Comment by sdspikes on Berkeley REACH EA Weekend Workshop · 2019-04-23T02:53:13.400Z · score: 9 (3 votes) · EA · GW

At least in the bay area, most folks don't tend to have the availability to come to casual meetups frequently, and most of the existing meetups aren't about the basics of EA or focused on how you can individually contribute.

I heard about the Arete fellowship at the CEA local groups retreat in January, and that got me thinking about better on-ramps to EA that I could implement in the bay area.

I do intend to follow up with post-workshop surveys as well as strongly encouraging folks to join existing meetup groups or start their own.

Berkeley REACH EA Weekend Workshop

2019-04-15T20:26:57.767Z · score: 29 (9 votes)

Gauging Interest in an EA Weekend Workshop

2019-03-28T21:14:16.059Z · score: 6 (6 votes)
Comment by sdspikes on EA Angel Group: Applications Open for Personal/Project Funding · 2019-03-21T18:04:37.173Z · score: 12 (6 votes) · EA · GW

As someone who has applied for and recieved funding from BERI, the EA Community Building Fund, and the EA Meta Fund, I agree that more collaboration and communication between the various groups would be beneficial. It's been fairly unclear when to apply to which group, and I've had to answer different prompts from each. I've also run into timing issues, where I needed to make decisions about signing leases, etc before finding out if or how much I'll be receiving in grants. I've mostly dealt with this by setting up a Patreon account so that small donors can chip in on a monthly basis, but that might not make sense for others.

Comment by sdspikes on SHOW: A framework for shaping your talent for direct work · 2019-03-12T20:25:32.959Z · score: 25 (17 votes) · EA · GW

This seems like good advice. However, I'd say that if your goal is to "advance your EA career", maybe you should do some goal factoring -- what do you want out of an EA career? If what you want is to do as much good as possible, it's totally possible that your comparative advantage doesn't look like a standard EA career path.

If what you want is EA street cred, maybe you should just get better at talking about what you're doing (which might require an internal shift in how you think about what you're doing).

If you are actually doing something that's not that great and won't get you better positioned to do more good later, of course consider changing paths :)

Comment by sdspikes on EA Community Building Grants Update · 2019-02-15T22:11:35.565Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · EA · GW

In October 2018, BERI (Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative) awarded a grant of $24k toward REACH operations for 2018-2019. So far, $10k of that has been dispersed as salary for the REACH Manager, Sarah “Stardust” Spikes (me).

In November 2018, the EA Meta Fund awarded a $5k grant to for work on the REACH Panel.

In December 2018, CEA (Centre for Effective Altruism) awarded a $14k community building grant toward rent for REACH, which has been dispersed in full to the REACH Bank account.

(cribbed from our Patreon page)

Comment by sdspikes on The Need for and Viability of an Effective Altruism Academy · 2019-02-15T21:58:08.578Z · score: 17 (10 votes) · EA · GW

Interesting! I've been working on a much lighter thing that's like the college EA Fellowship program but for working adults, and have been debating whether it should be an ongoing once per week kind of thing or an intense weekend retreat (i.e. the CFAR model). EA Academy (or REACH Academy since we'd be running it out of the Berkeley REACH) came up as a potential name during brainstorming (haven't landed on a definite name yet, will likely depend on what the program ends up looking like).

I've been an instructor at a coding bootcamp in the past and am generally interested in non-traditional education. I like the thought of your proposal, but see some potential flaws, many of which have already been laid out by Aaron. I'd be interested in chatting, though!

Comment by sdspikes on EA Community Building Grants Update · 2019-01-21T05:56:12.642Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · EA · GW

FYI, I had applied to do this in Berkeley, but was previously turned down due to lack of data/metrics. I re-applied in the fall, and have now received a grant to help fund renting the space for REACH. I plan to do more active outreach now that I have a more stable source of funding.

Comment by sdspikes on Earning to Save (Give 1%, Save 10%) · 2018-11-27T04:09:23.130Z · score: 9 (8 votes) · EA · GW

I like the idea of encouraging people to save, haven't given much thought to specific numbers. I think good financial planning in general is a skill that a lot of EAs seem to lack.

For myself, I went from "no disposable income" to "way more disposable income than I know what to do with" after graduating and starting my first job (Google). I had the privilege of just *not thinking about money* for several years. Mostly I saved because I didn't actually need/want that much, but I also did things like buying a 46" TV without much thought -- I had gotten used to a big TV at a group house, so when I moved out to a different house that didn't have one, it seemed natural to just buy one. I didn't budget, I didn't look at my bank balance, I just bought it. That was fine at the time, but now that I no longer have a 6 figure salary (because I started an EA-related non-profit), I find that my default response to "it would be nice to have X" should NOT be "just buy X" anymore, and it's been tricky to train myself out of it -- though to some extent that mindset might've been crucial in me actually starting REACH, since I somewhat impulsively just rented out the space myself for the first few months because I saw the opportunity and thought it would be a good thing for the community. Shrug.

Berkeley REACH Supporters Update: September 2018

2018-09-18T05:29:11.432Z · score: 1 (5 votes)

Reflections on Berkeley REACH

2018-06-08T00:07:02.526Z · score: 10 (10 votes)
Comment by sdspikes on Announcing Rethink Priorities · 2018-03-13T23:33:42.220Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

Publishing shorter and more digestible information more frequently, rather than publishing sprawling research less frequently. By taking the same amount of information and breaking it down into “minimal publishing units,” we make it easier for ourselves and others to understand and build upon, and get quicker feedback loops.

<3

Comment by sdspikes on Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA): an overview of 2017 and our 2018 plans · 2017-12-19T20:21:11.597Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Yeah, we have talked to the LW 2.0 team a bit about the possibility of using their codebase as a starting point or possibly doing some kind of actual integration, but we're still in the speculative phase at this point :)

Comment by sdspikes on New releases: Global Priorities Institute research agenda and posts we’re hiring for · 2017-12-16T05:04:09.701Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

It looks like these all require relocating to Oxford, is that accurate?

Comment by sdspikes on What Should the Average EA Do About AI Alignment? · 2017-03-01T01:50:13.572Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · EA · GW

As a Stanford CS (BS/MS '10) grad who took AI/Machine Learning courses in college from Andrew Ng, worked at Udacity with Sebastian Thrun, etc. I have mostly been unimpressed by non-technical folks trying to convince me that AI safety (not caused by explicit human malfeasance) is a credible issue.

Maybe I have "easily corrected, false beliefs" but the people I've talked to at MIRI and CFAR have been pretty unconvincing to me, as was the book Superintelligence.

My perception is that MIRI has focused in on an extremely specific kind of AI that to me seems unlikely to do much harm unless someone is recklessly playing with fire (or intentionally trying to set one). I'll grant that that's possible, but that's a human problem, not an AI problem, and requires a human solution.

You don't try to prevent nuclear disaster by making friendly nuclear missiles, you try to keep them out of the hands of nefarious or careless agents or provide disincentives for building them in the first place.

But maybe you do make friendly nuclear power plants? Not sure if this analogy worked out for me or not.

Comment by sdspikes on EA introduction course and YouTube playlists · 2015-08-13T17:29:35.770Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

There's already a coursera course, but I don't know how good it is: https://www.coursera.org/learn/altruism