Posted by Eliezer Yudkowsky a few days ago:
I’d be happy to help formatting the text if you want
I donated to a lobby against sexual violence in Israel [Hebrew link]
Results they have so far (1 person, about 2 years of lobbying):
Moved millions to open dedicated rooms in hospitals that treat rape victims, including the first such room in an Arab city
Got hospitals to test for rape drugs [is this the correct term in English?] in these rooms and in emergency rooms
Passed a law to stop hospitals from THROWING AWAY the results of the test done to rape victims (this test can contain proof of who the attacker was). Imagine how much the victims would pay for not throwing the test results away, just once.
Passed a law saying that a child’s guardian [legal parent] can’t keep being their guardian if they sexually assaulted the child. Until now, they just kept going
And more (see link)
My prior is that the early results in most projects should be pretty low, and only later one will “pick up the pace”.
I was skeptical because this sounds too good to be true, maybe they’re taking credit for the work of other people? So I asked a friend (Shiri Eisner) who is active in the feminist world (including politics), and she approved: This lobby is the real deal. I posted this on my Facebook wall and many other friends replied that they’re following this project for a long time and strongly endorse it.
I’ll add that they wanted to raise $50,000 for one more year of activity, this seems really low to me. (I’m happy they raised about $80,000).
Resources thread: Common links I send people.
Confidence in this resource: I can’t vet it myself since I don’t know ML. It is the default recommendation of the biggest Israeli ML/DS community, so I assume people would point out problems and I assume the big ones would be fixed. I am always aiming for maximum efficiency when learning and I can’t say for sure that this is it, but I do think it will “do the job”.
Here’s the guide [Hebrew]. I used Chrome to translate it to English and it’s still totally readable, so that’s my current recommendation. Sorry this is so hacky!
Charles,TL;DR: I would not stop giving tech advice just because you can’t solve hard leetcode puzzels
If this [solveing unseen leetcode hard problems in a BigTech interview format] is true, I will stop giving “advice” on any tech related post as this is out of my reference class.
If it influences your opinion:
I think I’m very good at leetcode puzzels
I give tech advice
I think those “skills” are almost totally unrelated.
It is very rare for me to actually teach someone how to solve leetcode
It is more common for me to just point out “cracking the coding interview” as a legit way to prepare for big-tech interviews, but knowing this is unrelated to my ability to solving the questions myself. (I know it because a Google recruiter recommended that book for me. I can elaborate)
TL;DR: EAG affected how I see EA and my activity in it.
I’ll write a drafty version here based on your questions:
Mainly: I wrote a post inviting people to talk to me about a very specific topic (software careers).
I also wrote a swapcard profile inviting specific conversations, mainly about side projects of mine, inviting people to either comment on them or use the services that I’m offering in each project. I also thought of this as checking product-market-fit: Do people actually want what I think they want?
I had 8 conversations with potential mentees.
I had a meeting with some “high ranking” EAs, and following at least one of those conversations (which I won’t elaborate on without permission), it clicked for me that “the people running EA are only humans” and that “I can do it too”. I don’t expect what I wrote here to resonate with anyone, we’ve all read it before, and that’s exactly the point: There was something about actually seeing it, actually hearing it, that I don’t think I could by reading an article.
I met a friend who I only know from video calls. I discovered he’s really tall.
I sent everyone relevant my calendly+Telegram.
Keeping conversations open is working well.
The first mentoring conversations were valuable because I was really worried about culture gaps, and face-to-face is high-bandwidth. Note I am comparing them here to starting with video calls
The focus on “I must post this before EAG” forced me to get the post out already, which “got me out of my shell”.
That was my first post, and since then I’ve been reasonably active here in the forum
Which has also led to people talking to me about EA and Software, which is.. exactly what I want!!
I really want to get to know people in the global community, but I also think that posting something like “I’d be happy to talk about anything!” would have been too generic and wouldn’t work. (It would also be less fun for me than talking about what I’m most interested in)
This might lead to something more concrete (like working with people on software projects), though—who knows
Some of the conversations were really fun. For example, with one founder, we walked around and did user testing with people in the conference. (Did two people ask you about a travel related startup? Those were us!). This also would not have happened through video.
After 2 days of the conference, with only one more day to go, I understood I am focusing almost entirely on “helping others” with almost zero “helping myself”. Until then, I told myself that this WAS helping me: It was helping me discover if some of my side projects had a future.
At the evening of the second day I told myself “I am just intimidated by the ‘important’ people here”, this is a known psychological failure mode of mine, and it’s better to just reach out anyway and let them filter me if they want to. So I sent out many messages to ‘important’ people that I wanted to talk to, especially to get career advice for myself. Almost none of them wanted to talk to me (that’s ok!), but one did, and that talk made a big difference (see point 2 at “What you did and found most valuable during the conference”).
I wish I have reached out earlier.
Adding: I also wish I had more quality time with people from my local community, but we were all SO EXAUSTED. Wow, nobody talks about how exhausting it is to have a whole day of 1-on-1s
Obvious advice is under rated, thank you for sharing this
+1 to this question.
Do you mean “hard” in a specific website?
Or perhaps you could make up an example question that is has a similar difficulty to whatever you ask?
Another example: I really like how Anthropic said “If you think you could write a substantial pull request for a major machine learning library, then major AI safety labs want to interview you today”
Oh no! I just named my project “Effective Developers”
Just saying, from my point of view, that it’s useful to also hear specific ways in which people misunderstand EA. Every time you give an example of that kind, like “what do people in the movement do?”, I feel like my brain is updating and will pay attention to this failure mode next time I have such a conversation.
I’m differentiating (1) “concrete examples of misunderstandings” from (2) sentences like “20% of understanding” or “explaining critical nuances of EA”: The latter isn’t actionable for me personally. (Though I understand why you said it and I’m excited for this improvement that you’re able to get, and I’m happy that someone like you is focusing on this project).
Hey, would you share more raw information from the user interviews, if you have it? Even from memory?
I asked a few friends about this and one of them decided to apply himself, so anyway I think this is turning out well. :)
May I ask where this leaves you? For example, are you going to try similar things in the future?
how little people use (or are comfortable using) slack/discord
Even if they use slack/discord very little: They use a new [a new platform that doesn’t exist yet and nobody ever used and everyone knows that nobody used] even less. No?
Facebook is the best alternative to make it easier for the people to find and start gaining members
I agree, and again, this is an advantage that a new platform will never have. (right?)
corresponding pages [...] pages idea
Do you mean “Facebook Group” (where you wrote “page”)? If not—then I didn’t understand, could you explain in other words?
Another opinion: I think direct AI research kind of <exaggeration> can’t be measured in money </exaggeration>.
Those people are missing, and AFAIK the AI safety orgs really want to hire people that are also aligned in their values, which is hard to find, and offering a high salary isn’t enough to find more of those people.
Please note that even if you 100% agree with me, I do not (!) think this a good enough reason on its own to make a decision. Questions like personal fit which I asked above are also really important, and I don’t think I know enough about you to actually recommend something specific yet
FYI, it’s not impossible to take naps at some tech companies. This is me around 2014 working in an American corporation, I’d take a nap every second day more or less. I think the situation since then has become even more relaxed (no pun intended) : In my last job, I also took naps, and the bean bag was supplied directly by the Operations department.
Would you tell us more about where you think you’d have better personal fit / what you’d wake up enthusiastic to do?
Maybe there’s some creative solution where the other student communities still come up even if you don’t run them? (Perhaps you could delegate this and only mentor the community leaders, or something like that?)
Thank you very much, this is very useful for me, specifically that you also added the culture/social norms which there’s no way I’d guess myself
If you’re hiring software developers, then this