Posts

Meetup : Netherlands: meta-meetup (strategy EA Netherlands) 2015-12-14T19:46:47.202Z · score: 1 (1 votes)
Meetup : Netherlands: high-impact careers 2015-12-14T19:38:02.016Z · score: 0 (0 votes)
Meetup : Small actions, big impact (part 2) 2015-03-30T16:44:21.146Z · score: 0 (0 votes)
Meetup : Effective Altruism for the masses 2015-02-02T18:53:42.679Z · score: 0 (0 votes)
Meetup : Small concrete actions you could take 2015-02-02T18:51:53.783Z · score: 0 (0 votes)
Meetup : Present the charity you'd like to give to 2015-02-02T18:51:18.741Z · score: 1 (1 votes)
Meetup : Utrecht: Cancelled 2015-02-02T18:22:37.768Z · score: 0 (0 votes)
Meetup : How to live on a low budget 2015-01-19T19:07:01.673Z · score: 0 (0 votes)
Meetup : A critique of effective altruism 2015-01-09T20:10:56.333Z · score: 0 (0 votes)
Meetup : Utrecht: a critique of effective altruism 2014-11-22T07:22:31.224Z · score: 0 (0 votes)
Meetup : Utrecht 2014-11-22T07:21:18.725Z · score: 0 (0 votes)
Meetup : Utrecht: Game Theory 2014-11-22T07:19:48.530Z · score: 0 (0 votes)
Meetup : Utrecht: Rationality Games 2014-11-09T15:16:45.883Z · score: 0 (0 votes)
Meetup : Game Theory: People Respond to Incentives... How? 2014-11-09T15:09:53.523Z · score: 0 (0 votes)
Meetup : Utrecht: Climate Change 2014-09-23T17:06:46.177Z · score: 0 (0 votes)
Meetup : Utrecht: Artificial Intelligence 2014-09-23T17:03:30.891Z · score: 0 (0 votes)
Meetup : Meetup : Utrecht: Effective Altruism and Politics 2014-09-23T17:01:56.958Z · score: 0 (0 votes)
Meetup : Debiasing Techniques 2014-09-11T17:10:49.579Z · score: 1 (1 votes)

Comments

Comment by immasix on How have you become more (or less) engaged with EA in the last year? · 2020-09-12T18:50:52.493Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Question for my understanding: what is your current job?

Comment by immasix on AMA: Tobias Baumann, Center for Reducing Suffering · 2020-09-06T15:23:45.438Z · score: 12 (6 votes) · EA · GW

How could individual donors best help in reducing suffering and S-risk? How should longtermist suffering-focussed donors approach donating differently than general longermist donors?

Comment by immasix on AMA: Tobias Baumann, Center for Reducing Suffering · 2020-09-06T15:14:37.488Z · score: 8 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Strong-upvoted this question. Follow-up question: what kind of research could resolve any factual disagreements?

Comment by immasix on Where are you donating this year and why – in 2019? Open thread for discussion. · 2019-12-15T08:47:23.537Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Sounds like a plan. Congratulations with doing your first donations!

How do you prioritize between the 5 charities that you mentioned?

Comment by immasix on Where are you donating this year and why – in 2019? Open thread for discussion. · 2019-12-15T08:41:08.903Z · score: 11 (8 votes) · EA · GW

Related: GiveWell's staff personal donations

I strong upvoted the post because I'm really happy to see a discussion about donating - this is an important and actionable topic.

Comment by immasix on What are people's objections to earning-to-give? · 2019-04-14T07:17:31.751Z · score: 14 (5 votes) · EA · GW

This post gives an excellent description of some challenges of earning to give:

https://80000hours.org/2015/06/why-i-stopped-earning-to-give/

This post is from 2015, but I think the reasoning is still valid. The author stopped earning to give because he 1) performs better working for a cause he believes is important than for the business he used to work for, 2) does not see excellent giving opportunities and could have more impact by doing something else, 3) had different values than his colleagues.

I sort-of earn to give myself and have similar challenges, but I can overcome them and enjoy being with my colleagues even if their values aren't exactly the same - there are always work-related or everyday life topics we can exchange about. I don't agree that there is a lack of giving opportunities, in 2015 it might have been true. Nowadays more charities and cause areas have been evaluated and there are the EA Funds.

[edited to add a little more nuance]

Comment by immasix on What are the easiest highly positive and effective things that people can do? · 2019-02-03T05:56:08.182Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

See also here for more suggestions: https://www.effectivealtruism.org/get-involved/

I don't think that anyone knows a clear right answer to your question (at least, I don't). What is 'easiest', I guess, depends on your personal situation. If you have enough money, donating is probably the easiest start. If you are early in your career, maybe read up on 80.000 hours.

Comment by immasix on What’s the Use In Physics? · 2019-01-01T06:23:16.533Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

[epistemic status: anecdotical] on not doing physics

If you want to build a resume in a non-physics direction, as Christopher suggests, and you are early in your career, don't wait too long to explore alternatives. I personally made a mistake by not exploring alternative options enough before I finished my master's degree (in Europe).

Comment by immasix on What’s the Use In Physics? · 2019-01-01T06:02:23.763Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · EA · GW

A possible note of caution for applied physics research or technology development in industry: you might want to take into account differential technological progress: develop safety first, before developing more powerful technologies (such as creating faster hardware). I assume that it depends much on your research field whether you should be concerned about differential technological progress. Does anyone have more thoughts about this?

Comment by immasix on Some Organisational Changes at the Centre for Effective Altruism · 2016-07-24T11:19:10.065Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

We think that policy is an important area for effective altruism to develop into, and we feel we have had some significant success within policy so far. Recent developments in British politics mean that our plans regarding our policy work are currently in flux; depending on how this plays out, we could do considerably more or considerably less policy work.

What are the uncertainties involved? What sort of events would lead you to do considerably more policy work? What sort of events would lead you to do considerably less policy work? Can you say anything about that?

Comment by immasix on The Effective Altruism Newsletter & Open Thread – May 2016 · 2016-06-19T05:39:32.411Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

Getting tax-deduction in the Netherlands for donations to international EA charities is not straightforward. I've done some research made a write-up to explain how it works.

Summary: Some charities have a tax-deductible status (ANBI) in the Netherlands. If not, you can use Transnational Giving Europe or make a donation to Effective Altruism Foundation in Switzerland marked for regrant.

Full write-up (Dutch)

(Hasty) translation

Comment by immasix on Philosophical Critiques of Effective Altruism by Prof Jeff McMahan · 2016-05-05T18:37:09.738Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Mentioning the criticism by developmental economists on the EA's mainstream approach on poverty, however, triggers me to learn more.

Comment by immasix on Updates from Giving What We Can · 2015-12-06T12:01:32.141Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

GWWC would like to focus on the later stages of the membership pathway, like long-term involvement. What does GWWC do for people who have been a member for a long time? What is the relative importance of that, compared to involving potential members and new members? Is losing members a significant risk?

Comment by immasix on Updates from Giving What We Can · 2015-12-06T11:52:58.969Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

Could you elaborate a bit more about GWWC's comparative advantage in research? What is GWWC in a good position to do, and what could better be done by e.g. GiveWell or academic research?

Comment by immasix on Burnout and self-care · 2015-10-23T20:14:26.070Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I see deciding wisely about the unavoidable trade-offs between self-care and altruism as a skill that a person could build over the course of years. It is okay to feel a bit of stress or tension sometimes. It is okay to make a mistake sometimes too. (I made mistakes in both directions.)

Keeping a separate donation budget, and keeping track of my spendings, helped me a lot. I should maybe start something similar for volunteering time and mental energy. Any ideas?

Comment by immasix on How to get more EAs to connect in person and share expertise? · 2015-08-20T20:16:54.964Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Another factor is that the less connected people are often shy about reaching out to the busy, high-performing EAs they don’t personally know.

Most of the discussion here has been about the facilities, mostly online like EAhub, skillshare, LWSH, EASH, buddy systems, hangout events, and meetups. Even when the facilities are excellent, user-friendlly and findable, people might be too shy to actually ask.

Overcoming shyness is something different from creating tools, and probably more difficult. What could we do about that?

Some ideas (it would be great if you came up with something better):

  • explicitly claiming that requests for help are welcome

  • example stories of how individuals got connected and benefited from the connection

  • possibility for anonymous questions

Some of them are already implemented to some extent.

Comment by immasix on How to get more EAs to connect in person and share expertise? · 2015-08-19T18:30:05.438Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Small idea: a second regular Hangout workathon at a time that is more friendly for European or Asian timezones.

Somewhat bigger: organize an EA-coworking weekend. People from different countries/cities come to together for a few days in a central place to on EA related or personal projects, for example finding out the destination of your next donation. This would require people to travel, but it might be worth it. I won't have the resources to organize it myself in the next few months, but feel free to take over the idea.

Even bigger: organize more weekend camps. GBS Switzerland organized a few summer and winter camps in Switzerland, and there is the LessWrong community weekend. At the latter, a lot of people from outside hubs attended.

Comment by immasix on How to get more EAs to connect in person and share expertise? · 2015-08-19T17:45:02.810Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

The possibility exists, but how many people have ever done this in practise?

Irrespective of how many other people do it (please don't worry about that too much), I would encourage everyone to overcome their shyness and actually ask for help, information or social support by whatever medium. Personally, I felt delighted when someone sent me a question. Even though I am quite busy, responding was probably well worth my time.

Comment by immasix on How to get more EAs to connect in person and share expertise? · 2015-08-19T17:39:37.677Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I'm afraid you are right.

If no other EAs live near you, you might consider to travel and couch surf in EA hubs. I've done this a few times in the UK, Switzerland and Berlin, and people were surprisingly welcoming.

Unfortunately I cannot reciprocate, because I live in a very EA-low area and will stay there in the future.

Comment by immasix on Tech job Q&A · 2015-03-27T16:22:39.759Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

A lot of discussion is about web development, and most bootcamps focus on that. What other fields are particularly interesting? Most job descriptions I find are not about web development and data science. How much does the European job market differ from the US?

Comment by immasix on Tech job Q&A · 2015-03-27T16:15:24.892Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

What is in your company the difference between data science and 'engineering'?

Comment by immasix on Tech job Q&A · 2015-03-27T16:08:14.509Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

A concern mentioned on 8000hours.org is a possible oversupply due to bootcamps. MOOCs might also contribute to this - you can learn programming anywhere without formal education. To what extent is this true?

Comment by immasix on Non-English language effective altruism (including a list of venues) · 2015-03-23T20:33:54.187Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

Good point. And North European countries are relatively rich, have a happy population, and a language related to English (English is relatively easy to learn). (warning: correlation, not necessarily causation).

Comment by immasix on Non-English language effective altruism (including a list of venues) · 2015-03-23T20:29:06.250Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I think the value of non-English EA groups is not their language, but mostly their location. In-person social support and discussion is not replaceable by any type of online communication even using the most modern technology.

It is worth noting that widely discussed EA actions and choices often have to be 'translated' to the job market and education system of the specific countries.

Comment by immasix on What small things can an EA do? · 2015-03-22T07:43:44.160Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Can anyone think of small actions you can take to improve a specific skill? I am mostly looking for something concrete that you can do in one afternoon or less.

Examples:

Comment by immasix on March Open Thread · 2015-03-15T06:45:39.408Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

For those who are reading along, Ryan is referring to this. I mention CFAR as an example. There might be (identifiable) better giving opportunities somewhere in the world.

Comment by immasix on March Open Thread · 2015-03-14T20:37:17.093Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

A thought about the question whether to donate now or later: why would I invest money in myself or my own career, if the expected return on an investment in someone else is greater?

Total (altruistic) human potential might increase more if I donate to SCI which indirectly improves the education of many people, or to CFAR to pay for someone else's workshop rather than go to the workshop myself.

How and why could this thought be wrong ( or right?)

Comment by immasix on How I organise a growing effective altruism group in a big city in less than 30 minutes a month. · 2015-02-11T20:59:14.943Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

I have a similar experience for EA in the Netherlands. My post may sound somewhat negative, but I decided to continue writing it to reduce possible bias towards success stories.

We are a very small meetup group, and the most frequent attendees do not even live in the same city - the density of people interested in EA is very low. We meet near the train station in Utrecht, which is a city in the centre of the country. Convincing people from your local network to a meetup in another city is difficult (I managed twice). The large travel cost, low popularity of donating money and unfamiliarity with EA are big thresholds for potential attendees.

I always have great time during the meetups and met really awesome people, got a lot of new insights, and some people reported the social support has been useful.

Mental energy cost is significant for me too. I don't see this as something really bad.

My rough guess is that in a city where very few people are already interested in EA, organizing a meetup is probably not worth it (depending on how much you value your time). EA Netherlands falls below this threshold, although we decided to keep going. Alternative EA or LW events do not exist at reasonable travel distance. The nearest are Frankfurt for EA and Brussels for LW.

Comment by immasix on January Open Thread · 2015-01-19T18:43:51.175Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Does anyone know (from experience) good articles/books on not-necessarily-AI technology risks or non-AI technology risk?

Is "Global Catastrophic Risks" by Bostrom worth reading in this context? It's from 2008; my concern is that it might be outdated.

Comment by immasix on Meetup : Utrecht: Rationality Games · 2014-12-03T17:52:03.724Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

Sorry, the date was wrong. It is 14 December, not 7 December.

Comment by immasix on Open Thread 4 · 2014-11-06T19:11:39.749Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

There is a lot of discussion about what to DO in the context of EA. But for everything I do, there is something else that I don't.

What have you decided NOT to do, because it has a (somewhat) lower priority than other things?

Things that I downprioritized:

  • some recreational activities: playing the guitar, cooking, baking cakes, reading novels.

  • I quit volunteering in an online education project. It was low time cost anyway.

  • meditating (would that increase productivity more than the time spent on it? I don't really care about the other benefits.)

  • keep an EA blog, because there are already good ones. My comparative advantage would be to write in Dutch to a local public, but that's a small group of people who can easily read English.

Comment by immasix on Open Thread 4 · 2014-11-06T18:05:34.409Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

You might want to ask local group organisers to distribute the survey among their members.

Comment by immasix on What small things can an EA do? · 2014-10-08T17:03:07.987Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

This could lead to good habits, but it might also make you focus on details rather than the big picture. Thinking EA too much can be exhausting, make you feel more guilty than necessary or you could become estranged from the people you meet in everyday life.

On the thoughts you sum up, you might add:

  • Is the small mistake I made today really bad?
  • Is this small thing a good step in the way to a greater goal?

For example, I always forgive myself if I happen to spend a few dollars more in the supermarket than absolutely necessary in order to eat healthy, and I there are a lot of bigger mistakes I should forgive myself as well. It's more important to spend enough time on my career and donation strategy.

Comment by immasix on To Inspire People to Give, Be Public About Your Giving · 2014-09-20T19:47:32.456Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

To what extent would people turn off if I told them that I give an amount that is unreasonable in their point of view? Or that I sometimes choose to deny myself something because I think I can do much more good to people far away. Making priorities that are not optimal for your own happy and comfortable lifestyle seems to be socially undesirable even if the people near to you don't suffer from it. E.g. I tell I give $x per month, which they would not expect from any sensible person with a modest income and would definitely not see themselves doing. Would it be better if I did not mention any number?

Comment by immasix on To Inspire People to Give, Be Public About Your Giving · 2014-09-20T19:00:03.903Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Evan, I feel the same shyness about my giving behaviour. Ironically, is the social standard of being open about giving within the EA community that helps to overcome this.