293 karmaJoined Dec 2022Working (0-5 years)


  • Completed the In-Depth EA Virtual Program
  • Attended an EA Global conference
  • Attended an EAGx conference
  • Attended more than three meetings with a local EA group
  • Received career coaching from 80,000 Hours


I wish this was more well-known and read in the EA community. So far I have not seen any credible objections to these three compelling arguments. Perils or not perils, these arguments are still valid on their own. 

Hey Joseph, 

I am exactly in the same boat, very specialized path and lack of financial visibility. I also work for an EA org, which means that I chose a pay cut (and the role is time-constrained in terms of funding) compared to other jobs that could be safer (consulting, etc). 

But recently, I've been thinking about the fact that donating is a bit like starting a new sport class or any new habit; if you don't start, you'll never start (except under ideal conditions but that rarely happens!). Accepting a bit of risk to accomplish something that you care a lot about makes sense for me, which is why I will start giving soon. There will never be a threshold of financial safety where I'll feel completely safe, so waiting will not do good to me. 

Also, inflation means that all my careful savings are losing value right now, so I'm realizing that I would be better off spending a part of it now rather than wait and see their value slowly disappearing. 

This is only my choice; I just wanted to comment since I am a bit in the same case but came to think differently about it recently. Also just want to empathize with your situation. Sometimes I feel bad when I see that some of my colleagues have been giving for ten years, but again, we clearly were not given the same set of circumstances at birth. 

Thanks for saying it, though! Because it feels validating to hear it, instead of having this internal voice that hammers that time is being wasted and that I'm letting everyone and everything down. I might do just that!

I've sent your post to someone who has 20+ years of experience in the field of US intelligence and who has recently gone into EA, you might be contacted by them soon! Happy to read this kind of post anyway--this kind of thoughts does definitely not cross everyone's mind when faced with such a situation. 

Absolutely, and of course get feedback from these orgs once the draft isn't a draft anymore. Amateurism in EA when it comes to nuclear risks have been denounced more than once, so will try to steer clear of that!

The graduate scheme is a good idea, might be worthy to look into who presents there and ask them. I was thinking mostly about newbies but also mid-career professionals who might want to switch fields and go there, since not all of these jobs require some specific technical knowledge that needs to be built through time. Yes it might be useful to have such a list, I might put some hours aside one day and try a draft!

Yeah for sure, but I gave the example of the AI safety page because it would be great to have a sense of the kinds of the roles and competences in general instead of just having some of these roles depending on what is currently on the market. Well it is a confirmation that it might be an interesting project to do, since it doesn't seem to exist!

That kind of spontaneous research guided by ethics is really one of my favourite aspects of EA. Thank you for undertaking this research and highlighting the very unhealthy dynamics of power exercised by those at the top. We know them, without really knowing about them: a reminder from times to times never hurt.

Personally I don't feel attacked at all: I am happy that these people give money for useful purposes, and that has nothing to do with calling them out for their behaviours or not. I don't believe in the 'don't bite the hand that feeds you' kind of thinking. It's our role, as EAs who benefit more or less distantly from this money, to be very aware of who gives the money and what price has to be paid for that. 

When people criticize EA because they are choked that we accept being fed by blood money (this includes billionaires holding large shares in companies that exploit workers), I have no moral qualms to say that I prefer doing something good with this money rather than nothing; I am still working on structural changes with that money. As long as I haven't read any convincing. data-supported report on how being in EA and using these funds is more harmful than working only at a structural level to change these dynamics, I think that EA remains my best bet.

Yes, I think this is a very useful phenomenon to point at, and some people have a very naïve understanding of what these labs do, especially technical AI safety researchers that have a technical background where skills of critical thinking have not been at the heart of their education. I heard a lot of very candid remarks about the political influence carried out by these labs, and I am worried that these researchers lack a more global understanding of the effects of their work. 

Given OpenAI's recent updates on military bans and transparency of documents, I find myself more and more cautious when it comes to trusting anyone working on AI safety. I would love to see representatives of these labs addressing the concerns raised in this post in a credible way.

The post did a great job at describing exactly what is reproached to Owen. I do not see anyone in the comment claiming that he is more than what is described in the post, and in general, I do not see anything pointing at overaction from anybody. 

Citing Epstein looks like a strawman and does not make my point less salient: that some members jumping to defend Owen is an insult to the testimony of these women as if Owen's good behaviour removed his bad behaviours, and contradictory to what has been courageously empathized in this post, i.e. that EAs knowing each other and defending each other encourage secrecy and overlooking potential serious misconducts. 

I would even add that assuming that the community will conflate Owen and Epstein's case is patronizing and far-fetched; I think that people are able to make the distinction between a sex offender who got jail time and Owen. 

Load more