Clearer Thinking with Spencer Greenberg

Spencer Greenberg

Clearer Thinking is a podcast about ideas that truly matter. Join Spencer Greenberg each week as he has fun, in-depth conversations with brilliant people, exploring useful ideas related to psychology, society, behavior change, philosophy, science, artificial intelligence, math, economics, self-help, mental health, and technology. If you enjoy learning about powerful, practical concepts and frameworks, wish you had more deep, intellectual conversations in your life, or are looking for non-BS self-improvement, then we think you'll love this podcast! Because this is the podcast about "ideas that matter," we prioritize ideas that can be applied right now to make life better and that can help you better understand yourself and the world. In other words, we want to highlight the very best tools to enhance your learning, self-improvement efforts, and decision-making. We take on important, thorny questions like: What's the best way to help a friend or loved one going through a difficult time? How can we make our worldviews more accurate, and how can we hone the accuracy of our thinking? What are the advantages of using our "gut" to make decisions, and when should we expect careful, analytical reflection to be more effective? Why do societies sometimes collapse, and what can we do to reduce the chance that ours collapses? Why is the world today so much worse than it could be, and what can we do to make it better? What is good and what is bad about tradition, and are there more meaningful and ethical ways of carrying out important rituals, such as honoring the dead? How can we move beyond zero-sum, adversarial negotiations, and create more positive-sum interactions?

Critiquing Effective Altruism (with Michael Nielsen and Ajeya Cotra)
Aug 19 2022
Critiquing Effective Altruism (with Michael Nielsen and Ajeya Cotra)
Read the full transcriptWhat is Effective Altruism? Which parts of the Effective Altruism movement are good and not so good? Who outside of the EA movement are doing lots of good in the world? What are the psychological effects of thinking constantly about the trade-offs of spending resources on ourselves versus on others? To what degree is the EA movement centralized intellectually, financially, etc.? Does the EA movement's tendency to quantify everything, to make everything legible to itself, cause it to miss important features of the world? To what extent do EA people rationalize spending resources on inefficient or selfish projects by reframing them in terms of EA values? Is a feeling of tension about how to allocate our resources actually a good thing?Ajeya Cotra is a Senior Research Analyst at Open Philanthropy, a grantmaking organization that aims to do as much good as possible with its resources (broadly following effective altruist methodology); she mainly does research relevant to Open Phil's work on reducing existential risks from AI. Ajeya discovered effective altruism in high school through the book The Life You Can Save, and quickly became a major fan of GiveWell. As a student at UC Berkeley, she co-founded and co-ran the Effective Altruists of Berkeley student group, and taught a student-led course on EA. Listen to her 80,000 Hours podcast episode or visit her LessWrong author page for more info.Michael Nielsen was on the podcast back in episode 016. You can read more about him there!