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WillPearson comments on Why & How to Make Progress on Diversity & Inclusion in EA - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: WillPearson 27 October 2017 07:44:03PM *  4 points [-]

Yes, there are a few EA leftists whose main priority is to systemically reform capitalism, but not significantly more than there were in the first place, and they are a tiny group in comparison to the liberals, the conservatives, the vegans, the x-risk people, and so on. As far as I can tell, the impact of all these articles and comments in bringing leftists into active participation with EA was totally nonexistent.

I'm not sure I count or not. My work on autonomy can be seen as investigating systemic change. I've been to a couple of meetups and hung around this forum a bit and I can tell you why the community is not very enticing or inviting from my point of view, if you are interested.

Edit to add:

I can only talk about EA London which I went to a couple of the meetups. To preface things I had generally good interactions with people they were nice and we chatted a bit about non-systemic EA interests (which I am also interested in). There was lots of conversation and not too much holding-forth.

I was mainly trying to find people interested in discussing AI/future things as any systemic change has to take this into consideration and there is lots of uncertainty. I was asked what I was interested in by organisers and asked if anyone knew people primarily interested in AI, and I didn't get any useful responses. At the time I didn't know enough about EA to ask about systemic change (and wasn't as clear on what I exactly wanted).

This slightly rambling point is to illustrate that it is hard to connect with people on niche topics (which AI seems to be in London). There probably needs to be a critical mass of people joining at once for a locality to support a topic.

I've joined a London EA facebook group focused on the future so I have my hopes.

That is pretty benign, a problem but not a large one. More could be done, but more could always be done.

The second, which I think might be more exclusionary, is EAG. I applied for tickets and to volunteer but I've heard nothing so far. I'm unsure why there is even selection on tickets.

I suspect I don't look like lots of EAs on an application form: I don't earn to give, but have taken a pay cut to work part time on my project, which I hope will help everyone in the long run. I may not have quite the same chipper enthusiasm.

I suspect other people interested in systemic change will look similarly different from lots of EAs, and the curation of EAG might be biased against them. If it is, then I probably have not lost out much by not going!

I mainly wrote this comment to try and give some possible reasons for the lack of a significant group interested in systemic change (despite articles/comments to the contrary). I'm not expecting EA to change, you can't be a group for everyone and you do interesting and good things. But it is good to know some of the potential reasons why things are how they are.

Edit2: I got a polite email from Julia Wise telling me that the reason I didn't get an invite was because London was a smaller event and that people were selected on the basis of "those who will benefit most from attending EA Global London." It would be nicer if these things were a little more transparent, e.g. you are applicant #X we can only accept #Y applicants, to give you a better idea of the chances. From my own perspective for the people that are interested in current niche EA topics it is important to be able to potentially meet other people from around the world interested in their topics. EAG might not be the place for that though.