EA Toronto and Coronavirus

Hi EATO Community,

As everyone is contending with what the COVID-19 pandemic means for them, I wanted to send my best wishes to all of you. We’re all in this together.

Given the current situation, we’ve unfortunately had to cancel all in-person events until further notice. However, I’m excited to announce that we’ll be experimenting with virtual meetups instead. Our first virtual meetups are already scheduled and there will be more posted soon. If you haven’t already you can also join our meetup group to find those events and find a variety of options to stay in touch on our website. eatoronto.com/get-involved

If you’d like to chat, you can also schedule a call with me here. We can talk about effective altruism, or just check-in if you’d prefer.

Tackling Coronavirus

Some people have asked about actions they can take to reduce the harm of COVID-19. The opportunity cost of individuals time engaging on this is unique to each person. For some, it might be better to focus on your current important work. If you are interested in COVID-19 specific activities:

  • Please follow government and/or expert advice and invest in your own self-care
  • Talk to your employers, friends and family, and explain why you’re taking the Coronavirus seriously
  • Take actions to convince your family/friends/social groups to follow social distancing recommendations (perhaps through one-on-one conversations or via your social media)
  • Consider sharing the Stand Against Corona pledge 
  • If you want to make pandemic specific donations, or if friends/family want to donate or learn more, you may want to direct them to this resource 
  • If you want to connect with other EAs thinking about COVID, you can join the  EA COVID-19 Facebook group [note: this group is not CEA official and we are not endorsing projects/ideas generated by this group]

Other suggestions

As Julia Wise says in her recent Forum post, “The work EAs do is still important. Donations are still important. All the problems we’ve been working on are still here, and will still be here when this is over.“ If you’ve got some spare time, here are some things you might want to do:


Stay safe! We’ll be in touch.

Looking For a Unique Way to Do Good – Seeing a New Role in the Network Structure

From Jan’s article on What to do with people?, we get what strikes me as a unique and valuable way of looking at doing good as part of the EA community. This take is useful for breaking down the structure and causes of EA in a way that opens up new opportunities. The main term I’d like to draw attention to is decomposition. I’ll leave this paragraph here for further reflection.


What happens if you take your “build hierarchical networked structure” hat? You pick, for example, “effective altruism movement building” as an area/task (it is likely somewhere near the top of prioritization). In the next step, you attempt to do the hierarchical “decomposition” of the area. You can get started just by looking on past and present internal structures of CEA, with sub-groups or sub-tasks like Events, Grants or Groups. Each of these “parts” usually needs all of theoretical work, research and development, and execution and ops. After a bit of looking around, you may find, for example, there are just a few people systematically trying to create amazing events. There are opportunities to practice: CFAR is often open to ops volunteers, EAG as well, you may run an event for your group, or create some new event which would be useful to have for the broader community. All of this is impactful work, if not impactful job. Or, you may find out there isn’t anyone around exactly working on research of EA events. By that, I mean questions like: “How do events lead to impact? How we can measure it? Are there some characteristic patterns in how people meet each other? What are the relevant non-EA reference classes for various EA events?” When you try to work on this you may find out it depends on specific skills, or requires contact with people working on events, so it may be less tractable – but it’s still worth trying. I would also expect good work on this topic to have impact, attract attention, and possibly funding.

– Jan’s What to do with people?

So, perhaps the next time someone you know is looking for a role to take on, perhaps they could create their own by taking some time to draw out and decompose the network structure of EA causes.

EATO Community Newsletter – May

Over the last month, the EATO community has continued to host a variety of project-oriented events from launching an AI Safety Camp in Toronto to workshopping our careers and more. We also had a fun and thought-provoking time at another Powerpoint Presentation Potluck Party!

The new project-focus-format for Wednesdays is shaping up to be a useful experiment. This format seems to be a little less flashy and eye-catching for new attendees, perhaps due to the focus on “work” though there is still plenty of time and space to chat and meet others.

Let’s keep this in mind: Week to week, we get together and have an enjoyable evening while at the same time we are working on promising projects! Our efforts each week help us get more deeply engaged and experienced with the thinking and doing of effective altruism.

We all start off as strangers to each other, and slowly, we transform into a community with a shared purpose that takes action over time. Let’s grow this community together.

Events — Weekly Wednesday Meetings & Monthly Socials

To sign up for some of the events below, head over to our Meetup or Facebook groups where all events are posted.

Any Project Night! – Co-working & Social (past) @OISE

Wednesday, May 1st

Charity Entrepreneurship! A Big Opportunity for Impact (tonight) @OISE

Wednesday, May 8th

Party! @theUtillery

Saturday, May 11th

How would you, in particular, spend $50,000 to do the most good? @OISE

Wednesday, May 15th

Supporting Pozm! A Kickstarter for Public Goods @OISE

Wednesday, May 22nd

TBD – Aiming for a Guest Speaker to be confirmed later in the month @OISE

Wednesday, May 29th

Community News & Project Updates

  • EATO’s new website, eatoronto.com has an updated Get Involved section with plenty of opportunities for members, new and old
  • Think Better, a local, EA-aligned critical thinking and rationality training program, is continuing to run courses and is looking for some external opportunities to help teams and organizations think better
  • AI Safety Camp Toronto/Canada/North America is pulling together a team, now on Slack, to set up a timeline leading up to the 2020 camp.

All the best,

– EATO

P.S. If you ever have questions about the group or EA in general, feel free to hit “reply” to any of these emails. We’ll be happy to help you out!

New to the group? Check out this our updated website for a comprehensive list of resources and ways to get involved with EATO.

EATO Co-Opportunities March 2019

With the move to this new website, let’s take a look at the variety of ways members can engage with the community that are not yet featured in the “Get Involved” section.

  1. Suggest an Event Idea & see past ideas bit.ly/theboxEATO
  2. Check out and consider supporting community projects bit.ly/EATOprojects
  3. Indicate your Interest in a Toronto EA House on bit.ly/joinEATOslack & then go to the slack’s house channel
  4. Sign up for a course at thinkbetter.ca, a ” Toronto based not-for-profit group that teaches advanced thinking skills and evidence based self-improvement techniques. ” that works closely with EATO.
  5. AI Safety Camp: volunteer your time, contact Colin
  6. Sign up for our Monthly Newsletter subscribepage.com/eato
  7. Join our Shared EATO Calendar bit.ly/EATOcalendar
  8. Event & Project Development Schedule bit.ly/EATOschedule
  9. Meeting Notes Archive bit.ly/EATOnotes
  10. Group Planning Archive bit.ly/EATOplanning
  11. Slack Channel bit.ly/joinEATOslack

EATO’s Why, How, and What

Slides for Meta-Meeting 2019 03 18

Why:

The effective altruism (EA) community is “a global community of people who care deeply about the world, make benefiting others a significant part of their lives, and use evidence and reason to figure out how best to do so”

  • Principles form the basis of our culture and community.
  • Currently, these are the principles: commitment to others, scientific mindset, openness, integrity, collaborative spirit.
  • The mission of our community is to bring to life these principles, more deeply and widely.
  • Through pursuing our mission, we grow the EA movement, network, and community.

How:

When we say we want to benefit others, we mean every sentient being. To do that well, we need a global community that’s more representative of the wider population and can offer a diversity of perspectives and worldviews.

What:

  • EATO Retrospective Report 2018: bit.ly/EATOreport2018
  • Application for Renewal of Funding with CEA, approved for Colin until March 2020:

EATO Retrospective Report 2018

Here is the report and you can find it later at bit.ly/EATOreport2018

Comments and questions on the report are welcome!

Highlights

EATO has grown a lot over the year, and many dreams of previous years were realized.

  • Most categories of membership nearly doubled
  • Ten of the community’s thirteen currently active projects were started in 2018
  • EATO hosted a regional retreat in September that all 16 attendees seemed to enjoy and a few attendees found significantly impactful
  • 16 case studies of individual members have been documented to show positive, EA-aligned changes in their resources, dedication, and realization, many of which are made public in this report