Comment by Greg_Colbourn on Can we apply start-up investing principles to non-profits? · 2019-04-11T09:39:35.034Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I think that's kind of the point: that it should be thought of as apples-to-apples - there are these huge arbitrage opportunities when it comes to non-profit investing (or EA) that aren't available with a direct for-profit incentive (if you make some basic assumptions like human lives being of equal value regardless of nationality).

Imagine if you could buy 200kg of gold for $3,500 in Malawi!

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on $100 Prize to Best Argument Against Donating to the EA Hotel · 2019-04-09T10:03:39.804Z · score: 15 (5 votes) · EA · GW
Humans in general often don't take critical feedback nearly as seriously as they should, and often don't adjust their thinking/actions due to sunk costs, wanting to save face in their peer group, grandiose personality, etc. This also applies to EAs (maybe somewhat but not vastly less so).

Agree that this can be tough (from experience). I would add that it can be emotionally draining, especially if the feedback is uncharitable or has some basis of misunderstanding or factual error. Also, it can be further complicated if after reflection one still doesn't fully agree with the feedback and there is a genuine philosophical disagreement. (NB I'm happy to have received feedback from Jonas Vollmer and think it has/will make the EA Hotel project stronger; "uncharitable or has some basis of misunderstanding or factual error" does not apply to his feedback).

Aaron Gertler's approach of "looking at the Hotel's guest list, picking the best-sounding project, and offering money directly to the person behind it."

This does require the hotel to exist though (or something like it). See my comment here.

I have also shared some thoughts for how to design the admission process with EA Hotel staff.

Based on some initial ideas from Jonas, we are working on a rating system for applicants and ongoing hosted projects. Tentatively it might be something like a logarithmic scale of EV, {-5,+5} with +1 = giving the money to GiveDirectly*. Trustees/Manager in one anonymous pool, Advisors in another. Bayesian priors stated in words. 95% confidence intervals given. Another round of scoring after seeing others' input and discussion (special care taken to discuss when ratings <=-1 are given). Final scores aggregated. Guests accepted if clearing a bar of +1 (to increase with diminishing capacity). If falling below, guests have 3 months to pivot/improve.

*Would be interested in comparing with any numerical schemes other EA grantmakers are using.

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on Long Term Future Fund: April 2019 grant decisions · 2019-04-09T09:02:49.143Z · score: 13 (9 votes) · EA · GW

We applied. Judging by the email I received, I think we are also part of the small group of ~7 mentioned here. Awaiting the follow up email.

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on The Case for the EA Hotel · 2019-04-08T22:43:02.055Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I haven't yet, but fundraising is proving to be a lot more stressful than I expected :)

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on The Case for the EA Hotel · 2019-04-08T22:39:39.879Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

To avoid people becoming overly dependent, we do have a hard limit of 2 years for stays at the hotel (most people seem to be going for somewhere in the range of 3-12 months).

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on The Case for the EA Hotel · 2019-04-08T22:35:24.613Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I'm guessing it was probably this comment.

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on $100 Prize to Best Argument Against Donating to the EA Hotel · 2019-04-08T22:22:17.068Z · score: 10 (5 votes) · EA · GW

In answer to your first point, see my reply to Moses here.

--

Regarding your second point - comparing with other Meta opportunities - one might also want to consider that many Meta projects have goals of bringing more people into the community. We need to then cater for these people. The EA Hotel can help do that, and fill an important gap.

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on $100 Prize to Best Argument Against Donating to the EA Hotel · 2019-04-08T21:56:55.680Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · EA · GW
Perhaps it would have been better to have started with a smaller scale experiment such as a group house

I don’t think a small group house would’ve generated community (or interest) on the same level. What we have seems more valuable on account of its scale than, say, 4 separate group houses with the same number of total residents.

too costly a way of learning about the potential of such projects

In the scheme of things, I don't think it's been that costly (~£60k spent to date by donors).

achieve sufficient expected return

Depends on what your counterfactual is. My initial thoughts were on the lines of “is the EV of funding this person’s work likely to be greater than that of donating the money to a GiveWell top charity?”. We are currently working on implementing a rating system for projects. I have suggested that, space-permitting, we set the bar to clear as “equivalent to donating the money to Give Directly”. The bar would be raised proportionally to how little free capacity the hotel has, although in principle the hotel has the potential to expand given available buildings on our street. Obviously making such judgements comes with large error bars and a heavy weighting of priors. Also, given this is Hits-based Giving, I'm hopeful that the long-term mean value of projects will be significantly above the entry bar.

people might not want to donate because they don't believe that other people will donate

We have considered that perhaps a Kickstarter-like mechanism is needed here. However, given the recent interest of a few people in donating at the 4-figure level, I’m more optimistic that we can get by without it (although it might be useful for other new projects in the EA space that require a significant initial outlay, the added bonus being the social proof).

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on $100 Prize to Best Argument Against Donating to the EA Hotel · 2019-04-08T20:03:32.757Z · score: 8 (4 votes) · EA · GW

For more on our residents to date, and how the hotel has helped them, here are some case studies. See also: outputs.

funders now are looking at the first “lowest quality” residents and not finding them attractive

I think this is unfair. I have not had any potential funders specifically say this. I actually think that the quality of residents is already pretty high (and this is under-appreciated from the outside). I also disagree with the notion of the first residents necessarily being of low quality just by way of not having strong competition to be accepted; there might even be a "debut album effect" in that there is a glut of good people ("songs") ready for the initial release. I know I've personally been pleasantly surprised more than once with guests who I were a bit unsure of originally but was happy to take a chance on. There is also the consideration that it takes a certain amount of pioneer spirit to join a new project and community early in its life, and that this is positively correlated with agency and via that, value creation.

selecting good funding opportunities... no evidence has been given as to why the hotel staff are likely to be good at that role

See our pitch doc (that we've recently circulated to interested people) for more detail on our Staff/Trustees. Ultimately, most of the grant makers in charge of the EA Funds have gained their experience through being actively involved in EA and making funding decisions (donations) over many years. We are not that different. See my record of EA donations here*. Also, as Vipul says, we have skin in the game here.

*"EA Hotel" is the money I've put in as of 29th March 2019, not including purchasing the building. Meta note: would be good if it was possible to make pages on app.effectivealtruism.org/dashboard/pledge/donations publicly viewable. Is this feature planned?

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on $100 Prize to Best Argument Against Donating to the EA Hotel · 2019-04-08T18:56:45.929Z · score: 12 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I think this view as presented has an overly narrow focus. In terms of thinking of the expected value of the hotel and whether it's worth funding on the margin, it's useful to also consider:

  • The benefits of the in-person community in terms of support, feedback, motivation, productivity, collaboration, networking.
  • All the potential future value from future guests and iterating, expanding and franchising the model.
  • The effect it failing from a lack of funding would have on the likelihood of similar initiatives being started in future.
  • The notion of Hits-based Giving.

Also note that the counterfactuals - EA Grants and EA Meta Fund - have not had assessments of their outputs performed, or at least made public (apart from the larger more established projects they have funded). Indeed -- someone correct me if I'm wrong -- we don't even know who the recipients are of any of the EA Grants made after Fall 2017 (but then again, EA Grants in and of itself does not publicly accept donations, so does not need to be so transparent). Also: our costs per person are significantly lower than those of the average EA Grants or Meta Fund grantee. You need to factor this multiplier in when judging the relative merits of them vs. the EA Hotel.

In terms of picking and choosing people to fund, this is not readily possible without some kind of aggregation of applicants. Such aggregation projects have been proposed here and here, but not without controversy (see comments on those posts). The hotel has the effect of aggregating a selection of people and projects starting out in EA, and in principle would-be funders can offer to pay for the costs of individual people or projects hosted at the hotel (or even offer to further fund them at higher rates to expand their projects elsewhere). But this does require the hotel to continue to exist (or some other kind of aggregator to take its place). Another way of looking at it would be by way of analogy to venture capital. By funding the EA hotel you are buying the portfolio of a VC firm (that is taking a hits-based giving approach); by picking individual projects you are doing the work of an Angel Investor. The latter takes significantly more time and work. (NB this is different to ordinary investing in that we need to be concerned about anti-unicorns whilst on the look out for unicorns).

The controversy around aggregators revolves around increasing the risk from considerations relating to the “unilateralists curse” i.e. potentially net negative projects would have more of a chance of being funded if given a wider audience of potential funders. I think this is one reason why EA Grants don’t widely share their applications. The hotel guards against this somewhat by having a committee of trustees (and soon to add - external advisors) involved with overseeing the vetting process. Also there is the filter for commitment that is having people physically move to Blackpool, rather than just taking the money. And the on hand in-person community to get advice and feedback from.

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on Why is the EA Hotel having trouble fundraising? · 2019-04-08T13:37:40.455Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

We now also have a PayPal MoneyPool.

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on Why is the EA Hotel having trouble fundraising? · 2019-04-08T13:36:16.480Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

See here and here.

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on $100 Prize to Best Argument Against Donating to the EA Hotel · 2019-04-07T15:45:50.306Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

1. The same work, yes, but at a much slower rate (factoring in the need to work outside jobs to support themselves; the haste consideration might also come into play), or burning runway at a faster rate than the EA Hotel is spending on them (if you take the view that conserving EA money in general is a plus, then this is a win). Regarding your point (3) as stated in the original blog post, we are open to funding people’s living expenses in other places if they are comparable to what they are for hotel guests. No one has yet taken us up on this though. And it also requires a high level of trust that people won’t just spend more money somewhere else and so therefore work for a shorter amount of time for the cost.

As you mention, the additional community benefits are likely to be considerable. Co-working out of REACH might give some of them, but is also likely to be a lot more expensive, and there isn’t that much space at REACH for people to do this. Also living together generally allows for a much greater degree of social interaction and a more close-knit supportive community.

2. This cost saving for all involved (EA Grants, EA Grantees) requires the hotel to exist though. And it won’t if it doesn’t bring in enough early stage funding to become more established. Also, it’s worth considering that fact that it’s unlikely the hotel would’ve got off the ground at all had we charged everyone from the outset.

Note that we request people who have salaries or >2 years of runway to pay cost price.

3. What project expenses are you imagining that don’t include salary? (I say this as a salary is usually spent on living costs and if living costs are provided the need for it is a lot lower). The hotel allows for the cheap granting - and purchasing - of runway for EA projects.

4. See here and here for a start.

The EV post might look like a lot of scary maths on the face of it, but it’s really not that complicated. It’s just an attempt to explicitly factor out the different considerations that go into estimating the EV of the EA Hotel. However, I understand that gut feelings tend to dominate such estimates. It can be useful to sanity check your gut instincts by doing such an explicit calculation, but equally it’s the mathematical model that often needs adjusting (or throwing out) if it doesn’t give you an answer close to your intuitive estimate.

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on Why is the EA Hotel having trouble fundraising? · 2019-04-07T15:14:34.094Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Here's the list of outputs. At the time of the first fundraising post, we'd only been at capacity for a couple of months, and not many people had stayed longer than that (with only approx. half the total person-days spent at the hotel). Back then, I was hoping the appeal of "Hits-based Giving", and "EA community hub" would be stronger than they have been.

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on My Q1 2019 EA Hotel donation · 2019-04-01T15:11:34.294Z · score: 25 (12 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks so much Vipul! :)

With this model of spending, I can concretely think of my donation of 3200 GBP as having added about 13 days to the hotel's runway.

Note that costs have been lower recently (due to relying more on volunteer labour, and an increase in contributions from guests) - for an average over January-March your donation covers 20 days of costs, and for March alone it covers 27 days (and will likely be similar for April).

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 3: Estimating the relative Expected Value of the EA Hotel (Part 1) · 2019-03-29T12:34:47.144Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for the donation! :)

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on $100 Prize to Best Argument Against Donating to the EA Hotel · 2019-03-29T11:41:03.347Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I'm guessing it's because it links to a post in the EA Hotel Facebook group, which is a closed group. You can join here.

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 3: Estimating the relative Expected Value of the EA Hotel (Part 1) · 2019-03-28T17:18:25.302Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Ok, PayPal money pool set up here: https://www.paypal.com/pools/c/8dptKvmvxO

Also linked to on our fundraising page: eahotel.org/fundraiser.

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on Why is the EA Hotel having trouble fundraising? · 2019-03-27T23:34:30.069Z · score: 17 (9 votes) · EA · GW

2. RAISE very much does endorse the hotel (especially given that the founder works for and lives at the hotel, and the hotel was integral to their progress over the last 6 months). See e.g. here and here. We have no formal relationship with Rethink Charity (or Rethink Priorities in particular) - individuals at the hotel have applied for and got work from them independently.

3. The marginal cost of adding a new resident when already at ~75% capacity is ~£4k/yr.

6. I wonder too. I wonder also how different it would be if it was done after another 6-12 months of getting established.

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 3: Estimating the relative Expected Value of the EA Hotel (Part 1) · 2019-03-27T23:00:05.403Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

PayPal won't let me make one unfortunately. Will look into it further tomorrow.

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on Why is the EA Hotel having trouble fundraising? · 2019-03-27T22:13:44.260Z · score: 32 (14 votes) · EA · GW

1. We hope to post a list of outputs soon (within the next week).

2. Those on salaries from Rethink Priorities have been paying cost price (£10/day). AFAIK they have not adjusted their salaries downward because staff are staying at the hotel. RAISE has contributed to the Hotel from the limited funding they have received recently.

3. Depends what your counterfactual use of the money is in terms of what the bar of EV to clear is. Given our low costs, the EV bar could be quite low over a number of comparisons. We aim to adjust the entry bar depending on supply.

4. We have a pitch doc we've been circulating to potential funders. Will release it publicly soon (within the next week).

5. The rationalist group house in Manchester was most definitely not my project! I just moved into the original rental house with the organiser and a couple of others (and later bought a house and offered it as a shared space, while they continued to organise the project).

6. This doesn't seem like something most EAs would be that concerned with, but I could be wrong. If you think having more backers for nominal amounts is good, please donate a nominal amount!

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on $100 Prize to Best Argument Against Donating to the EA Hotel · 2019-03-27T21:03:18.198Z · score: 23 (12 votes) · EA · GW

It's Blackpool, and it's a cheap hotel (£130k for 17 bedrooms; £6k/person/year all inclusive - accommodation, food, bills, cooking, cleaning, stipend, management). It would be more expensive for EAs to live together in other cities. Also harder to have such a large community in such close proximity. And a big part of the EA Hotel project is providing free living for people unable to fund themselves to study/research/work on start-ups.

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on Why is the EA Hotel having trouble fundraising? · 2019-03-27T20:20:03.321Z · score: 11 (8 votes) · EA · GW

I would also add that there seems to be a good amount of peer feedback and group discussion. People requesting and giving feedback on ideas and drafts, giving talks with Q&As, brainstorming together, that kind of thing.

There is a high level of shared knowledge of EA amongst hotel guests. Also the average level of education and work experience is pretty high (from a recent survey: 4.6 years university level education, 4.8 years work experience).

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on Why is the EA Hotel having trouble fundraising? · 2019-03-27T20:12:27.467Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

What are the counterfactual top charities you have in mind?

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 3: Estimating the relative Expected Value of the EA Hotel (Part 1) · 2019-03-13T17:35:47.894Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Good point. This could be factored into W, the value of the work. Although perhaps it would be better if the model was further elaborated to add an explicit "depth" factor.

Cal Newport's Deep Work comes to mind. We try to facilitate an optimal combination of Deep Work and serendipitous collaboration at the hotel by having both private work spaces in rooms, and co-working in communal areas, available.

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 3: Estimating the relative Expected Value of the EA Hotel (Part 1) · 2019-03-13T17:23:09.488Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for the feedback, we will incorporate a non-technical summary into Part 2. (Basically the whole thing is just an attempt to explicitly factorise the largely intuitive reasoning people might use in estimating the value of the project).

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on Introducing CEA's Guiding Principles · 2019-03-12T14:49:41.021Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

https://www.centreforeffectivealtruism.org/ceas-guiding-principles/

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on What skills would you like 1-5 EAs to develop? · 2019-03-08T15:09:35.937Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Ozzie Gooen has got funding "to build an online community of EA forecasters, researchers, and data scientists to predict variables of interest to the EA community". Excited to see the outcome of this.

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on You Have Four Words · 2019-03-07T23:13:30.686Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

My intuition is that at least 1000 EAs have in common a book length amount of reading on EA. Here at the EA Hotel, we can often discuss things at a high level in groups as there is a lot of common knowledge of EA concepts (and the same goes for EA Globals).

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on What skills would you like 1-5 EAs to develop? · 2019-03-07T11:14:50.363Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Good points. With growth of hubs it could become more viable even if it isn't now. Transport costs (time, money) are probably low enough to make it efficient to travel at least a few times a year. Offering/accepting above market rates might help a bit, but it would still require costs of the search and vetting.

Given training costs and counterfactuals, another option might be to find good tradespeople and get them on board with the EA mission.

(for the curious: kbog's guide)

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on What to do with people? · 2019-03-06T23:24:33.299Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · EA · GW

(although note that we are close to running out of runway ourselves, so the "not have to worry about runway" bit isn't guaranteed right now)

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on What to do with people? · 2019-03-06T23:23:13.672Z · score: 8 (6 votes) · EA · GW

For people who want to do more of this and not have to worry about runway, there is the EA Hotel.

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on What skills would you like 1-5 EAs to develop? · 2019-03-06T22:54:10.856Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Would be interested to hear why people think this is a bad idea.

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on What skills would you like 1-5 EAs to develop? · 2019-03-05T12:10:39.566Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Trades - plumbing, electrics, carpentry, general building and maintenance. I think there is room for at least 1 or 2 EAs with these kinds of skills. Maybe it's peculiar to our situation in the North-West of England, but we've found it very difficult to hire reliable and competent tradespeople to do jobs that need doing for the EA Hotel. The good people are always busy, and the rest are very unreliable (it's often a surprise if they turn up at all). Having someone aligned with our mission would greatly help with reliability and quality of outcome I imagine - this is an area where knowing the right person is a key factor. With the proliferation of other EA hubs (who may face similar challenges in terms of hiring quality tradespeople) there could be opportunities to travel, help build infrastructure, and get more involved in the community. Also, expected earnings are reasonably high, so a decent level of earning-to-give would be possible too.

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 2: current guests and their projects · 2019-02-12T17:07:59.433Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

No, factoring in rent paid costs were ~25% less for Jan and Feb so far (although it's hard to state a precise figure going forward with changes in occupancy etc).

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 2: current guests and their projects · 2019-02-07T10:14:25.523Z · score: 18 (7 votes) · EA · GW

Note that with 3 months' runway remaining, we are at a stage where a single medium-size funder can have an outsized impact. Our costs are ~£8k/month, so even buying a month or two runway would make a big difference in terms of giving us some breathing space to work on getting more money coming in. It's also approximately continuously divisible in that every ~£265 will keep us going another day.

As things stand, we are getting close to the point where we will have to radically alter the nature of the project (i.e. start charging people/kicking them out if we can't otherwise support them and their work).

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 2: current guests and their projects · 2019-02-05T16:00:55.860Z · score: 6 (5 votes) · EA · GW

As a heads up - we intend to hire a new manager to start mid-June (as Toon will be leaving at the end of June). Will hold off officially advertising until we have a better idea of our funding situation, but open to any expressions of interest.

EA Hotel Fundraiser 2: current guests and their projects

2019-02-04T20:41:18.823Z · score: 64 (33 votes)
Comment by Greg_Colbourn on EA Hotel with free accommodation and board for two years · 2019-01-12T13:23:46.748Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

We are now fundraising for the hotel: http://eahotel.org/fundraiser/ (Unfortunately the cryptocurrency markets are now a lot lower than anticipated. But I also want the project to become genuinely community supported. i.e. if others don't think it's worth funding then I should probably update in the direction that I shouldn't continue funding it either).

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 1: the story · 2018-12-29T13:08:15.315Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

At the moment, me and Toon.

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 1: the story · 2018-12-27T19:57:46.726Z · score: 24 (14 votes) · EA · GW

The scaling up is a stretch goal, and we could in theory have separate pots, but in practice one would funge against the other to some extent (due to e.g. me being more likely to spend my money on buying next door instead of paying for current running costs). Personally I think we should get next door whilst we can, as it will make scaling up by ~75% so much easier than buying a building even on the other side of the street (adding a door in the wall would create effectively one big building, which could be run with the same kitchen, buffet, laundry and staff as the current one). It's also a relatively low risk investment as I don't think the prices can get much lower. Adding capacity is also much easier than being more selective, and it's more in keeping with the original idea (I'd rather the hotel didn't end up super exclusive like all other sources of EA funding).

I'm all for franchaising the model to mainland Europe and the US though. Happy to let people copy everything we have. In practice this will require someone to step up and buy a building like I did though I think (unless this fundraiser exceeds all expectations!)

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 1: the story · 2018-12-27T19:40:59.999Z · score: 15 (12 votes) · EA · GW

1). In theory we are open to giving out grants to people who spend the same amount on their living costs (say in Chiang Mai), as I stated in my initial forum post about the project (see Value Proposition section). No one has yet enquired about this though. One issue however is that if people are spending more on their living costs you are proportionally buying less work time for them (e.g. you might only get 4 months from someone in London instead of a year at the hotel), so it would require a fair amount of trust that they are only spending that amount. Also the community, coordination and collaboration at the hotel is worth something.

2). So far it is easy for Europeans, but Brexit might change this. US Citizens can get 6 month tourist visas and we have had a few. Commonwealth citizens can get visas for a year or two. More info here. Ideally I think there should be a network of EA Hotels, with one in mainland Europe and one in the US.

3). Most people who have applied so far have got in. The few that haven't have been people who didn't seem to really get EA and had their own non-EA pet project. The Trustees do the selecting for stays over a month. Managers for stays under a month.

4). ~3-12 months seems to be what a lot of people are going for. We've also had a fair number of short term visitors stay for 1-14 days.

5). The second post in this series will cover this.

6). I think this is referring to organising events and retreats elsewhere (e.g. EA Netherlands retreats). The hotel did host the EA London retreats at the end of August though. Lately I've been thinking that we could probably use a hotel dedicated to events, retreats and bootcamps (we have the common area at the current hotel, but not the sleeping accomodation).

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on Is Suffering Convex? · 2018-10-22T21:46:28.666Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · EA · GW

"Isn't it plausible that a clever species such as our own might need less pain, precisely because we are capable of intelligently working out what is good for us, and what damaging events we should avoid? Isn't it plausible that an unintelligent species might need a massive wallop of pain, to drive home a lesson that we can learn with less powerful inducement?" Richard Dawkins: https://boingboing.net/2011/06/30/richard-dawkins-on-v.html

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on Why not to rush to translate effective altruism into other languages · 2018-09-20T16:10:20.929Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Yes I saw, and it's great! That's a bit different to what I'm thinking of though, in that TED is more something that people actively seek out/watch.

I'm thinking in terms of pieces that reach millions of passive readers/viewers (i.e. national newspapers and TV). [Context: The EA Hotel has recently been receiving a fair few requests to do pieces of this type].

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on Why not to rush to translate effective altruism into other languages · 2018-09-19T15:36:45.754Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

The recent survey of the community, showed that the media has played a comparatively small role in getting people involved.

Following David Moss, I'm curious about how much mass media on EA there has actually been? Could it not just be that we are not seeing new EAs as a result of media exposure simply because there has been hardly any of it in the last few years? What are the biggest TV appearances EA has featured in recently?

Given a lack of recent mass media, it's hard to say how many productive new EAs could result from a big mainstream media piece, and in the event they do, how long it would’ve taken for them to hear about EA otherwise. [This speaking about the English-speaking world].

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on EA Hotel with free accommodation and board for two years · 2018-08-09T17:37:20.460Z · score: 6 (2 votes) · EA · GW

The website is now up at eahotel.org. It's possible to book via the Booking page, and the Wiki has information for guests and an FAQ. People can also book video calls to talk about proposals for free stays working on EA stuff via the Contact page (I have updated the Next Steps section in the OP to reflect this).

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on EA Hotel with free accommodation and board for two years · 2018-07-08T20:48:09.603Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks :) Yes I have two independent Trustees now, we're in the process of registering the CIO. Good of you to offer of the London room, will let you know if anyone needs to go to London for (EA) business!

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on EA Hotel with free accommodation and board for two years · 2018-06-20T22:42:55.552Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Remote supervision of research is a possibility, but depends on people with relevant knowledge and experience being available. Peer support from other guests will be available to some extent, especially given the preponderance of people in the movement with postgraduate degrees. However, plenty of research can be self-directed, especially things that are more a case of collating existing knowledge than developing new science (e.g. meta-analyses, review articles, writing books). And the hotel will probably appeal to autodidacts who can plow through published texts and then build on top of them (without much need for explanation additional to what they find in writing).

The hotel is open to hosting research groups, and also conferences and workshops.

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on Announcing the second AI Safety Camp · 2018-06-19T00:20:00.751Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

My point (and remmelt's) was that public funds would be harder/more time (and resource) consuming to get.

There is currently a gap at the low end (OpenPhil is too big to spend time on funding such small projects).

And Good Ventures/OpenPhil also already fill a lot of the gap in funding programs with track records of effectively reducing suffering.

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on Announcing the second AI Safety Camp · 2018-06-18T23:51:27.668Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

There is an analogy with speculative investing here I think - for something to be widely regarded as worthwhile investing in (i.e. research funded by mainstream academia) it has to already have evidence of success (e.g. Bitcoin now). By which point it is no longer new and highly promising in terms of expected value (like Bitcoin was in, say, 2011) i.e. it is necesssarily the case that all things very high in (relative) expected value are outside the mainstream.

AGI alignment is gaining more credibility, but it still doesn't seem like it's that accepted in mainstream academia.

Anyway, I think we are probably on a bit of a tangent to what AISC is trying to achieve - namely help new researchers level up (/get a foot in the door in academic research).

Comment by Greg_Colbourn on Announcing the second AI Safety Camp · 2018-06-18T23:09:49.356Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

For more on the thinking behind streamlined non-mainstream funding, see https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/hits-based-giving

I don't think academia is yet on the same page as EA with regard to AI Safety, but may well be soon hopefully (with credibility coming from the likes of Stuart Russell and Max Tegmark).

EA Hotel with free accommodation and board for two years

2018-06-04T18:09:09.845Z · score: 73 (66 votes)