Posts A tool to estimate COVID risk from common activities 2020-08-29T22:28:05.612Z
Prioritizing COVID-19 interventions & individual donations 2020-05-06T21:29:12.249Z


Comment by catherio on When to get a vaccine in the Bay Area as a young healthy person · 2021-03-16T00:54:28.770Z · EA · GW

Right. AFAICT the openings available are in Sacramento, Auburn, or other places >1 hr drive.

Comment by catherio on When to get a vaccine in the Bay Area as a young healthy person · 2021-03-14T22:34:04.216Z · EA · GW

I also want to offer an "offsets" perspective, for anyone who can access a vaccine but feels uneasy about doing so.

Namely: in classic EA fashion, I hypothesize "choose to let yourself slip further back in line" is not the most effective way to put your resources towards getting the vaccine to someone else sooner.

Let's say the cost to you of delaying your own vaccination (in mental health, lost productivity, money spent not taking public transit, whatever it may be for you) is something you value at one day of lost time.

I would much rather see you choose to get vaccinated as soon as you are able, and spend an entire day volunteering to help get underserved populations signed up for vaccine appointments counterfactually sooner.

(Perhaps phonebank with Perhaps reach out to essential workers you know personally, and offer to drive them?)

I don't have a rigorous argument here, I'm just broadly happier to see effort/resources going towards active thinking about how to accelerate distribution into the arms that need it the most, rather than that same amount of effort/resources burned on someone who could've been vaccinated and gain some freedom instead continue staying home being cranky and cooped-up and unproductive.

Comment by catherio on When to get a vaccine in the Bay Area as a young healthy person · 2021-03-14T22:25:28.899Z · EA · GW

Note that just because you are "a person in the Bay Area" doesn't mean your vaccination options are limited to "get a vaccine in the Bay Area".

You can drive to Sacramento or Auburn (where appointments are not being saturated), or fly to Phoenix and volunteer there, or other options.

Location is of course just one part of a vaccination plan (alongside "are you claiming eligibility in some group?" or "are you trying to last-dose standby?" or "are you volunteering at a vaccination site?" or other paths) but it seems highly relevant to point this out in a world where available appointments are perhaps being saturated within the Bay Area, and not elsewhere, within accessible distance.

Comment by catherio on Some preliminaries and a claim · 2021-02-25T22:09:23.897Z · EA · GW

Attempting here to respond to & engage with the request, not "this post" in any sense beyond the request itself. 

I'm feel sad that you don't want me to upvote this post. I would like to increase the number of people who have read & reflected carefully on the things you point to (even though I have not yet read all eight links), and upvoting this post seems like the easiest way for me to do that. Is there some other way I can do that?

Comment by catherio on A tool to estimate COVID risk from common activities · 2020-08-31T23:11:13.705Z · EA · GW

Just want to chime in and say

1) yes, we think that thinking about chains of onwards infections is important, and

2) we haven't done this in great detail, and

3) we would ***LOVE*** if someone wrote up an analysis of this. Issue for it:

Comment by catherio on Customized COVID-19 risk analysis as a high value area · 2020-08-29T22:29:05.407Z · EA · GW

Update: our tool is now public

Comment by catherio on Customized COVID-19 risk analysis as a high value area · 2020-07-24T18:10:13.009Z · EA · GW

Yes David, we would love to build off that risk model and include it in our group house microcovid estimates project. Knowing how to value a "microcovid" is an important step in choosing how many microcovids per year you should select as your tolerance.

Comment by catherio on Customized COVID-19 risk analysis as a high value area · 2020-07-24T02:41:39.036Z · EA · GW

(combined with other comment)

Comment by catherio on Customized COVID-19 risk analysis as a high value area · 2020-07-24T02:39:35.155Z · EA · GW

(combined with other comment)

Comment by catherio on Customized COVID-19 risk analysis as a high value area · 2020-07-24T02:31:07.258Z · EA · GW

Strong agree!

Our house has a custom model & "points system" for group houses that we are working as fast as we can to release legibly (constrained by most of us having full-time jobs etc.).

(Basically: quantifying different activities in terms of microcovids i.e. literal 1-in-a-million chance of getting COVID)

We are already spending our spare time on informal custom consults. We really don't want to be doing this as an ongoing "job" in the long run, but we really DO want the information to be out there to help people.

We would LOVE LOVE LOVE to train people in what we know, so they can run consults!

Please reach out to me (ideally on messenger, or my username if you would like to help us turn our V1 version into something scalably usable by EAs & group houses!

In the meantime, we have a stack of sources here that feed into our microcovid estimates, which you can consult:

Creating template "scenario plans" that could be used if someone gets sick, ot if infection rates rise above a certain amount in an area, etc.

Here is Ibasho's isolation protocol, with clear criteria about what counts as "sick" etc:

Writing weekly summaries of the outlook, progress on vaccines and treatments, etc. so that people are less likely to compulsively news search

We are already doing this and sharing on a messenger thread. Anywhere already existing that we could post them to be useful?

Comment by catherio on What are some good charities to donate to regarding systemic racial injustice? · 2020-06-06T09:01:48.060Z · EA · GW

Campaign Zero is getting a *lot* of criticism, e.g.

They do "sound good" because they're paying attention to "data", but personally I wouldn't feel comfortable supporting them unless you had a very good reason to think that the criticism is not legitimate.

Comment by catherio on Open Philanthropy: Our Progress in 2019 and Plans for 2020 · 2020-05-14T09:56:15.771Z · EA · GW

Hi Ryan - in terms of the Fellowship, I have a lot of thoughts about what we're trying to do, which feel better suited to "musing, with uncertainty" than "writing an internet comment", so let me know if you want to call/chat about it some time? But the short answer is I think the key pieces to keep in mind are to view the fellowship as 1) a community, not just individual scholarships handed out, and as such also 2) a multi-year project, built slowly.

Comment by catherio on Prioritizing COVID-19 interventions & individual donations · 2020-05-07T21:49:10.919Z · EA · GW

We didn't look into these specifically. We'd welcome additional research to investigate what their programs are and whether there's room for more funding!

Comment by catherio on Coronavirus Research Ideas for EAs · 2020-05-06T22:50:31.424Z · EA · GW

Thanks for this Peter. We've done some work on "6.) Are there places EAs should donate that focus on coronavirus response that are particularly promising to donate to, relative to existing charities EAs like?"


Comment by catherio on The best places to donate for COVID-19 · 2020-05-06T22:39:28.105Z · EA · GW

Thanks for the post! A donation group I'm in just published a similar analysis of our own giving:

We think Johns Hopkins CHS looks less good right now than this post suggests, and DMI is one of our recommendations.

Comment by catherio on Racial Demographics at Longtermist Organizations · 2020-05-04T22:28:58.803Z · EA · GW
Look for lessons from the Open Philanthropy AI Fellowship program. [...] There are likely aspects of its operations, including how it sources and selects candidates, that could help other organizations become more diverse.

Daniel Dewey and I run this program! Please reach out if you’re hiring for an EA org or running a fellowship program and want to bounce ideas off us. We would be delighted to chat.

I also want to clarify that the Open Phil AI Fellowship is a scholarship program for PhD students, so the students are not employees or staff.

Comment by catherio on AI safety scholarships look worth-funding (if other funding is sane) · 2019-11-26T00:38:25.921Z · EA · GW

Catherine here, I work for Open Phil on the technical AI program area. I’m not going to comment fully on our entire case for the Open Phil AI Fellows program, but I want to just address some things that seem wrong to me here:

“early-career AI safety researchers”

The OpenPhil AI PhD Fellows are mostly not early-career “AI safety” researchers. (see the fellowship description here)

The pool of AI safety-oriented PhD students across the world is a stronger cohort in total than any of these particular groups (because it includes them), and not much weaker on average.

I don’t think this would be true, even if the “it includes them” claim were true. I think you need much more evidence to justify a claim that “a larger set containing X is not much weaker on average than the set X itself”.

there are more students from top schools moving into AI safety than econ, philosophy, and GCBRs

? I think you’re claiming there are more grad-school-bound undergrads-from-top-schools, total, aspiring to be “AI safety researchers” than to be economists? This seems definitely false to me. Am I misunderstanding?

Comment by catherio on Software: Private sector to non-profits · 2019-05-21T07:24:24.069Z · EA · GW
How to tell when it's time to leave the private sector for non-profits?

Look at their job postings. Do you even plausibly fit the job postings? Do you want the job? If so, apply.

Comment by catherio on You Have Four Words · 2019-03-08T20:01:01.161Z · EA · GW

Me, I think? I recall lamenting about how the "game of telephone" implied by memetic dynamics reduces any nuanced message to about 4 or 5 words.

(In general & broadly: you're welcome to name me as an "inspired by" conversation partner without asking. If you're interested in paraphrasing my views, you can check the paraphrase with me.)

Comment by catherio on Dealing with Network Constraints (My Model of EA Careers) · 2019-03-02T00:37:55.370Z · EA · GW

Thanks for this - the concept of "network bandwidth" is a helpful way to conceive of bottlenecks that are similar to "mentorship bandwidth" but also include limited access to e.g. personal face-to-face conversations with people who are enmeshed in the oral tradition & community that comprises any direct work area.