Disclosure: This analysis is mine alone, and does not reflect the belief of any individuals or organizations I’m affiliated with. To protect my anonymity I’m not providing a full history of my experiences with the programs I’ve analyzed, but readers can assume that I’ve unsuccessfully attempted to get funding through one or more of the channels discussed below and could potentially benefit from changes to these grantmaking processes.
Most Effective Altruists (myself included) would agree that the stronger the EA community is, the more good it will be able to accompl... (Read more)
Between May 2018 and June 2019 Rethink Priorities completed a large project on the subject of invertebrate sentience. We investigated the best methodology to approach the question, outlined some philosophical difficulties inherent in the project, described the features most relevant to invertebrate sentience, compiled the extant scientific literature on the topic, summarized our results, and ultimately produced an invertebrate welfare cause profile. We are currently in the process of identifying concrete interventions to improve invertebrate wellbeing, with a report on the welf... (Read more)
Whether invertebrates have a capacity for valenced experience is still uncertain. Given that uncertainty, we argue that supporting the cause of invertebrate welfare means, at present, promoting additional research. To that end, we explore and outline key research questions in two areas: (i) invertebrate sentience and (ii) philosophical research into consciousness. Regarding the first, we propose further research on those features which, according to expert agreement, seem to be necessary for consciousness (e.g., nociceptors and centralized information-processing structures). We also su... (Read more)
In 2019, GiveDirectly began making payments to approximately 10,000 refugee households (65,000 people) in the Kiryandongo refugee settlement in Uganda, along with 5,000 host community households in the surrounding area. Over the course of two years, GiveDirectly is working alongside independent researchers to conduct a randomized controlled trial to measure the impact of cash transfers in the unique context of a refugee settlement.
About 30% of GiveDirectly staff on the GiveDirectly Kiryandongo refugee team are refugees themselves. One of the field officers who was hired from the Kiryandongo se... (Read more)
My top takeaways from the post:
We’ve found that readers sometimes interpret or apply our advice in ways we didn’t anticipate and wouldn’t exactly recommend. That’s hard t... (Read more)
Cross-posted from the Charity Entrepreneurship blog.
Acknowledgements. I’d like to thank Spencer Greenberg for both inspiring the original idea with Clearer Thinking’s Belief Challenger tool and for coming up with a much better name for the concept than my original “steelmanning back and forth”.
I have a tool for thinking I call “steelman solitaire” that I have found comes to much better conclusions than doing “free-style” thinking, so I thought I should share it with more people. In summary, it consists of arguing with yourself in ... (Read more)
As part of my role as a teacher in a sixth-form college for gifted students, I have the option of requesting books be bought for the library. I do some EA outreach as part of my job (more details here, I'm "Alex"), but am primarily interested here in books that people feel might provide a nudge in an EA direction to students who haven't otherwise engaged with effective altruism. As well as obtaining recommended books for my own school's library, I am exploring the possibility of donating highly recommended books to the libraries of other very high performing sixth form... (Read more)
Does this already happen? If not, should it? And with which metrics? If it already happens, what metrics are used to assess the health and changes in health of the EA community?
Given the plausibility of longtermism, many effective altruists are interested in identifying tractable ways to shape the very long-term future for the better. One neglected and potentially tractable way to vastly improve the value of the long-term future is by identifying future-beneficial political and economic institutions and policies and acting to increase the probability of their implementation at various levels of political organization. Will MacAskill recently advocated age-weighted voting as one such strategy for better-aligning the interests of governments with the interests of futur... (Read more)
This article is compiled from interviews and conversations I’ve had with people working in the EU, national governments, and other relevant institutions. I don't have any personal experience in the field.
My goal here is to (partly) adapt Niel Bowerman’s 80.000 Hours guide to US AI policy careers to an EU context, especially the sections ‘where to aim long term’ and ‘key routes in’. I hope this document can be useful for informing / orienting the early-stage career decisions of Europeans interested in policy careers. I'm framing everything around AI policy, but much of the content applies to... (Read more)
I'm going to vote, I guess I'll have to spend a reasonable amount of time deciding who to vote for. I guess someone has already done this work, where would you look for it?
Effective Altruism Community Building Grants is a project run by the Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA) which made its first round of grants in 2018. It provides grants to individuals and groups doing local effective altruism community building, which typically range from $5,000 to $100,000. The programme has a particular emphasis on funding groups that aim to transition from being run by volunteers to being run by full-time, paid organisers.
Many of the initial grants we made in 2018 ended recently and we've just finished assessing applications for renewed funding for these grants. Over... (Read more)
I frequently donate to GiveWell and agree with their philosophy on how to choose who to donate to. I am starting a job next month that will match my donation to U.S. universities 3:1 up to $7500 (I donate $7.5K, they donate $22.5K). I am quite skeptical of universities effectiveness in alleviating human suffering (in some cases, i think they can increase suffering).
Anyways, I am wondering given the 3:1 corporate matching, is it worthwhile to donate to a university (or specific program at a university) at all. If so, which university/program would be best (or how would I find the best programs)... (Read more)
There is a strong argument that many of the most important, high-value interventions cannot be robustly quantified. For example, corruption reduction efforts and other policy change to increase long-term economic growth, therefore saving lives and reducing suffering, are high-importance, plausibly tractable, and relatively neglected areas. Using the ITN framework, or almost any other expected-value prioritization approach, this means they should be prioritized highly. I want to briefly outline and steelman the counterargument, that these have very low expected value compared to the best short-... (Read more)
In December, I (Nicole Ross) joined CEA to run the EA Grants program, which gives relatively small grants (usually under $60,000 per grant) to individuals and start-up projects within EA cause areas. Before joining CEA, I worked at the Open Philanthropy Project and GiveWell doing both research and grants operations.
When I joined CEA, the EA Grants program had been running since 2017. Upon my initial review, it had a mixed track record. Some grants seemed quite exciting, some seemed promising, others lacked the information I needed to make an impact judgment, and others raised some concer... (Read more)
These monthly posts originated as the "Updates" section of the EA Newsletter.
80,000 Hours launched a new key ideas page, which replaces their previous career guide.
The key ideas page covers the most useful things they've learned over the last eight years, starting with the big picture and ending with practical next steps. It's now the natural place for people to go first if they want to learn what 80,000 Hours thinks about doing good with your c... (Read more)