Posts

Should EA have a career-focused “Do the most good" pledge? 2021-07-20T13:47:11.356Z
Why are some EAs into cryonics? 2021-03-17T07:10:05.693Z
A ranked list of all EA-relevant documentaries, movies, and TV series I've watched 2021-02-21T11:00:26.634Z
EA Philippines 2020 Annual Report 2021-01-27T07:52:56.463Z
EA Philippines 2020 Community & Impact Survey Report 2021-01-27T06:06:45.801Z
How EA Philippines got a Community Building Grant, and how I decided to leave my job to do EA-aligned work full-time 2021-01-27T05:57:41.056Z
CHOICE - Creating a memorable acronym for EA principles 2021-01-07T07:12:10.816Z
How do EA researchers decide on which topics to write on, and how much time to spend on it? 2020-12-31T14:33:07.407Z
BrianTan's Shortform 2020-12-27T15:04:12.608Z
What are the "PlayPumps" of Climate Change? 2020-12-05T15:03:30.919Z
Can we convince people to work on AI safety without convincing them about AGI happening this century? 2020-11-26T14:46:28.241Z
If someone identifies as a longtermist, should they donate to Founders Pledge's top climate charities than to GiveWell's top charities? 2020-11-26T07:54:53.479Z
Questions for Nick Beckstead's fireside chat in EAGxAPAC this weekend 2020-11-17T15:05:24.154Z
Questions for Jaan Tallinn’s fireside chat in EAGxAPAC this weekend 2020-11-17T02:12:43.781Z
Feedback Request on EA Philippines' Career Advice Research for Technical AI Safety 2020-10-03T10:39:15.736Z
EA Philippines' Strong Progress and Learnings in 2019 2020-02-04T13:37:12.714Z

Comments

Comment by BrianTan on EA Survey 2020: Cause Prioritization · 2021-07-30T09:27:45.228Z · EA · GW

Got it! I would guess that engaged EAs would think Meta work that is not movement building might be referring to fundraising for other causes. So I think it makes sense that it's not a high priority, given the large amount of funding already committed  to EA.

Comment by BrianTan on EA Survey 2020: Cause Prioritization · 2021-07-30T07:45:45.527Z · EA · GW

Thanks for clarifying! But I'd still like to hear more about you or the org's conception of the difference between EA movement building and Meta work that is not movement building. 

Comment by BrianTan on EA Survey 2020: Cause Prioritization · 2021-07-30T01:48:30.750Z · EA · GW

Thanks for this! Can someone clarify the difference between "EA movement building" and "Meta (Other than EA movement building)"? 

I'm not sure why that distinction was made, or what the distinction is. I'm not sure if survey respondents would have understood the distinction either. If this distinction is going to be kept for future surveys, explaining the difference between those two in the survey might be needed. 

Comment by BrianTan on Taylor Swift's "long story short" Is Actually About Effective Altruism and Longtermism (PARODY) · 2021-07-23T15:42:58.813Z · EA · GW

This is amazing. It's funny that she actually says "yeah" like EA . I hadn't listened to this song before this. Please do more of this!

Comment by BrianTan on Should EA have a career-focused “Do the most good" pledge? · 2021-07-20T15:12:35.516Z · EA · GW

Thanks for the feedback Cristina! Regarding one's life circumstances changing so much, Giving What We Can allows people to contact them to revoke their pledge, so I could imagine that being done by people who don't feel aligned with this career-focused pledge anymore, if life circumstances change in the future.

I agree that that's a specific, actionable, and reasonable pledge. Maybe a shorthand name for that pledge idea could be the "EA Career Planning Pledge". I'm not sure if that should replace this pledge, but it's an interesting idea.

Comment by BrianTan on Should EA have a career-focused “Do the most good" pledge? · 2021-07-20T14:33:00.167Z · EA · GW

I've added below each comment that they should downvote the comment with negative karma if they upvoted using the poll. I think this is a sign that the EA Forum should have a poll feature.

Comment by BrianTan on Should EA have a career-focused “Do the most good" pledge? · 2021-07-20T14:24:15.548Z · EA · GW

Hey Khorton, yeah I think I should have made that clearer with my post. I agree that people can have more than one goal. I was thinking though that one can maximize the impact of their career while generally still having other goals. 

Possibly the pledge could be reworded to be about pledging to aim to do a large amount of good with one's career. I think that could generally have the same effect, without being construed as being too single-minded on impact maximization.

Comment by BrianTan on Should EA have a career-focused “Do the most good" pledge? · 2021-07-20T14:17:50.984Z · EA · GW

I assume people can click to unhide it and then downvote it?

Comment by BrianTan on Should EA have a career-focused “Do the most good" pledge? · 2021-07-20T14:14:13.593Z · EA · GW

Downvote this comment if you upvoted any of my comments above used for polling, so that I don't get inflated karma for running a poll

Comment by BrianTan on Should EA have a career-focused “Do the most good" pledge? · 2021-07-20T14:13:16.287Z · EA · GW

Upvote this comment if you think this pledge is a bad idea. 

(I initially just put one comment that people could upvote or downvote, but I'm making this a separate comment to prevent the comment being hidden if it becomes negative karma. There's a comment with negative karma below that you can downvote if you used this poll, to offset any karma I gain from using comments as polls.)

Comment by BrianTan on Should EA have a career-focused “Do the most good" pledge? · 2021-07-20T14:11:45.829Z · EA · GW

Ah good point, let me make a separate comment that people can upvote if they think the pledge is a bad idea

Comment by BrianTan on Should EA have a career-focused “Do the most good" pledge? · 2021-07-20T13:56:08.964Z · EA · GW

Upvote this comment if you would take this pledge yourself!

(There's a comment with negative karma below that you can downvote if you used this poll, to offset any karma I gain from using comments as polls.)

Comment by BrianTan on Should EA have a career-focused “Do the most good" pledge? · 2021-07-20T13:55:20.093Z · EA · GW

Upvote this comment if you think this pledge is a good idea and should be created.

Initially I told people to downvote this comment if this is a bad idea, but it would end up getting hidden, so please upvote the other comment that says "Upvote this comment if you think this pledge is a bad idea instead!

(There's a comment with negative karma below that you can downvote if you used this poll, to offset any karma I gain from using comments as polls.)

Comment by BrianTan on Open Philanthropy is seeking proposals for outreach projects · 2021-07-17T09:04:35.832Z · EA · GW

Thanks for this detailed post! This is interesting. I wanted to highlight this part for people who might not have read it, and I have a question about it:

We are open to and encourage highly ambitious proposals for projects that would require annual budgets of millions of dollars, including proposals to scale existing projects that are still relatively small.

Is OpenPhil willing to say how much they are willing to give in total per year for these kinds of outreach projects? I'm curious to know, and others might be too.

Comment by BrianTan on [Podcast] Suggest a question for Ben Todd · 2021-07-07T02:33:19.110Z · EA · GW

I'm not sure if this question is too advanced for the podcast, but maybe he's willing to answer it on the Forum: If you could change Open Philanthropy's grantmaking (i.e. what causes they focus on, or what organizations/interventions they grant to), in what key ways would  you change it? Would you like to see them do more of certain types of grants?

Comment by BrianTan on [Podcast] Suggest a question for Ben Todd · 2021-07-07T02:32:34.988Z · EA · GW

How and when did 80,000 Hours decide to focus more on longtermism and create longtermist content and career advice? If Ben is willing to share, whether through the Forum or the podcast, I'd love to know the story behind how this happened. Or if anyone else knows the basic story, feel free to comment it here too.

 (I'm not saying it's a bad thing that 80K focused on longtermism.)

Comment by BrianTan on People working on x-risks: what emotionally motivates you? · 2021-07-05T05:47:23.559Z · EA · GW

Don't have the time to read into it but I think that total extinction of the biosphere would very likely not be a good thing.

Comment by BrianTan on People working on x-risks: what emotionally motivates you? · 2021-07-05T04:00:33.900Z · EA · GW

I don't directly work on x-risks at the moment, apart from some of my time sharing resources and giving information or career advice relevant to it to people in EA Philippines. 

But if I did, the importance and drive of making sure the world doesn't become extinct or dystopian would be what would motivate me to work. Also, all the work done by other EAs in other causes would be for naught if we end up becoming extinct or lock in a bad future this century.

Comment by BrianTan on Which cause should I choose -- Climate Change or Global Poverty? · 2021-06-30T01:44:21.112Z · EA · GW

Here's a similar question I asked!

Comment by BrianTan on Opinion: Digital marketing is under-utilized in EA · 2021-06-28T14:34:24.936Z · EA · GW

But yeah as a broader point, ads could be used to market events or the group itself. Given the amount of karma of this post, I'm pretty sure CEA has already seen it, I just don't know what their thoughts about it are. But I expect they're already quite interested in the value of using paid ads. I remembered now that I wrote a part in EA Hub's resources for group organizers on advertising events before about the potential value of using paid ads. Maybe this post should be linked into that guide. I'll message Catherine Low from CEA if she would like to include it, or reference it in the July Groups newsletter.

Comment by BrianTan on Opinion: Digital marketing is under-utilized in EA · 2021-06-28T14:24:11.532Z · EA · GW

Yeah. I think a lot of EA fellowships though are facilitator-constrained, not participant-constrained. Possibly ads could still be used to increase the quality of the participant pool, but the value of that is less clear. 

I know people at CEA, and 2 of our student groups will write a fellowship retrospective soon. We'll include this bit formally there, and I can link that to CEA or publicize that to other community builders. This is so that groups that are participant-constrained can use ads more.

Comment by BrianTan on Shallow evaluations of longtermist organizations · 2021-06-25T08:32:41.171Z · EA · GW

Thanks for this, it's really interesting. I'm curious around how much time you spent on 

  1. Each org you evaluated
    1. Maybe an average time you spent per org, and you can also mention any outliers. It feels like you spent more time on a couple of organizations compared to the others?
  2. On this project as a whole so far

Charity Entrepreneurship usually does this for their reports, so people get a sense of how much time was put in and how deep the evaluation/effort was. Maybe you can include these time estimates into the post?

Comment by BrianTan on What would an entity with GiveWell's decision-making process have recommended in the past? · 2021-06-25T08:28:09.438Z · EA · GW

Interesting question - I'm curious what makes you ask?

Comment by BrianTan on A ranked list of all EA-relevant documentaries, movies, and TV series I've watched · 2021-06-24T11:43:24.920Z · EA · GW

It's on my list but I haven't gotten to watch it. I enjoyed Better Than Us a lot though, which has the same actor!

Comment by BrianTan on Opinion: Digital marketing is under-utilized in EA · 2021-06-23T14:27:57.861Z · EA · GW

Interesting, so that comes to a cost-effectiveness of $333,333 per highly engaged EA, which doesn't seem that cost-effective to me.  $33,333 or $3,333  per person (so $100M or $10M to get 3k more EAs) sound like better numbers to me, and I think those numbers are actually quite doable.

CEA's Community Building Grants seem like they could approach the $33,333 or $3,333 per person number, though it's not that highly scalable.

Comment by BrianTan on Opinion: Digital marketing is under-utilized in EA · 2021-06-23T11:15:12.585Z · EA · GW

What would you say is the threshold for cost-effectiveness?

Comment by BrianTan on What are the 'PlayPumps' of cause prioritisation? · 2021-06-23T11:14:06.573Z · EA · GW

Maybe ALS, as exemplified by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? It is a problem, but probably didn't need an ice bucket challenge to focus on it, vs. a malaria ice bucket challenge for example.

Just linking two relevant resources - I assume you're familiar with the 2nd one:

What are the "PlayPumps" of Climate Change?

Looking for more 'PlayPumps' like examples

The first one might help you generate some ideas on sub-causes of climate change that are too much hype, such as the hype around lessening usage of straws/plastic bags in the West.

Comment by BrianTan on What are some examples of successful social change? · 2021-06-23T01:45:04.645Z · EA · GW

I'll give two Philippine examples:

  1. The EDSA People Power Revolution in the Philippines in 1986, notable for being nonviolent. From Wikipedia:

It "was a series of popular demonstrations in the Philippines, mostly in Metro Manila, from February 22–25, 1986. There was a sustained campaign of civil resistance against regime violence and electoral fraud. The nonviolent revolution led to the departure of Ferdinand Marcos, the end of his 20-year presidential term and the restoration of democracy in the Philippines."

...The People Power Revolution has inspired a call for a change of government through peaceful protests rather than bloodshed. Many similar revolutions have followed since then, taking the Philippine example of nonviolent regime change, such as that in East Germany and many other former Soviet Bloc countries.[66] It also helped inspire the Arab Spring in 2011.[67]

2. Jose Rizal (the Philippines' national hero) and his books "Noli Me Tangere" and "El Filibusterismo":

After publication, Noli me Tangere was considered to be one of the instruments that initiated Filipino nationalism leading to the 1896 Philippine Revolution. The novel did not only awaken sleeping Filipino awareness, but also established the grounds for aspiring to independence. Noli was originally written in Spanish, so the likelihood that Spanish authorities would read it first was very high; which is what Rizal wanted to happen. Copies of books were redirected to churches, many were destroyed, many anti-Noli writers came into the picture. Catholic leaders in the Philippines at the time regarded the book as heretical, while Spanish colonial authorities declared it as subversive and against the government. Underground copies were distributed, so Rizal decided to increase the price, the demand was so high.

The impact also included the expulsion of Rizal's clan in Calamba, Laguna. Extradition cases were filed against him. This led to his decision to write the sequel of Noli Me Tangere, the El filibusterismo. Unlike El Fili or Fili, as they called it, Noli Me Tangere was more delicate and did not invoke rebellion. as El Fili does. So to ensure revolutionary ideas and patriotic reaction, Rizal redefined his careful concepts in Noli to aggression in El Fili.

I'm not sure if people can attribute the 1896 Philippine Revolution as primarily caused by Rizal, but I think he did play a key role. I'm also unsure if we should label the revolution a success (since the revolution merely transferred rule of the Philippines from the Spanish to Americans, and it's not clear to me if the Philippines played a large role in that happening), but I think these 2 books show the capability of fiction/books to inspire revolutions.

Neither of these examples involve movements on the approximate scale of EA. Both seem quite beneficial though and had some attention to detail (i.e. focused on being nonviolent). 

I'm not sure if there are any strong Philippine examples that involve movements on the scale of EA, but maybe the work of various local advocacy groups to have the Philippine Mental Health Act passed in 2018 could be one. Though those groups combined could be smaller than the current scale of EA.

Comment by BrianTan on Opinion: Digital marketing is under-utilized in EA · 2021-06-23T01:15:37.072Z · EA · GW

I wrote about it in the forum post I linked: 

Our cost per attendee using FB ads was around $1-5 per person, depending on the event. Generally, we liked the type of people who came to our events - they were friendly and open-minded. However, only a few of them would be truly interested in EA and be willing to get more engaged in it. In 2020, we still expect to use FB ads, but we know to expect that only a handful of them will be the ones that will truly be engaged and interested in EA.

What's not in that article is how we used FB ads to recruit fellows for one of our student groups' intro fellowships this year. We got ~6 people to sign up (who otherwise wouldn't have heard of the fellowship) from $20 of FB ads, so that's $3.33 / person, and 5 of them ended up graduating from the fellowship (attending at least 6 out of 10 weeks). So using FB ads to advertise a fellowship seems a lot more cost-effective than just advertising an event.

Comment by BrianTan on Opinion: Digital marketing is under-utilized in EA · 2021-06-22T05:28:54.139Z · EA · GW

I didn't know Google/YouTube ads could be that specific. Reaching 1,000 students for $10 seems really cost-effective. Though I think a 6 second video of a student talking about their EA group doesn't seem like the best idea to get people to join the EA group. Maybe a one-minute video  (with a good 6-second hook) would be better, in case some people find the ad intriguing enough to watch the whole length.

Comment by BrianTan on Opinion: Digital marketing is under-utilized in EA · 2021-06-22T05:24:41.350Z · EA · GW

I think this post will be valuable to some EA orgs, so I strongly upvoted this. I also like the inclusion of various use cases. 

I think EA organizations or local groups should also try using Facebook advertising, and RobertHarling talks about this too below, though I don't think there are free advertising credits for this. We in EA Philippines have used Facebook ads to get more people to sign up for our events and intro to EA fellowships very cost-effectively, though our high cost-effectiveness might be because ad prices are generally lower in the Philippines. People can read more about how we used FB advertising here.

Comment by BrianTan on You can now apply to EA Funds anytime! (LTFF & EAIF only) · 2021-06-18T08:45:04.441Z · EA · GW

Got it, thanks! Yeah 3.5 weeks is fine, and it's cool too that the payout can be expedited if needed.

Comment by BrianTan on You can now apply to EA Funds anytime! (LTFF & EAIF only) · 2021-06-18T01:07:02.186Z · EA · GW

Cool! Around how long after a grant has been evaluated and approved does it take before the money gets to someone? Maybe this differs depending on which country you're from and whether you're an individual or organization, but I'd be asking for individuals.

Comment by BrianTan on Forum update: New features (June 2021) · 2021-06-17T06:12:09.487Z · EA · GW

Posts created on the prior version of the Forum (pre-November 2018) awarded 10 times their visible karma.

Could you say why this was done then? Was it to encourage posting?

Comment by BrianTan on New? Start here! (Useful links) · 2021-06-15T13:11:12.910Z · EA · GW

I also think there's too much space (50px too much specifically) above "pinned posts"

Comment by BrianTan on New? Start here! (Useful links) · 2021-06-15T12:55:49.843Z · EA · GW

By the way, the play icon on the left side of this post in the homepage made me think there was a video or audio clip in this page, but it turns out there isn't. I'm assuming you're trying to convey "start" with it, but I would recommend using a different icon. I think the original pin icon that you used to use for pinned posts is good to use for this post. Just my opinion!

Comment by BrianTan on [deleted post] 2021-06-15T12:51:19.184Z

Yeah was confused by that too. Thanks for reverting it!

Comment by BrianTan on [deleted post] 2021-06-15T11:09:38.455Z

I assume this tag should be reverted to whatever its original name was?

Comment by BrianTan on What are some high-impact paths for a young person in the developing world? · 2021-06-14T08:51:57.962Z · EA · GW

I made a comment on the Reddit post just now - hope that helps!

Comment by BrianTan on Should 80,000 hours run a tiktok account? · 2021-06-12T15:04:16.123Z · EA · GW

What would they post on it? I don't think their content would be a good fit for TikTok, and they might need some person with more creative Tiktok skills to get more engagement. It would likely be better if an EA who is good at using TikTok just reference 80K from time to time.

I read on 80K's annual report that they will soon be doing "growth marketing" work, and they probably have a range of ideas on how to get more people to consume their content. I think they're already doing this by having Rob be interviewed on other popular podcasts.

I think one good idea is they could experiment more with releasing recorded videos of their podcasts, and release short, interesting videoclips of it on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Though their current marketing is generally fine too.

If they were to make a new social media account, I'd suggest Instagram first before Tiktok.

Comment by BrianTan on Shouldn't 'Effective Altruism' be capitalized? · 2021-06-12T14:46:36.761Z · EA · GW

Yeah I realize now it's capitalized probably because the article and multiple other pages are in title case rather than sentence case. I guess it's okay then to keep the article title the same.

Comment by BrianTan on Shouldn't 'Effective Altruism' be capitalized? · 2021-06-12T03:54:27.747Z · EA · GW

Thanks for writing this! I used to write it as Effective Altruism, and once I noticed that a lot of articles and people refer to it in lowercase, I switched to using that. But it wasn't that clear to me why I should be using lowercase until you wrote this.

Anyway, I just noticed now that on the effectivealtruism.org website, the navigation bar says "Introduction to Effective Altruism", and also the parts "Articles > Introduction to Effective Altruism", the title of that post, and the link to that post on the homepage, under "Reading". That is probably worth changing then to be consistent with CEA's policy.

It might also be worth it to edit the logo on that website to say "Effective altruism" or "effective altruism", for consistency. This would take a bit more work, and isn't that high priority probably, but I thought I'd suggest it.

Also, a very minor note - the website seems to switch between title case and sentence case in a few instances. Ideally it would be more consistent. I assume sentence case is better, which is what 80,000 Hours uses.

Comment by BrianTan on Which non-EA-funded organisations did well on Covid? · 2021-06-08T14:51:24.384Z · EA · GW

Could you give examples of "allies of the EA community, groups that EAs have offered non-monetary support? And what about groups that we haven't previously funded - who stood out, such that we should aim to support them in the future?"

Edit: I think I get what you mean now based on the answers others gave above!

Comment by BrianTan on Open Thread: June 2021 · 2021-06-05T05:23:58.587Z · EA · GW

Welcome Caleb!

Comment by BrianTan on EA Twitter Job Bots and more · 2021-06-04T11:17:35.502Z · EA · GW

Have you seen 80K's Airtable of their Job Board? Maybe it's possible to integrate with that and automate their new job postings onto Twitter (or scrape directly from their website)? Though that means you'll have to wait until things are listed on their Airtable or job board before you tweet it. 

Comment by BrianTan on Climate change questions for Johannes Ackva and John Halstead · 2021-06-04T09:42:26.527Z · EA · GW

Why do they find policy advocacy or technology innovation counterintuitive or off-putting?

Comment by BrianTan on EA Infrastructure Fund: Ask us anything! · 2021-06-04T09:37:37.913Z · EA · GW

I think you meant EAIF, not AWF :)

Comment by BrianTan on EA needs outsiders with a greater diversity of skills · 2021-06-03T06:47:00.650Z · EA · GW

I strongly upvoted this post, since I am a UI/UX designer myself! I also think the EA community needs more designers, and more generally we also need "outsiders" or people with backgrounds/skills not well-represented currently in the community.

Your designs look great, and I have a few comments on what you wrote:

The challenge I took on for EA Netherlands was to develop a concept that would get more people over 40 engaged in effective giving.

  1. From my understanding and opinion, people over 40 aren't that fond of web apps. Your platform and designs seem like a better fit for a younger audience, i.e. 16-30 year olds, who would spend more time on the internet. Would you agree?

Looking through my designer’s lens at the EA movement, I for example noticed shortcomings in the current methods of communication. Designers attribute great importance to the aesthetics and user-friendliness of everything that is created. When I, however, look at the ‘products’ that are created in the EA community, they often lack a certain aesthetic interaction. Most of the ‘products’ are scientific texts or data analyses. These ‘products’ are generally difficult to digest for a recipient and they spark little imagination. Through these observations, I, therefore, saw an opportunity in changing how we communicate about EA.

2. I agree quite a lot with this too. Maybe you can volunteer or be a contractor for some EA organizations to make graphics or interactive tools to make their reports more accessible and digestible.

Comment by BrianTan on Notes on Mochary's "The Great CEO Within" (2019) · 2021-05-30T13:11:29.677Z · EA · GW

Oh I just found out now that there's already an Audible audiobook for High Output Management, cool!

Comment by BrianTan on Notes on Mochary's "The Great CEO Within" (2019) · 2021-05-30T12:50:11.061Z · EA · GW

Thanks for this! I didn't expect High Output Management to come out on top - will consider reading it in the future.