinds of people should have far more ability to influence the discussion via the power of their upvotes than me. They will notice things about the merits of the cases people are making that I won't until I'm a lot smarter and wiser and farther along in my career. I don't think the ability to say something popular about culture wars translates well into having insights about the object level content. It is very easy to get Karma by participating in community discussions, so a lot of people are now probably in my position after the increased activity in that area around the scandals. I really want the people with more expertise in their field to be the ones influencing how visible posts and comments about their field are.
I propose that Karma earned from comments on posts with the community tag accrues at a slower rate.
Edit: I just noticed a post by moderators that does a better job of explaining why karma is so easy to accumulate in community posts:
I'm sorry my comment gave the wrong impression!
I did find your comments on that post and believe we have very different perspectives on how serious the punishment should be. I thought the likelihood of someone familiar with lower class banter culture having such different opinions from me about the punishment was low, so I really appreciate you speaking up!
Yes, poor people are not a monolith! Some people from our background (especially the people who chose to stick around EA long enough to be on the forum) will prefer current EA norms and feel grateful for them. I don't mean to dismiss your experiences at all. And like I said earlier, there are many different socioeconomic cultures that are underrepresented in EA, so I don't know what direction we should shift our norms in overall. Maybe there is that much diversity even within the US. I was speaking about my personal experience as someone from this background and the experiences of all the people I know well enough to know their perspectives from this background. I'm sorry I gave the impression I was trying to speak for you. I also wasn't accusing us at all of having lack of control, just having the right to prefer different norms if we want to. Thanks so much for sharing your perspective! I do wish you had done so more politely though.
I'm curious: Do you feel like your wider lower class culture was very different from mine, or is it more that your family held different views that were a minority? Also, where were you raised and what role did religion play? My experience comes from Sacramento, California and religion was rarely discussed. I hope you don't mind me asking these questions; There are so few of us around that EA needs all the data on us it can get!
Yes! I was someone who upvoted the comments pointing out the problems with the article, because I think understanding the details of the problem is essential for solving it. However, I definitely don’t want any known or unknown victims to get the impression we are dismissing their experiences. Any sexual misconduct is far too much, and truly terrible things have happened.
I think the essence of EA's smartness comes down to our ability to change our minds when presented with good information that challenges our worldview. I've been part of all sorts of communities, including many other youthful social-do-gooder movements, and never seen anything like it. People's models of the world are usually wrong in important ways, so I think this is probably the most important form of intelligence. So yes, I agree with Jeffrey Kursonis that we are probably typically smarter than average in the ways most applicable to what we work on.