Comment by saulius on After one year of applying for EA jobs: It is really, really hard to get hired by an EA organisation · 2019-03-05T00:04:20.768Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Also, if there is a shortage of ops people within EA, and you find a person that is good for you org but wouldn't apply to other orgs, you should be more willing to hire them, because you would increase the pool of EA ops people.

Comment by saulius on After one year of applying for EA jobs: It is really, really hard to get hired by an EA organisation · 2019-03-05T00:01:32.683Z · score: 10 (6 votes) · EA · GW

I once heard the advice that if you are a donor who finds an opportunity that is worth EA money, you should just donate to it, even if you think that you could find a better opportunity after more research. Because if everyone only looks for the very best available opportunity, everyone will have to spend much more time evaluating many projects, or evaluations will be less deep.

The same advice could be adapted to hiring in some cases. If you find an ops person who is good enough to do ops for some EA org, you should consider hiring them, even if you think you could find a better candidate after more search. Because otherwise orgs will have to spend more time evaluating candidates, and candidates will have to spend more time applying.

In other words, having a lower threshold for hiring could be cooperative with other EA orgs in some game-theoretical scenario. Of course, if we go too far in this direction, we will no longer have a good grasp on where the threshold for being hired is, and best people might not get hired. And there are other complications. But EA orgs could go a little bit in this direction.

Comment by saulius on Bounty: Guide To Switching From Farmed Fish To Wild-Caught Fish · 2019-03-02T14:55:02.286Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Note that this is also relevant for the question of whether eating more wild-caught fish is good for fish. If humans continuously restock waters with hatchery-produced juveniles to compensate for wild-caught fish, fishing might not affect wild fish populations in the same way.

Comment by saulius on Bounty: Guide To Switching From Farmed Fish To Wild-Caught Fish · 2019-03-02T14:44:00.037Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

One complication is that tens of billions of fish are raised in hatcheries for a little bit, and then released into the wild, to enhance wild stocks, so that more fish could be caught later. You could say that they are farmed for a little bit. I am currently writing an article about that.

Comment by saulius on Review of Education Interventions and Charities in Sub-Saharan Africa · 2019-03-02T14:07:29.681Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Have you seen Founders Pledge report on Women's Empowerment? Seems relevant.

Comment by saulius on Will companies meet their animal welfare commitments? · 2019-02-23T02:04:38.605Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I mentioned that U.S. egg producers are not transitioning to cage-free housing as fast as they should. That means that many U.S. companies probably made less progress than they should have, which is not something they want to report. Europe may not have a similar problem.

I also vaguely remember someone telling me in a conversation that there are cultural differences: European companies are more likely to make promises only when they already have a clear plan how to make a change, or even to just announce that a change was already made without any prior promises. I don’t know if that is really true.

Comment by saulius on Rodents farmed for pet snake food · 2019-02-21T13:07:58.507Z · score: 6 (5 votes) · EA · GW

I wonder if outreach to not buy dogs and cats could be more effective for reducing the number of farmed animals than vegan advocacy. And if corporate campaigns that encourage dog and cat food manufacturers to use higher welfare animals (e.g. gestation-crate-free pigs, broilers that are stocked less densely) could be effective.

Comment by saulius on Rodents farmed for pet snake food · 2019-02-21T12:51:54.732Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

ok, but I will leave my comment as it is because it seems that many people conflate RP and CE, and maybe some of them will see my comment :)

Comment by saulius on Rodents farmed for pet snake food · 2019-02-21T12:46:59.696Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

It seems that meat produced for consumption by dogs and cats normally comes from the very same factory farms that produce human food. Because Animals claims that


Pet foods are made from both 4-D meat (animals that are dead, dying, diseased or disabled), and the leftover bits—referred to on pet food labels as “meat by-products”—of slaughtered farm animals. These parts include the snouts, udders, lungs, feet, organs, ears and other parts that humans don’t want to consume.

Of course, this doesn’t change much. Pet food allows meat industry to be more profitable, which leads to them farming more animals. I agree that this is a strong consideration against having carnivorous pets. There was a discussion about it in the EA forum here.

Comment by saulius on Will companies meet their animal welfare commitments? · 2019-02-21T11:54:51.672Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I think that it's important for decision makers within charities to be aware of these problems, not necessarily the campaigners. I talked to some campaign managers when writing this post and it seemed that they were aware about most of these things anyway. But it could be that there are some decision makers in animal orgs for whom it would be useful to read this. Not sure how to make sure that they see it.

Comment by saulius on Rodents farmed for pet snake food · 2019-02-21T00:56:38.806Z · score: 19 (6 votes) · EA · GW

  • This post is by Rethink Priorities (RP), not Charity Entrepreneurship (CE)! These two organisations are not affiliated. RP does foundational research on neglected causes. CE aims to create high-impact charities.
  • My worry is that many people might not even know that owning a pet snake is a possibility. Any publicity about this issue could make more people aware that they can own snakes, which could lead to increased sales of pet snakes. I don’t know if this concern is valid, it’s based only on my intuitions, and your intuitions are as good as mine here. Everyone knows that dogs can be pets, so the situation is not analogous. Unfortunately, the impact of news stories on snake ownership can’t be evaluated because there is not enough data about snake ownership. There is only yearly data for the UK and it has a large margin of error. In other countries there is much less data.
  • I wouldn’t know how recommending alternative snakes could be done effectively. It may also be difficult to do without sending a message that it’s ok to own pet snakes. And yes, I am similarly extremely uncertain about whether that would be an improvement.
  • One day I’d like to look into changing agricultural practices to protect field mice, it does seem to be an important topic. However, it’s not in immediate RP plans.

Glad you liked the post :)

Comment by saulius on Why we look at the limiting factor instead of the problem scale · 2019-02-20T20:45:32.951Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

The way I see it, if a cause is big in scale and few people are working on it, there is a significant probability of finding some low-hanging fruits within it. So looking at the scale is useful for determining in which cause areas to look for cost-effective interventions. However, once you have some idea of how cost-effective interventions are, looking at the scale or neglectedness is not very useful.

WAS (Wild Animal Suffering) is a huge problem space, and we are only beginning to explore possible interventions. That doesn't mean that founding WAS charities right now is a good idea. However, it does suggest that searching for effective WAS interventions might be worthwhile.

Rodents farmed for pet snake food

2019-02-20T19:54:28.356Z · score: 64 (26 votes)
Comment by saulius on Will companies meet their animal welfare commitments? · 2019-02-06T14:10:00.625Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I think that relevant animal orgs know better whether it's good to outreach to news outlets and how/when to do it, so I will not do it myself.

Comment by saulius on EA Hotel Fundraiser 2: current guests and their projects · 2019-02-06T01:47:12.735Z · score: 23 (11 votes) · EA · GW

Some other considerations:

  • Living in the hotel might make people work more because less effort needs to be expanded on taking care of food, having a social life, etc.
  • For some having a place to work around other like-minded people is important for productivity
  • People sometimes learn relevant EA things from each other during daily conversations
  • Living in the hotel might prevent value drift and increase the engagement with EA (this is probably the most important one)
Comment by saulius on EA Hotel Fundraiser 2: current guests and their projects · 2019-02-06T01:44:20.274Z · score: 13 (10 votes) · EA · GW

Also see:

Comment by saulius on What are some lists of open questions in effective altruism? · 2019-02-05T12:05:38.241Z · score: 14 (8 votes) · EA · GW

Effectivethesis.com contains many possible topics

There’s also Jacy Reese’s 2018 list of half-baked volunteer research ideas

There are some research ideas at the end of EA Summit’s list

Global Priorities Institute's research agenda a has very many possible research projects listed.

80,000 hours as a list of potentially promising paths that they haven't written reviews on yet. I vaguely remember them mentioning somewhere that it could be valuable for people to write reviews about careers they are seriously considering. I guess 80,000 hours framework could be used for that.

Comment by saulius on Will companies meet their animal welfare commitments? · 2019-02-04T20:01:38.612Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Yes, I initially noticed that as well but forgot to do anything about it. I already have a contact with the person responsible for EggTrack reports, so will tell her. Although it might be too late for them to fix it. Thank you for pointing this out!

Comment by saulius on Will companies meet their animal welfare commitments? · 2019-02-03T21:21:50.379Z · score: 9 (7 votes) · EA · GW

I think it depends on the nature of the article. An article that talks negatively about companies that broke their commitments (or did not report progress) can incentivize companies to keep their commitments. The same article could also mention companies that met their commitments.

Will companies meet their animal welfare commitments?

2019-02-01T10:24:26.297Z · score: 109 (43 votes)
Comment by saulius on Climate Change Is, In General, Not An Existential Risk · 2019-01-11T23:37:05.770Z · score: 26 (15 votes) · EA · GW

Also see Is climate change an existential risk? by John Halstead. He gave a talk about it at EAG London 2018 as well.

Comment by saulius on List of possible EA meta-charities and projects · 2019-01-11T08:21:29.169Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

https://www.effectivegiving.nl is also working on it. They are (or were) organising a weekend for them.

Comment by saulius on List of possible EA meta-charities and projects · 2019-01-10T21:47:26.955Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Hmmm, it would be interesting to organise another event like this where we brainstorm about possible new EA cause areas. Maybe I will do it sometime :-) Or someone else could do it.

List of possible EA meta-charities and projects

2019-01-09T11:28:29.773Z · score: 56 (35 votes)
Comment by saulius on EA Survey 2018 Series: Community Demographics & Characteristics · 2018-09-22T09:56:13.211Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · EA · GW

The majority of people who took the survey reported being male (68%), while 26% of respondents reported that they were female, and 13% described themselves as other or declined to self-identify

That adds up to more than 100%. I am confused.

Comment by saulius on Is it better to be a wild rat or a factory farmed cow? A systematic method for comparing animal welfare. · 2018-09-18T16:46:39.806Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I tried to do something similar when deciding where to donate. The most significant difference was step 4. I used neuron count as a multiplier. For example, according to http://reflectivedisequilibrium.blogspot.com/2013/09/how-is-brain-mass-distributed-among.html, cows on average have 13.6 times more neurons than chickens. So in my model, one minute of cow's life was 13.6 times more important than one minute of chicken's life of comparable quality. I've seen some people comparing the square root of neuron count instead. http://ethical.diet/ makes it easy to make these kinds of comparisons for farm animals.

Comment by saulius on Is it better to be a wild rat or a factory farmed cow? A systematic method for comparing animal welfare. · 2018-09-18T08:49:59.895Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Also, I think the link "WAS research had a great summary" does not link to where you intended.

Comment by saulius on Is it better to be a wild rat or a factory farmed cow? A systematic method for comparing animal welfare. · 2018-09-18T08:45:24.447Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · EA · GW

Thank you for tackling a very important problem. But currently I feel I’d be lost when trying to apply this model because there is more explanation needed for many factors. For example, how does the cortisol level weight against the dopamine level? And what levels are good? How to measure and weight various listed factors to assess anxiety? Etc.

Some examples of this model being applied would be very helpful for understanding the model. Is that the next step in your research?

Comment by saulius on Fish used as live bait by recreational fishermen · 2018-08-13T11:24:40.717Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I'm not sure how to look into this more. Note that the 1.17 billion figure is from the U.S. Goverment report so that should be dependable, at least for the lower bound. I think some more information could be gained by going to a baitshop, looking around and asking some questions (how many fish average person buys, is the industry on the decline, etc.). I myself can not do that because I'm not in the U.S.

Comment by saulius on Fish used as live bait by recreational fishermen · 2018-08-11T20:03:10.435Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks. I encountered the 6 billion figure by accident when doing research about fish farmed for food for ACE. I wonder if there are other areas like this where a huge number of animals are hurt that animal activists are unaware of.

I don’t have good answers to your questions, but I'm going to do a bit of a brain dump here and answer them to the best of my knowledge, in case someone would find it valuable.

what percentage of bait fish will be replaced by artificial baits vs animals? If you used worms or other animals as bait, would you have to use more bait, or would it be a 1-1 replacement?

Artificial baits seem to already be more popular. E.g. see http://www.anglersurvey.com/files/2012/10/AS3-1.png (“live bait” here means live baitfish, worms leeches, frogs, etc.). Although one text I read said that internet is biased towards artificials baits because they are used by people who take fishing more seriously (and therefore talk about it on internet more). So the survey might have a selection bias as well. I have a hunch that people who use baitfish would be more likely to switch to other types of life bait, rather than artificial bait. Also, if farming of live bait was banned, some would catch live batfish for themselves. That is probably better than farming though.

Before I read Peter Singer, I used to fish with my father. From experience, I can tell that if they switched to worms, many more worms and maggots would be used than baitfish. E.g. see the amounts in https://www.wormsdirectuk.co.uk/acatalog/dendrobaena.html. We would keep maggots in the fridge, sometimes would hook several of them and would buy more than needed just to be safe. I might write a separate article about worms and maggots as bait some time later. I do think that they suffer less (both, because they live shorter lives before being used, and they are less sentient). But it could be that they are very stressed in those containers. So yes, it’s possible that counterfactual is even worse.

By the way, maybe some questions like this can be answered by just going to a nearby fishing or bait store and asking some questions. E.g. how many fish and how many worms do people usually buy? I wish I could’ve done that while writing this, but I don’t live in the U.S.

I'd also love to see some analysis about how existing laws came to exist. Who lobbied for these policies? Were they easy to pass, or were they controversial?

Some of the links that I put in the article partly answer this question, especially for Scotland. It seems that these laws are always controversial, fishermen don’t want restrictions and people who care about ecology want them. E.g. see this 90 page risk report about ecological risks of importing one species of baitfish from Arkansas to Minnesota- https://files.dnr.state.mn.us/aboutdnr/reports/legislative/2018-minnow-import-report.pdf The length tells me that it is an important issue for some people. In North America, a lot of rules were implemented after an outbreak of viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) in Great Lakes and some other waters in 2005-06. Some details about regulation changes can be seen at this website https://www.outdoornews.com/search/baitfish+rule It seems that regulations are always done at state level and institutions like “Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board” are responsible for them.

Comment by saulius on Fish used as live bait by recreational fishermen · 2018-08-10T10:39:19.742Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · EA · GW

If there is some kind of info that you need, let me know. I'd be eager to help and I may know where to find it (because I spent some time reading about the subject).

Comment by saulius on Fish used as live bait by recreational fishermen · 2018-08-09T15:44:12.097Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

in https://www.iceshanty.com/ice_fishing/index.php?topic=246812.0 an angler asks in a forum how many minnows should she buy for her fishing trip. The most common answer is 2-3 dozens.

Comment by saulius on Fish used as live bait by recreational fishermen · 2018-08-09T13:54:43.642Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Possible. It could be that the industry inflates the numbers because they want to seem bigger than they are. Note that baitfish is not even the most popular type of bait.

One thing to consider though is how many baitfish people take per fishing trip. After a brief search, I haven't found exact numbers but this website is advising:

Request a discount when purchasing in bulk. Injured minnows may be sold at a discounted rate, but fish that are injured rarely thrive after a change in environment. Instead, request a free dozen for every 10 dozen that you purchase.

So I imagine that fishermen who do buy baitfish, buy a lot of it. I also read that they often don't use them all and throw the rest into a lake, even though that causes ecological issues and everyone is asking fishermen not to do it.

In general, I understand your intuition and I will probably think about this more later.

Comment by saulius on Fish used as live bait by recreational fishermen · 2018-08-09T10:07:35.215Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

great, please tell how it goes!

Comment by saulius on Fish used as live bait by recreational fishermen · 2018-08-08T23:40:12.551Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I've just noticed that my text looks weird on mobile phone. I wrote it in google docs and pasted to EA forum. Is there any quick way to fix it? In case anyone has trouble reading it, you can also read it here.

Fish used as live bait by recreational fishermen

2018-08-08T20:56:25.455Z · score: 42 (38 votes)
Comment by saulius on A lesson from an EA weekend in London: pairing people up to talk 1 on 1 for 30 mins seems to be very useful · 2018-07-24T12:09:16.634Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

It went well, I asked ~8 people for feedback and it was all positive, almost everyone said that they liked it better than a regular social. One person said that it made them less socially anxious than regular socials. I think we'll organise these every other month or something like that (in addition to socials).

We first quickly presented what topics each of us would most want to talk about, then we paired people up, based on that (though a lot of pairings were random). Each person had three one on ones and then we all had a picnic. I'm not sure how well it would work if the weather was less nice and we couldn't do it in a park (or a building with many breakout rooms like at the EA weekend).

Comment by saulius on Open Thread #40 · 2018-07-17T00:02:27.185Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Interesting. It's strange that I've never heard anyone talking about decreasing animal suffering by decreasing food waste before. I wonder if anyone investigated such possibilities, I couldn’t find anything by googling. I happened to talk with an ACE researcher today and he didn’t know about any such research either. I think it's possible that there are some effective interventions in this area. Because there are many ways to reduce waste. For example:

  • Vacuum-packaging meat products. They can extended the life of some products by up to 9 days when compared to conventional packaging.
  • Getting rid of ‘buy one get one free’ promotions at groceries
  • Helping with redistribution of surplus food

It can be complicated though. For example, it's possible some people don’t by eggs because they look at the “Sell by” date and think that they will expire soon.

I wonder what could be next steps to increase the probability that someone looks into this. It could be added to http://effectivethesis.com/ but that would have a low probability of changing anything. EA Animal Welfare Fund may want to fund such research if there was someone to do it, but a more concrete topic would be needed.

Comment by saulius on Open Thread #40 · 2018-07-15T11:15:37.202Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

I wanted to ask what kind of conclusions this line of reasoning leads you to make. But am I right to think that this is a very short summary of your series of posts exploring consequentialist cluelessness (http://effective-altruism.com/ea/1hh/what_consequences/)? In that case the answer is in the last post of the series, right?

Comment by saulius on Open Thread #40 · 2018-07-15T10:44:53.030Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

Another way of saying it is “Sometimes pulling numbers out of your arse and using them to make a decision is better than pulling a decision out of your arse.” It's taken from http://slatestarcodex.com/2013/05/02/if-its-worth-doing-its-worth-doing-with-made-up-statistics/ which is relevant here.

Comment by saulius on A lesson from an EA weekend in London: pairing people up to talk 1 on 1 for 30 mins seems to be very useful · 2018-07-12T10:58:14.872Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

People were free to talk about anything they want. I'm pretty sure we told that using the questions was optional. I changed the post slightly to make it more clear. Personally, I didn't use the questions in any of my 1 on 1s. I know some people used the questions and they said that the first two questions ("When did you know that you wanted to be altruistic and why?" and "When did you realise you care about effectiveness and why?") resulted in long and not very productive conversations. So I moved them to the end in the questions document. I think that the list of questions has a lot of room for improvement. Maybe next time I will say that if they want to use the questions, they should look through the list and decide which question they are the most curious about.

We paired people up ourselves. We tried to pair up people who don't know each other well and have something in common (e.g. both are excited about the same cause area). We considered letting people pair themselves up but had reservations because some people might get upset if no one wants to talk with them. However, at the end of the first day we told people that if there is someone they'd like to be paired up with on the second day, they can write it on a piece of paper and put it in the box (so that only we could see their preference). But very few (2-4) people did that.

Btw, we will run an event that is all about 1 on 1s (https://www.facebook.com/events/330349444169839/) to see if it is a good stand-alone event (because it could be that it works only in the context of a weekend/conference/retreat). I'll write here about how it went, if I'll remember to do it :)

Comment by saulius on Open Thread #40 · 2018-07-08T23:25:32.070Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

It seems that what we need in this forum is categories/subforums. What we currently have is one subreddit. Conceptually, there’s little difference between https://www.reddit.com/r/EffectiveAltruism/ and this forum, people just use them differently. What I think we need is a whole new website like https://www.reddit.com/ that would have subreddits like “AI policy” and “Community building”. Your homepage would be customised based on subreddits you subscribed to. Maybe there could even be subreddits like "Newcomer questions" and "Editing & Review" at the same website that do not contain novel thoughts like posts on this forum. And there would be a subreddit “Old EA forum” that would contain all posts in the current forum but no new posts. Perhaps that is too complicated, maybe we just need few categories that you could filter by (and webpage would remember you user’s filter). I haven’t thought much about this, these are just my first thoughts.

Comment by saulius on A lesson from an EA weekend in London: pairing people up to talk 1 on 1 for 30 mins seems to be very useful · 2018-06-13T20:03:27.080Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I don't know, we simply didn't talk about that at all. My guess is that 4 days is not too long. EA globals sometimes last 3 days, if you include the social on Friday. I believe that a recent group organisers' retreat lasted an entire week. An AI camp lasted 10 days. These latter two events are not quite the same, but I guess you could ask Remmelt Ellen whether they felt too long, I believe he was present in both of them. Hmm, the fact that your event is during winter could matter a bit though, because going outside is usually a refreshing change of atmoshpere during such things.

By the way, this was not a retreat, we did it in an office in London and people slept elsewhere.

Comment by saulius on A lesson from an EA weekend in London: pairing people up to talk 1 on 1 for 30 mins seems to be very useful · 2018-06-13T19:24:22.989Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

oh, I didn't notice that there was a question about circling as well. There are circling meetups where I did circling with strangers and it was great. So it's not necessary to be close with people before, though the experience is quite different if you are. I imagine that many people will find circling awkward no matter what but in this case I think we simply did not have enough time to get into it. We only allocated 1 hour for it (and I'm not sure even that is enough) and then we decided to do it in the park but walking to the park took much more time than expected. It was the lowest rated activity (3.7) but I didn't include it in the table of the article because I believe that it wasn't given a fair chance.

Comment by saulius on A lesson from an EA weekend in London: pairing people up to talk 1 on 1 for 30 mins seems to be very useful · 2018-06-13T12:31:25.601Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I see, that is very different.

I only know about the feedback I already presented and the one hamming circle I myself participated in. In my circle all 3 of us were quite connected already. It may have helped but I'm not sure it was necessary. Both of them didn't know what to do with their careers so it was like a mini career-coaching session. It felt productive.

Comment by saulius on Review of CZEA "Intense EA Weekend" retreat · 2018-06-13T11:33:46.091Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I believe you meant to link to this comment of yours :)

Comment by saulius on A lesson from an EA weekend in London: pairing people up to talk 1 on 1 for 30 mins seems to be very useful · 2018-06-12T15:32:34.890Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

3) Because of your question I added a link to the summary of the responses to the feedback form to the article. Here are responses I see that suggest different activities:

  • Perhaps a little more discussion about actual causes e.g. what should be done about AI
  • In addition to the 1-1s(which were really useful), the could have been some more structured socialising (eg having people come together in groups of 3 and talk about what they care about, what their problems are, etc and switch groups in eg 5 minute intervals)
  • Maybe one minute intros could be on a post it on a wall so that people coming a day late still know who does what.

We also had some event ideas ourselves that we decided not to include in the weekend:

  • Community health session (a discussion of ways to improve the health of the EA community, be that through more diversity, more mutual support etc.)
  • Self-care for the altruistic (discussion and support session)
  • Discussions/anti-debate on cause prioritisation
  • Watching a video of a talk together and then discussing it (vote on a talk to watch during the event)
  • Values session: discussing why we have certain moral values
  • Problem-solving circle (participants raise problems they have and others try to help them)
  • The Humane League Work Party (Encouraging companies to commit to improving conditions on farms - writing letters & emails, phone calls, petitions. Would have been an option throughout the event.)
  • Gathering and interpreting data relating to the impact of charities for SoGive
Comment by saulius on A lesson from an EA weekend in London: pairing people up to talk 1 on 1 for 30 mins seems to be very useful · 2018-06-12T14:44:42.253Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

2) I will ask the person who ran Hamming circles to explain it, I only participated in half of the event myself. You can get some idea from the slides (slides 21- 28).

Comment by saulius on A lesson from an EA weekend in London: pairing people up to talk 1 on 1 for 30 mins seems to be very useful · 2018-06-12T14:14:41.251Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

1) >"The numbers on how useful things are seem quite low to me..."

On the scale 1 was "Useless" and 10 was "Life-transforming". But just before asking for feedback, I made a change in the slides and added this meaning to the ratings of the events:

"3 - £100, 5 - £1,000, 8 - £10,000, 10 - £100,000 (e. g. career change)"

I explained it to people as well. This was... not smart. Because of this, some respondents gave low scores to all the events. E.g. someone said that the weekend was "Far more valuable (10-30x the counterfactual)" but did not gave any event a rating that is higher than 4. Others ignored the point and gave high ratings for all events.

That's why I weighted and normalised the ratings. If someone said that the weekend was "Vastly more valuable (>30x counterfactual)", I multiplied all their ratings by a constant so that their highest rating would be 10. If they rated the weekend as "Far more valuable (10-30x the counterfactual)", I multiplied all their ratings so that the highest rating would be 9. 8 for "Much more valuable", 7 for "Somewhat more valuable", and 6 for "About as valuable".

Comment by saulius on Open Thread #39 · 2018-06-12T12:47:54.667Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

see http://effective-altruism.com/ea/1d8/dpr/

A lesson from an EA weekend in London: pairing people up to talk 1 on 1 for 30 mins seems to be very useful

2018-06-12T11:38:39.913Z · score: 16 (16 votes)
Comment by saulius on UK Income Tax & Donations · 2018-06-01T09:04:52.983Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I knew a lot of this before donating but I still lost some money. I'll describe how. I got my first UK job in September 2015 for a company that did not have payroll giving scheme set up. I donated some money in January 2016 and May 2016 and I let the charity claim gift aid (25%) in both cases. Since I was a 40% tax payer, I was eligible to claim the difference between my tax rate and gift aid (40%-25%=15%) from the government. However, I was told that I could only claim this difference for my May 2016 donation because I didn't pay enough tax in the tax year that ended on April 2016.

If you call tax helpline (https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/income-tax-enquiries-for-individuals-pensioners-and-employees), they generally can answer all the questions about your situation.

Comment by saulius on Empirical data on value drift · 2018-05-01T00:09:14.816Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Males having a “dating EAs only” rule is also dangerous (for the health of the community) when 70% of the community identifies as male and only 26% as female. It’d promote unhealthy competition. What is more, communities are not that big in many of the cities which for many people would make the choice very limited. Especially since we should probably avoid flirting with newcomers because that might scare them away.

Maybe the partner doesn't have to be an EA to prevent the value drift, maybe the important thing is that the partner is supportive of EA-type sacrifices. I'll put this as a requirement in my online dating profiles. I think that people who are altruistic (but not necessarily EAs) are especially likely to be supportive.

Comment by saulius on Empirical data on value drift · 2018-04-30T23:24:54.151Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

I think that there should be no norm here and we should simply consider the fact that dating a non-EA may cause a value drift before making decisions. Being altruistic sometimes means making sacrifices to your happiness. If having less money, less time and no children can be amongst the possible sacrifices, I see no reason why limiting the set of possible romantic partners could not be one of possible sacrifices as well. People are diverse. Maybe someone would rather donate less money but abstain from dating non-EAs, or even abstain from dating at all. One good piece of writing related to the subject is http://briantomasik.com/personal-thoughts-on-romance/

Comment by saulius on Open Thread #39 · 2018-04-23T14:14:05.833Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

Hi. Firstly, I want to say that many people within the movement differ in how risk averse they are and make decisions with that taken into account. For example, this flowchart on deciding which cause to work on http://globalprioritiesproject.org/2015/09/flowhart/ has a question “would you rather do something that has a 1% chance of saving 1,000 lives than save one life for sure?” I know some smart people who would answer that question with a “no” and behave accordingly.

However, many EAs think that the 1% chance option is better and many EAs spend entire life’s effort on causes like AI-safety even though it’ll almost surely have no impact because for them it’s not that important to make sure you have at least some impact, for them the small possibility of having a huge impact is just as motivating. I do share your feeling that having at least some impact is better, but personally I try to somewhat ignore it as a bias when making important decisions. To me, in some abstract sense, 1% chance of saving 1,000 lives is better than 100% chance of saving 1 life. In the same way that helping 10 people africa is in some abstract sense better than helping 1 person who lives in my country. And in the same way that helping 10 people who will live in million years is better than helping 1 person who is living now. Part of my brain disagrees but I choose to call that a bias rather than a part of my moral compass. Which IMO is a totally subjective choice.

Even if all of us were risk averse, it might still make sense for all of us to cooperate and put money into different risky causes, because then there’s a high probability that all of us combined will have a big positive impact. Instead of making sure that you yourself make a significant difference, you could think how EA community as whole (or humanity as a whole) could make a big positive difference. EA already supports many charities and maybe the risky charity that you donate to personally won’t have an impact, but if many people support different risky charities like you will, all of us combined will have a bigger impact with a high probability.

All that said, some EAs donate some money to causes that make sure that they have at least some impact and some money to risky causes with high expected value. More on this in https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/3p3CYauiX8oLjmwRF/purchase-fuzzies-and-utilons-separately

Fact checking comparison between trachoma surgeries and guide dogs

2017-05-10T22:33:21.864Z · score: 31 (31 votes)