Student at Caltech. I help run Caltech EA.
I want to skill up in pandas/numpy/data science over the next few months. Where can I find a data science project that is relevant to EA? Some rough requirements:
I've already looked at the top datasets on kaggle and other places, and don't feel inclined to work on them because they don't seem relevant and have probably been analyzed to death. Also, I've only taken a few ML and no data science classes, so I might not be asking the right questions.
I downvoted this because it contains large claims which are vague and probably false, and also because I don't see any relevance to the EA movement. To single one out, "The skeptical movement seems to be involved to some extent with regards to its branding and possibly research interference" sound like how pseudoscientists claim that controlled experiments interfere with their supernatural powers. Will reverse this vote if there's evidence I'm wrong.
There are efforts to promote geographic diversity in EA, as well as translate and integrate EA ideas to other cultures and do cross-cultural moral research. Furthering any one of these would reduce the effect of any Eurocentric bias the EA community has inherited, and I think they're all better places to look than alternative medicine.
Some EA-aligned charities listed (use the search function in the bottom right corner):
I'm probably missing a ton of global health and animal charities, because I don't know them.
You might find it helpful to look at this ethnography of an EA group. Also relevant is this analysis of the Big Five personality traits of respondents to the Rethink Charity community survey. It has statistical flaws, but one takeaway is that most EAs are high in openness. Finally, there's this Global Optimum Podcast episode on the personality of EAs.
Justification and signalling explanations don't seem especially compelling to me because in some sense, everything is justification and signaling. Also, I'm not sure if you're hinting at this, but it's unlikely that you'll be diagnosed with a mental illness just for being drawn to / believing in EA, unless it significantly impedes your everyday functioning. Since I'm not a therapist, I don't think I can comment further on what a therapist would say.
The link to the survey data (https://github.com/rethinkpriorities/ea-data/tree/master/data) is now broken.
To add to that, if there are concerns about data being de-anonymized, there are statistical techniques to mitigate it.
This is a bit of a frame challenge, but I think it's OK to feed stray cats. Most people are built to empathize with people around us, not the total sum of global utility, so it's hard to beat the emotional high of a simple random act of kindness. (Conversely, for most people, the vast majority of good you can do comes from your career choice, and it's hard to approach this with small-scale actions.) So my advice is to pick someone close to you, do something nice for them and not worry about the magnitude of the altruistic payoff. You could also reflect on the positive long-term impact of some action (mentally follow the chain all the way from "finish project" -> "gain career capital" -> "get hired by <EA org>" -> "be able to work on <cause area>" -> reduce suffering) and use that to motivate yourself, but that only works for some people.
This is a classic idea in EA circles going back to 2009, and it absolutely still applies.
As an empirical matter, one's naive/early/quick analyses of how good (or cost-effective, or whatever) something is seem to often be overly optimistic.
One possible reason is completely rational: if we're estimating expected value of an intervention with a 1% chance to be highly valuable, then 99% of the time we realize the moonshot won't work and revise the expected value downward.
Sometimes I catch myself using jargon even knowing it's a bad communication strategy, because I just like feeling clever, or signaling that I'm an insider, or obscuring my ideas so people can't challenge them. OP says these are "naughty reasons to use jargon" (slide 9), but I think that in some cases they fulfill some real social need for people, and if these motivations are still there, we need better ways to satisfy them.
I'm sure there are more and better ideas in this direction.