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AmyLabenz comments on Problems with EA representativeness and how to solve it - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: redmoonsoaring 08 August 2018 02:37:50AM *  2 points [-]

On the topic of Effective Altruism Global, I'm not just concerned about the lower representation of non-x-risk cause areas, but also the speaker selection for those cause areas. In 2016 as an example, the main animal welfare speaker was a parrot intelligence researcher who seemed, I'm sorry to say this, uninformed about animal welfare, even of birds. I think the animal welfare speakers over the years have been more selected for looking cool to the organizers (who didn't know much about animal welfare) and/or increasing speaker demographic diversity (Not that this is a bad thing, but it's unhelpful to just get diversity in one cause area.), instead of actually having the leading experts on EA and animal welfare.

Comment author: AmyLabenz 08 August 2018 02:44:36PM 1 point [-]

I agree that our selection process for animal-focused speakers in 2015 and 2016 left a lot to be desired. In 2017 we began working with advisors from specific fields to be sure we’re reaching out to speakers with expertise on the topics that conference attendees most want to hear about. This year we’ve expanded to a larger advisory board with the hope that we can continue to improve the EA Global content.

Comment author: redmoonsoaring 10 August 2018 03:23:29PM *  1 point [-]

Thank you for the explanation. I still believe the 2017 and 2018 animal welfare and global poverty line-ups left a lot to be desired, but those years might have been better than 2016 at least in the choice of keynote speaker.

Maybe there could be more transparency in regards to the advisory board, because without knowing those details, I don't know how to evaluate the situation. I do feel concern from CEA's history that the advisory board may favor people with close ties to CEA rather than actual meaningful representation from those fields. But I can't be confident in that without knowing the details.

Comment author: KevinWatkinson  (EA Profile) 08 August 2018 03:09:22PM 1 point [-]

I think what conference attendees most want to hear about but also worth considering what potential attendees would want to hear about. Personally i would prefer more diversity within the cause area to look at various challenges to conventional EAA whilst focussing more on philosophy and demandingness. I think in this way people could become somewhat more familiar with the broader cause area rather than in my view a tendency to focus on a fairly narrow group of organisations and individuals.

Would it be possible to say who is on the advisory board?

Comment author: AmyLabenz 08 August 2018 10:41:49PM 3 points [-]

Hi Kevin,

Thanks for your comment. To improve the breadth of EAA topics covered at EA Global, I started working with Tyler John as my first advisor in 2017. This year we have an advisory board consisting of ~25 people outside of CEA with expertise in AI, animals, biosecurity, global health & development, horizon scanning (topics that push the frontiers of EA), and meta EA, as well as a “wild card” section for additional suggestions. I’d need to check with the rest of the advisors before sharing their names.