Metaculus is a community forecasting platform which popular among members of the EA and Rationalist communities. Many of the forecasts on the site are directly relevant to EAs, including the entirety of the pandemic subdomain, this series on global catastrophic risk, this recent tournament on AI progress, this large Animal Welfare series sponsored by Open Phil, and many others.
In addition, there has been some recent effort to use Metaculus as a platform to help EA-aligned organisations directly, by forecasting their success and/or decision making. It is my hope that this will become more common, because I think better forecasts should allow organisations to make better decisions about their future plans. Moreover, I think forecasting on important issues is a plausible candidate for Task Y, as it's interesting, scaleable, builds useful skills, and actually has tangible value.
As a result, I have collected forecasts about EA or EA-aligned organisations below, both because...
In this post I share my career decision-making process. I hope that it will help others in their career decisions, by serving as a detailed case study. I believe that the general framework I used can be useful to a wide audience. Furthermore, in the last section (which comprises more than half of the post), I detail all of the options that I considered, many of which are not frequently discussed in EA, and I believe they will be particularly relevant for people with technological or scientific background. I encourage all community members to share their career decision-making process as well.
About half a year ago, I left my math PhD to pursue a more impactful career. In the past few months, I was working on generating a long-list of options, learning more about them and making a decision. Ultimately, I decided to start a PhD in computational healthcare, aiming to...
This is an update from the Centre for Effective Altruism on our work in the fourth quarter of 2020. Most of this information was not included in our annual review, which we began to draft in October.
Our mission is to build a community of students and professionals acting on EA principles, by nurturing high-quality discussion spaces.
In Q4, we began to focus on achieving our annual goals.
Going into the quarter, we had a much clearer scope and goals than before. We began to focus more on those goals, and test out new programs that could further them, like online fellowships and student-focused events. We also reviewed our progress in 2020, made plans for 2021, and began a major fundraising campaign.
Huw Thomas joined the groups team. Now that CEA’s scope and goals are clear, I think that we’re in a position to make several excellent hires. This will be a major focus for next...
I recently read Tyler Cowen's Stubborn Attachments, which argues that we should be focusing on maximising the rate of sustainable economic growth and discusses why that is the most important thing to target. This sparked many questions for me about what we should be optimising for (GDP? Leisure time?). In this blogpost I take a stab at answering that question as a non-economist (so bear with me!).
Traditionally, most countries measure their GDP and target that as a measure of growth. GDP is a purely economic measure and has been under constant criticism for a variety of reasons. It doesn't include household work, doesn't value leisure time, and so on. Nevertheless, it has been and is the standard around the world for measuring economic growth.
There's no doubt in my mind that economic growth should be a central part of any reasonable solution to this question. Practically any important metric that you...
I created a simple web-based tool which ranks animal species according to the harm caused by consuming them. The user can specify the relative priority of two subscales of harm: animal suffering and greenhouse gas emissions.
Numerous analyses have been published on how much suffering is caused by eating various animals. For example by Peter Hurford, Brian Tomasik, Charity Entrepreneurship and Dominik Peters. Results of these analyses hint at the small animal replacement problem which is the concern that advocating for reduced meat consumption for environmental reasons leads people to replace beef with smaller animals such as chicken and fish. This increases total suffering because more farmed animals are consumed for the same amount of calories.
I was inspired by Dominik Peters' tool and was wondering if a similar ranking could be developed which accounts for animal suffering, greenhouse gas emissions and human health. My main motivation was to better understand the...
This post originally appeared on LessWrong. It has been very lightly edited.
Megaproject management is a new-ish subfield of project management. Originally considered to be the special case of project management where the budgets were enormous (billions of dollars), it is developing into a separate specialization because of the high complexity and tradition of failure among such projects. The driving force behind treating it as a separate field appears to be Bent Flyvbjerg, previously known around here for Reference Class Forecasting as the first person to develop an applied procedure. That procedure was motivated by megaprojects. For context, these projects are things like powerplants, chip fabs, oil rigs, et cetera; in other words, the building blocks of modernity.
I will make a summary of the paper "What you should know about megaprojects, and why: an overview" from 2014. For casual reading, there is an article about it from the New Yorker here.
Pretty convinced but with an uneasy feeling that I couldn't pass an ideological turing test. List of threats is tentative, only meant for illustration, and probably has blind spots.
In this post, I will argue that for many EA cause areas, having secure communication and collaboration platforms is an instrumental goal. And that Privacy, security and safety aspects are currently undervalued by the EA Community and too much weight is given to how wide-spread and easy to use these platforms are. I argue that self-hosted open-source collaboration tools are a good default alternative to the proprietary cloud services provided by tech companies.
Which platforms to use is a hard-to-reverse decision in which we are trading off higher growth in the short term (1-5 years)...
In this post, you'll find why I think SENS Research Foundation (SRF) is great to finance from an EA perspective along with the interview questions I want to ask its Chief Science Officer, Aubrey de Grey. You are welcome to contribute with your own questions in the comments or through a private message. Here is a brief summary of each section:
Introduction: Aging research looks extremely good as a cause-area from an EA perspective. Under a total utilitarian view, it is probably second or third after existential risk mitigation. There are many reasons why it makes sense to donate to many EA cause-areas, such as to reduce risk, if there are particularly effective specific interventions, or if some cause-areas are already well funded.
SRF's approach to aging research: SRF selects its research following the SENS general strategy, which divides aging into seven categories of damage, each having a corresponding line of research....