Posts

Holden Karnofsky on building aptitudes and kicking ass 2021-09-23T16:55:27.929Z
Chris Olah on working at top AI labs without an undergrad degree 2021-09-10T20:46:02.110Z
Cal Newport on an industrial revolution for office work 2021-08-27T18:37:31.961Z
Holden Karnofsky on the most important century 2021-08-19T15:17:50.051Z
Alexander Berger on improving global health and wellbeing in clear and direct ways 2021-08-12T15:46:18.710Z
Chris Olah on what the hell is going on inside neural networks 2021-08-04T15:13:12.867Z
Tom Moynihan on why prior generations missed some of the biggest priorities of all 2021-07-29T16:38:48.821Z
Max Roser on building the world's first great source of COVID-19 data at Our World in Data 2021-07-29T16:37:58.361Z
Pardis Sabeti on the Sentinel system for detecting and stopping pandemics 2021-07-29T16:36:57.866Z
A (free) weekly career planning course for positive impact 2021-07-01T07:00:00.000Z
Robert Wright on using cognitive empathy to save the world 2021-05-27T15:38:28.495Z
Lewis Bollard on big wins against factory farming and how they happened 2021-05-24T08:16:51.487Z
Having a successful career with depression, anxiety and imposter syndrome 2021-05-19T20:31:19.660Z
Leah Garcés on turning adversaries into allies to change the chicken industry 2021-05-13T16:04:38.261Z
Christian Tarsney on future bias and a possible solution to moral fanaticism 2021-05-05T19:38:25.938Z
Launching a new resource: 'Effective Altruism: An Introduction' 2021-04-15T21:01:56.317Z
Ajeya Cotra on worldview diversification and how big the future could be 2021-01-18T08:35:51.407Z
The emerging school of patient longtermism 2020-08-07T16:28:15.205Z
The flaws that make today's AI architecture unsafe and a new approach that could fix it 2020-06-22T22:15:00.000Z
What 80,000 Hours learned by interviewing people we respect 'anonymously' 2020-06-18T12:50:26.902Z
Policy and research ideas to reduce existential risk 2020-04-27T08:46:14.653Z
[Link] What's the best charity to donate to? Dec 2019 — 80,000 Hours 2019-12-23T23:46:19.816Z
80,000 Hours is compiling anonymous advice from people whose work we respect — here are the first 4 entries 2019-11-27T18:50:49.505Z
Advice on how to read our advice 2019-11-15T00:00:29.874Z
Philip Tetlock on why accurate forecasting matters for everything, and how you can do it better 2019-06-28T10:16:29.189Z
Recap - why do some organisations say their recent hires are worth so much? (Link) 2019-05-13T18:01:23.384Z
Using your career to help solve the world's most pressing problems 2019-05-01T10:59:47.639Z
The case for building expertise to work on US AI policy, and how to do it 2019-01-31T22:44:15.563Z
Cross-post: Think twice before talking about ‘talent gaps’ – clarifying nine misconceptions, by 80,000 Hours. 2018-11-12T20:52:08.539Z
Many EA orgs say they place a lot of financial value on their previous hire. What does that mean, if anything? And why aren't they hiring faster? 2018-10-12T18:55:01.635Z
Survey of EA org leaders about what skills and experience they most need, their staff/donations trade-offs, problem prioritisation, and more. 2018-10-09T23:33:16.803Z
Paul Christiano on how OpenAI is developing real solutions to the 'AI alignment problem', and his vision of how humanity will progressively hand over decision-making to AI systems 2018-10-02T11:49:34.177Z
List of 80,000 Hours content from the last 4 months, summary of what was most popular, and plans for future releases. 2018-10-01T17:48:39.710Z
These are the world’s highest impact career paths according to our research - 80,000 Hours 2018-09-30T06:37:39.139Z
List of 80,000 Hours content from the last 2 months, summary of which were most popular, and plans for future releases. 2018-06-04T22:34:07.354Z
Compilation of 32 new(ish) 80,000 Hours research pieces for the effective altruist community 2018-04-06T01:06:26.514Z
Interview with Prof Tetlock on epistemic modesty, predicting catastrophic risks, AI, and more 2017-11-20T18:34:40.766Z
Survey of leaders in the EA community on a range of important topics, like what skills they need and what causes are most effective 2017-11-03T23:35:32.079Z
80,000 Hours' 20 most enduringly popular pieces of research 2017-10-23T21:10:12.053Z
Ten new 80,000 Hours articles made for the effective altruist community 2017-09-07T02:25:36.080Z
80,000 Hours articles aimed at the EA community 2017-06-20T22:19:34.311Z
Three ways anyone can make a difference, no matter their job 2017-04-15T22:19:19.123Z
Changes to how 80,000 Hours prioritises the world's problems 2017-02-13T07:50:35.092Z

Comments

Comment by 80000_Hours on Launching a new resource: 'Effective Altruism: An Introduction' · 2021-04-27T18:13:18.501Z · EA · GW

Hi Michael,

I wonder if there might have been a misunderstanding. In previous comments, we’ve said that:

  1. We're adding an episode making the case for near termism, likely in place of the episode on alternative foods. While we want to keep it higher level, that episode is still likely to include more object-level material than e.g. Toby’s included episode does.

  2. We're going to swap Paul Christiano’s episode out for Ajeya Cotra, which is a mostly meta-level episode that includes coverage of the advantages of near-termism over longtermism.

  3. We're adding the ‘10 problem areas’ feed.

These changes will leave the 'An Introduction' series with very little object-level content at all, and most of it will be in Holden's first episode, which covers a bit of everything.

That means there won't be dedicated episodes to our traditional top priorities like AI, biosecurity, nuclear security, or extreme risks from climate change.

They’ll all instead be included on our ‘ten problems’ feed, along with global development, animal welfare, and other topics like journalism and earning-to-give.

Hope that clears things up,

— Rob and Keiran

Comment by 80000_Hours on Launching a new resource: 'Effective Altruism: An Introduction' · 2021-04-21T18:45:44.701Z · EA · GW

Hey commenters — so as we mentioned we've been discussing internally what other changes we should make to address the concerns raised in the comments here, beyond creating the 'ten problem areas' feed.

We think the best change to make is to record a new episode with someone who is in favour of interventions that are 'higher-evidence', or that have more immediate benefits, and then insert that into the introduction series.

Our current interviews about e.g. animals or global development don't make the case in favour of 'short-termist' approaches because the guests themselves aren't focused on that level of problem prioritisation. That makes them an odd fit for the high-level nature of this series.

An episode focused on higher-evidence approaches has been on the (dismayingly long) list of topics we should cover for a while, but we can expedite it. We've got a shortlist of candidate guests to make this episode but would be very interested in getting nominations and votes from folks here to inform our choice.

(It's slightly hard to say when we'll be able to make this switch because we won't be sure whether an interview will fit the bill until we've recorded it, but we can make it a priority for the next few months.)

Thanks so much,

— Rob and Keiran

Comment by 80000_Hours on Launching a new resource: 'Effective Altruism: An Introduction' · 2021-04-20T12:23:40.219Z · EA · GW

Hi all of the commenters here — thanks again for all the further thoughts on the compilation.

We're in the process of discussing your feedback internally and figuring out whether to make any further changes, and if so what they should be. We don't want to rush that, but will get back to you as soon as we can.

— Rob and Keiran

Comment by 80000_Hours on Launching a new resource: 'Effective Altruism: An Introduction' · 2021-04-17T16:40:14.176Z · EA · GW

Hey Khorton, thanks for checking that. Initially I was puzzled by why I'd made this error but then I saw that "People could rate more than one area as the “top priority”. As a result the figures sum to more than 100%.

That survey design makes things a bit confusing, but the end result is that each of these votes can only be read as a vote for one of the top few priorities. — Rob

Comment by 80000_Hours on Launching a new resource: 'Effective Altruism: An Introduction' · 2021-04-16T21:50:46.018Z · EA · GW

Hi Neel thanks for these thoughts. I've responded to the broader issue in a new top-level comment.

Just on the point that we should be explicit that this is longtermism focused, while longtermism isn't in the title I tried to make it pretty explicit in the series' 'Episode 0':

One final note before we start. We wanted to keep this introduction to just ten episodes, which meant we had to make some tough decisions about what made the cut. This selection skews towards focusing on longtermism and efforts to preserve a long and positive future for humanity, because at 80,000 Hours we think that's a particularly promising way for many of our readers to make a difference.

But as I was saying just a moment ago, people in the community have a wide range of views on the question of what is most valuable to work on, and unfortunately there's no room for them all to get a dedicated episode in this series.

The good news is there are episodes about many more problems on the main 80,000 Hours Podcast feed to satisfy your curiosity. For instance, if you'd like to hear more about global health and development I can recommend #49 – Dr Rachel Glennerster on a year's worth of education for under $1 and other development best buys.

If you'd prefer to hear more about climate change, I can suggest #85 – Mark Lynas on climate change, societal collapse & nuclear energy

And if you want to hear more about efforts to improve the wellbeing of animals, especially those raised in farms, I can recommend going and listening to #8 – Lewis Bollard on how to end factory farming in our lifetimes.

There's also this earlier on:

A 2019 survey of people involved in effective altruism found that 22% thought global poverty should be a top priority, 16% thought the same of climate change, and 11% said so of risks from advanced artificial intelligence. So a wide range of views on which causes are most pressing are represented in the group.

Comment by 80000_Hours on Launching a new resource: 'Effective Altruism: An Introduction' · 2021-04-16T21:27:13.307Z · EA · GW

[Just threading responses to different topics separately.] Regarding including Dave Denkenberger's episode, the reason for that isn't that alternative foods or disaster resilience are especially central EA problem areas.

Rather, in keeping with the focus on worldview and 'how we think', we put it in there as a demonstration of entrepreneurship, independent thinking, and general creativity. I can totally see how people could prefer that it be replaced with a different theme, but that was the reasoning. (We give the motivation for including each episode in their respective intros.) — Rob and Keiran

Comment by 80000_Hours on Launching a new resource: 'Effective Altruism: An Introduction' · 2021-04-16T21:13:54.738Z · EA · GW

Hey Brian, Ula, and other commenters,

Thanks again for all the feedback! To what extent each piece of content closely associated with EA should aim to be 'representative' is a vexed issue that folks are going to continue to have different views on, and we can't produce something that's ideal to everyone simultaneously.

Fortunately in this case I think there's a change we can make that will be an improvement from everyone's perspective.

We had planned to later make another collection that would showcase a wider variety of things that EAs are up to. Given your worries combined with the broader enthusiasm for the underlying concept, it seems like we should just do that as soon as it's practical for Keiran and me to put it together.

That feed would be called something like 'Effective Altruism: Ten Problem Areas' and feature Bollard and Glennerster, and other guests on topics like journalism, climate change, pandemics, earning to give, and a few others which we'll think about.

We'll promote it similarly — and cross-promote between the two collections — so anyone who wants to learn about those problem areas will end up doing so.

(Independently we also realised that we should sub Ajeya's episode into 'An Introduction'. That only didn't happen the first time around because we settled on this list of ten in 2020 before Ajeya's episode existed. Ajeya's interview will be more neutral about longtermism than what it replaces.)

Speaking personally as Rob (because I know other people at 80,000 Hours have different perspectives), I favour a model where there are a range of varied introductory materials, some of which lean towards a focus on poverty, some towards animals, some towards longtermism, some with other angles, and still others that aims to be representative.

In any case, after this reshuffle we'll have two feeds for you — one that leans into the way we think about things at 80,000 Hours, and another that shows off the variety of causes prioritised by EAs.

Folks can then choose whichever one they would rather share, or listen to themselves. (And fingers crossed many people will opt to listen to both!)

Look forward to hearing your thoughts,

— Rob and Keiran

Comment by 80000_Hours on Launching a new resource: 'Effective Altruism: An Introduction' · 2021-04-16T17:21:48.062Z · EA · GW

Hi Brian, (also Ula and Neel below),

Thanks for the feedback. These comments have prompted us to think about the issue some more — I won't be able to get you a full answer before the weekend, but we're working on a bigger picture solution to this which I hope will address some of your worries.

We should be able to fill you in on our plans next week. (ADDED: screw it we'll just finish it tonight — posted as a new top level comment.)

— Rob

Comment by 80000_Hours on The emerging school of patient longtermism · 2020-08-10T20:12:56.549Z · EA · GW

Just a visual metaphor of most centuries being boring and only a few standing out as uniquely influential.

Comment by 80000_Hours on Is EA Growing? EA Growth Metrics for 2018 · 2019-06-03T20:41:41.455Z · EA · GW

Thanks for producing this Peter, it's very helpful. I sent you some metric data on the 80,000 Hours Podcast, but now that I've seen the post, I can give you the best numbers for the table. I would suggest putting these figures in instead.

Net new podcast subscribers added

2017 - 4,600

2018 - 10,500

Total podcast downloads/plays

2017 - 87,600 (average episode length 1.61 hours.)

2018 - 517,100 (average episode length 1.97 hours.)

Notes on interpretation

  1. The podcast only started half way through 2017, I'm not sure how you want to handle that.

  2. Those are the maximum number of subscribers recorded at any point in the year. It's probably a few % too high in both cases, but I've found that's the measure most robust to random measurement variations. The overestimation should also be constant year to year.

  3. Podcast downloads/plays don't correspond to actual times people listened to a full episode. They include people pressing play but only listening to a few seconds; bots downloading the show; automatic downloads by the podcasting software that are never actually listened to; and so on. So they're massive overestimates of the number of times an episode was listened to, say, half way to completion. However, the overestimate is likely to be a pretty constant fraction year-to-year, so you can still make relative comparisons.

    — RW

Comment by 80000_Hours on Thoughts on 80,000 Hours’ research that might help with job-search frustrations · 2019-04-26T13:26:06.872Z · EA · GW

Hi lexande - thanks for taking the time to share your worries with us. We take our responsibility towards our users seriously.

I don’t think we’re likely to come to agreement right now on a lot of the other specific issues that have been raised.

That said, it’s helpful to know when our users strongly disagree with our priorities and we take that into account when we form our plans.

Comment by 80000_Hours on Effective Altruism in non-high-income countries · 2018-11-20T04:52:12.981Z · EA · GW

80,000 Hours wrote some quick notes on this back in 2015:

Potentially promising career paths in poorer countries

They were rough then and may have become out of date in the last 3 years, but hopefully can still help people generate ideas.

Comment by 80000_Hours on Many EA orgs say they place a lot of financial value on their previous hire. What does that mean, if anything? And why aren't they hiring faster? · 2018-10-12T22:14:40.387Z · EA · GW

We have a forthcoming post on whether the expressions 'talent gap/bottleneck/constraint' are generating more heat than light and should be phased out in favour of more specific terms.

Comment by 80000_Hours on Survey of EA org leaders about what skills and experience they most need, their staff/donations trade-offs, problem prioritisation, and more. · 2018-10-12T19:47:04.264Z · EA · GW

Hi Evan,

Responses to the survey do help to inform our advice but it’s only considered as one piece of data alongside all the other research we’ve done over the years. Our writeup of the survey results definitely shouldn’t be read as our all-things-considered view on any issue in particular.

Perhaps we could have made that clearer in the blog post but we hope that our frank discussion of the survey’s weaknesses and our doubts about many of the individual responses gives some sense of the overall weight we put on this particular source.

Comment by 80000_Hours on Survey of EA org leaders about what skills and experience they most need, their staff/donations trade-offs, problem prioritisation, and more. · 2018-10-12T19:01:50.437Z · EA · GW

We've written a new post in part to address this question: Many EA orgs say they place a lot of financial value on their previous hire. What does that mean, if anything? And why aren't they hiring faster?

Comment by 80000_Hours on Survey of EA org leaders about what skills and experience they most need, their staff/donations trade-offs, problem prioritisation, and more. · 2018-10-12T06:27:06.994Z · EA · GW

Hi Peter,

It sounds like you mostly agree with our take on earning to give in the high impact careers article. That article is fairly new but it will become one of the central pages on the site after a forthcoming re-organisation. Let us know if there are other articles on the site you think are inconsistent with that take - we can take a look and potentially bring them into line.

We agree with you that earning to give can be a genuinely great option and don’t intend to demoralize people who choose that path. As we write in that article, we believe that “any graduate in a high income country can have a significant impact” by earning to give.

That said, we do stand by our recommendation that most people who might be a good fit to eventually enter one of our priority paths should initially pursue one of those paths over earning to give (though while maintaining a back-up option). Those paths have higher upside, so it’s worth testing out your potential, while bearing in mind that they might not work out.

Many of the best options on these paths require substantial career capital, so often this won’t mean starting a direct impact job today. Instead, we think many readers should consider acquiring career capital that can open up these paths, including graduate school in relevant disciplines (e.g. AI/ML, policy, or international relations) entry level policy jobs (e.g. as a Congressional staffer, or working as an early employee at a startup to gain skills and experience in operations. We hope to release an article discussing our updated views on career capital soon.

Of course, these paths aren’t a good fit for everyone, and we continue to believe that earning to give can be a great option for many.

It’s also worth emphasizing that our advice is, of course, influenced by our views on the highest priority problems. We tried to make that clear in “high impact careers” by including a section on how our recommendations would change if someone is focused on global health or factory farming. In that case, we believe “earning to give, for-profit work and advocacy become much more attractive.”

Comment by 80000_Hours on Survey of EA org leaders about what skills and experience they most need, their staff/donations trade-offs, problem prioritisation, and more. · 2018-10-10T19:31:53.741Z · EA · GW

"Does the answer refer to high impact opportunities in general in the world"

That question is intended to look at the highest-impact jobs available in the world as a whole, in contrast with the organisations being surveyed. Given the top response was government and policy experts, I think people interpreted it correctly.

Comment by 80000_Hours on Compilation of 32 new(ish) 80,000 Hours research pieces for the effective altruist community · 2018-04-08T18:10:28.813Z · EA · GW

Hi Alex thanks I fixed 30. 2,4,6 and 15 are working for me - can you email over a screenshot of the error you're getting?

Comment by 80000_Hours on How to improve EA Funds · 2018-04-06T21:22:18.076Z · EA · GW

"given the relative abundance of cash available to EA orgs (through OpenPhil and Good Ventures), a rate as high as this is surprising."

Three thoughts: i) the range of figures offered was very wide, ii) orgs that are strongly supported by large institutional donors gave lower figures, iii) if those orgs expect OpenPhil/GoodVentures/etc to give them even more money in future years, they could still sensibly report a high discount rate.

Comment by 80000_Hours on Compilation of 32 new(ish) 80,000 Hours research pieces for the effective altruist community · 2018-04-06T09:57:22.695Z · EA · GW

Fair point. I thought about calling them articles... but they're definitely not all articles. Thought about calling them 'content releases' but that felt like corporate vagueness.

I should have gone with something nobody could dispute: 32 new(ish) universal resource locators. ;) - RW

Comment by 80000_Hours on 80,000 Hours articles aimed at the EA community · 2017-09-07T02:13:33.236Z · EA · GW

Hi Geoffrey, we agree this would be very valuable. Our materials are already heading in that direction, but I think it will be at least a year or two before we do a major research push to produce that guide due to other competing priorities.

Comment by 80000_Hours on Clarifying the Giving What We Can pledge · 2017-02-08T05:44:17.844Z · EA · GW

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