I think you’ve revealed that my thinking was muddled in the earlier response! The sequence of events from my POV is:
Before university, I did extremely little academic work. (Can expand; I really think it’s outlier-low.)
For my first 2.5 out of 3 years at university I did as close to zero work as was feasible. (For example, I attended very few lectures.)
If I sat down to try to work on this (without an impending exam in <2 weeks time), it felt like I was physically unable to work.
During this period, I spent lots of time on side projects/nascent businesses, and internships related to these things. I am describing this situation as ‘not hard working’ above because I think about ‘hard working’ as more or less meaning ‘hard working [on traditional academic or professional pursuits, not part-time, barely paid sports analytics side-projects].’ I would describe hard work on side projects as part of me being ‘intense’ or something—if you want to describe it as ‘hard working’, fair enough.
At the 2-2.5 year mark, I had been very fortunate to have obtained some strong grades. I don’t think this is false modesty—I just just had a lot of variance (on both sides). One of my friends’ parents, who had been to university in the US, encouraged me to think about US options. It seemed like a very aspirational option, and for the first time ‘a thing I could do.’ In my last 0.5 years of university I worked very hard to this end.
Still, this didn’t feel like becoming a ‘hard working person’—there was a year between me leaving university and moving to the US etc., during which I worked quite little.
Then I came to the US in June 2018 and became ~‘the kind of person who works hard on traditional academic or professional pursuits’ more or less permanently.
TL;DR “I became significantly harder-working in ~June 2018” feels true from my perspective, but depends on definitions, and in some ways isn’t as sharp as I might have communicated.
Re: novel work behaviors, some examples:
Very system 2 thinking about time allocation—maybe we should completely kill this project early, or ignore this professional request, or spend disproportionate time on this small ask from an important stakeholder, etc.
Reasoning backwards from goals to what goals imply for today’s work. I had very little feeling for thought patterns like “I want to be in position X in 10 years, which requires Y between now and then, so today I will do Z.”
Just working hard? Much harder than I’d seen people work previously.
Trying to pay close attention to how other parties think, using this model to assess how your actions will be received, and using these predictions to inform your decision about which action to take.
Maybe these seem obvious to you. They seem obvious to me now! But it all felt a bit mind-blowing for me at the time.
Looks great! Good luck on the market Zach!
I too am working on impact evaluation! Feel free to message me.
I would’ve ignored this important opportunity if not for this post (because I was not aware that UK situation had changed this year). Thank you Tyrone!
This is perfectly written and very helpful—thank you JueYan!
Jakob, I sincerely apologize for my unhelpful (or at the very least unelightening) phrases that have come across as soldier mindset/rude.
I was commenting as I would on the unshared google doc of a friend asking for feedback. But perhaps this way of going about things is too curt for a public forum. Again, I’m sorry.
(I will probably reply on the substance later; currently too busy. I think there’s a decent chance that I will agree with you that, in addition to being rude and craply communicated and coming across as soldier mindset, my previous comments reflected sloppy thinking.)
By then, this is no longer a bet on short AI timelines, but rather a bet about whether the typical consumer will realize that AI timelines are short sufficiently long enough before AI that you have time to enjoy your profits.
I get your point, but it just seems a bit 4D-chess.
If I believe that TAI is coming, it seems obvious to me that I should expect people beyond my peers to understand that TAI is coming. I could even encourage this by shouting it from the rooftops after making the bet. (The strategy might not be effective given that these views are already not well-kept secrets, but this seems to strengthen the possibility that others will understand without me shouting.) At which point we’d be in the new equilibrium.
Some possible answers that haven’t seemed to have had large effects on hard-workingness for me:
Switching roles (to the extent that this doesn’t come with one of the above factors).
Medication. (ADHD meds had a very sizeable short-term effect, but not a persistent one.)
Exercise, diet, and sleep.
(Several of these had important impacts on my mood.)
I became significantly harder-working in ~June 2018, age 22-23. This was not the case beforehand and has persisted for years afterwards. Some highly-overlapping-so-hard-to-disentangle things that happened around the time:
Moving to the US.
Moving to an elite university town.
Living or working with hard-working people.
Living or working with people who were ~smarter than me.
Having professional mentors who modeled (what to me at the time were) novel work behaviors.
Being thought of as a smart/hard-working person by people I met for the first time.
Working on interesting problems.
All of these improved quite sharply around the time boundary.
Nonlinear staff were participants on the FTX EA program, which I ran, and where I was in part responsible for participant welfare. Some of the important events took place in this period. This led me to start supporting Alice and Chloe. I have continued to be involved in the case on-and-off since then.
Jeff is also a great presenter
Jeff is also a great presenter
Seconding this… I once saw Jeff give a 30 minute talk, completely unprepared, without using a filler word even once. Easy podcast guest to edit!
Thank you very much for sharing, Chloe.
Ben, Kat, Emerson, and readers of the original post have all noticed that the nature of Ben’s process leads to selection against positive observations about Nonlinear. I encourage readers to notice that the reverse might also be true. Examples of selection against negative information include:
Ben has reason to exclude stories that are less objective or have a less strong evidence base. The above comment is a concrete example of this.
There’s also something related here about the supposed unreliability of Alice as a source: Ben needs to include this to give a complete picture/because other people (in particular the Nonlinear co-founders) have said this. I strongly concur with Ben when he writes that he “found Alice very willing and ready to share primary sources [...] so I don’t believe her to be acting in bad faith.” Personally, my impression is that people are making an incorrect inference about Alice from her characteristics (that are perhaps correlated with source-reliability in a large population, but aren’t logically related, and aren’t relevant in this case).
To the extent that you expect other people to have been silenced (e.g. via anticipated retaliation), you might expect not to hear relevant information from them.
To the extent that you expect Alice and Chloe to have had burnout-style experiences, you might expect not to read clarifications on or news about negative experiences.
Until this post came out, this was true of ~everything in the post.
There is a reason the post was published 1.5 years after the relevant events took place—people involved in the events really do not want to spend further mental effort on this.
Thank you very much for posting!
I think that you should add an edit removing Drew’s name, for this reason if nothing else. (Happy to expand.) Thank you.
Repost from LW:
My understanding (definitely fallible, but I’ve been quite engaged in this case, and am one of the people Ben interviewed) has been that Alice and Chloe are not concerned about this, and in fact that they both wish to insulate Drew from any negative consequences. This seems to me like an informative and important consideration. (It also gives me reason to think that the benefits of gaining more information about this are less likely to be worth the costs.)
Here’s another thing.
That’s a red line in my book, and I will not personally work with Nonlinear in the future because of it, and I recommend their exclusion from any professional communities that wish to keep up the standard of people not being silenced about extremely negative work experiences.
Let’s suppose that Nonlinear have crossed red lines, and that additional information from them won’t change this. (In reality I think that this is up in the air for the next week or so; I won’t allow my limited imagination to diminish the hope.)
Do you not believe in the possibility of rehabilitation in this case?
I haven’t read up on what norms here work well in other high-trust communities. But at least in criminal vs. society settings I would want to be a strong proponent of rehabilitation. It seems pretty plausible to me that, after thinking more about best norms in high-trust communities, I could come to think that “create horrendous work environment” and “create credible fear of severe retaliation” were things that could change (and be monitored) upon rehabilitation, and that it would be good for this to happen after X period of time.
Thank you Ben—please check comment mentions of Drew, too!
Yes, I think that the post does not do enough to make it clear that the central allegations are not about Drew Spartz. Happy to expand.
Agreed. I would have wanted the post itself to make this more clear.