NatKozak comments on Hi, I'm Holden Karnofsky. AMA about jobs at Open Philanthropy - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: NatKozak 26 March 2018 07:41:53PM *  5 points [-]

I'm graduating from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) with an Honors History degree this year. This gave me a nonstandard amount of experience with literature reviews and research for an undergraduate student. However, I've seen that OpenPhil generally prefers its candidates to have non-humanities majors.

1) Is the latter claim true?

2) In general, how does OpenPhil rate research experience that is not in the field(s) currently being explored?

Comment author: Jamie_Harris 04 April 2018 03:25:57PM 3 points [-]

Thanks for the question - I have wondered the same, as I also studied History at undergraduate level.

A slight detour from your question, but maybe of interest. There is currently is no community / FB group for people with backgrounds or research interests in History within EA that I know of. There have been quite a few times when discussions around the usefulness of historical studies has come up and it might be good to share ideas and collaborate.

I don't have time to try and coordinate this at the moment, but it seems like trying to establish some sort of discussion forum (or organisation?) for using the study of history to advance our understanding of (and strategy towards) cause areas which are often prioritised within EA.

If this is something you (or anyone else seeing this) has an interest in me developing, it's something to bear in mind? People should feel free to contact me at jamesaharris [at] hotmail.co.uk if you want to talk about it further.

Examples: I'm thinking primarily within Effective Animal Advocacy (Sentience Institute's study of the British antislavery movement; ACE discontinuing their social studies project; technology adoption being considered as a precedent for clean meat e.g. by Sentience Institute and Paul Shapiro) but this would also apply to other fields. The systematic approach described in the post linked at [1] seems to correlate more closely with the approach Holden and others took at OPP than it does the studies done in the Effective Animal Advocacy sphere.

[1] http://effective-altruism.com/ea/1lz/whyweshouldbedoingmoresystematic_research/

Comment author: MichaelPlant 06 April 2018 11:39:35PM 1 point [-]

just emailed you.

Comment author: lukeprog 28 March 2018 03:50:08PM 1 point [-]

(I work for Open Phil.)

As Holden said elsewhere, "Quantitative aptitude is not a hard requirement for this position (there are some ways the role could evolve that would not require it), but it's a major plus." In that sense we prefer candidates with quantitative/technical majors, but also note that in most cases we pay more attention to an applicant's performance on the work tests that are part of our application process than we do to their CV.

Research experience in a current Open Phil focus area is a bonus, but less important than general quantitative aptitude and performance on our work tests.

Comment author: John_Maxwell_IV 27 March 2018 07:05:51AM 1 point [-]

OpenPhil is big on history, I would apply.