Social Circles and Rationalist-Altruists

A big challenge for effective altruists is learning to build a movement. On one view, a small subproblem is to better understand our social circles. Using FriendsGraph, I got a better handle on the grouping of my own friendship network. As far as I understand, the app spatially locates my friends closely if they are friends with one another, and further away if they are not.

Here is what I have learnt:

  • My main vocation, medicine and my interests of EA and LW are socially distant, as I had thought. In fact, there is noone who is both in my medical group and also networked with many LessWrong users and effective altruists. Anecdotally, effective-altruism is much more common in psychology and economics, and rationality most commonly attracts computer scientists.
  • The Monash Philosophy Society has some overlap with effective altruists in general, but has particular overlap with EA and LW Melbourne.
  • As CFAR have visited Melbourne, there is lots of overlap between effective altruists and rationalists in Melbourne and a handful of rationalists internationally. I would expect that these connections will increase in density as CFAR employees post interesting things, mutual friends are suggested, Melbournites occasionally travel to San Francisco and so on.

The people on this graph who I expect to have the biggest impact are the rationalist-altruists, shown below.

Theoretically, theose who are densely linked to the rationalist (orange) and effective-altruist (green) spheres stand to make the most difference. This is because they are likely to value optimization of the future and also have some of the tools required to think clearly about how to achieve this.

This could at least be a good place to start making facebook-introductions.

Do you agree or disagree?