Posts

Khorton's Shortform 2019-08-17T12:02:26.342Z · score: 8 (2 votes)
Why do EA events attract more men than women? Focus group data 2019-05-18T13:29:24.187Z · score: 75 (40 votes)
What skills would you like 1-5 EAs to develop? 2019-03-01T11:01:11.654Z · score: 39 (26 votes)
Are men more likely to attend EA London events? Attendance data, 2016-2018. 2018-08-09T15:51:29.187Z · score: 36 (34 votes)
Effective Volunteering 2018-01-24T16:09:11.731Z · score: 17 (14 votes)

Comments

Comment by khorton on CEA Mid-year update (2020) · 2020-08-11T11:05:44.516Z · score: 16 (7 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for the update. Glad to see things are becoming more stable.

Comment by khorton on What questions would you like to see forecasts on from the Metaculus community? · 2020-08-11T08:04:55.826Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I agree this would be a genuine problem. I think it would be a little less of a problem if the question being forecasted wasn't about the EA communities beliefs but instead something about the state of AI/climate change/pandemics themselves

Comment by khorton on The 80,000 Hours job board is the skeleton of effective altruism stripped of all misleading ideologies · 2020-08-07T21:14:25.872Z · score: 14 (5 votes) · EA · GW

I am curious about your disagreement with 80k on what types of jobs EAs should look for, if you ever want to get into it

Comment by khorton on vaidehi_agarwalla's Shortform · 2020-08-05T19:39:50.866Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

In the UK could you access application numbers with a Freedom of Information request?

Comment by khorton on Replaceability Concerns and Possible Responses · 2020-08-04T15:26:40.521Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I think most x-risk organisations aren't explicitly EA, right? Like if you're interested in AI, you might work at OpenAI or DeepMind; nuclear safety you might work in the International Nuclear Safety Group; bioweapons you might work at the Implementation Support Unit for the Bioweapons Convention at the UN.

We could certainly use a lot more EA x-risk people in governmental and intergovernmental bodies (easily a thousand), as well as some in think tanks and academia.

I don't know much about cause prioritisation; I thought that a lot of them were in academia. I agree that EA movement building by definition will only involve working for and with EAs!

Comment by khorton on EA Forum feature suggestion thread · 2020-08-03T08:15:28.117Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Amazing!

Comment by khorton on Replaceability Concerns and Possible Responses · 2020-08-03T08:14:57.928Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I think organisations labelled 'Effective Altruist' are more prestigious amongst our friends. People like to work places that are widely recognised and hard to get in to, don't they? I'm not sure how many applicants these other organisations receive, though.

Comment by khorton on Replaceability Concerns and Possible Responses · 2020-08-02T20:20:34.208Z · score: 7 (6 votes) · EA · GW

One thing you don't mention in your article are the many existing organisations that aren't labelled as "Effective Altruist" but could take thousands of talented new staff each year.

International development charities, governments around the world, academia, information security organisations, specialising in improving relations between the West and countries with newly powerful economies... there are a lot of places where people can make a difference!

Comment by khorton on Are we neglecting education? Philosophy in schools as a longtermist area · 2020-08-02T13:26:28.911Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Jack, it sounds like what you really want is for children to be introduced to the case for utilitarianism at an earlier age. You're interested in children building other skills through P4C, especially critical thinking, but if you found out that children learned more critical thinking through a specific class that focused just on critical thinking and didn't talk about philosophy, you might still prefer P4C. Is that a fair characterization?

Comment by khorton on Are we neglecting education? Philosophy in schools as a longtermist area · 2020-08-01T12:51:33.488Z · score: 16 (6 votes) · EA · GW

"Overall it seems clear that children benefit from the teaching of philosophy, with the strongest evidence so far in the area of reasoning ability."

I like P4C and I've seen quite a few schools use it well, but my impression of the education literature is that children benefit from the majority of interventions, because teachers or practitioners tend to put more effort and enthusiasm into these programmes while they're being studied. How can you tell that P4C is better for children's reasoning skills and/or moral development than another intervention (for example, spending an extra hour a week on religious education)?

Comment by khorton on EA Forum update: New editor! (And more) · 2020-07-31T14:24:23.929Z · score: 25 (11 votes) · EA · GW

Yes, long live the Zuckerberg fanfic!

Comment by khorton on What is a good answer for people new to EA that request advice on volunteering? · 2020-07-29T16:06:38.538Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I'll be a bit forward and recommend my own article on volunteering: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/ScLHyCY6JCr5FtuiY/effective-volunteering

It doesn't tell you where to volunteer, but it does walk you through some useful considerations when you're deciding what volunteer opportunities to take on.

Comment by khorton on Should we think more about EA dating? · 2020-07-27T14:22:01.824Z · score: 13 (8 votes) · EA · GW

Yes. Basically the answer to "Should EAs date each other?" is "If they feel like it", but they answer to "Should we think more about EAs dating each other?" is "No".

Comment by khorton on Should we think more about EA dating? · 2020-07-26T16:34:23.712Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

My point about the girlfriend in a different country is that the majority of EAs don't live in your city, so if you decided to use an online dating service you'd be disproportionately likely to meet someone who lives a plane ride away.

Comment by khorton on Should we think more about EA dating? · 2020-07-26T08:59:33.911Z · score: 25 (16 votes) · EA · GW

I thought that's why a recent EA Global theme was "Stay Curious" ;)

Comment by khorton on Should we think more about EA dating? · 2020-07-26T08:58:04.851Z · score: 8 (5 votes) · EA · GW

I see the underlying idea here that everyone involved in EA is a "frugal vegan". I haven't been able to find any data, but my impression is that less than half of people involved in EA are vegan.

Similarly, you talk about not wanting to compromise on your spending habits, but the job you do and where you live probably make more of an impact than whether or not you eat cheese or go on holiday. If you meet someone at EA Global and end up taking foreign holidays to visit them in their country or moving to be with them, how is that more "right" than taking your non-EA girlfriend on a holiday?

All this to say that whether or not your girlfriend is an "Effective Altruist", you'll need to respect her beliefs and preferences and make some major compromises to have a healthy relationship.

Comment by khorton on Mustreader's Shortform · 2020-07-23T00:20:09.287Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Seconded!

Comment by khorton on Should local EA groups support political causes? · 2020-07-21T23:06:58.395Z · score: 29 (14 votes) · EA · GW

Others may disagree, but here's my take:

University is a great time to learn about politics and political activism. You can make a difference and learn useful skills by getting involved in campus activism. One of those skills is deciding which causes to get involved with.

If I ran a campus EA group, I'd probably encourage members to get involved in other campus activities (including political activism) but remain neutral* as a group. This not only makes the group more welcoming to a wide variety of people, but it also encourages people to think through different political causes for themselves rather than deferring their decision to what "EA leaders" think.

*To some extent everything is political. I would not be neutral about preventing bullying and harassment at EA meetups or things like that - I'm talking about remaining neural about controversial party political topics here.

Comment by khorton on A Step-by-Step Guide to Running Independent Projects · 2020-07-15T22:53:14.980Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Useful, practical and well-written. Thanks Vaidehi!

Comment by khorton on Objections to Value-Alignment between Effective Altruists · 2020-07-15T22:00:34.397Z · score: 14 (12 votes) · EA · GW

I enjoyed reading about this central premise: "EA members gesture at moral uncertainty as if all worldviews are considered equal under their watch, but in fact the survey data reveals cognitive homogeneity."

I strongly agree with concerns about EAs rarely seeking expert evaluations or any evaluations from outside the community. I also somewhat agree with concerns about confusing effectiveness with efficiency, although I've seen this discussed elsewhere. I'm on board with defining value alignment - I'm concerned this is a back door for just hiring whoever reminds the hiring manager of themselves and I don't think that's a great way to hire. I'm not super optimistic about asking people to talk differently about epistemic humility, but I agree it would be good.

I'd like to see more work on this. I suspect the people adding the most value to this area are the people who are just quietly a part of multiple communities - people who are academics or Quakers or another group and also EA. But it would nice to see it highlighted.

Comment by khorton on New member--essential reading and unwritten rules? · 2020-07-13T16:35:33.261Z · score: 9 (6 votes) · EA · GW

I agree! This was a very charming post and I smiled a lot as I read it.

Comment by khorton on Mati_Roy's Shortform · 2020-07-10T15:46:41.636Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I assume you don't have a problem with it when people are making the claim specifically about EA, as opposed to the wider world?

Like if I said "Building teams that come from a variety of relevant backgrounds and diverse demographics is neglected in EA", even if you disagreed with the statement, you probably wouldn't mind the "neglected in EA" part?

Although I agree that "neglected in EA" often leads to lazy writing... I think the argument above could be phrased a lot more clearly.

Comment by khorton on Concern, and hope · 2020-07-09T08:03:59.953Z · score: 9 (10 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks Habryka. In that case, I take it back - witch hunts are a better analogy than the cultural revolution.

EDIT: I also prefer any analogy which emphasizes continuity. I don't think people being "cancelled" this week face particularly different circumstances than Monica Lewinsky; I dislike analogies that suggest there's been a sudden change in how American society behaves.

Comment by khorton on Concern, and hope · 2020-07-09T07:54:51.142Z · score: 12 (6 votes) · EA · GW

I basically think the cultural revolution, witch hunts, and people being denounced as heretics are all equally good (and equally bad) comparisons. All three are examples of top-down, peer-enforced violence against an outgroup who can be accused for no reason.

The main differences I see here are that this doesn't seem really top down (neither the Republican party nor the church seem fond of cancel culture) and this has more to do with reputation/livelihood than physical harm. (I have more thoughts about why they're different but I'm self-censoring to be more convincing and because people are mean to me on the EA Forum e.g. when I suggest sexism exists in America.)

I suspect there are many other historical examples of people demonizing the outgroup as well.

Comment by khorton on Call for feedback and input on longterm policy book proposal · 2020-07-07T20:59:36.319Z · score: 17 (6 votes) · EA · GW

Yeah I was really surprised by this as well. As someone who already works in policy, I would be disappointed to pick up a book about long-termist policy making and find out that it's just explaining how my job works!

Even chapter 5 doesn't seem very clearly focused on long-termist policy rather than policy generally from this table of contents, but I'm probably not understanding the nuances.

Comment by khorton on Concern, and hope · 2020-07-06T08:53:23.360Z · score: 16 (9 votes) · EA · GW

Yes, I've spoken in depth with one. I don't believe he shouldn't be able to make the comparison, but we agreed the comparison has no predictive power and is one of many comparisons that could be made (eg you could probably just as easily compare the current situation to witch hunts which is a more common analogy in Western circles).

We also agreed there are dissimilarities (eg in this situation in America there's no state backing of anyone being targeted; in fact, social justice protestors are much more likely to be injured or killed by the state than the people they oppose)

Comment by khorton on Concern, and hope · 2020-07-05T20:20:51.277Z · score: 26 (25 votes) · EA · GW

I agree that comparisons to the Cultural Revolution are bad. As someone with family members who were alive during the Chinese Cultural Revolution (one of whom died because of it), I'm pretty unsympathetic to people saying cancel culture is the new cultural revolution.

Comment by khorton on Resources to learn how to do research · 2020-07-04T16:24:12.894Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I would generally encourage you to consider what discipline(s) you expect to be researching within (are you going to be doing AI research? historical research? economic research?) and learn from the research methods that are common for researchers in that field.

Comment by khorton on A quick and crude comparison of epidemiological expert forecasts versus Metaculus forecasts for COVID-19 · 2020-07-02T19:48:47.834Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · EA · GW

It's worth noting that epidemiologists can do modelling of disease given particular assumptions or policy choices, but they do not make a career out of predicting policies, which is a lot of what this question is about.

Comment by khorton on Study results: The most convincing argument for effective donations · 2020-06-30T08:07:15.283Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Ah sorry, I had heard about the competition from others, heard the quality of writing varied significantly, and so assumed that it wasn't really a study. My bad!

Comment by khorton on Study results: The most convincing argument for effective donations · 2020-06-29T21:28:26.936Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · EA · GW

I would suggest editing the title to "contest results" because this isn't testing a theory with controls in the way a "study" would, but I am known for being a bit of a pedant.

Comment by khorton on EA is risk-constrained · 2020-06-29T09:24:16.663Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Yep, I'd be on board with providing specific people with funding to work on whatever projects they find most valuable. But I'd only be likely to provide that to ~10 people and see what happens, as opposed to what I felt this article was suggesting.

Comment by khorton on EA Forum feature suggestion thread · 2020-06-28T22:38:51.964Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Yeah, I really dislike that I can't delete comments.

Comment by khorton on EA is risk-constrained · 2020-06-28T22:24:36.820Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Yes, to be clear, I'm arguing that we should have a robust funding ecosystem. I am opposed to "UBI for EAs"

Comment by khorton on Making discussions in EA groups inclusive · 2020-06-26T08:11:24.817Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

That's a good point. What kind of strategies do you think we should adopt?

Comment by khorton on EA is risk-constrained · 2020-06-25T13:09:12.659Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I agree. And I think "willing to support" should normally include enough money for a bit of savings, both for an emergency fund and your pension.

Comment by khorton on EA is risk-constrained · 2020-06-25T11:48:26.419Z · score: 9 (7 votes) · EA · GW

I would not contribute to insurance for the average EA. I would prefer for the average EA to save a bit of money ("runway") in advance of making a risky decision.

In particular, I have seen quite a few EAs who have decided not take on any paid work for 1+ years after university and I don't want to financially support them unless they're doing something genuinely impactful, in which case I'd give them a grant.

In summary, I'd need a compelling reason to donate my money to middle class people in high income countries instead of literally saving lives, and I haven't seen one yet.

Comment by khorton on elifland's Shortform · 2020-06-22T17:25:20.963Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Challenge trials face resistance for very valid historical reasons - this podcast has a good summary. https://80000hours.org/podcast/episodes/marc-lipsitch-winning-or-losing-against-covid19-and-epidemiology/

Comment by khorton on Khorton's Shortform · 2020-06-22T17:22:03.354Z · score: 9 (6 votes) · EA · GW

I was listening to the 80,000 Hours podcast today and heard Ben Todd say, "The issue is [longtermism is] a new idea."

I've seen this view around EA a few times. It might be true about a certain narrow form of longtermism. It's NOT true of longtermism broadly.

The first time I was introduced to long-termist ideas was in a university Native Studies class, discussing the traditional teaching that the current generation should focus on the well-being of seven generations in the future.

Comment by khorton on The EA movement is neglecting physical goods · 2020-06-19T14:17:50.853Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I read it as "careers in physical goods"

Comment by khorton on EA Forum feature suggestion thread · 2020-06-18T22:24:41.957Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Great!

Comment by khorton on EA Forum feature suggestion thread · 2020-06-17T17:57:35.120Z · score: 15 (7 votes) · EA · GW

Can I opt out of Forum favourites? I'm sorry but I hate it

Comment by khorton on EA Forum feature suggestion thread · 2020-06-17T17:56:28.966Z · score: 8 (6 votes) · EA · GW

Can I get email updates about a specific tag?

Comment by khorton on What do you think about bets of the form "I bet you will switch to using this product after trying it"? · 2020-06-15T12:00:28.353Z · score: 5 (6 votes) · EA · GW

There's a weird incentive, right? Because even if I thought the new product was good, I'm now basically getting paid not to switch to it?

(I tried Roam for a few weeks and wasn't that into it, so I would've definitely gotten money from you!)

Comment by khorton on MathiasKirkBonde's Shortform · 2020-06-12T22:48:08.158Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Why would you learn Mandarin if you're disinterested in China? What made it high scoring?

Comment by khorton on EAGxVirtual Unconference (Saturday, June 20th 2020) · 2020-06-10T22:00:15.892Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Yes, I definitely think it's useful to draw a distinction between reducing demand for the product or service vs making the product or service more efficient.

I've seen some interventions to reduce waste - I'm not sure which category you'd put that in. I think providing free smart meters is a nudge in this category. https://www.smartenergygb.org/en/about-smart-meters

Comment by khorton on EAGxVirtual Unconference (Saturday, June 20th 2020) · 2020-06-10T18:26:43.753Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I've seen a lot of work on demand side response, whether that's reducing demand or just shifting it in order to reduce peaks in consumption. For example, the International Energy Agency tracks it annually.

https://www.iea.org/reports/tracking-energy-integration-2019/demand-response

Comment by khorton on Cause Prioritization in Light of Inspirational Disasters · 2020-06-07T23:26:58.238Z · score: 5 (13 votes) · EA · GW

I down voted this because it seems uncooperative with the rest of humanity. The general vibe of the summary seems to be "let people suffer so they'll learn their lesson." If that's not what you meant, though, I'm interested to hear what you actually think.

Edit: I appreciate the updated title!

Comment by khorton on What are some good charities to donate to regarding systemic racial injustice? · 2020-06-06T16:57:57.415Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Yes, I think that's a much better criticism - Campaign Zero works within the current policing framework, and we could potentially do better by rethinking public safety at a more fundamental level.

Comment by khorton on What are some good charities to donate to regarding systemic racial injustice? · 2020-06-06T11:27:25.587Z · score: 10 (5 votes) · EA · GW

The tweet you linked to says that these 8 principles are already being used across the country and haven't worked.

AFAIK that isn't true - they aren't being used uniformly.

Other than that, the tweet doesn't have specific criticism - it just says the principles "won't work". Have you seen anything more specific?