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: 72 (37 votes)
What skills would you like 1-5 EAs to develop? 2019-03-01T11:01:11.654Z · score: 36 (23 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: 15 (12 votes)

Comments

Comment by khorton on What are your top papers of the 2010s? · 2019-10-23T19:09:03.634Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

It basically represents my transition from thinking that algorithms were basically fair and fine, to thinking they're biased because people are biased and so bias is baked in eg through bad data, to realising the are a very wide variety of ways that algorithms can unintentionally discriminate.

They're not a particularly EA-related pair of papers, but they are very interesting.

Comment by khorton on What are your top papers of the 2010s? · 2019-10-23T07:37:41.039Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · EA · GW

In 2015, we learned that Google ads are unintentionally sexist: https://www.degruyter.com/downloadpdf/j/popets.2015.1.issue-1/popets-2015-0007/popets-2015-0007.xml

And in 2019, we learned why: https://pubsonline.informs.org/doi/abs/10.1287/mnsc.2018.3093

Comment by khorton on Problems in effective altruism and what to do about them · 2019-10-19T11:45:45.679Z · score: 10 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I'm not sure what you're implying. I only copied half of the quote to save reader's time.

I feel like you're trying to catch me out, but I don't understand why.

If you want my views on Toby's paper, the truth is I haven't read it. It's a good thing to represent counterarguments correctly, so that's too bad if he didn't do it well in this particular paper? At worst, this sounds like an argument that he made some mistakes in his work as an academic - but I wouldn't be in a position to judge. It doesn't sound dishonest.

Comment by khorton on Problems in effective altruism and what to do about them · 2019-10-19T11:19:12.009Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Sorry, my mistake

Comment by khorton on Problems in effective altruism and what to do about them · 2019-10-19T09:16:14.684Z · score: 8 (5 votes) · EA · GW

"Note, that Peter ignores the following part of the post in his comment: Toby Ord is a trustee at CEA and part of the team at FHI. His 2013 essay against negative utilitarianism (NU) is a one-sided and misleading..."

I'm not going to ask someone to quit being a trustee because they wrote an opinionated essay in 2003. I write one-sided pieces all the time, trying to convince people of a particular view - hopefully people won't try to remove me from any boards in 2035 because of that!

Comment by khorton on Problems in effective altruism and what to do about them · 2019-10-19T09:10:53.611Z · score: 23 (11 votes) · EA · GW

I also downvoted because I think it's a poor, overly dramatic piece and it's not the type of work I'd want others to encounter on the Forum. I have literally never met anyone mentioned in the piece, I just think it's badly done, largely for the reasons mentioned.

I also think it's generally bad practice to publish confidential correspondence.

Comment by khorton on The Future of Earning to Give · 2019-10-14T17:05:35.335Z · score: 21 (8 votes) · EA · GW

"EA Funds ... have the time to consider many different neglected opportunities"

I just want to point out that the administrators of EA Funds are volunteers working other full time jobs.

Comment by khorton on Khorton's Shortform · 2019-10-13T17:04:00.106Z · score: 2 (3 votes) · EA · GW

It's true that few civil servants are currently thinking about x-risks from AI.

If you believe artificial general intelligence won't emerge for several decades, you might be happy that there will be hundreds of experts with decades worth of experience at that point, and not worry about doing it yourself.

Comment by khorton on A Path Forward this Century · 2019-10-13T09:38:47.141Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I don't find it resonates because I disagree with your cause prioritization. (For example, I'd rather die than be uploaded to a computer.)

I also think you trivialise people's fears by putting 'terrorism' and 'the collapse of nations'(!) on the same level as 'healthcare' (and below 'aging population').

Comment by khorton on Khorton's Shortform · 2019-10-13T09:30:08.738Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · EA · GW

AI policy is probably less neglected than you think it is.

There are more than 50 AI policy jobs in the UK government. When one's advertised, it gets 50-100 applicants.

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada is really excited about funding AI policy research. http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/funding-financement/programs-programmes/fellowships/doctoral-doctorat-eng.aspx

AI policy is very important, but at this point it's also very mainstream.

Comment by khorton on [Link] What opinions do you hold that you would be reluctant to express in front of a group of effective altruists? Anonymous form. · 2019-10-12T11:03:58.407Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · EA · GW

More simply, we can also ask for what we want. We could say, for example, "This form is about ideas you'd be reluctant to share. If you have a concern about a specific person, please talk to Julia Wise rather than posting about it here."

Or we could ask, "What's the title of an EA Forum post that you'd like to see written, but that you think would receive negative karma overall?"

I know it sounds trite, but the question you ask really affects the answers you receive.

Comment by khorton on JP's Shortform · 2019-10-10T23:26:34.094Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

This doesn't fix the example I put forward, but it does make the search function more understandable and less frustrating. Thanks!

Comment by khorton on What actions would obviously decrease x-risk? · 2019-10-09T17:24:33.871Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I think it's a better idea to first identify ideas that are better than doing nothing - which in itself can be difficult! - and then prioritize those.

I think there are talented people who could be convinced to work on the long term future if they are given a task to do which is uncontroversially better than doing nothing. I agree it's better to prioritize actions than just work on the first one you think of, but starting with a bar of 'optimal' seems too high.

Comment by khorton on If you had access to all the data in the world, what would you use that for? how? · 2019-10-08T21:25:35.172Z · score: 6 (5 votes) · EA · GW

This question doesn't make sense to me because 'data' can mean so many things - my mom's childhood photographs, Donald Trump's tax returns, etc. Having access to any data in the world is essentially omniscience.

Comment by khorton on What actions would obviously decrease x-risk? · 2019-10-08T21:14:07.731Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I've previously read a study that suggested evaluation during brainstorming led to less ideas - I don't remember where. Personally, I feel less inclined to post when I know someone will tell me my idea is wrong.

Edit: A Harvard Business Review article about brainstorming and 'evaluation anxiety' led me to this article, which I have not been able to read yet.

https://hbr.org/2015/03/why-group-brainstorming-is-a-waste-of-time

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1467-8616.00154

Comment by khorton on JP's Shortform · 2019-10-07T22:55:32.440Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Posts are not listed in order of relevance. You need to know exact words from the post you're searching for in order to find it - preferably exact words from the title.

For example, if I wanted to find your post from four days ago on long term future grants and typed in "grants", your post wouldn't appear, because your post uses the word "grant" in the title instead.

Comment by khorton on JP's Shortform · 2019-10-07T22:06:47.167Z · score: 9 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Please fix the EA forum search engine and/or make it easier to find forum posts through Google.

Comment by khorton on Should you familiarize yourself with the literature before writing an EA Forum post? · 2019-10-07T22:04:42.801Z · score: 7 (5 votes) · EA · GW

I didn't necessarily take "engage with the literature" to refer to reading previous EA posts. That would be helpful in many cases, but doesn't seem realistic until the Forum has a working search engine. However, I would like to see more people who write posts on topics like political science, computer science, international aid, or philosophy do a quick Google scholar search before posting their ideas.

Comment by khorton on Long-Term Future Fund: August 2019 grant recommendations · 2019-10-06T22:22:20.184Z · score: 14 (8 votes) · EA · GW

An aside: I had never heard of 'Murphyjitsu' before, but use pre-mortems in my personal and professional life regularly. I'm surprised people found the name 'Murphyjitsu' easier to engage with!

Comment by khorton on The ITN framework, cost-effectiveness, and cause prioritisation · 2019-10-06T22:19:13.279Z · score: 11 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I found this article useful, and I could imagine sending it to other people in the EA community. Thanks for writing it!

Comment by khorton on What actions would obviously decrease x-risk? · 2019-10-06T22:04:05.419Z · score: 9 (7 votes) · EA · GW

I'd suggest work that would allow vaccines to be developed much more quickly falls into this category - it was mentioned in the 80,000 Hours podcast with Tom Kalil.

"I was able to get some additional funding for this new approach [to develop vaccines more quickly] and my primary motivation for it was, maybe it’ll help in Ebola, but almost certainly if it works it will improve our ability to respond to future emerging infectious diseases, or maybe even a world of engineered pathogens."

https://80000hours.org/podcast/episodes/tom-kalil-government-careers/

Comment by khorton on How to improve your productivity: a systematic approach to sustainably increasing work output · 2019-10-04T19:39:29.942Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

If you normally sleep less than seven hours a night, you could experiment with sleeping an extra hour every night for a week and see how it affects your productivity.

Comment by khorton on Long-Term Future Fund: August 2019 grant recommendations · 2019-10-03T19:53:22.071Z · score: 25 (11 votes) · EA · GW

As always, thank you to the committee for writing up their thoughts. The grants to HIPE, Jess Whittlestone, and Lynette Bye look really interesting - I'd be happy to see updates on their work in the future!

Comment by khorton on [Link] What opinions do you hold that you would be reluctant to express in front of a group of effective altruists? Anonymous form. · 2019-10-03T15:16:48.439Z · score: 27 (16 votes) · EA · GW

"People in my experience lose points for bad arguments, not for weird conclusions."

I just want to note that in my experience this only happens if you're challenging something that's mainstream in EA. If I tell an EA "I'm a utilitarian," that's fine. If I say, "I'm not a utilitarian," I need to provide arguments for why. That's scary, because I've never studied philosophy, and I'm often being stared down by a room full of people with philosophy degrees.

So basically, some of us are not smart enough to make good arguments for everything we believe - and we'll only lose social points for that if we mention that we have weird beliefs.

Comment by khorton on Chart showing effectiveness of schooling internvetions · 2019-10-03T06:41:47.773Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

You might be thinking of work by the Copenhagen Consensus

Comment by khorton on [Link] What opinions do you hold that you would be reluctant to express in front of a group of effective altruists? Anonymous form. · 2019-10-02T20:52:50.918Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I don't object to this activity. I found it really interesting to read what others think and can't say. Still, I think there are times when it's in a community's best interest to self-censor, or at least not to post their least acceptable views online.

Comment by khorton on Is pain just a signal to enlist altruists? · 2019-10-02T07:18:39.549Z · score: 8 (4 votes) · EA · GW

In my opinion, DIY waxing hurts a lot more than waxing done by a professional. I guess they're both 'self-induced' in a way, but in general I'm not sure hair removal hurts less if you choose it - you're just more okay with it happening.

Comment by khorton on JP's Shortform · 2019-10-01T17:07:17.617Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I clicked on 'go to Permalink' for this post, because I was going to send it to a friend, but I don't think it did anything.

What I actually wanted to do was find a link to just this post (not the whole shortform) that wasn't going to change.

Comment by khorton on EA Handbook 3.0: What content should I include? · 2019-10-01T17:05:27.159Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I think you're right - these questions aren't right for an introductory handbook.

Comment by khorton on EA Handbook 3.0: What content should I include? · 2019-10-01T10:22:11.147Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · EA · GW

I can't say I've read previous handbooks, so I wouldn't know if this has been done previously, but I'd like to see several open questions in the EA community addressed, with the main arguments included.

Of course, there are open questions around how much animals and future people matter, but I'd also like to see other questions:

-Should EA be 'small and weird' or should it seek to grow and become 'mainstream'?

-In a related question, should EA focus on those who have the potential to influence major amounts of power or money (people who are disproportionately white, male, from a privileged background, and educated at a competitive university in a Western country)? Or should EA be inclusive and diverse, seeking to elevate the voices of people who could do the most good but would traditionally be ignored by society?

-To what extent should/does EA support systemic change?

-To what extent should we be concerned about value drift? Some argue we shouldn't delay donating even a couple years, while others argue that our future values will likely be even better than our current ones.

Comment by khorton on UK policy and politics careers · 2019-09-28T17:43:10.935Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Fyi Turing Institute autocorrected to Turning Institute

Comment by khorton on I Estimate Joining UK Charity Boards is worth £500/hour · 2019-09-25T19:38:43.926Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

You should definitely keep posting your thoughts! Take this not as 'advice on what to post', but rather as 'advice on what to spend time thinking about (if you want to help me understand the pros and cons of bring a trustee)'.

Comment by khorton on I Estimate Joining UK Charity Boards is worth £500/hour · 2019-09-25T19:34:49.247Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

What I meant was, it's good to tell people about the benefits of trusteeship. It's also good to think about how that compares to other work. I think the quick calculation you did at the beginning shows that really well.

But trying to quantify the hourly benefit of trusteeship in general is like trying to quantify the hourly benefit of having a job in general. Some jobs are worth £3 per hour and some are worth £300. Rather than trying to calculate the average value, it's better to find ways to pick the best jobs, or the best donation opportunities, or the best trusteeships.

So I really liked the idea of the article, and found a lot of it useful, but I would have suggested spending more time on figuring out which opportunities are the best rather than building a model estimating an average value.

Comment by khorton on Please Take the 2019 EA Survey! · 2019-09-24T01:17:03.697Z · score: -1 (14 votes) · EA · GW

Using the term "anonymized responses" is very misleading. From what I've heard, data scientists in the EA community do not recognize this data as properly anonymized.

Comment by khorton on Effective Altruism and Everyday Decisions · 2019-09-21T03:51:39.723Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I agree that everyday actions shape our self-perception. I don't believe this has to be all-or-nothing. I have a lot of friends who pride themselves on not being wasteful, but don't know how to sew and won't patch up old clothes. This habit of throwing out holey clothes doesn't stop them from eating the leftovers in their fridge or spending their money carefully.

There are a lot of small actions we can do to improve the world. Many of these will also reinforce our identities as caring and thoughtful people. In that sense, they're helpful and aspiring EAs should continue doing them.

However, I don't think EA as a community should promote these small actions, unless they're particularly cost-effective. I think prioritising a list of, say, 15 small actions counts as promoting them, because people might feel like they should adopt the top small actions, when actually I think people should just keep doing what they're doing and focus on big wins.

Comment by khorton on An update on Operations Camp 2019 · 2019-09-19T08:26:52.876Z · score: 8 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I strongly upvoted this post. I'm glad to see you changing your plans based on feedback and research, and for sharing those with the rest of the EA community.

Comment by khorton on Forum Update: New Features (September 2019) · 2019-09-19T00:44:51.700Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I only use the Forum on mobile - can I still do that? Edit: Yes, I found the 'Mark as Read' button, although it's not actually working for me right now.

Comment by khorton on I Estimate Joining UK Charity Boards is worth £500/hour · 2019-09-19T00:44:09.010Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

You could just use it as a tool for your own decision making. Isn't the point of this to help you, and others, decide if you would become trustees? That will necessarily depend on the position.

Comment by khorton on Forum Update: New Features (September 2019) · 2019-09-18T12:03:24.390Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Just as a note, Community Favourites is showing me posts I've already read (with this same profile but before we moved to the new Forum).

Comment by khorton on I Estimate Joining UK Charity Boards is worth £500/hour · 2019-09-18T09:19:35.553Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I think it would be easier to model the impact of being a trustee for a particular charity than a random charity - why don't you try to adapt your model to include your guess about how impactful the specific charity's aims are, along with the specific charity's annual budget, how many trustees are on the board, etc?

Comment by khorton on I Estimate Joining UK Charity Boards is worth £500/hour · 2019-09-17T11:45:32.033Z · score: 9 (6 votes) · EA · GW

It probably depends on what you value. Based on your guess, for 42 hours of my time I could potentially cause:

-5% more cats adopted from a particular shelter

-5% increase in awareness of autism at partner workplaces

-5% more opera performances

-5% more women attending a particular 'women's empowerment' conference

-5% more religious conversions

-5% increase in citations from research commissioned by a particular charity

-5% increase in protest attendance

Most of these things I imagine moving from 'good but not cost effective' to 'good and still not all that cost effective' or 'basically useless' to 'still useless'. I don't really imagine many of these charities changing categories from 'useless' to 'good' because of a 5% increase in productivity.

Comment by khorton on EA Meta Fund Grants - July 2019 · 2019-09-16T13:16:12.890Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for posting the reasoning behind your grants. This set of grants seems well thought out and has a good balance between newer and more established organisations.

Comment by khorton on Donor strategies for separating "how much" from "where" to donate · 2019-09-16T05:36:57.330Z · score: 6 (5 votes) · EA · GW

"If the two members of a couple have different feelings over how much to donate, it may be most effective to sit down and figure out a rule beforehand that represents a reasonable compromise for both sides, rather than try to negotiate the boundary every year."

I definitely agree this is a benefit of a predetermined rule! However, I'd go further - if different parts of your own mind have different views on how much to donate, it can be more effective to negotiate a rule that works as a compromise.

There's a part of me that feels like I shouldn't be donating to charity until I've paid my student loans and saved a good amount of money. There's another part of me that thinks I should give as much as I can as soon as I can - I shouldn't even buy myself little luxuries like ice cream. I can make good arguments for both sides, and both feel true (and demotivating).

I can satisfy both sides by donating 10%, which still leaves enough to pay off my student loans, save for the future, and buy ice cream, but allows me to help people now and not feel like I'm wasting my life on trivialities like building a positive net worth. ;)

Renegotiating this donating rule can be tense, so I probably won't change it until something significant changes in my substantial situation (like when I actually do have a positive net worth!).

Comment by khorton on Cluster Headache Frequency Follows a Long-Tail Distribution · 2019-09-11T21:09:59.136Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

You say 'we' (as in 'we are researching') a lot, but who are 'we'?

Comment by khorton on English as a dominant language in the movement: challenges and solutions · 2019-09-08T19:40:27.458Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

While this is all true, I can't remember having trouble with the pronunciation or tone of non-native English speakers I've met in EA. I think there's probably lower-hanging fruit in having native English speakers adjust their behaviour, like this article suggests.

Comment by khorton on What opinions that you hold would you be reluctant to express publicly to other EAs? · 2019-09-07T12:02:40.681Z · score: 13 (9 votes) · EA · GW

If you want anonymous responses, you might consider adding a link to a Google form or similar.

Comment by khorton on Cause X Guide · 2019-09-05T12:17:30.059Z · score: 13 (6 votes) · EA · GW

I apologise for my tone in this thread. I don't think it was very helpful.

Comment by khorton on English as a dominant language in the movement: challenges and solutions · 2019-09-04T08:25:24.441Z · score: 6 (5 votes) · EA · GW

I use the Hemingway Editor to assess the reading level of my writing.

Comment by khorton on Cause X Guide · 2019-09-04T08:20:16.716Z · score: 8 (10 votes) · EA · GW

Blog posts won't convince me; I studied linguistics and education for my undergrad, which convinced me that most children don't teach themselves to read. A few do, and some have parents who teach them. But if you want to convince me that all children (not just a handful!) can and will teach themselves to read without school, you will need to show me some academic evidence.

I am convinced of this not only because I was explicitly taught it by experts in linguistics and education, but also because we did not have universal literacy before we had universal primary education (and countries without universal primary education still don't!), and because we have evidence about which teaching systems will help children read more quickly and fluently than other teaching methods (and if teaching did literally nothing beneficial, like you still seem to be suggesting, we shouldn't see significant differences between teaching methods).

Also consider, in this hypothetical world without schools, how children will access books.

Note: Assuming you're not a senior policymaker or politician, I don't think it's a good use of my time to continue. I will however click on any relevant peer-reviewed studies and at least read the abstract, even if I don't comment.

Comment by khorton on Cause X Guide · 2019-09-03T17:11:54.310Z · score: 10 (7 votes) · EA · GW

I claim that if state-funded universal primary education did not exist, a significant minority of the population would never learn to read. A current benefit of schools is providing near-universal literacy. I am frankly amazed that you claim that there is little evidence of benefit from schooling.