Posts

Feedback Request on EA Philippines' Career Advice Research for Technical AI Safety 2020-10-03T10:39:15.736Z · score: 18 (11 votes)
EA Philippines' Strong Progress and Learnings in 2019 2020-02-04T13:37:12.714Z · score: 78 (37 votes)

Comments

Comment by briantan on List of EA-related organisations · 2020-10-20T14:07:44.375Z · score: 11 (7 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for this! Here are some other organisations that I think should be included:

Global Health and Poverty:

IDInsight - IPA and J-PAL are on this list, so I think IDInsight should be on this list too

Infrastructure:

Here are some other fundraising organizations that I know of:

Generation Pledge

Donational

GiEffektivt.No

Effektiv-Spenden.org

Meanwhile, there are these two organizations started by EAs that have a research and fundraising aspect:

SoGive

Let's Fund

Far Future

Alpenglow

Machine Intelligence Research Institute

Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

Nuclear Threat Initiative

^The last 3 organizations here are included in CEA's list of organizations you can donate to via their site, so I think that's a possible reason why they should be included more than others: https://app.effectivealtruism.org/donations/new/organizations. I'll leave it up to you whether you will include all of these orgs above or not, but at least someone scrolling to the comments will see these.

 

Some other organizations that I think don't have to be on this list but are still worth mentioning are:

  1. GiveWell Standout Charities like Development Media International and Food Fortification Initiative 
  2. Some of Founders Pledge's recommended charities, such as Clean Air Task Force and StrongMinds
  3. Ought
  4. The Long Time Project - I'm less sure about this but they seem quite EA-aligned as they are partners with CSER

There are also these other interesting EA-aligned projects that most people don't know about:

  1. Doebem
  2. Projekt Framtid

Also, if anyone here wants to view a visual "competitive analysis" of charity evaluation and fundraising orgs that I made as a volunteer for SoGive, it's here: https://www.figma.com/file/kmh7xjBV5TmbXD6DUHQaFB/EA-and-Non-EA-Charity-Evaluation-and-Fundraising-Orgs-Competitive-Analysis?node-id=0%3A1.  It includes mostly EA-aligned organizations only, but there are also non-EA aligned ones like Charity Navigator here (since they were still in the same general space as SoGive). 

Hope all of this info helps!

Comment by briantan on Introducing LEEP: Lead Exposure Elimination Project · 2020-10-09T08:25:44.013Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Yup, this was useful Jack! We are wondering though if EcoWaste Coalition would still be a cost-effective and/or evidence-based charity that we should recommend donors who want to give to local Philippine charities.

I am assuming that we can still recommend them, but we are finding it hard to model their cost-effectiveness given that it's a policy charity, so we may have to rely on other types of rationale or argumentation. I'd love to hear any thoughts you may have on how we might be able to still assess whether or not it's still cost-effective (or effective in general) for local donors to donate to the EcoWaste Coalition. Thanks!

Comment by briantan on Suggestions for Online EA Discussion Norms · 2020-10-07T08:32:33.838Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

The last link doesn't work - could you fix it? Thanks!

Comment by briantan on Introducing LEEP: Lead Exposure Elimination Project · 2020-10-07T03:53:36.244Z · score: 9 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for writing this! Do you know a resource or link that lists which countries still do not have lead paint regulation? And is there a ranking of which countries is it most promising to work on lead poisoning reduction? I am from the Philippines and I think we have lead paint regulation, but I have heard it's not yet well-implemented. I'd like to know where we fare if there is a ranking of which countries is it most promising to work on this problem on.

Comment by briantan on Feedback Request on EA Philippines' Career Advice Research for Technical AI Safety · 2020-10-04T15:00:55.303Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks Sanjay! I've applied to be a member of the AI Alignment forum yesterday, but I haven't heard back. It seems like they have a high bar to who they allow to post there and what types of posts they post there. I've gotten a couple of comments from Ryan Carey and Rohin Shah so far though on the article, and that might be enough for me.

Comment by briantan on Feedback Request on EA Philippines' Career Advice Research for Technical AI Safety · 2020-10-04T14:59:49.774Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Hey Ryan, thanks for looking over the article and the thoughtful reply!

On #2, yup I agree. I'll add that.

On #3, is there anywhere I can cite to say there's bits in Switzerland, Czech Republic, and Israel? And are these in universities or in organizations? Also, should I take out Australia from the list then?

On #4, what makes it important to get a degree from a top-30 university worldwide? And what would be the basis for which universities are in the top 30 - is it csrankings.org's global rankings?

On #5, thanks for linking that.

On #7 and 8, thanks for your answers to those.

I noticed though that your answers for #5, 7, and 8 were for the questions for the expert interviews I planned on doing, and not on questions 5-7 in the "Questions we'd like feedback on". You basically were able to answer #5 already there, so I'd just like your thoughts on #6 and #7 (on AI policy work and what questions we should ask people at local firms).

Also, I especially appreciate the two big picture elements of feedback.

On A, I agree with it being important to ask and think about that question. I generally agree that often the answer is the same for non-Filipinos, but I also think that most of these paths are out of reach or inaccessible to Filipinos who are unwilling or unable to study or work abroad. However, I've thought of two specific paths that Filipinos have a comparative advantage in and could help contribute to reducing existential risk within the Philippines, although I'm still unsure about both:

1. Advocating for and pushing forward nuclear power usage in the Philippines to combat climate change

2. Becoming an epidemiological or biosecurity expert in the Philippines and push forward policies, standards, and surveillance to make sure an engineered pandemic doesn't come here, or to make sure a natural pandemic doesn't start from or come to here.

One could argue that a Filipino skilled to do either of the above could do it in a country that needs those skills more than the Philippines, but being a Filipino would help someone have the network and comparative advantage to do the two things above here locally.

Regarding what you said about EA Filipinos helping build U.S.-China peace, I didn't think that would be an impactful, accessible path. But now that you mention it, it does seem plausible. I would love for you to expand more though on how a Filipino can "try to reduce the chances of global conflict emerging from the South China Sea, or help to ensure that countries in ASEAN trade with both China and the US." I am unsure about the specific pathways available in doing this, or the "theory of change" to doing this - would you have thoughts on what this could look like?

After some quick Google searching on my end, I discovered the website of the Embassy of the Philippines in Beijing, China, as well as the website of the Embassy of China in the Philippines. The appointment of a Chinese ambassador to the Philippines also alludes to the issue in the South China Sea. So I assume these two embassies would be very important in dealing with PH-China relations and the South China Sea. This could be interesting for me to look into since I'm Chinese by blood (but born and raised in the Philippines) and I can speak some Mandarin. I also assume that the U.S. and Philippine embassies to each other would be important as well to work in?

Aside from that Google searching, the main thing I know currently about this issue is that the Philippines' former Supreme Court Chief Justice joined the team to "sue Chinese officials including President Xi Jinping for illegal incursions in the South China Sea before the International Criminal Court." Of course, most Filipinos are in support of the Philippines having claim over these waters over China (since they are rightfully ours), but I am unsure on if the Philippines being able to assert and win this claim is going to reduce existential risk or not. If you or others think it is though, then I could consider finding ways to network with people who work with or know the former Supreme Court Chief Justice, so that we can figure out if we can recommend Filipino EAs to work on this, or help draw more attention to this cause.

On B, I get what you mean. I'll consider making a version of the guide that is for people interested in technical AI safety but are from low or middle income countries!

Comment by briantan on EA Israel Strategy 2020-21 · 2020-09-27T04:39:24.835Z · score: 20 (8 votes) · EA · GW

Hey Gidon and Sella, thanks so much for posting this strategy document! It's very well-written, and I like and agree with the vision of EA Israel. I also like your emphasis on onboarding, branding strategy, and having multiple goals, and how your group does a pre-mortem.

I'm also just very impressed with how much EA Israel has done since Q4 2018, which is around the time EA Philippines was started as well. I did not know that EA Israel was running this many activities. It's great that your community also has a bias to action as well - I am thinking that EA Philippines should do something similar.

Here are just a few things I wanted to say or ask:

1. It seems like you've made a customized version of CEA's concentric circles / funnel model when you talked about your member categorization, which is your board, contributors, participants, and followers. Is it correct that people in your participants category need to be volunteering for EA Israel or be currently participating in a reading group? If so, it seems like your funnel is more for measuring how engaged people are with EA Israel, and not about how proficient they are with EA or if they're trying to live this out in their career or donations. I am thinking that EA Israel should also have separate "funnel metrics" where you categorize people based on CEA's concentric circles / funnel model. The recent 2020 EA groups survey asks for these metrics, so it would be useful for EA Israel to post and measure its funnel metrics on that too. This would also help you measure the size and quality of the EA community in Israel.

2. Do you and your board have any thoughts on how big you want EA Israel or your funnel to be 5 years from now, i.e. how many are board members, contributors, and participants to EA Israel? Or how many sub-groups you'd like, and what type of sub-groups these would be (i.e. cause-specific, profession-specific, or university groups)? I think this could be an important thing to include or think through as part of your vision, or as long-term metrics you want to target.

3. I think something missing from your vision is if EA Israel plans on setting up university groups. Does EA Israel have any plans on this so far? I think it's okay for EA Israel not to try setting this up within the next 12 months, but I think it should be a goal within the next 2-5 years. University groups are a bigger part of CEA's strategy now, and I think it would be good to put in your vision that you aim to have university groups.

4. What do you think is EA Israel's current % of time allocation between community building vs. direct work projects? Do you have a sense of what should be the ideal allocation for EA Israel across the two, or across your different projects?

Comment by briantan on Is anyone coordinating amateurs to do cause prioritization research in groups? · 2020-09-25T13:44:49.580Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

EA Philippines recently got accepted for a 1 FTE, 12-month Community Building Grant, with me getting 0.6 FTE, and my 2 co-founders getting 0.24 and 0.16 FTE respectively, starting October 2020. We plan on spending 30% of our time on the cause prioritization and career advice research. So technically, we do have funding to do this now, but for the past few months, we were just doing it as volunteers.

Comment by briantan on Is anyone coordinating amateurs to do cause prioritization research in groups? · 2020-09-21T11:05:54.187Z · score: 16 (10 votes) · EA · GW

EA Philippines is currently doing cause prioritization and career advice research on causes that could be very impactful for Filipinos to contribute to. We are currently doing research on local farm animal welfare and local mental health, and we're mostly done with a problem profile for local poverty.

We're also considering interviewing Filipinos working in the AI space or taking PhDs in computer science to see if it's recommendable for Filipinos to contribute to technical AI safety or AI policy.

I started this in April 2020, with no research background other than a couple of papers I wrote in university. My 2 co-founders have since helped in the research, and we're also now managing 3 volunteers (2 students and 1 fresh grad) who are helping out in the research.

I definitely think there's space for more people to do cause prioritization projects, whether to build up research experience and skills, find high-impact career paths or donation opportunities, or explore your own cause prioritization. I think it's even more important for people unable to move to the U.S. or U.K., since you can do research to determine which causes are most important, neglected, and tractable for you to have a career in within your region.

Yi-Yang Chua from EA Singapore wrote this great piece on why it's important to do local priorities research, which might be worth a read.

Comment by briantan on Introducing the Legal Priorities Project · 2020-08-31T03:04:54.266Z · score: 8 (7 votes) · EA · GW

This project seems exciting. Also, the website design and branding of this project is great! Kudos to whoever designed it. The website and branding seems similar to OpenAI's, but I don't think that's an issue - both look great and distinct enough.

Comment by briantan on The EA Meta Fund is now the EA Infrastructure Fund · 2020-08-21T04:57:15.647Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I agree! I think people will like the idea of donating to help build infrastructure for the growth of EA, rather than just donating to "meta".

Comment by briantan on EA Forum update: New editor! (And more) · 2020-07-31T12:59:20.360Z · score: 27 (18 votes) · EA · GW

I love the Zuckerberg references and would want to read more of Zuckerberg's downfall. I hope future Forum feature releases are as good and funny as this!

Comment by briantan on Is region-level cause prioritization research valuable to spot promising long-term priority causes worldwide? · 2020-07-26T12:37:01.450Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · EA · GW

A good example is the criminal justice reform work that Open Phil funds, which is a local priority in the U.S. but not a global one. It's especially pressing in the U.S. given they have the highest incarceration rate in the world.

Comment by briantan on Design-Jobs & (Science)Communication for EA? · 2020-07-15T02:09:33.849Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Hey Jana,

I work as a Product Designer, so I'm glad to see another person with a UX background in the EA community! There are relatively few of us in EA, and I think there's also very few paid UI/UX job opportunities in EA. There are some volunteer opportunities though.

Feel free to message me here on the forum and I can help give some career advice or introduce you to a few other UI/UX designers in EA. I would also recommend you to join this Artists and Designers in EA Facebook group and you can chat with other EAs working as UI/UX designers there!

Comment by briantan on Marcus Davis: Rethink Priorities — empirical research on neglected causes · 2020-07-12T12:52:01.452Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW
We gathered this information into an interactive table.

The link to the table leads to a Wikipedia page on backpropagation. Could this be corrected? Thanks!

Comment by briantan on EA Forum feature suggestion thread · 2020-06-27T03:30:22.596Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Hm I tried linking a recent EA Forum post with an image (image is at the bottom) just now on Facebook, and the EA forum photo is still the one showing up. I tried running it via the Facebook sharing debugger and pressing "Scrape Again", but it still shows the same photo.

Comment by briantan on Problem areas beyond 80,000 Hours' current priorities · 2020-06-26T07:04:59.122Z · score: 17 (7 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for posting this Arden! I know that this list is quite long already, but I was wondering why criminal justice reform isn't on the list of "other global issues"? It seems to be the only focus area of Open Philanthropy that isn't covered in one of these priorities.

Comment by briantan on EA Forum feature suggestion thread · 2020-06-26T06:49:02.108Z · score: 11 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I think the EA Forum should allow authors to pick one of the images they attached into their post as the "preview image" when the post is shared on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

I don't think this feature currently exists, and I think it would help drive traffic to the EA Forum whenever posts are shared. I'm assuming that the authors would link an image that is more enticing than the standard EA forum logo, which would result in slightly higher click-through rates. Medium.com and most other CMS's allow you to pick a preview image. I think Medium.com's UI for picking a "featured image" is a good example of how to design this feature.

Comment by briantan on EA Forum feature suggestion thread · 2020-06-26T01:06:05.725Z · score: 21 (6 votes) · EA · GW

Hey JP, thanks for your thoughts! When you're saying it's a little too much work, how many weeks are we talking about? I can understand how the profile upload part might take a bit long (1-2 weeks?).

For adding in the profile pictures beside author's usernames, I would think there isn't any big UI updating that has to be done there. It's only in the comments section that things might be a bit trickier. I've made mockups for my own suggestion here, including mockups for showing these on the frontpage, post header, and two different options for how to show pictures on comments. Even just showing pictures on the frontpage and beside the author's names in a forum post page would be great, if those are easier to do than adding on the comments.

But yeah it's good that you flag that the value of the forum comes from people writing posts and more people reading them. I'm also curious about what authors think on if they would prefer to have their face in posts, as well as if they prefer to see commenters' faces!

Comment by briantan on EA Forum feature suggestion thread · 2020-06-20T02:43:11.505Z · score: 7 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Yeah I think the EA Forum team could do usability testing on users if they haven't done it yet. Maybe they could do it on people interested in EA but have never visited the forum yet. I remember the first few times I visited the forum was quite daunting - long posts, usually no pictures on posts, no faces, and no onboarding.

I'm thinking that for users not logged in (which presumably means they're new to the forum?), they could be pointed to this article (maybe with some edits to make it a better first-read for new users): https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/about, and then they're encouraged to sign up in the end. A link to a short 2-5 minute video on the homepage about what the forum is and how to use the forum could work too.

I think some gamification for guided onboarding could work too, i.e. upvote your first article, upvote your first comment, message an author, write your first comment, write your first post, acquire x much karma (and get a badge)

Now that we have tags, tags could be part of onboarding and a more central part of the experience too. Similar to how Medium.com encourages you to follow or subscribe to certain topics.

But yeah I wouldn't want to speak ahead too much on feature suggestions without knowing what the user research and usability testing results are first! As a UI/UX designer myself, I'd much rather see user research and usability testing be done first. My experience in using the forum might not be representative.

Comment by briantan on Geographic diversity in EA · 2020-06-18T12:44:45.184Z · score: 10 (7 votes) · EA · GW

Hello, I'm Brian, co-founder of EA Philippines. I think it's a good idea for EAs from non-US / UK countries to do some cause prioritization and career advice research to help determine what are the high-impact career paths for people from your country. And for people doing this, I think it's good to list both global and more regional/local problems, as well as find local roles to solve these local/global problems.

So yes, I think zooming in to country-level or region-level cause areas could help EA identify more accurately priority paths worldwide. I also think more impact could be achieved if people from different countries find their comparative advantage to focus on their own regions.

EA Philippines' cause prioritization and career advice research is currently housed in this Google Sheet. It's still very much a work in progress, and I'm unsure of whether to show this publicly at this early stage, but I think even just the framework and structure of the Google Sheet would help people in figuring out how to get started on this work themselves and how to list various causes, roles, and organizations.

Comment by briantan on EA Forum feature suggestion thread · 2020-06-17T02:24:16.310Z · score: 10 (8 votes) · EA · GW

Very specific and small comment, but I'd like to see the "Reply" button for comments be bigger and more noticeable. I would prefer it to be an actual button (with padding and an outline), and with a message icon beside it. It's happened to me twice where I couldn't figure out how to reply to a comment until ~30 seconds of searching for the reply button.

Comment by briantan on EA Forum feature suggestion thread · 2020-06-17T02:21:37.342Z · score: 40 (18 votes) · EA · GW

I'd like users to be able to attach/link a profile picture to their EA Forum profile, and that these pictures would be viewable next to their usernames in posts or comments. I think this would make the forum a bit more human and friendly!

Comment by briantan on EAGxVirtual Unconference (Saturday, June 20th 2020) · 2020-06-14T13:02:15.976Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I think you can get a good podcast microphone for ~$100. This is the microphone I have which was recommended by Tim Ferriss and others: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004QJOZS4 I haven't tested it yet for a full podcast episode, but I think it's pretty decent audio quality.

You can also just use Garageband as free software to start if you have a Mac. Tim Ferriss recommends using Auphonic to clean up the audio, but it doesn't cost much either. I don't think you'll need to apply for the Meta fund for this, given that these costs are quite cheap, and they're unlikely to give a grant that small.

Comment by briantan on EAGxVirtual Unconference (Saturday, June 20th 2020) · 2020-06-12T03:25:15.271Z · score: 7 (6 votes) · EA · GW

Creating an EA podcast is something I've been interested in for a while now too! I'm a big fan of long-form interview podcasts, like 80,000 Hours' and the The Tim Ferriss Show. I like the idea of Everyday EA. I think though that Everyday EA should target interviewing people who are in the most engaged 1-10% of the EA community first though. There's a lot of accomplished and inspiring people within EA who haven't been in an 80K podcast or given an EAG talk yet, but can share a lot of great insights. I can suggest certain people.

I'd be interested to attend this, and I'd also be interested to help you develop the strategy for this podcast. I'm quite busy with work and other projects, but I'd like to see if it's valuable for me to help.

Also, a key consideration here is audio quality. Given that most of the world is in lockdown, and because EAs are geographically spread out, I assume you'll be conducting most of the interviews virtually. But a lot of EAs might not have access to a good microphone. And even if they did, you may have to ask them to record their audio on their end, and send it over to you after. (Anyone with experience recording virtual podcasts though could correct me on this!)

80K and other podcasts do some virtual interviews, and most of these have poorer audio quality than in-person ones. I and others would be less likely to listen to a podcast episode with poor audio quality.

Anyway, maybe you could make sure to interview EAs with access to a good microphone first, just to keep the quality high for the first few episodes. I actually have a podcast microphone, and I'd be willing to be an interviewee. Let me know any thoughts you have on this here or privately!

Comment by briantan on Where to find EA-related videos · 2020-05-19T12:09:52.960Z · score: 6 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Please add The Life You Can Save under Global Health and Development! They released this cool video recently: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Y3TTVK8wGQ

Comment by briantan on Official EA Forum Feedback Survey · 2020-03-31T14:18:44.823Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Hey Aaron, I think there's an error on page 5 of the survey. It seems like the first question on that page should be a multi-select question (checkboxes) rather than a multiple choice once?

Comment by briantan on EA Global Live Broadcast · 2020-03-21T18:07:59.313Z · score: 14 (11 votes) · EA · GW

Here's a Google Doc for collaborative note-taking: https://docs.google.com/document/d/14y8fQlQUOhWnUN17tiuxrmp85jjbTH8ffepXONUQvzE/edit#heading=h.u58p62fyfyvp

Comment by briantan on Has anyone done an analysis on the importance, tractability, and neglectedness of keeping human-digestible calories in the ocean in case we need it after some global catastrophe? · 2020-02-17T12:36:21.165Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I've read 80% of Feeding Everyone No Matter What, and they cover all sorts of alternative food sources we could use in the event of a global catastrophe. These include seaweed, mushrooms, insects, bacteria, and more. Have you been able to read it?

Comment by briantan on EA Philippines' Strong Progress and Learnings in 2019 · 2020-02-06T23:57:32.925Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

For community builders reading this, we'd also like to know what other communities' funnel metrics look like, to see whether if ours is typical or not. I'm curious to see how other communities measure and track their members' engagement, and what the levels of engagement look like.

Comment by briantan on EA Philippines' Strong Progress and Learnings in 2019 · 2020-02-06T23:56:07.839Z · score: 9 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Also, just for some background on EA Philippines' core team, we're composed of 4 people - Kate Lupango, Tanya Quijano, Alec Wang, and myself. Here's some more information about us:

  • Kate is a financial accountant working at a local startup, and also has experience working as a volunteer in animal advocacy and social work.
  • Tanya currently works on freelance projects as a development consultant. She used to work as the head executive assistant for the Philippines’ Department of Social Welfare and Development. As such, she has a lot of contacts with people from the government and the non-profit / development sector in the Philippines.
  • Alec is currently a 2nd-year student at the Ateneo De Manila University majoring in computer science. He originally was taking a business degree, but he shifted into taking a degree in computer science. He now plans on working in the field of technical AI safety / AI research, and is deeply invested in improving himself in the fields of coding and machine learning.
  • I work as a product designer at First Circle, a fintech B2B lending startup in the Philippines.

Our other co-founder, Jeffrey, gradually became less involved after the first few events.

You can reach out to me via a Forum message or to us through our Facebook page. I can connect you with anyone from our core team!

Comment by briantan on EA Philippines' Strong Progress and Learnings in 2019 · 2020-02-06T23:47:11.963Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks Ollie!

Comment by briantan on EA Philippines' Strong Progress and Learnings in 2019 · 2020-02-06T23:46:45.959Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Katie, thanks for the feedback and question! We're definitely thinking about succession planning and finding additions to or replacements for our core team. But we have yet to identify clear candidates who would be willing and are a good fit to be community builders. We do have active members though, and we would like to see one of them expressing interest to be part of the core team.

In the meantime, we can't really spend much time working on succession planning. We'll focus on it when we're more sure that we will move on to other paths instead of leading EA Philippines. We all still plan on being in the EA Philippines core team through the rest of 2020, and some of us are still willing to be in the core team for 2021 if we don't have successors.

Anyway, our plan for 2020 is to be on the lookout for people willing to join our core team, and to guide or train them once we find one or more of them.

Comment by briantan on Is learning about EA concepts in detail useful to the typical EA? · 2020-01-16T12:26:46.493Z · score: 14 (8 votes) · EA · GW

+1 to this. I'd say I've spent anywhere from 70-150 hours consuming EA content, whether that's through events, books, podcasts, or videos. That's mainly because I'm a community builder and I'm earning to give, and so I wanted to find out a lot about the different causes and concepts within EA.

However, even for non community builders, I'd still recommend them to learn more about EA.

There starts to be diminishing returns past 50 hours of learning maybe, but if you're someone who wants to help convince other people to be EA's, or want to better understand and explain what EA is, you'll need about 30-50 hours of immersion.

I think that continually reading the EA Forum and understanding EA concepts more in-depth helps me convey to my network various perspectives and concepts that are EA-related.

For example, I can point people to resources on climate change, AI Safety, global health, and cause prioritization because of reading widely about EA and its causes. And I think more people should be aiming to do that.

Having a wide understanding of EA allows you to spread the knowledge more easily, and I believe there's a lot of value to spreading EA knowledge.

Comment by briantan on I'm Michelle Hutchinson, head of advising at 80,000 Hours, AMA · 2019-12-06T00:03:05.381Z · score: 8 (7 votes) · EA · GW

What would be your advice to people who want to do EA career advising in their local community? Would 80,000 Hours be willing to release a guide, or train people on how to do this, so that other EAs can advise a lot more people than 80K can?

Comment by briantan on EA Giving Tuesday, Dec 3, 2019: Instructions for Donors · 2019-12-01T04:01:05.229Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks! I don't seem to see that note in that link or on the gdoc though?

Comment by briantan on EA Giving Tuesday, Dec 3, 2019: Instructions for Donors · 2019-11-28T11:45:17.287Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for the reply! I'll see if I can try one more test donation.

Regarding donating within the first second, I think that sentence would turn away people who were only able to donate within 2 or more seconds. It also sounds really hard at first to donate within the first second. I think it should be communicated that someone who follows the instructions, which should take only 10-20 minutes of pre-work, should be able to donate within 2-3 seconds. That might encourage more people to try joining in!

Comment by briantan on EA Giving Tuesday, Dec 3, 2019: Instructions for Donors · 2019-11-26T14:19:40.376Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks to you and the EA Giving Tuesday team for the detailed instructions! I'll just share my experience in testing to donate just now:

I followed all the instructions and was able to practice making a $5 donation, and the time registered was 9:50:03. I clicked the Donate button when I saw the clock hit 9:50:00. Is 3 seconds good enough, or should I aim for the donation to send within 1 or 2 seconds? The practice document says to "Try to donate fast enough that you see receipts with timestamps ending with :02 or :03 at the latest.", but your post says to aim to do it within one second.

I followed all the instructions for the practice donation and the suggestions on preparing your computer, including closing all other apps and tabs, using an incognito Google Chrome tab (to switch off Chrome extensions), putting https://time.is/just side by side with the donation page, and clicking donate as soon as I saw the clock reach the next new minute.

The only instructions I didn't follow were the advice of connecting a mouse and using a wired internet connection. I was fairly confident with my trackpad-clicking skills, and sure enough, I was able to click as the clock hit :00. I don't know if using a wired connection would have made a difference.

Also, when I made the donation, it took a full 8 seconds before Facebook told me my donation was successful. But when I checked my email, the donation said 9:50:03 and not 9:50:08. I think other people will probably experience the same thing.

My Wifi download speed was around 21 Mbps and my upload speed was around 4 Mbps. If anyone was able to donate within 0:01 or 0:02, let me know! I'm from Manila, so that might affect my donation speed too.

Comment by briantan on "EA residencies" as an outreach activity · 2019-11-18T13:14:06.565Z · score: 8 (6 votes) · EA · GW

If anyone is ever travelling to Manila (Philippines), we in EA Philippines would be happy to meet more EAs!

Comment by briantan on Local EA Group Organizers Survey 2019 · 2019-11-18T12:09:41.961Z · score: 7 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks so much for this! This is really insightful, especially the graph on main problems faced by other groups. Seems like some problems are really common.

Comment by briantan on Local EA Group Organizers Survey 2019 · 2019-11-16T08:50:46.087Z · score: 27 (14 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for this! A few thoughts:

On support for local groups

Since CEA can't constantly give personal support or feedback to all groups, I think CEA can instead help newer groups get connected with older groups to get feedback and advice from them. Or, newer groups can proactively seek out advice from more established groups.

We in EA Philippines were able to get advice from older EA groups, such as the ones in Singapore, Toronto, Quebec, and Norway, at different points in the past year, and we only started in Nov. 2018. Some of this advice was very valuable. Forming these relationships also just increased our motivation to do community building, since we heard of and learned from how others did it.

On the survey questions

Here are questions I'd love to know the answers to - maybe some of these could be included in future surveys:

1. If you added up the average number of hours a week each of the organizers in your local group contributed the past year, what would that number be? (i.e. if you're 3 organizers averaging 15 hours a week each, then that's 45 hours)

  • It would be great to see if there's a correlation between the EA outcome metrics with the number of hours per week spent community building. And it'd be interesting to see if there are any outlier groups (those that have very few organizers or spend very little time, but have a lot of highly engaged people in their community).

2. What problems did you experience while organizing for your local group over the past year?

  • Maybe this could be a freetext/open-ended question first, since I'm not sure what could be the dropdown options for this. Then maybe the answers could be manually clustered / grouped after.
  • If you'd prefer the question to have options though, possible options I can think of are: Personal mental health issues, Organizer/s leaving or not contributing, Getting less than expected number of people at an event, Having to cancel an event, and "Others" (which can be a freetext).
Comment by briantan on Why and how to start a for-profit company serving emerging markets · 2019-11-07T14:05:47.754Z · score: 20 (10 votes) · EA · GW

Great post Ben! I'm a Product Designer at First Circle, a FinTech startup in the Philippines. I think the work we're doing generates positive social impact too, but not as much yet as Wave.

I'm happy to see you promote entrepreneurship in developing countries as a viable option for EAs. The co-founders at our startup are both supporters of EA, and they came from Europe to start the business here. A lot of the best (and most impactful) startups in the Philippines were founded by expats actually, so there's definitely value in this path.

But even if I think this path has an expected value of high social impact for people living in developed countries, it might not be as impactful as other EA paths for them. Here's my take:

This path should be a good fit for people who

1. Want to work in global health / poverty / development as their cause area (and not in animal welfare or X-risks) (Update, Oct. 6, 2020: Being an entrepreneur in the plant-based space is also promising in emerging markets)

2. Have a passion for startups, and have experience working in a startup or starting one

3. Are very willing (or deeply interested) to start a startup in an emerging market and relocate there for 4+ years

4. Want to spread/popularize the EA movement in the emerging market. I think there's promise in doing this, since some emerging markets don't have an EA group yet, or they're still very small. (I helped co-found EA Philippines last year - before then there was no EA presence here.)


The main cons to this path though are:

1. There's a high chance of failure, likely more so than if you started a startup in your own country. This is since you lack context about the area, and the language/culture barrier can easily mean your product won't fit the local context.

2. You might end up making more impact if you started a startup in your own country, and just earned-to-give your earnings to GiveWell / EA organizations. This is because I think there are very few startups that benefit the poorest of the poor, since the poorest people don't even have access to basic needs. For example in the Philippines, some areas don't have internet, and some areas don't even have cell service, so it would be hard to create a startup that caters to them. So even if you do start a successful startup here, the positive outcomes generated might not be as good as through donating to GiveWell charities. Maybe charity entrepreneurship would be a more impactful path.

To counter the 1st con, you just have to execute really well in starting the startup, hiring the right people, getting enough funding, and knowing the customers. To counter the 2nd, you could start the startup in the emerging market, and then earn-to-give your earnings/salary to GiveWell / EA organizations. And hopefully what you earn-to-give is comparable to what you would if you worked for a company in your home country.

Would love to hear what you or others think about my view!