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EZ#1 The world of Zakat is really infuriating/frustrating. There is almost NO accountability/transparency demonstrated by orgs which collect and distribute zakat - they don't seem to feel any obligation to show what they do with what they collect. Correspondingly, nearly every Muslim I've spoken to about zakat/effective zakat has expressed that their number 1 gripe with zakat is the strong suspicion that it's being pocketed or corruptly used by these collection orgs. Given this, it seems like there's a really big niche in the market to be exploited by an EA-aligned zakat org. My feeling at the moment is that the org should focus on, and emphasise, its ability to be highly accountable and transparent about how it stores and distributes the zakat it collects. The trick here is finding ways to distribute zakat to eligible recipients in cost-effective ways. Currently, possibly only two of the several dozen 'most effective' charities we endorse as a community would be likely zakat-compliant (New Incentives, and Give Directly), and even then, only one or two of GiveDirectly's programs would qualify. This is pretty disappointing, because it means that the EA community would probably have to spend quite a lot of money either identifying new highly effective charities which are zakat-compliant, or start new highly-effective zakat complaint orgs from scratch.
I thought this recent study in JAMA Open on vegan nutrition was worth a quick take due to its clever and legible study design:  This was an identical twin study in which one twin went vegan for eight weeks, and the other didn't. Nice results on some cardiometabolic lab values (e.g., LDL-C) even though the non-vegan twin was also upping their game nutritionally. I don't think the fact that vegan diets generally improve cardiometabolic health is exactly fresh news, but I find the study design to be unusually legible for nutritional research.
Bumping a previous EA forum post: Key EA decision-makers on the future of EA, reflections on the past year, and more (MCF 2023). This post recaps a survey about EA 'meta' topics (eg., talent pipelines, community building mistakes, field-building projects, etc.) that was completed by this year's Meta Coordination Forum attendees. Meta Coordination Forum is an event for people in senior positions at community- and field-building orgs/programs, like CEA, 80K, and Open Philanthropy's Global Catastrophic Risk Capacity Building team. (The event has previously gone by the name 'Leaders Forum.') This post received less attention than I thought it would, so I'm bumping it here to make it a bit more well-known that this survey summary exists. All feedback is welcome!
This December is the last month unlimited Manifold Markets currency redemptions for donations are assured: Highly recommend redeeming donations this month since there are orders of magnitude more currency outstanding than can be donated in future months
There is still plenty of time to vote in the Donation Election. The group donation pot currently stands at around $30,000. You can nudge that towards the projects you think are most worthwhile (plus, the voting system is fun and might teach you something about your preferences).  Also- you should donate to the Donation Election fund if:  a) You want to encourage thinking about effective donations on the Forum. b) You want to commit to donating in line with the Forum's preferences.  c) You'd like me to draw you one of these bad animals (or earn one of our other rewards):  NB: I can also draw these animals holding objects of your choice. Or wearing clothes. Anything is possible. 

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Gemini Pro (the medium-sized version of the model) is now available to interact with via Bard.

Here’s a fun and impressive demo video showing off Gemini’s multi-modal capabilities:

How Gemini compares to GPT-4, according to Google DeepMind:

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warning - mildly spicy take

In the wake of the release, I was a bit perplexed by how much of Tech Twitter (answered by own question there) really thought this a major advance.

But in actuality a lot of the demo was, shall we say, not consistently candid about Gemini's capabilities (see here for discussion and here for the original).

At the moment, all Google have released is a model inferior to GPT-4 (though the multi-modality does look cool), and have dropped an I.O.U for a totally-superior-model-trust-me-bro to come out some time next year.

Previously AI ris... (read more)

Are we too willing to accept forecasts from experts on the probability of humanity’s demise at the hands of artificial intelligence? What degree of individual liberty should we curtail in the name of AI risk mitigation? I argue that focusing on AI’s existential risk distracts...

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I'm glad you found my comment useful. I think then, with respect, you should consider retracting some of your previous comments, or at least reframing them to be more circumspect and be clear you're taking issue with a particular framing/subset of the AIXR community as opposed to EA as a whole.

As for the points in your comment, there's a lot of good stuff here. I think a post about the NRRC, or even an insider's view into how the US administration thinks about and handles Nuclear Risk, would be really useful content on the Forum, and also incredibly intere... (read more)

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JWS commented on Yarrow Bouchard's quick take 1h ago

Has anyone else noticed anti-LGBT and specifically anti-trans sentiment in the EA and rationalist communities? I encountered this recently and it was bad enough that I deactivated my LessWrong account and quit the Dank EA Memes group on Facebook.

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I'm sorry you encountered this, and I don't want to minimise your personal experience

I think once any group becoms large enough there will be people who associate with it who harbour all sorts of sentiments including the ones you mention.

On the whole though, i've found the EA community (both online and those I've met in person) to be incredibly pro-LGBT and pro-trans. Both the underlying moral views (e.g. non-traditionalism, impartiality and cosmpolitanism etc) point that way, as do the underlying demographics (e.g. young, high educated, socially liberal)

I think where there might be a split is in progressive (as in, leftist politically) framings of issues and the type of language used to talk about these topics. I think those often find it difficult to gain purchase in EA, especially on the rationalist/LW-adjacent side. But I don't think those mean that the community as a whole, or even the sub-section, are 'anti-LGBT' and 'anti-trans', and I think there are historical and multifacted reasons why there's emnity between 'progressive' and 'EA' camps/perspectives.

Nevertheless, I'm sorry that you experience this sentiment, and I hope you're feeling ok.

I’ve thought a lot about charitable giving over the past decade, both from a universalist and from a Jewish standpoint. I have a few thoughts, including about how my views have evolved over time. This is a very different perspective than many in Effective Altruism, but ...

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Thanks for sharing your thinking, David!

For donations deferring to cause-neutral experts, I usually give via Givewell, and split my giving between their top charities

Have you considered donating to Rethink Priorities? I would say it is much more cause-neutral than GiveWell, which only focusses on global health and development.

Executive Summary 

Welcome to ALLFED’s 2023 Highlights, our annual update on what Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters has been up to this year. From advising Open Philanthropy on food security, to sbumitting 6 new papers for peer review, to writing preparedness/...

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Oscar Delaney
Nice! Perhaps when you say Cambridge Centre for Existential Risk you mean the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk? Could you link to their database you mention - I couldn't find it on a quick search.
Thanks for the correction! I have fixed it and added a link (the link was in the main document, but it's good to have it in the executive summary as well).

Came across this article on my feed re Effective Altruism. Although it seemed mildly hostile in tone, I actually appreciated the nuance between the lower and upper cased effective altruism, the former being the core philosophy and the latter being a set of conclusions the...

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This article is behind a paywall; do you have a summary that we can read?

A post covering the topic and content of the author's current career as a data scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

Context: As per You should write about your job and Writing about your job is (still) great — consider doing it, forum...

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The dormant period occurred between applying and getting referred for the position, and between getting referred and receiving an email for an interview. These periods were unexpectedly long and I wish there had been more communication or at least some statement regarding how long I should expect to wait. However, once I had the interview, I only had to wait a week (if I am remembering correctly) to learn if I was to be given a test task. After completing the test task, it was around another week before I learned I had performed competently enough to be hired.