TED Prize Nomination

post by Eneasz · 2014-01-02T16:47:48.235Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 10 comments
I started the process of a TED Prize Nomination:

 Nominate an individual — or yourself — to envision and execute a high-impact project that can spur global change. Our TED Prize winner will have an ambitious wish — and the vision, pragmatism and leadership to turn it into reality. Every self-nomination will include a proposal for a world-changing and achievable wish. 

Fairly obvious who I'm nominating.
But then came across a few things that made me suspect I'm not the best person to do this. Such as:

* We weigh each single nomination as heavily as multiple nominations and we strongly discourage multiple nominations. 
* The heart of the TED Prize is the wish. Though it's small in size, it is the most important element of your nomination. It's worth investing your time refining. At its most basic, a wish = who + what + how = a better world. In other words, who are you going to engage on what issue and in what way for what kind of improvement?
* Imagine your nominee is on the stage at the TED Conference announcing their wish and inviting the wider community--everyone from corporate and nonprofit leaders to TED fellows doing grassroots work in developing countries--to get involved. In a few sentences, what is your nominee's ask?

I have absolutely no idea what Eliezer would write as his wish, and I don't think I'm even remotely qualified to take a stab at it. Would someone who knows Eliezer better, or perhaps Eliezer himself, be willing to take this on?

To reduce the amount of time needed to complete the application, here are two outside-source articles about Eliezer that I googled up while I was doing this (they ask for links to such articles in Step 3)
http://www.cnbc.com/id/48538963
http://betabeat.com/2012/07/singularity-institute-less-wrong-peter-thiel-eliezer-yudkowsky-ray-kurzweil-harry-potter-methods-of-rationality/?show=all

10 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by RomeoStevens · 2014-01-03T01:15:12.060Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I hate the ambitious and visionary hyperbole of stuff like this. The most high impact way to change the world is likely something boring, like bed nets or doing math. I predict the winner will have something that sounds exciting.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2014-01-03T17:30:01.540Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Then we should nominate someone who can make an exciting talk about bed nets, assuming the expected benefits of doing so exceed the expected costs.

By the way, the person who prepares the talk does not necessarily have to be the same person whose name and credentials will be used with this talk to make it taken seriously.

comment by KatieHartman · 2014-01-03T19:07:57.335Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yes!

Tangentially related: I've wondered whether there might be high expected value for creating an organization (perhaps a temporary one, or one existing within a larger existing org) dedicated to figuring out how to sell EA charities effectively. There is already a growing body of research on charitable giving, but the opportunities are hardly tapped out. There seems to be an understanding that donating to EA charities tends to provide fewer warm-fuzzies than giving to their (most successful) non-EA counterparts, but few people talking about it seem to consider this very dire or changeable.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2014-01-03T20:15:19.181Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've wondered whether there might be high expected value for creating an organization ... dedicated to figuring out how to sell EA charities effectively.

Almost certainly yes. I mean, it if helps to create more effective altruists than it has members, it already is a net benefit. Actually, its members don't even have to be effective altruists, only the ones who make decisions (to make sure that the organization remains promoting effective altruism and that it uses a correct definition). So the best structure would be to have a group of effective altruists as supervisors, a few employees selected by their expertise (they don't even have to be altruists of any kind), and a group of volunteers (e.g. students who want to be altruists, but don't have any significant income yet; again it's not necessary for them to be effective altruists).

Meta-charities like GiveWell are a multiplier, in the sense that they help altruists to donate their money to higher-impact causes instead of lower-impact causes. But if we had dozen of GiveWell's, they would not multiply each other; they wouldn't even add to each other, because at the end they would help to redirect the same amounts of money. But an organization promoting effective altruism and creating new effective altruists would be another multiplier.

There seems to be an understanding that donating to EA charities tends to provide fewer warm-fuzzies than giving to their (most successful) non-EA counterparts

This could be changed by promoting efficient altruism, creating local meetups of efficient altruists, etc. It's not only to find new altruists, but to give some social bonus (= warm fuzzies) to both existing and the new ones.

So it seems to me this should be a high priority.

comment by KatieHartman · 2014-01-03T20:41:59.551Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This could be changed by promoting efficient altruism, creating local meetups of efficient altruists, etc. It's not only to find new altruists, but to give some social bonus (= warm fuzzies) to both existing and the new ones.

There's a significant difference between selling effective altruism to non-EAs and selling a specific effective charity to non-EAs. I suspect that the former is both more valuable (in the long term) and more difficult. Upping the warm-fuzzies seems to me like it would work toward both (as well as EA retention, although I know of no significant existing problem with that), which is why I find it surprising that there's not more work being done there (that I'm aware of).

I think we need to be very careful to avoid saying anything along the lines of "Warm-fuzzies? We don't need no warm-fuzzies!" Most people do seem to need them, if they're going to keep giving. And it makes us look pretentious to the uninitiated. (To be clear, I'm not implying you've said anything to indicate you do this or disagree - but it occasionally makes its way into public conversations about effective altruism and seems noteworthy.)

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2014-01-03T21:06:35.516Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Effective altruists who want to maximize their total donations over lifetime -- as opposed to signal the highest virtue today, and then risk burning out tomorrow -- should accept the warm fuzzies at least when they come reasonably cheap, and not role-play a Straw Vulcan Mother Theresa.

"If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

Meeting with people who share the same values, assuming you don't have to literally travel far, gives in my opinion a lot of cheap warm fuzzies. And could be used to convert new people. Also networking can help to increase one's income so they can donate more.

Maybe someone already thought about this, but if they didn't... if you have at least five effective altruists in your area, you should arrange a meetup once in a month, preferably in a place where other people can join you and talk with you (e.g. on a local campus).

But I consider it possible that a marketing campaign designed by professionals, could have even greater impact. Still, if the campaign attracts a few new people, the regular meetups may help them stay. Also they would have a place they could bring their friends to talk with the more experienced effective altruists.

(Disclosure: I am not an effective altruist. I just enjoy telling other people what they should do. That does not make me automatically wrong, although it makes it more likely that I missed some important aspect of the situation. Maybe someone already has done all my suggestions that make sense.)

comment by somervta · 2014-01-03T02:45:30.689Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, FAI sounds fairly exciting, but turns out to actually be doing math.

comment by peter_hurford · 2014-01-02T19:23:49.797Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

It's cool that you're doing this and it's awesome you've been able to recognize comparative advantage and see that maybe this work is better suited to other people. However, I'm concerned that the entire project might be a waste of time. Do we even know if Eliezer actually wants to give a TED talk? Would that be the best use of his time? I imagine this would be best coordinated from within MIRI, or MIRI giving us instructions on what to do.

I'd check with someone at MIRI first before proceeding on this.

comment by Ishaan · 2014-01-04T07:55:37.896Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Would that be the best use of his time?

In terms of sheer numbers of people viewing, I imagine even a very quickly prepared TED talk would do more for outreach than, say, HPMOR.

comment by diegocaleiro · 2014-01-06T01:06:43.288Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've nominated Mark Lee in the past, for his contributions to GWWC and the leadership within the THINK project.

My 5cents:

1)You nominate a person to give them 1 million dollars no strings attached. Not so they give a TED talk. 1 Million dollars is worth way more than giving a TED talk, believe me, I gave one. 2) Eliezer would not win, perhaps Nick Bostrom would stand a small chance for existential risk. But I would try an Oldscholer like Marvin Minsky, with some project related to anti-ageing, which he likes quite a bit.