Ben Kuhn


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.

Avoiding bugs in machine learning code

At my work I’ve been writing a lot of machine learning code. Some of it is machine learning code responsible for moving around a whole lot of money, so it behooves us to be really careful when writing and testing it to make sure no bugs make it into our production systems. Unfortunately, machine learning bugs are often quite hard to catch, for a couple reasons.

Donation bunching for tax savings

In my post on giving away money, I wrote about the strategy of “donation bunching.” Here, I do the math on how much you could save with a donation-bunching strategy. For many reasonable financial situations, the savings turn out to be surprisingly substantial.

Giving away money: a guide

So you’ve decided to donate a lot of money. Perhaps you have a particular cause or organization you’re really passionate about; perhaps Peter Singer convinced you that you had an obligation to; perhaps you just noticed that helping people out is awesome. Heck, maybe you just won the lottery and want to give it all away so you don’t end up bankrupt.

Whatever the reason, the next step after “helping people out is awesome” is “helping more people out is more awesome”—and maximizing how much you help requires getting the financial details of your donations right. Here’s how.

Links II: Epistemology, &c.

The blogosphere got especially interesting again recently, so that means another batch of links! Featuring epistemology, effective altruism research, economics, et cetera.

CFAR, one year later

Someone recently asked me whether the CFAR workshop I went to last year had any lasting effects. Here’s how it has (and how it hasn’t).

Plants, continued fractions, and the golden ratio

If you were a plant, how would you decide where and when to grow leaves? The exciting math behind a prosaic question.

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