After a hiatus of about a year the LessWrong Hamburg Meetup had a very strong revival! Infused by motivation from the Berlin Weekend I tried a reachout to collegues and via meetup.com and an amazing 24 people gathered on July, 17th in a location kindly provided by my employer.
Because the number of participants quickly exceeded my expectations I had to scramble to put something together for a larger group. For this I had tactical aid from blob and practical support from colleagues putting everything together from name tags to getting food and drinks and chairs.
We had an easy start with getting to know each other with Fela's Ice-Breaking Game.
The main topics covered were:
- An introduction into the topics, goals and methods or LessWrong illustrated with The Parable of the Dagger by pinkgothic. This was followed up by many smaller talks about how to apply rationality.
- A presentation and moderated discussion about effective altruism by ImmaSix.
- Moderated discussion about methods of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
- I answered many questions regarding biases and fallacies and we used the game cards I had prepared early multiple times. These attracted some interest and can be found here (Dropbox).
Beside the main topics there was a good athmosphere with many people having smaller discussions.
The event ended with a short wrap-up based on Irinas Sustainable Change talk from the Berlin event which did prompt some people to take action based on what they heard.
What I learned from the event:
- I still tend to do overplanning. Maybe having a plan for eventualities isn't bad but the agenda doesn't need to be as highly structured as I did. It could cause expectations that can't be met.
- Apparently I appeared stressed but I didn't feel that way myself. Probably from hurrying around. I wonder wheather that has a negative effect on other people and how I can avoid that. Esp. as I'm not feeling stressed myself.
- A standard-issue meeting room for 12 people can comfortably host 24 people if tables and furniture are rearranged and comfy beanbags etc. are added.
- Whe number of people showing up can vary unpredictably. This may depend on weather or how the event is communicated and unknown factors.
- Visualize the concrete effects of your charity. This can give you a specific intuition you can use to decide whether it's worth it. Imma's example was thinking about how your donated AMF bednets hang over children and protect from mosquitoes.
There will definitely be a follow-up meeting of a comparable size in a few month (no date yet). And maybe smaller get-together will be organized inbetween.