Ben Kuhn

Student group notes #4: navigating bureaucracy

“After spending one too many afternoons on tenterhooks waiting for the room reservation office to email me back, I finally cracked under the stress. For once I had actually paid attention to the booking deadlines and reserved our room a week in advance—but they still hadn’t confirmed two days beforehand. Come hell or high water, I decided, I was going to get my room reserved tonight. I put on my best starving-frantic-student-in-need face, thought up my best excuses, and marched over to the Science Center to demand satisfaction.”

Student group notes #3: getting good speakers

If there’s one thing that I’m proud of about my tenure running HEA, it’s our programming. Last year we had over 10 speakers come to give talks to HEA, including Peter Singer, Jaan Tallinn, and many other extremely popular and busy people. We also raised thousands of dollars to cover honoraria from these speakers. How?

Student group notes #2: don’t be embarrassed

Another important part of running a student group: don’t be embarrassed when pitching it to other people. And never acknowledge that you’re weird.

Student group notes #1: have two people

In which I elaborate on the single most important reason that Harvard Effective Altruism didn’t die.

Series: student group notes

During my last two years at Harvard, I co-ran Harvard Effective Altruism, bringing it from a membership of one to an organizational board of ten students and scores more who routinely attended our talks. In the hope that some of these tips will help other students start groups of their own, I’ll share the lessons I learned in a series of posts!

Effective altruism reading material for busy people

So your friends have been bugging you about this thing called “effective altruism” and you finally decided you want to learn more. Unfortunately, like everyone else on the planet, you don’t have the time to wade through a bunch of poorly-organized blog posts to figure out what’s actually going on.

You’re in luck! Now you only have to wade through one well-organized blog post with links to all the other poorly-organized blog posts!

Interview with Pablo Stafforini

I have an interview by the excellent Pablo Stafforini that just went online at the EA blog! We talked about my EA origin story, pretending to try, EA’s blind spots, and planning for the future. Head over and give it a read!

My job hunt experience

Some people have been asking me how my job search went—how I found out about and decided on the current company that I’m working for. I thought I’d write a bit about it, as a case study for other folks interested in doing similar things and because I learned some interesting stuff along the way.

Avoiding bugs in machine learning code, part 2

In a previous post I explaind how hard it is to prevent, or find and fix, bugs in machine learning code via conventional strategies. In this installment, I’ll go over some strategies that do work.

How many causes should you give to?

So you’ve decided to donate to effective charities, and figured out how you’re going to do it. Now comes the hard part: figuring out where to donate! In this post I look at whether to donate to one organization, or multiple—an interesting question touching on economics, cognitive bias, decision theory, and more.