Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 11 August 2018 06:44:29PM 2 points [-]

I'd be curious to see also the proportion of women in online forums such as this one.

We have that in the EA Survey data.

Comment author: Khorton 11 August 2018 10:10:54PM 1 point [-]

I'm not sure where to find that - can you link to it or post an extract here?

Comment author: Dale 10 August 2018 10:59:48PM *  -3 points [-]

Interesting data!

Sounds like churn is much lower with men. Unless it is much more expensive (in terms of advertising etc.) to get new men, which looking at the '1+' row doesn't seem to be the case, or women are more productive, this suggests you have a higher Customer-Lifetime-Value / Customer-Acquisition-Cost ratio with men. If this is the case then, to the extent you can, you should re-allocate your efforts at the relevant margin towards attracting more men.

Comment author: Khorton 11 August 2018 10:10:12AM *  3 points [-]

Several previous forum posts have suggested that it's useful to try to have a balance of men and women because:

-In the longer term, only focusing on white, middle-class men who want to do good using evidence will mean we lose out on a large amount of talent and resources. source

-The focus on men might not be reversible: unbalanced events now could put off "highly productive" women, who might continue to view EA unfavourably years later. source

-Diversity will likely make conversations and viewpoints less predictable and more useful. source

Comment author: KyleYork 10 August 2018 07:33:10PM 2 points [-]

Some questions that come to mind:

1-- Are women who wish to speak during events given equal (de facto) opportunity to speak? (Of course they are given equal formal opportunity, but as I saw in my postgrad program, group sessions that favour more typically 'masculine' ways of engaging in dialogue-- favouring assertiveness and competitiveness-- would tend to leave the women in my program alienated). 2-- Could the gender difference in jobs and education and its relation to the sorts of activities EA emphasises play a part? 3-- Do women feel uncomfortable at events for any other reason? If they did, would it be in such a way that they could or would report it on a survey? 4-- Would the amount of women in leadership positions alter this? 5-- Have similar surveys been conducted with people of different races and ethnic backgrounds?


Comment author: Khorton 10 August 2018 08:25:07PM *  3 points [-]

Hi Kyle! A lot of these questions are about how women feel at events--I hope to be able to answer them after I finish working through my focus group data. I can tell you that EA London has two paid staff, one male and one female.

We haven't used our attendance data to look for patterns in race/ethnicity because it would be more difficult. We can usually make a good guess at someone's gender from their name and appearance, but can't always make a good guess at someone's ethnic background from their name and appearance. We'd have to ask, and asking first-time visitors about their race seemed like a bad idea.

Comment author: vollmer 10 August 2018 03:33:34PM *  0 points [-]

Right, when I wrote "career plan changes" I mostly meant that they end up studying a subject different from their previous best guess (if they had one) at least partly for EA reasons. (Or at a different university, e.g. a top school.)

Comment author: Khorton 10 August 2018 03:36:30PM 1 point [-]

I really don't think doing your undergrad at a "top school" is as important in Canada as it is in the US or UK, and I'm not sure it's worth the money for a Canadian undergrad to study out of the country.

Comment author: RandomEA 09 August 2018 01:43:56PM 1 point [-]

Could you put together a handbook and/or video that could be sent to all trainees or is it critical that there be interaction between the trainer and trainee?

Comment author: Khorton 09 August 2018 01:58:55PM *  1 point [-]

Perhaps a mentorship model could also work with a few dedicated volunteers. They could shadow and watch a presentation by a trained staff member the first time, then team teach with the staff member 2-3 times, before teaching on their own. This model would hopefully mean that minimal extra staff time is spent on training, but volunteers are still able to deliver high quality presentations.

Comment author: RandomEA 09 August 2018 04:35:15AM 6 points [-]

Do you think the general knowledge of EA that a typical EA has is sufficient to run a SHIC workshop? It seems to me that having local groups and university groups give EA lectures at high schools on career day is potentially both high impact and a way for those groups to do direct work.

Comment author: Khorton 09 August 2018 12:46:23PM 8 points [-]

As a former teacher, I'd suggest that better-than-average presentation skills would also be essential for volunteers. But I'm also curious to hear the response to this question.

Comment author: riceissa  (EA Profile) 08 August 2018 05:42:11AM *  3 points [-]

Anders Sandberg's Flickr account has a 2014 photo of a whiteboard from FHI containing estimates for the following statements/questions:

  • Probability that >50% of humans will die in a disaster in next 100 years
  • Are we living in a computer simulation created by some advanced civilization?
  • Your credence that humanity goes extinct in the next 100 years – replacing us with something better (e.g. WBE) doesn't count
  • Your credence that AGI is developed by 2050 (on Earth)

The photo caption is:

Office guesses at (A) a disaster killing 50%+ of humanity in the next century, (B) our reality turning out to be a simulation, (C) extinction within a century, and (D) artificial general intelligence before 2050.

This is based on earlier Aumann agreement experiments we did. Credences are free to update as we see each other's views, as well as get new evidence.

There are two other photos showing parts of the same (or similar) whiteboard.

HT: Louis Francini for originally pointing me to these photos.

Comment author: Khorton 08 August 2018 10:21:02AM 0 points [-]

The staff at FHI thinks we're more likely to be a computer simulation than to die out in the next century?!

Comment author: Khorton 06 August 2018 11:33:01PM *  2 points [-]

If we're really uncertain how to quantify the risks, why do we do it (in everyday conversation)?

-Gregory's comment suggests that precisely quantifying the risks doesn't matter for far future arguments.

-People could argue with the numbers we use rather than the actually logic - precisely defining a % chance of extinction could pull focus from more important arguments.

-Using numbers that seem precise (eg 10%) may signal a degree of certainty that we can't back up. Using numbers carelessly isn't something we want to be known for.

Perhaps the answer is to avoid quantifying the risk.

Comment author: Evan_Gaensbauer 04 August 2018 11:38:59PM 1 point [-]

Would it help if I included a summary of my posts at the top of them?

Often I write for a specific audience, which is more limited and exclusive. I don't think there is anything necessarily wrong with taking this approach to discourse in EA. Top-level posts on the EA Forum are made specific to a single cause, written in an academic style for a niche audience. I've mentally generalized this to how I write about anything on the internet.

It turns out not writing in a more inclusive way is harming the impact of my messages more than I thought. I'll make more effort to change this. Thanks for the feedback.

Comment author: Khorton 05 August 2018 11:46:34AM 5 points [-]

Yes, an early summary would help. It doesn't have to be very formal; just a clear statement of your argument in the first paragraph.

If you're going to argue multiple things, you could use different comments.

Comment author: Milan_Griffes 04 August 2018 05:01:53PM 15 points [-]

when I'm making public comments without a time crunch

My hunch is even when there's a time crunch, fewer words will be bigger bang for buck :-)

Comment author: Khorton 04 August 2018 05:13:43PM 12 points [-]

Seconded. As a time-saving measure, I skip any comments longer than three paragraphs unless the first couple of sentences makes their importance very clear. Unfortunately, that means I miss most of Evan's posts. :(

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