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Take the EA survey, help the EA movement grow and potentially win $250 to your favorite charity

4 peter_hurford 24 November 2015 06:44PM

This year's EA Survey is now ready to be shared! This is a survey of all EAs to learn about the movement and how it can improve. The data collected in the survey is used to help EA groups improve and grow EA. Data is also used to populate the map of EAs, create new EA meetup groups, and create EA Profiles and the EA Donation Registry.

If you are an EA or otherwise familiar with the community, we hope you will take it using this link. All results will be anonymised and made publicly available to members of the EA community. As an added bonus, one random survey taker will be selected to win a $250 donation to their favorite charity.

Take the EA Survey

Please share the survey with others who might be interested using this link rather than the one above: http://bit.ly/1OqsVWo

Comment author: Clarity 17 October 2015 10:52:51AM *  1 point [-]

Great offer.

Would you consider extending the offer to MIRI, Living Goods or Development Media International (for those unfamiliar: the first being the AI organisation that sponsors this website, the last two being 2 of GiveWell's standout charities?

GiveWell's most compelling reason for not including Living Good's as one of their 4 recommended charities is room for more funding. However, the premise for the lack of room for more funding rested on the assumption that it would be funded by a big donor soon. There is no evidence to suggest this has taken place since GiveWell's analysis.

The size of Living Goods' funding gap for the next year is highly uncertain because major funders are considering supporting the program. If Living Goods raises enough funds to scale up the program studied with the RCT, it may allocate additional funds to programs with less of a track record.

I favour living goods since their approach doesn't disincentivise rational market behaviour and there are methodological issues re: the effectiveness of the 4 recommended GiveWell charities that are described elsewhere.

I favour DMI for complex reasons including the integrity of their frontier scientific methodology which I may elaborate upon at a later stage. They do their work very well but I still have concerns that it may be increasing the survivability of those who neglect somewhat easily researched solutions to everyday problems and therefore sustain unwellbeing in the long term.

Update: I have been doing some thinking about making a bequest, prompted by this offer. So, suddenly the urgency of donating feels less great to me, and dying with savings is suddenly valuable. When I think about how to maximise my savings, one thing that comes to mind is maximising my inheritence. My sister rents a house from my parents below market price. I feel like this is unjust, since it will take away from the some of my inheritence. She is a wealthy quant and just 'doesn't have the time or need' to change arrangements. I feel bad about this, like I'm being robbed or they are favouring her. At the same time, I'm not entitled to their money. This is stressful!

Comment author: peter_hurford 18 October 2015 07:04:07PM 0 points [-]

Would you consider extending the offer to MIRI, Living Goods or Development Media International (for those unfamiliar: the first being the AI organisation that sponsors this website, the last two being 2 of GiveWell's standout charities?

At the moment we would prefer to not extend the offer to MIRI. This is because we think it’s valuable to keep an organization fairly focused on doing a few things well and fundraising for MIRI currently falls out of Charity Science’s scope. It’s also legally dubious whether or not Charity Science can use its resources to influence money to groups not involved in alleviating poverty.

We are more than happy to extend the offer to Living Goods or Development Media International. We do recommend bequests to GiveWell’s top charities though because GiveWell’s fluidity and flexibility will allow their recommendations to change over time, which means that they’re an excellent choice to leave a bequest to. This is in contrast to another charity that may be effective now but may not be 30 years from now.

We’ll write you a will for free if you leave a gift to GiveWell’s top charities

4 peter_hurford 16 October 2015 03:33AM

Would you like to leave money in your will to GiveWell’s top rated charities at the time of your passing? If so, Charity Science will you help you write it for free.

To make it as easy as possible for you, we at Charity Science have made a simple form that takes as little as 5 minutes to complete. After that you come out with a ready made will. And don’t worry if you’re not sure what to put in it; it’s easy to change and you can always come back to it later. So give it a shot here. The default option should be to set it up just in case something terrible does happen, that way you always have something ready.

A few more reasons to take the time to write a will include:

  • Reducing the inheritance tax incurred - leaving money to charity being an excellent way to do so.

  • Making provisions for your children if you have any, for example by choosing who will take care of them and setting aside funds for this.

  • Making any other necessary provisions, such as for your pets, or your business, or other responsibilities that you have.

  • Specifying what sort of funeral you would like, which will spare your family from having to make the decision.

  • Naming your executors for your will (family members are a standard choice).

But most of all it’s because you have the incredible opportunity to do an epic amount of good.

You can set it up here. After that consider talking to your friends, parents and grandparents to see if they would be interested in doing the same. It’s really important you mention it because the average amount left to charities in a will is in the thousands of dollars so a few words may go a very long way.

If this doesn’t appeal to you then there are other things that you could do. You can always run a fundraiser for Christmas, your Birthday or any event you like.

Comment author: Clarity 13 July 2015 06:42:53AM 1 point [-]

Bill Gates said something along the lines learn computer science by studying great code, not studying computer science formally. I'm trying to take that advice, starting with making things to improve my productivity (stuff I'll actually use). I might start with this Twilio API tutorial. Can you forsee any problems with this approach?

Comment author: peter_hurford 16 July 2015 04:17:40PM 1 point [-]

I think it's good advice generally speaking, but it won't work for beginners. Studying great code is a great way to go from intermediate to expert, but if you haven't already gone from beginner to intermediate than you probably won't be able to recognize what is good code or understand why it is good.

Comment author: peter_hurford 14 May 2015 02:09:38PM 7 points [-]

When I was 16, I spent a lot of time "analyzing signals", and it never went well.

Comment author: ChaosMote 01 May 2015 08:53:17PM *  10 points [-]

To address your first question: this has to do with scope insensitivity, hyperbolic discounting, and other related biases. To put it bluntly, most humans are actually pretty bad at maximizing expected utility. For example, when I first head about x-risk, my thought process was definitely not "humanity might be wiped out - that's IMPORTANT. I need to devote energy to this." It was more along the lines of "huh; That's interesting. Tragic, even. Oh well; moving on..."

Basically, we don't care much about what happens in the distant future, especially if it isn't guaranteed to happen. We also don't care much more about humanity than we do about ourselves plus our close ones. Plus we don't really care about things that don't feel immediate. And so on. Then end result is that most people's immediate problems are more important to them then x-risk, even if the latter might be by far the more essential according to utilitarian ethics.

Comment author: peter_hurford 03 May 2015 02:24:04AM 10 points [-]

It's also possible that people might reasonably disagree with one or more of MIRI's theses.

Comment author: peter_hurford 11 April 2015 05:31:38PM 1 point [-]
In response to comment by [deleted] on How to learn soft skills
Comment author: ilzolende 07 February 2015 06:46:06PM 6 points [-]

Solution: get an eBook edition or get a used hardcover and take off the dust jacket.

Also, it's not going to make you meaner than the general population. It just teaches you how to do consciously what some people can do unconsciously.

If it's morally good for me, as an autistic person, to improve my social/manipulation skills such that they're closer to the average NT, then why would it be immoral for you to improve your social skills? Unless there's some morally optimal level of social skills that is quite conveniently the level of the average person, this seems strange.

Comment author: peter_hurford 07 February 2015 09:37:12PM 3 points [-]

Solution: get an eBook edition or get a used hardcover and take off the dust jacket.

I enjoyed it a lot as an Audiobook.

Donate to Keep Charity Science Running

13 peter_hurford 27 January 2015 02:45AM

Charity Science is looking for $35,000 to fund our 2015 operations. We fundraise for GiveWell-recommended charities, and over 2014 we moved over $150,000 to them that wouldn’t have been given otherwise: that’s $9 for every $1 we spent. We can’t do this work without your support, so please consider making a donation to us - however small, it will be appreciated. Donate now and you’ll also be matched by Matt Wage.

The donations pages below list other reasons to donate to us, which include:

  • Our costs are extremely low: the $35,000 CAD pays for three to four full-time staff.
  • We experiment with many different forms of fundraising and record detailed information on how these experiments go, so funding us lets the whole EA community learn about their prospects.
  • We carefully track how much money each experiment raises, subtract money which would have been given anyway, and shut down experiments that don’t work.
  • Our fundraising still has many opportunities to continue to scale as we try new ideas we haven’t tested yet.

There’s much more information, including our full budget and what we’d do if we raised over $35,000, in the linked document, and we’d be happy to answer any questions. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Donate in American dollars 

Donate in British pounds 

Donate in Canadian dollars

Comment author: c_edwards 15 January 2015 04:06:12PM 1 point [-]

This seems like a very good idea, but I'm not sure that it fills the same role as the traditional Pomodoro (grain of salt: still new to Pomodoro).

One of the problems that I find when programming (and a lot of other tasks, really) is that it's easy to get wrapped up in "how do I implement this?" instead of "What do I need to implement to achieve my goal?". This is especially problematic when it becomes even finer scaled - "I need to understand/rework this one little part because maybe it's causing the current bug/error" instead of "what is the most time-efficient way for me to try to solve the current bug/error". I've spent many hours banging my head against a wall trying to implement/fix something that was ultimately unimportant. Your technique here seems to be a great solution to this problem - frequently pulling out of tactical mode to think strategically, (plus making sure that you're fed etc, which has a huge impact on my work efficiency).

On the other hand, my impression with the Pomodoro technique is that part of the goal is to make it easier to stay motivated - it's much easier for me to sustain a decent pace of work for a day when I know that every 20 or 25 minutes I'm going to have a 5 minute break to do something fun. I'm looking forward to trying your modification, but I'm wondering if, at least for myself, I'm going to need an additional five minutes to just do something fun (at least if I want to be able to keep up my work all day long). Although, as you point out, 15 minutes is actually a long time, and maybe only 10 minutes of it is really necessary for the strategic thinking and body maintenance stuff.

Comment author: peter_hurford 16 January 2015 03:19:10AM 0 points [-]

Hey, thanks for the insight! You hit right on the head what benefit I derive from this, and I think you're right that I neglected to notice that the benefit is pretty different from that of the original Pomodoro. And, I actually still do use the original Pomodoro when I need to bust through tasks I really don't want to do, because the "It's only 25 minutes" is pretty compelling. Good point.

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