Judgement as a key need in EA

In the last cou­ple of years, I’ve no­ticed peo­ple play­ing with the idea that one the things the com­mu­nity most needs is peo­ple with iden­ti­fi­ably good judge­ment.

In the 2020 EA Lead­ers Fo­rum (EALF) sur­vey, re­spon­dents were asked which traits they would most like to see in new com­mu­nity mem­bers over the next five years, and judge­ment came out high­est by a de­cent mar­gin.

You can see this data in a new blog post on 80,000 Hours, where I spec­u­late about some of the rea­sons that judge­ment is so val­ued. In brief:

  1. Good judge­ment seems prized in gen­eral.

  2. Good judg­ment seems even more im­por­tant when aiming to do good — es­pe­cially in a longter­mist paradigm — due to a lack of feed­back and es­tab­lished best prac­tice, which means we have to rely more than av­er­age on judge­ment calls.

  3. The bot­tle­necks the com­mu­nity cur­rently faces re­quire peo­ple with un­usu­ally good judge­ment (e.g. many of our pri­or­ity paths).

I also try to clar­ify what good judge­ment means and how it differs from re­lated con­cepts like de­ci­sion-mak­ing and in­tel­li­gence.

For­tu­nately, it seems pos­si­ble for peo­ple to im­prove their judge­ment. In the sec­ond half of the post, I sum­marise some of the best re­search I’m aware of into how to im­prove your judge­ment into a pri­ori­tised list of steps. This is mainly about how to im­prove fore­cast­ing be­cause that’s where we seem to have the best ev­i­dence.

Read here