Running an EA reading group

After five years of running the Boston EA meetup, I was reluctant to try something like a reading group because my model of them is that no one does the reading. But this fall we tried it anyway.

We’ve had two meetups in the series, and so far they’ve been at least as successful as our usual unstructured meetups in terms of attendance and interest in the conversation. To my surprise, nearly everyone did the reading, and even those who didn’t were able to follow along with the discussion.
We’ve had good success with ~20 minute readings or video lectures. (In our public-transit-heavy location, most people do the readings on their way to the meetup.) Bonus if you get the audio from the video so people can listen to it on the go.
You could also do this with longer works (like the Superintelligence reading group), but given scheduling difficulties of in-person meetings I'm planning to continue with short readings.

Ideas for possible readings:

Reasons to be nice to other value systems, Brian Tomasik

Estimation is the best we have, Katja Grace

Beware surprising and suspicious convergence, Gregory Lewis

The timing of labour aimed at reducing existential risk, Toby Ord

The long-term significance of reducing global catastrophic risks, Nick Beckstead

Upstream altruism, Christine Peterson (video, talk is until 18:15 and rest is Q&A)

Making sense of long-term indirect effects, Rob Wiblin (video)

The value of coordination, Benjamin Todd

Rationality and effective altruism, Jess Whittlestone (video)

Finding more effective causes, Michelle Hutchinson

EA risks falling into a "meta trap". But we can avoid it, Peter Hurford

Should non-experts shut up? The skeptic’s catch-22, Julia Galef

Effective animal activism, Kelly Witwicki (video)

Cosmopolitanism, Topher Hallquist

On progress and prosperity, Paul Christiano

Passive vs. rational vs. quantified, Holden Karnofsky

Apples and oranges? Some initial thoughts on comparing diverse benefits, Katja Grace

The practical importance of theoretical population ethics, Theron Pummer




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