Siddhartha Gautama

Wiki Contributions


Open and Welcome Thread - May 2021

I'm Brian.  I'm 27 years of age.  I work as a lawyer in Ireland but am looking to pivot into a career that is: 1) higher impact from an EA perspective; and 2) more intellectually engaging through proactive and longer-term, bigger picture thinking vis a vis the reactive, short-term nature of life as a lawyer. 

I'm interested in a relatively disparate range of areas: epistemology, philosophy, blockchain technology, Bitcoin, animal rights, longtermism, and FinTech in third world countries (I have worked in India and South Africa and seen the need for better access to capital).  I think temperamentally I'd be more suited to a researcher/academic type role since I enjoy studying and breaking down complex topics by communicating them through writing for a public audience.  I keep a Substack blog.  I have considered going back to pursue a masters and/or PhD but there are sunk cost fallacy biases to overcome before then (and financial undertakings).  I have also leveraged 80,000 Hours' helpful resources.  

The thing I most enjoy about the Less Wrong community - beyond the intellectual engagement - is finding connection in the experiences documented and challenges faced as critical, questioning, high standards thinkers.  I also really appreciate the compassion and humility throughout this forum.  I'm often very intimidated by the intellectual might and achievements of the average LW participant; I'm cognisant of my own limitations and (at least, explored) cognitive boundaries. 

A colleague and I are currently working on curating a critical thinking introductory presentation for high school students in Ireland.  We've received the backing of the UCD School of Philosophy, which has been an encouraging endorsement.  Neel Nanda's post on Less Wrong and the CFAR Handbook (amongst other resources) were both helpful in our process.  Earlier this year I also explored establishing a network of legal practitioners in Ireland to engage in pro bono animal rights work but the startup financial energy required is something I underestimated and need to reconsider my ad hoc approach. 

I would like to start engaging with LW threads a bit more going forward, to positively contribute to this great community and sharpen my own thinking.  I've been a passive observer for a couple of years now. 

Donating Bitcoin to Crisis Zones - Is there a platform collating and verifying public key address for individuals in conflict zones which allows donors to send Bitcoin directly to them?

I wasn't aware that GiveDirectly accepted crypto (despite donating to GD on a regular basis).  Brilliant to see.  Thanks for sharing, Zac. 

Logic Like a Lawyer

Riffing here but as a lawyer I see my role as exploring the boundaries of all possible extrapolations of the law. This translates quite well into other areas (philosophy, psychology etc) because your default position is to identify the outliers and anomalies within domains in the first instance.  From there, you can reverse engineer by finding the mean ground and the generalisations. But I think lawyers are well placed to imagine both the worst-case scenarios - and, something which is less emphasised, the best-case scenarios.