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Organization documents (6 documents)

Title Publication date Author Publisher Affected organizations Affected people Document scope Cause area Notes
The peculiar #metoo story of animal activist Jacy Reese 2019-03-28 Marc Gunther Sentience Institute, Centre for Effective Altruism Jacy Reese, Kelly Witwicki, Julia Wise HR controversy Animal welfare Marc Gunther, a commentator on animal welfare activism and nonprofit activity, discusses the backstory and implications of the apology post [1] of animal activist Jacy Reese. He includes more discussion of the role of the Center for Effective Altruism, and links to the Google Doc [2] with answers by Kelly Witwicki providing background. Witwicki works with Reese at the Sentience Institute and is also engaged to Reese
Apology 2019-03-22 Jacy Reese Effective Altruism Forum Sentience Institute, Centre for Effective Altruism Jacy Reese HR controversy Animal welfare Jacy Reese, a public figure in animal welfare advocacy and a key member of the Sentience Institute, posts an apology on the Effective Altruism Forum: "It has recently been brought to my attention that I have made people uncomfortable through my verbal and written advances. I’m deeply sorry to everyone I hurt or made uncomfortable. I intend to step back from public life and the activism communities I’ve belonged to and reflect on my mistakes further." Marc Gunther, a commentator on animal welfare activism and nonprofit activity, describes the post as follows in [3] "An 812-word statement, under the headline “Apology,” posted last week by Reese on the forum of the Centre for Effective Altruism, the global hub of the effective altruism movement."
What is it like to work at GiveWell? 2019-03-07 James Snowden GiveWell GiveWell James Snowden Job experience Charity evaluator James Snowden, a research consultant at GiveWell, explains why he started working with GiveWell, describes why he thinks it is a great place to work at, and adds notes on GiveWell's job application process. His reasons for GiveWell being a great place to work at are: the work helps people a lot, the work is intellectually stimulating, the work was something he was suited for (though this may not apply to others), the co-workers were excellent (both competent and thoughtful), and he was able to manage working remotely. The post was solicited by GiveWell in an effort to help GiveWell with its team expansion efforts.
I currently work for Less Wrong, as the fourth of four people on the team. We recently considered hiring, and trialed a few candidates, but decided not to for now. 2019-01-28 Jim Babcock Jeff Kaufman LessWrong 2.0 Oliver Habryka, Ben Pace, Raymond Arnold, Jim Babcock Hiring-related notice Rationality improvement Jim Babcock, the fourth person to join LessWrong 2.0 (after Oliver Habryka, Ben Pace, and Raymond Arnold) describes why, after initially looking for a while for more developers to join the organization, they ultimately decided not to hire for now unless they found an exceptional candidate. The comment is in response to a post "Simultaneous Shortage and Oversupply" by Jeff Kaufman, noting that a lot of people are interested in applying to organizations related to effective altruism, but the organizations still take a long time to fill their job postings
Finding the best charity requires estimating the unknowable. Here’s how GiveWell tries to do that, according to researcher James Snowden. 2018-07-16 James Snowden 80,000 Hours GiveWell James Snowden Job experience Charity evaluator James Snowden, a research consultant at GiveWell, is interviewed for the 80,000 Hours podcast by Robert Wiblin. A summary and full transcript are available at the link. The podcast is primarily focused on the way GiveWell does research and makes decisions. However, the part starting from "If someone was listening and they were considering working at GiveWell, what are the most satisfying things about working at GiveWell and what are some things that you wish you could change if you could?" discusses the experience of working at GiveWell. Snowden mentions a focused and quiet office culture but a vibrant Slack culture, much less formal intra-company communication than public-facing communication, but a lot of seriousness in the work environment. Snowden encourages people with skillsets matching any of GiveWell's job postings to apply to GiveWell.
A Summer on the Bay: Reflections on Working at GiveWell, Animal Rights, and the EA Community 2014-08-18 Jacy Reese GiveWell Jacy Reese Job experience Charity evaluator On his personal blog, Jacy Reese describes his experience working at GiveWell in the summer of 2014. He says he thoroughly enjoyed his time, and felt the employees epitomize effective altruist virtues of altruism and critical thinking, as applied not just to charities and causes but also topics like contemporary political issues and nutrition. He describes GiveWell's investigative process as a "unique combination of qualitative and quantitative reasoning" and says that, after joining GiveWell, he shifted to viewing GiveWell as a pilot study of strategic philanthropy. He says: "By first investigating a cause with relatively large amounts of academic and rigorous data available, GiveWell could invest in procedural information before venturing into less easily quantified causes. This new understanding partially eased my concerns, but I still fear GiveWell’s investigative process overemphasizes measurability — even in GiveWell Labs — but I am optimistic about the future of their investigations, particularly in the causes of global catastrophic risks and animal agriculture."

Documents (2 documents)

Title Publication date Author Publisher Affected organizations Affected people Affected agendas Notes
New safety research agenda: scalable agent alignment via reward modeling 2018-11-20 Victoria Krakovna LessWrong Google DeepMind Jan Leike Recursive reward modeling, iterated amplification Blog post on LessWrong announcing the recursive reward modeling agenda. Some comments in the discussion thread clarify various aspects of the agenda, including its relation to Paul Christiano’s iterated amplification agenda, whether the DeepMind safety team is thinking about the problem of whether the human user is a safe agent, and more details about alternating quantifiers in the analogy to complexity theory. Jan Leike is listed as an affected person for this document because he is the lead author and is mentioned in the blog post, and also because he responds to several questions raised in the comments.
Scalable agent alignment via reward modeling: a research direction 2018-11-19 Jan Leike, David Krueger, Tom Everitt, Miljan Martic, Vishal Maini, Shane Legg arXiv Google DeepMind Recursive reward modeling, Imitation learning, inverse reinforcement learning, Cooperative inverse reinforcement learning, myopic reinforcement learning, iterated amplification, debate This paper introduces the (recursive) reward modeling agenda, discussing its basic outline, challenges, and ways to overcome those challenges. The paper also discusses alternative agendas and their relation to reward modeling.