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The Exploitation Framework - How We Accidentally Cause Harm To Others 2020-12-08T18:10:35.469Z

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Comment by ElliotJDavies on Introducing 'Playpumps Productivity System' · 2021-09-22T02:35:30.296Z · EA · GW

I recognise this is a bit tongue and cheek, but I would like to share how crazy helpful things like this can be. A few times in my life now I've used beeminder.com (something similar to what's described here) to build or crack habits.

One difference services like beeminder offer, compared to what's described here, is the daily accountability aspect, which enables (healthy) habit formation. I think the daily aspect it's nearly as important as the accountability aspect, as it very quickly becomes about protecting your "streak".

If this is one step towards building an EA habit formation program, I'm 100% on board. I could very much imagine getting EAs to follow through ideas with actions to be high impact, and worth someone's time.

Comment by ElliotJDavies on (Video) How to be a less crappy person · 2021-08-03T09:25:10.682Z · EA · GW

I would like to politely push-back on this: 

- I wonder if it's counter to productive to talk about "one minute in" considering this may be received by OP as reactive, impatient and the like. I like to think EA values patience, and appreciates complexity which "one minute in" may not fully capture. This makes an EA watching carefully made EA content sound a bit like Simon Cowell. Which is ironic, because most of us do not have the skills to video edit or script write. 

- Discussing how well this will motivate change, I think you may be undervaluing humor, scale and the value derived from targeting new people 

- Lastly, I may be alone here, but I am concerned with EA community becoming a little too quickly bound to norms and rules. I would be afraid we could quickly become a dogmatic and siloed group. I would argue the approach in the video above is unique/diverse in the community, and that there is strong value in that 

With the above being said, I would be also concerned about the possibly drawbacks of strong, argumentative tones - which can quickly become all consuming, from what I have seen in the past. 

 

Comment by ElliotJDavies on A Twitter bot that tweets high impact jobs · 2021-07-26T17:06:45.706Z · EA · GW

Great Idea! 

Comment by ElliotJDavies on EA Creatives and Communicators Slack · 2021-07-23T18:36:29.173Z · EA · GW

Wow you guys are pretty huge no? Would be interested to hear how you are thinking of going about the process of becoming more EA-aligned. 

Comment by ElliotJDavies on [Podcast] EA Forum Podcast: Narration of "How much does performance differ between people?" · 2021-07-07T09:21:55.796Z · EA · GW

Hey, I think this  is a great idea and certainly providing great value! I have added to my feed 

Comment by ElliotJDavies on [Podcast] Suggest a question for Ben Todd · 2021-07-07T09:00:58.612Z · EA · GW

Hi Luca, thanks for presenting this opportunity. A question about career choices:
 

I currently live in Denmark and am an active member of EA Denmark. One thing that strikes me is that many of our most committed members go off to other countries, particularly the UK or US to make an EA career. Is this a sensible decision in terms of impact? 

My thinking is, although matchmaking possibilities are better in a bigger country (i.e. not many cultured meat companies in DK). Much of what pushes people to move abroad might be "bigger country = bigger impact",  without considering that there is  (in a best case scenario) a  linear scaling of competition for said impact. In short, that it may be better to be a "big fish in a small pond". Especially in small Scandinavian countries that have more functional politics than the UK & US, and lots of other benefits in the same line. 

Comment by ElliotJDavies on Update on the 0.7% (£4bn for the poor) · 2020-12-21T08:52:09.241Z · EA · GW

Hej Sanjay, 

Thanks for your work on this. I saw your last post and emailed my MP, who has so far written back with the "party line". 

I have concerns about your approach. I feel like you are attempting to use specific strategies geared for efficiency on neglected topics, which are less applicable to competitive fields. 

When looking at a neglected fields, we are gifted with the ability to  use scalable and linear thinking effectively. Much of the world does not have mosquito nets? Well, we can just make mosquito nets, lots of them, for cheap. - Scalable and linear. Empirical studies  fit onto this well, because it is big and clunky. Empiricism requires control and large amounts of time. It is not very good at assessing things on small scale and where variables are shifting and changing. 

When working competitively,  linear and scalable thinking are less helpful. Though not to say they don't help at all. Competitive thinking needs to be iterative and dynamic. Feedback is faster, and harder to assess empirically. Strategies cannot be too linear,  as a competitive opponent  will quickly learn what you are doing. 

Politics seems to be a competitive field to me. There are voices with opposing viewpoints trying to push forward. 

I have probably been inspired to write this by the concept book "the the third door". The metaphor given is that there are three doors into a nightclub. Standing in a long line; Getting in the VIP cue; or trying to sneak around the back, making friends with the bar staff and sneaking in. Although the author breaks his own rules many times in the book, relying on persistence and status quite a lot. I think a strong argument is made for iterative and speculative strategies. In thinking this way, you can potentially be so distinct you separate yourself from the competition. 

Novel and distinct thinking is cognitively demanding, as I am sure you found out when coming up with the current strategy. It is much easier  to copy, but also less effective. So there's a huge balancing act between dynamism, hedging your bets, mimicry, new thinking, persistence, nepotism, scaling and using our competitive advantage. 

To bring it home, on the strategy of sending off emails. I have concerns that it's scalability which is it's main advantage could also be it's weakness. Not to say I am against it, but it should be hedged and balanced with many other strategies. Rather than a sole strategy scaled to diminishing returns. 

Just to tack onto the end, another strategy to be effective is to break the rules. It's a competitive advantage for obvious reasons. Unwritten/Unspoken rules are the best, as often the consequences are inconsistent and thin. If my viewpoint is worthwhile, would I email you to double the chances at it getting seen?  At risk is minor embarrassment at looking too keen. - How to should we weigh these? 

I will have a thinking about some strategies, but to serve as an example: 

  • Could you get some influential peoples phone number? 
  •  Could you get in contact with the  opposition party? 
  • Could you get in contact with journalists? 
  • How much would it cost to make a get someone on fiverr to make a video? Could you get this shared on  some big facebook groups? 
  • Could you come up with some sort of meme-able expression or idea which reflects badly upon the conservatives? 
  • Could you link the foreign aid to any recent issues, e.g. the recent mutant of tier 5 lockdown? 
Comment by ElliotJDavies on Update on the 0.7% (£4bn for the poor) · 2020-12-21T08:51:25.770Z · EA · GW

Hej Sanjay, 

Thanks for your work on this. I saw your last post and emailed my MP, who has so far written back with the "party line". 

Some thoughts I have on the strategy. 

When looking at a neglected fields, we are gifted with the ability to  use scalable and linear thinking effectively. Much of the world does not have mosquito nets? Well, we can just make mosquito nets, lots of them, for cheap. - Scalable and linear. Empirical studies  fit onto this well, because it is big and clunky. Empiricism requires control and large amounts of time. It is not very good at assessing things on small scale and where variables are shifting and changing. 

When working competitively,  linear and scalable thinking are less helpful. Though not to say they don't help at all. Competitive thinking needs to be iterative and dynamic. Feedback is faster, and harder to assess empirically. Strategies cannot be too linear,  as a competitive opponent  will quickly learn what you are doing. 

Politics seems to be a competitive field to me. There are voices with opposing viewpoints trying to push forward. 

I have probably been inspired to write this by the concept book "the third door". The metaphor given is that there are three doors into a nightclub. Standing in a long line; Getting in the VIP queue; or trying to sneak around the back, making friends with the bar staff and sneaking in. Although the author breaks his own rules many times in the book, relying on persistence and status quite a lot. I think a strong argument is made for iterative and speculative strategies. In thinking this way, you can potentially be so distinct you separate yourself from the competition. 

Novel and distinct thinking is cognitively demanding, as I am sure you found out when coming up with the current strategy. It is much easier  to copy, but also less effective. So there's a huge balancing act between dynamism, hedging your bets, mimicry, new thinking, persistence, nepotism, scaling and using our competitive advantage. 

To bring it home, on the strategy of sending emails. I have concerns that it's scalability which is it's main advantage could also be it's weakness. Not to say I am against it, but it should be hedged and balanced with many other strategies. Rather than a sole strategy scaled to diminishing returns. 

Just to tack onto the end, another strategy to be effective is to break the rules. It's a competitive advantage for obvious reasons. Unwritten/Unspoken rules are the best, as often the consequences are inconsistent and thin. If my viewpoint is worthwhile, would I email you to double the chances at it getting seen?  At risk is minor embarrassment at looking too keen. - How to should we weigh these? 

I will have a thinking about some strategies, but to serve as an example: 

  • Could you get some influential peoples phone number?
  • Could you get in contact with the  opposition party?
  • Could you get in contact with journalists?
  • How much would it cost to make a get someone on fiverr to make a video? Could you get this shared on  some big facebook groups?
  • Could you come up with some sort of meme-able expression or idea which reflects badly upon the conservatives?
  • Could you link the foreign aid to any recent issues, e.g. the recent mutant of tier 5 lockdown?
  • Is there anybody who is influential but out of the spotlight? Could they be persuaded by favorable arguments? 
Comment by ElliotJDavies on Evidence on correlation between making less than parents and welfare/happiness? · 2020-10-12T20:26:10.756Z · EA · GW

Nice answer 😁

Comment by ElliotJDavies on Evidence on correlation between making less than parents and welfare/happiness? · 2020-10-12T20:24:07.159Z · EA · GW

My understanding was that life satisfaction (and happiness) was linked to how well we have achieved compared to peers. So it could be reasonable to suffer from doing worse than your family or other peers.

I should say I'm not sure how rigorous the research is on this though.

Comment by ElliotJDavies on Introducing LEEP: Lead Exposure Elimination Project · 2020-10-09T19:47:19.975Z · EA · GW

In super simple terms, how does lobbying work for one of these countries? Is it as simple as getting the phone with a local politician and going from there?

Comment by ElliotJDavies on If you like a post, tell the author! · 2020-10-09T19:21:44.011Z · EA · GW

Also on this, how to we get engagement from people who are not in general well read? (Such as me truly)

Comment by ElliotJDavies on If you like a post, tell the author! · 2020-10-09T19:20:26.118Z · EA · GW

Yeah exactly, that's how facebook/twitter/reddit works, positive feedback