Posts

[Link] A Future for Neuroscience 2019-09-12T22:17:28.445Z · score: 2 (2 votes)
Who would you like to see do an AMA on this forum? 2019-08-25T16:58:14.283Z · score: 16 (9 votes)
How urgent are extreme climate change risks? 2019-08-01T01:32:23.400Z · score: 15 (17 votes)
If a psychedelic journey has influenced your life priorities, how so? 2019-07-13T18:40:08.851Z · score: 16 (6 votes)
In what ways and in what areas might it make sense for EA to adopt more a more bottoms-up approach? 2019-07-12T20:10:46.005Z · score: 8 (5 votes)
Who are the people that most publicly predicted we'd have AGI by now? Have they published any kind of retrospective, and updated their views? 2019-06-28T21:01:10.476Z · score: 7 (3 votes)
[Link] Seed stage philanthropy 2019-06-22T19:08:10.648Z · score: 10 (4 votes)
How would you define "disentanglement research"? 2019-06-22T02:13:44.472Z · score: 4 (1 votes)
Philanthropic moonshot idea: creating positive group identities 2019-06-21T23:11:48.756Z · score: 4 (3 votes)
Pros/cons of funding more research on whether psychedelics increase altruism? 2019-06-21T23:07:10.118Z · score: 10 (5 votes)
Becoming the person who would start a project 2019-06-21T17:34:59.155Z · score: 17 (11 votes)
Might the EA community be undervaluing "meta-research on how to make progress on causes?" 2019-06-16T04:38:34.239Z · score: 13 (6 votes)
Is trauma a potential EA cause area? 2019-05-31T22:04:17.690Z · score: 2 (8 votes)
Are there groups of medical symptoms that could be impactful to be turned into a specific diagnosis? I learned that PTSD was created as a result of lobbying, previously it was just disparate symptoms. 2019-05-16T01:07:23.603Z · score: 9 (6 votes)
Book recommendation: Loonshots 2019-05-03T18:30:12.254Z · score: 24 (9 votes)
Sharing my experience on the EA forum 2019-03-19T00:00:32.716Z · score: 50 (46 votes)
Concept: EA Donor List. To enable EAs that are starting new projects to find seed donors, especially for people that aren’t well connected 2019-03-16T21:12:48.865Z · score: 9 (28 votes)
An easy way for charities to increase revenue: Add Apple Pay and Google Pay to donation checkout 2018-03-18T20:25:12.232Z · score: 5 (5 votes)
Where can I donate to support insect welfare? 2017-12-31T01:40:17.518Z · score: 8 (10 votes)
Has someone migrated/exported the .impact HackPad? 2017-11-05T20:25:58.054Z · score: 6 (5 votes)
Note: Jeff Bezos posted on Twitter today asking for philanthropy ideas 2017-06-15T19:38:25.106Z · score: 4 (6 votes)

Comments

Comment by nonzerosum on How to Make Billions of Dollars Reducing Loneliness · 2019-08-31T20:10:04.058Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

See also: Bungalow, HubHaus, Common.

I wish someone would do shared living for people who want private living units (not just bedrooms) + shared common spaces, e.g. multiple houses on one block and a shared common space on that block. Makes co-living work for families or people who want a bit more privacy.

Comment by nonzerosum on Campaign finance reform as an EA priority? · 2019-08-30T18:14:51.832Z · score: 9 (3 votes) · EA · GW

See also https://act.represent.us/sign/our-strategy/

Comment by nonzerosum on Who would you like to see do an AMA on this forum? · 2019-08-27T16:01:06.281Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

is anonymous_ea one person's username, or is it a catch all username for some kind of anonymity feature on this forum? I've long wondered if anonymous_ea is a regular username or not

Comment by nonzerosum on How urgent are extreme climate change risks? · 2019-08-03T01:45:01.165Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Please do link it!

Comment by nonzerosum on Ingredients for creating disruptive research teams · 2019-07-22T18:00:41.881Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

The book "Loonshots" also has useful lessons for anyone running/starting a research team or research lab.

Comment by nonzerosum on Raemon's EA Shortform Feed · 2019-06-27T05:10:47.147Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Gotcha. I wonder whether it could create substantially more impact from doing over the long term yourself, or setting it up well for someone else to run long term. Obviously I have no context and your goals on the project but I've seen things where people do a short term project aiming for impact creation and where in the end they feel that they could've created much more impact by doing the thing in a more ongoing manner. So this note may or may not be relevant depending on the project and your goals :)

Comment by nonzerosum on Raemon's EA Shortform Feed · 2019-06-26T23:23:22.814Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I'd offer that whatever you can do to make it possible to iterate on your grantmaking loop quickly will be useful. Perhaps starting with smaller grants on a month or even week cycle, running a few rounds there, and then scaling up. Don't try and make it near-perfect from the start, instead try and make it something that can become near-perfect because of iterations and improvements.

Comment by nonzerosum on What new EA project or org would you like to see created in the next 3 years? · 2019-06-24T20:53:34.199Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

This fiscal sponsor org would get to learn a lot about what different EA aligned donors do and don't like donating to, so you could imagine it providing a helpful service to donors (and EA orgs) of suggesting them orgs that they may be interested in checking out, based on their donation patterns. I could imagine this being appreciated by the donors given that it could have enough data points to make genuinely useful recommendations when those opportunities arise.

Comment by nonzerosum on [deleted post] 2019-06-24T18:48:35.758Z

Oops - thanks!

Comment by nonzerosum on How would you define "disentanglement research"? · 2019-06-22T02:19:33.164Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

A comment to add to my OP: It seems like a really useful concept and I can imagine that having a central place that defines what disentanglement research is may be useful, and the concept generally becoming more known may also be useful, so that then people can easily reference that, and others will understand what someone means when they say a field needs disentanglement research or they're doing disentanglement research, people can share advice or host events focused on disentanglement research, funders can self-identify as funders interested in supporting disentanglement research in specific or various fields, etc.

Comment by nonzerosum on How would you define "disentanglement research"? · 2019-06-22T02:17:54.406Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Another possible answer (and an example of where the term is being used!): "What is needed in an early stage is disentanglement- structuring the research field, identifying the central questions, and clarifying concepts." https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/oovy5XXdCL3TPwgLE/a-case-for-strategy-research-what-it-is-and-why-we-need-more

Comment by nonzerosum on How would you define "disentanglement research"? · 2019-06-22T02:16:37.566Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Answer from Helen Toner: "structuring concrete agendas out of an amorphous blob of worries" https://twitter.com/Effect_Altruism/status/927219486201085957

Comment by nonzerosum on How would you define "disentanglement research"? · 2019-06-22T02:16:18.696Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Answer from carrickflynn who originally used the term: "This is a squishy made-up term I am using only for this post that is sort of trying to gesture at a type of research that involves disentangling ideas and questions in a “pre-paradigmatic” area where the core concepts, questions, and methodologies are under-defined. (Nick Bostrom is a fantastic example of someone who is excellent at this type of research.)" https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/RCvetzfDnBNFX7pLH/personal-thoughts-on-careers-in-ai-policy-and-strategy#rxAi3ssD8DtSHJtMG

Comment by nonzerosum on How would you define "disentanglement research"? · 2019-06-22T02:15:05.971Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Possible answer: It's taking a space and answering questions like – what's possible, what could & what should our goals be, main hypotheses and things that would inform what the best directions are, etc.

Comment by nonzerosum on Becoming the person who would start a project · 2019-06-21T19:36:34.743Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Other thoughts:

Benefit of people writing public posts on their topics of interest is that it forces thoughts to be clarified and to "come face to face with reality"

Downside of public writing is that it could lead to consistency bias / ossification of opinions

Another upside of public writing on things is that it builds momentum, provides positive feedback and rewards. Which is probably very beneficial and may seem small but the power of positive feedback loops seems important to not underestimate.

Comment by nonzerosum on A case for strategy research: what it is and why we need more of it · 2019-06-21T19:34:32.032Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I'm really glad to see this post – it's what I was thinking of when I asked this question on the forum: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/icTEffSCdtLSoSrqi/might-the-ea-community-be-undervaluing-meta-research-on-how

Comment by nonzerosum on Becoming the person who would start a project · 2019-06-21T17:36:36.343Z · score: 6 (5 votes) · EA · GW

This is a very unstructured thought that came into my head this morning. Normally I might avoid posting it until it's more polished, but comments on this forum have given me the sense that it can actually be good to err on the side of sharing even if unpolished, contributing to the community zeitgeist where someone else may then be able to polish or remix or make use of the thought.

Comment by nonzerosum on Is trauma a potential EA cause area? · 2019-06-11T19:15:55.228Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

And I'm also very interested in the direct impact, too.

Comment by nonzerosum on Is trauma a potential EA cause area? · 2019-06-11T19:15:30.667Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for that question! Weakly held. Some sense that we're under-invested in "improving coordination" (see: http://www.existential-risk.org/concept.pdf).

But it's a good point that it would be hard! And I agree that tightly knit groups may be a better approach for this.

e.g. trauma reduction for a group of AI safety researchers to help them better coordinate, or something like that.

Comment by nonzerosum on Is trauma a potential EA cause area? · 2019-06-05T23:29:06.086Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I mean EA impact of reducing trauma, not impact of MDMA therapy on trauma (which I agree seems large).

Similar to how 80000hours gives a ranking of the 'impact' of different causes, I wonder how "reducing trauma" would compare on their impact assessment.

Comment by nonzerosum on Is trauma a potential EA cause area? · 2019-06-04T19:09:50.300Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Yes, agreed. In particular though I'm wondering about the "impact" piece and separate of possible interventions/tractability, how trauma might rate on the "impact" and "neglectedness" pieces.

Comment by nonzerosum on Is trauma a potential EA cause area? · 2019-06-04T19:08:16.439Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW
more than as something which "improves coordination"

What makes you say that? I have the sense that the less trauma people have, the easier they'll find it, and the more desire they'll have, to co-operate and coordinate.

Comment by nonzerosum on Is trauma a potential EA cause area? · 2019-05-31T22:04:45.440Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Related but separate: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/C5diBK7sJmoYWdrCs/is-preventing-child-abuse-a-plausible-cause-x

Comment by nonzerosum on Considering people’s hidden motives in EA outreach · 2019-05-31T19:34:20.273Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

This is an excellent post. I agree that status is a ridiculously powerful driver of human behavior. Based on your section of how EA can help increase status, what do you think is the single most promising strategy that EA could implement to make joining EA higher status? (Also a side note I'd add is that status *from who* is important. People outside EA don't care about within-EA status currency, yet, they care about status currency from their existing peers and people they respect. So they'd need to believe that joining EA makes them higher status outside of EA.)

Also, has anyone looked at whether EA is at the right time for scaling? In startups there's the framework that you want to solve your value hypothesis first, and then once you've done that, and only then, you should focus on your growth hypothesis. Basically get it working just how you like it with a small number of customers/users and then focus on scaling up. Is EA at the point where people want to focus on scaling? I think it probably is, but I still wanted to ask the obvious question.

Comment by nonzerosum on Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area · 2019-05-22T06:45:36.642Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

What makes you conclude that there's a lot of money to be made in it? My prior is the opposite. MDMA and psilocybin themselves aren't patentable at this point. Yes, delivery mechanisms could be and new or related unpatented compounds could be. But any for profit company will likely be competing against at least a non profit or two. And my research on pricing is that having a single competitor massively reduces margins and profitability. Also dosing will be highly infrequent which should also reduce the profits for any psychedelic pharma companies.

Given the risk in pharma r&d, potential profits presumably need to be very large to justify investment. My sense is that the expected rate of return may be lower than other similarly risky projects and therefore it won't be particularly suited to for profits. But maybe it'll be somewhat profitable and the reward of positive impact will make up the difference. Or maybe thanks to many years of use, these compounds have much lower risk and therefore make sense from a risk reward perspective to be pursued by pharma investors/companies.

But I'm skeptical of that and I expect that we'll need altruistically motivated people to make progress, and if it's left to for profits the industry would stagnate. (One piece of evidence is that the for profit pharma world has seemingly made no progress in the psychedelic field since about the 1970s with the exception of compass pathways a few years ago)

Comment by nonzerosum on Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area · 2019-05-13T17:09:21.922Z · score: 19 (10 votes) · EA · GW

For anyone worried their comment won't get attention vs the existing ones, I'm enjoying this thread and am watching for and voting where relevant on new ones, FYI.

Comment by nonzerosum on Cash prizes for the best arguments against psychedelics being an EA cause area · 2019-05-10T23:18:15.539Z · score: 15 (8 votes) · EA · GW

Tangentially related and perhaps of interest to some readers of this thread, though not a prize submission comment:

My nomination for the "three books" for psychedelic therapy would be

The "Why" Book: Pollan's How to Change Your Mind

The "What" Book: MAPS's A Manual for MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy in the Treatment of PTSD (alternatives would be this treatment protocol from Phase 2 MDMA trials and Grof's LSD Psychotherapy)

The "How" Book: R. Coleman's Psychedelic Psychotherapy: A User-friendly Guide for Psychedelic Drug-assisted Psychotherapy (the runner up would be Fadiman's The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide)

Comment by nonzerosum on Concept: EA Donor List. To enable EAs that are starting new projects to find seed donors, especially for people that aren’t well connected · 2019-04-17T20:47:18.464Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks, and I'll look forward to reading your upcoming post!

Comment by nonzerosum on Concept: EA Donor List. To enable EAs that are starting new projects to find seed donors, especially for people that aren’t well connected · 2019-03-20T19:49:51.568Z · score: 9 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Ok, the project is now on indefinite hiatus. I'll seek to deeply understand all the critiques of it first if I come back with another attempt in the future.

I hope other groups will try and address the problem that this concept was designed to address, in a way that is highly net +EV.

Jan or others, what ideas might you suggest for addressing the challenge of an EA without a strong donor network to get a super early stage grant, in a way that avoids significant potential downsides?

Comment by nonzerosum on Concept: EA Donor List. To enable EAs that are starting new projects to find seed donors, especially for people that aren’t well connected · 2019-03-17T20:08:13.031Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks Michael!

My understanding is that EA grants and this are both working towards addressing roughly the same problem: the difficulty of getting seed or "pre-seed" grants for new EA organizations, especially for people who are not well connected.

When someone is seeking grants, the more possible grantors the better – the startup analogy would be that EA grants is an individual angel investor (and, it seems, one that isn't currently accepting pitches), and this concept is analogous a list of active angel investors – they are complementary.

So EA grants would be listed on this site as one of the sources of grants.

Comment by nonzerosum on Concept: EA Donor List. To enable EAs that are starting new projects to find seed donors, especially for people that aren’t well connected · 2019-03-17T20:04:45.102Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thank you Brendon, I've sent you a PM now!

One thought, some funders may be uncomfortable with being publicly listed (perhaps due to concerns about lots of people contacting them), but a certain subset of funders could be pretty on board with the idea.

Agreed. One thought I've had is that donors that have concerns like this but that are still interested could set up an anonymous email address that forwards to their main inbox, and list themselves as that. This way if it ever becomes too much for them, they can be removed from the site and it's somewhat more separate/compartmentalized from their real name. I'm open to additional community input on other ways to allow donors to be listed in a way that is semi-anonymous and preserves much of the upside for donors and potential grantees, while reducing concerns from donors like that.

Comment by nonzerosum on SHOW: A framework for shaping your talent for direct work · 2019-03-17T01:06:02.657Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Yes. This makes me think of investor Keith Rabois' notion of "barrels" vs "ammunition":

If you think about people, there are two categories of high-quality people: there is the ammunition, and then there are the barrels. You can add all the ammunition you want, but if you have only five barrels in your company, you can literally do only five things simultaneously. If you add one more barrel, you can now do six things simultaneously. If you add another one, you can do seven, and so on. Finding those barrels that you can shoot through — someone who can take an idea from conception to live and it’s almost perfect — are incredibly difficult to find. This kind of person can pull people with them. They can charge up the hill. They can motivate their team, and they can edit themselves autonomously. Whenever you find a barrel, you should hire them instantly, regardless of whether you have money for them or whether you have a role for them. Just close them.
https://firstround.com/review/Keith-Rabois-on-the-role-of-a-COO-how-to-hire-and-why-transparency-matters/

The attitude you're describing reminds me of the attitude that Keith Rabois refers to as a "barrel."

Comment by nonzerosum on Animal Charity Evaluators Introduces the Recommended Charity Quiz · 2018-03-24T18:54:51.203Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

Got it, thanks for passing it along and understood!

Comment by nonzerosum on Animal Charity Evaluators Introduces the Recommended Charity Quiz · 2018-03-18T20:40:05.414Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

Also, I went through the quiz, got recommended a charity, clicked to donate, but then closed out at the page that asked for all my information.

I've donated to a few charities recently, and I believe that I would've donated (not large but not zero) if it let me do it with Google Pay so that I could've done it in ~5 seconds rather than 1 minute or so.

[See also this post that I just made on the forum: http://effective-altruism.com/ea/1m6/an_easy_way_for_charities_to_increase_revenue_add/]

Comment by nonzerosum on Animal Charity Evaluators Introduces the Recommended Charity Quiz · 2018-03-18T20:34:28.335Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

Nice!

One possible improvement: To reduce the 'cognitive load' of doing the quiz, make it so that all of the choices e.g. "It is not very important" are replaced with "It is not very important that [x]" to reduce the need to read the whole question or re-reference the question when reminding yourself what each of the choices represent before selecting one.

Comment by nonzerosum on [deleted post] 2017-12-08T04:23:26.196Z

Thanks, will do!

Comment by nonzerosum on Anti-tribalism and positive mental health as high-value cause areas · 2017-10-17T18:48:23.038Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Interesting post.

The first thought that came to my mind is related to the other post on this forum about psychedelics.

My interpretation is therapeutic psilocybin experiences can create a feeling of all being part of the same team / global interconnectedness. I wonder if this would lead to less tribalism. It seems like it very well may.

"In 6-month follow-up interviews, participants were asked: ‘Did this treatment work for you, and if so how?’ and responses were analysed for consistent themes (Watts et al. 2017). Of the 17 patients who endorsed the treatment’s effectiveness, all made reference to one particular mediating factor: a renewed sense of connection or connectedness. This factor was found to have three distinguishable aspects: connection to (1) self, (2) others and (3) the world in general (Watts et al. 2017)."

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28795211 via a friend.

Comment by nonzerosum on Oxford Prioritisation Project Review · 2017-10-16T01:30:53.717Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

The Project created some benefits, but (with low confidence) I don't think the costs were worth it.

I think it's worth separating the outcome with the expected value at the time the project was begun.

It can still have been a +EV decision to have done it based on the information you had at the time.

i.e. it can't be evaluated as not being worth it because it didn't turn out to be worth it, it can have been worth doing because the expected value at the time made it worth it, even if it ended up not being net-positive.

Comment by nonzerosum on EA Survey 2017 Series: Cause Area Preferences · 2017-09-14T22:12:05.821Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

I don't think it's appropriate to include donations to ACE or GiveWell as 'cause prioritization.' I think ACE should be classed as animal welfare and GiveWell as global poverty.

My understanding is that cause prioritization is broad comparison research.

Cause prioritization looks at broad causes (e.g. migration, global warming, global health, life extension) in order to compare them, instead of examining individual charities within each cause (as has been traditional).

https://causeprioritization.org/Cause%20prioritization

Comment by nonzerosum on Update on Effective Altruism Funds · 2017-04-21T01:15:56.900Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Excellent point.

My suggestion for increasing robustness:

Diverse fund managers, and willingness to have funds for less-known causes. A high diversity of background/personal social networks amongst fund managers, and a willingness to have EA funds for causes not currently championed by OPP or other well known orgs in the EA-sphere could be a good way to increase robustness.

Do you agree? And what are your thoughts in general on increasing robustness?

Comment by nonzerosum on Update on Effective Altruism Funds · 2017-04-20T19:40:21.350Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

What does an ideal fund manager look like?

(Many questions because I'm really excited and think this is fantastic, and am really glad you're doing it)

Comment by nonzerosum on Update on Effective Altruism Funds · 2017-04-20T19:39:36.530Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

What is the internal process for adding a new fund or manager? What happens after the form is submitted - is it a casual discussion amongst the team, or something else?

Comment by nonzerosum on Update on Effective Altruism Funds · 2017-04-20T19:39:22.552Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Do you have any thoughts as to what the next funds added might be? Does the manager come first, or will you announce things you'd like to have funds in, where you don't yet have a manager?

Comment by nonzerosum on Update on Effective Altruism Funds · 2017-04-20T17:33:38.937Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · EA · GW

This is excellent. How might you evaluate fund managers? Do new fund managers have to have an existing relationship with anyone on the team?

Comment by nonzerosum on Intro to caring about AI alignment as an EA cause · 2017-04-15T17:56:57.808Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for sharing and formatting it so nicely to post here.

Comment by nonzerosum on How accurately does anyone know the global distribution of income? · 2017-04-07T22:34:56.869Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for this and thanks as always for all the fantastic 80,000 Hours content.