I’m Alex Beal and this is my personal website. I’m a software developer by day, and much of the earlier writing on this website is about software. Early in my career I was obsessed with programming languages. Two of my more popular software articles are on symbolic execution, and monads. I’ve worked at Twitter on the data APIs and the trends/moments backend, and I’m now at Stripe working on developer tooling for Scala.

Outside of computers, philosophy has been a formative interest. I was introduced to philosophy in college where I studied it along with computer science. In an ethics class, I was convinced to be an ethical vegetarian and I still am more than 10 years later (why be a vegetarian? Here and here are good places to start). I was also introduced to stoicism around then, which has changed how I approach life. This in turn led to an interest in eastern philosophies and practices like meditation. I’m an atheist, but wisdom can be found in many places. Effective altruism has also been influential in how I think about the world. I’ve focussed mostly on effective giving, but recently have become concerned with humanity’s long-term future.

Economics is another lense through which I view the world. Reading The Undercover Economist in high school probably changed my life. I became interested in radical capitalism for many years. These days my views have softened and I identify more strongly with the new wave of neoliberalism. In any case, I believe studying incentives and how people react to them is a powerful tool for understanding big problems.

My most recent interest is forecasting. Not the weather, but geopolitical events. It turns out that predicting the future is not only possible, but it’s a skill one can get better at. I’m still new to it, but you can see some of the predictions I’ve written up on my predictions page, and you can find me on metaculus. Not only is forecasting a lot of fun, and a great way to learn more about the world, it’s also a good way of checking that my beliefs track reality.

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