Related to Readings and resources database (Cause Area)
Resources to check out
The argument for working on EA
- lays out the case compellingly:
- multiplier effect: see more here, with the slightly nuanced lens of "being a multiplier"
- Keeps your options open if the ideas of EA turn out to be wrong (note that I think that this is also a reason to be careful on working on EA)
The argument not to (also from Duda 2017)
I write below each point the info that I think is likely to affect your likelihood of working on this
- The ideas of EA are correct, or will be badly implemented (likely to be the the community fails to put the ideas of EA into practice)
- depends on how much you trust the EA community
- depends on your model of how the EA community works (see )
- There is a specific problem that is much more pressing
- depends on how significant you think longtermism is
- There is a better opportunity for advocacy
- depends on how sure you are that a given cause area is the best one
- There is a better way to gain flexibility
- depends on how much you think
- gaining career capital early in career (e.g. by working in a non-EA aligned company) is valuable
- working on other directly EA internventions gives you flexibility
- Widespread promotion of the current ideas of effective altruism may be premature (ideas will change)
- how much will ideas change?
What sub-tracks are there within working on EA?
- Being a public intellectual
- Being involved in operations
- Running an EA group
- Being involved in some large EA non-profit
- Promoting EA on the side
- Earn to give to EA orgs
Cause Prioritization considerations
- What causes is this cause more important than?
- I think that there is a strong case to be made, that this is the most important cause area. This argument goes something like
- Most of the expected value of EA as a movement is in the future, as EA ideas mature
- Thus, being a community builder who reduces X risk to EA is v high impact because even reducing EA X risk by 0.01% increases expected value a lot
- What causes could be more important that this?
- From a high level cause cause comparison perspective, other causes would be more important if you think that X risk to EA is low, or that you aren't able to provide much benefit
- From a personal career perspective, you might think that other causes give more career flexibility or are just higher impact
- How does this interact with other causes?
- Highly interrelated with other causes in the sense that:
- Many causes are either
- totally under the umbrella of EA (e.g longtermism)
- Partly under the umbrella of EA (e.g AI safety, global poverty)
- This suggests that if EA has some extinction event (loosely defined as everyone hates EA) then this has a huge impact on these causes
- Also interrelated on a day to day basis
- community builders likely interact with people in different cause areas, help them make professional/social connections, etc.
What this cause area most needs
- This is hard to say, but in general:
- Talent (rather than money)
- Expertise in operations
- People who can think about failure modes of EA
- People who can reach out to others and build connections