Since Big List of Cause Candidates was posted, there have been many other posts proposing new neglected or less-discussed cause areas. This post aims to record and organize any such causes. The original post will be shortly updated, but I thought it could be useful to list them separately.
I didn't focus on judging the ideas. I just tried to add as many as I could find, giving short summaries for potential readers. I thought it was exciting that some of the proposed causes are currently being funded by the Future Fund, for example “biological weapons shelters” and “better PPE”, among other biosecurity projects.
Notes: 1) Being a continuation of the original post, this one follows the same categorization. 2) The number next to the author's name is the post's current karma. 3) This post focuses on higher level “cause areas”, not on lower-level “interventions”. For instance, Mosul Dam Could Kill 1 Million Iraqis, while high-quality, is not included in this compilation.
Animal Welfare and Suffering
1. Animal-Free Proteins
The report describes what needs to happen to get to 11%, and further to 22% of meat, seafood, eggs and dairy eaten globally every day. Current technology must be refined and scaled, and in some areas, step changes are needed. For instance, optimized protein crops for human consumption need to be bred, and microorganisms as well as animal cells grown on low-cost feedstocks. Regulatory support, such as carbon taxes on meat or subsidies for farmers who are shifting from animal agriculture to alternative proteins, could further boost growth.
2. Herbivorizing Predators
- Should we herbivorize predators? (@Stijn) +4
This post puts forth a moral argument with the intention to open discussion about considering herbivorizing predators as a cause area. The author argues that we should start doing scientific research to look for new technologies that would make it possible.
3. Improving plant-based diets
- The Case for Rare Chinese Tofus (@George Stiffman) +180
In order to improve vegan alternatives, this post proposes to create new types of plant-based food crossing rare Chinese tofu with traditional western cooking methods. The author analyzes the idea in detail, and answers possible objections.
4. Welfare of Specific Animals
- Baboons: Urban wildlife in South Africa - Cape baboons (@ajmfisher) +9
The aim of this post is to catalogue existing methods for managing the population of Cape chacma baboons living in the Cape peninsula, with a focus on welfare impacts for the baboons.
- Chickens: [Question] New EA cause area: Breeding really dumb chickens (@Sam Enright) +34
This post poses some questions about the idea of “breeding chickens (and other farm animals) to be less intelligent as a way to reduce the suffering caused by factory farming”.
- Cleaner Fish: Cleaner Fish: A Neglected Issue Within A Neglected Issue (@Martine Klock Fleten) +50
Despite poor evidence, the use of cleaner fish is common practice among salmon farmers to control sea lice, leading to their suffering and death. The post proposes to improve cleaner fish welfare, or to put an end to this practice.
- Mice and Rats: [Question] Are mice or rats (as pests) a potential area of animal welfare improvement? (@Louis_Dixon) +17
This post hints that the suffering of mice and rats in cities might be a possible cause area. The answers give several clues about how to tackle the issue.
- Silkworms: Silk production: global scale and animal welfare issues (@abrahamrowe) +71
The post examines if the suffering of silkworms used in silk production could be an area to be prioritized, but concludes that available resources “might be better spent in other areas, such as reducing the painfulness of pesticides, reducing the number of insects farmed for animal feed, and reducing the harms of cochineal farming”.
1. CO² Sensors
- [Question] Any initiative/zo introduce small and cheap CO² sensors? (@Martin (Huge) Vlach) +1
The idea here is to raise awareness about high CO² levels by introducing sensors in smartphones and similar devices.
- Seeking a Collaboration to Stop Hurricanes? (@Anthony Repetto) +11
This post proposes to stop hurricanes as a way to avoid the damages caused by them. As high surface temperatures are a necessary condition for hurricanes, cooling them down would prevent their formation, which might be achieved by regularly provoking water spouts (that is, “30mph 'humidity tornadoes' over hot waters”) with the help of a special device described by the author.
1. High School Outreach
- EA outreach to high school competitors (@Nikola) +31
Specifically targeting STEM, logic, debate, and philosophy competitors with short outreach could increase high school outreach effectiveness as it would select for high-performing students who are more likely to engage with EA ideas. This would give these individuals more time to think about career choice and enable them to start building flexible career capital early and might make them more open to engaging with EA in the future.
2. Idea Inoculation
- Effective outreach: evaluating "Idea innoculation" (@rsturrock) +18
This post proposes an experiment to serve as the basis of a psychology paper about EA ‘idea inoculation’, in order to discover better ways of conveying EA-related information.
3. Promoting Altruism
- Promoting Simple Altruism (@LiaH) +12
The author affirms that promoting simple altruism is important, neglected and tractable, and outlines some interventions in order to achieve it.
Existential and Global Catastrophic Risks
1. AGI Safety Research Far in Advance
- [Link] A case for AGI safety research far in advance (@steve2152) +7
Among other things, I make a case for misaligned AGI being an existential risk which can and should be mitigated by doing AGI safety research far in advance.
2. Evolutionary AI alignment
- Can we simulate human evolution to create a somewhat aligned AGI? (@Thomas Kwa) +19
This post discusses the possibility of simulating human evolution as a new approach to the alignment problem:
If AI alignment is intractable, but human evolution is robust in producing something close to human values, we could try to simulate/mimic human evolution to create a superintelligent successor AI.
3. Extraterrestrial Intelligence
- An EA case for interest in UAPs/UFOs and an idea as to what they are (@TheNotSoGreatFilter) +28
Given the current evidence of unidentified aerial phenomena, the probability that they are due to extraterrestrial crafts, and the enormous implications for our world models if this were the case, it may be reasonable to do more research on the subject.
4. Fundamental Research
- Cause area: Fundamental Research (@amit.chilgunde) -4
The author claims that “research for the sake of research” is the best way to anticipate unknown future existential risks.
5. International Cooperation
- International cooperation as a tool to reduce two existential risks (@email@example.com) +26
The author argues that international cooperation could especially reduce the risks of unaligned AI and engineered pandemics. That’s why allocating funding in attempts to foster it seems of high importance.
6. Universal Basic Income
- Mortality, existential risk, and universal basic income (@MaxGhenis) +10
I argue that poverty alleviation would reduce both mortality and existential risk, and that, among anti-poverty programs, universal basic income has a number of advantages over targeted and in-kind benefits.
7. Recovery from an Existential Catastrophe
This post lists some ideas relating to better recovery of civilization in case that an existential catastrophe takes place, which seems rather neglected as compared to prevention of existential risks.
8. Short-range Forecasting
The author argues that short-range forecasting can be useful for longtermism, if there is a coordinated effort to respond rapidly to potential crises in their early stages (for example, by creating an EA Early Warning Forecasting Center).
- The case for studying stylometric deanonymisation as surveillance tech (@acylhalide) +14
Given the seriousness of surveillance tech, which can stabilise totalitarian regimes and destabilise democratic ones, this post proposes to fund advanced AI-based stylometrics research to see how far it can be developed and to create awareness about whatever are the results of this research.
10. Risk from Asteroids
- Risks from Asteroids (@finm) +41
The author gives an overview of this particular risk and explains why it is not a cause to be prioritized:
First, the international effort to track near-Earth asteroids is potentially humanity’s most successful effort to date to directly address an existential risk. . . . Second, expanding beyond mere detection to building deflection systems probably shouldn’t be a priority right now — not just because other comparably tractable risks look far more urgent, but because deflection technology could pose risks of its own from malign use.
- Project Ideas in Biosecurity for EAs (@Davidmanheim) +97
In conjunction with a group of other EA biosecurity folk, I helped brainstorm a set of projects which seem useful, and which require various backgrounds but which, as far as we know, aren't being done, or could use additional work. Many EAs have expressed interest in doing something substantive related to research in bio, but are unsure where to start - this is intended as one pathway to do so.
Basing on experience from the last pandemic, this post highlights the danger posed by misinformation to future global biological catastrophic risks on the rise, and sketches some possible ways to do something about it.
- Non-pharmaceutical interventions in pandemic preparedness and response (@James Smith) +50
The author argues that evaluation of non-pharmaceutical interventions (e.g. mask wearing, hand-washing, social distancing, etc.) is neglected and that the scale of its impact could be high.
- Concrete Biosecurity Projects (some of which could be big) (@ASB & @eca) +314
This post gives a list of longtermist biosecurity projects. The first is about improving response time to biothreats by early detection. This could happen by setting up an Early Detection Center where a small team collects “samples from volunteer travelers around the world and then does a full metagenomic scan”.
The second project points out that most personal protective equipment (PPE)—e.g. masks, suits, etc.—has a number of disadvantages. Materials science and product design could produce better PPE than our current options, i.e. “highly effective in extreme cases, easy to use, reliable over long periods of time, and cheap/abundant”.
The third proposes better medical countermeasures against biothreats “either by 1) producing targeted countermeasures against particularly concerning threats (or broad-spectrum countermeasures against a class of threats), or by 2) creating rapid response platforms that are reliable even against deliberate adversaries”.
The fourth points out some possible ways of strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention. The fifth recommends further investigation on the advantages of sterilization technologies “that rely on physical principles (e.g. ionizing radiation) or broadly antiseptic properties (e.g., hydrogen peroxide, bleach) rather than molecular details (e.g. gram-negative antibiotics)”.
The last project is to create pandemic-proof refuges:
Existing bunkers provide a fair amount of protection, but we think there could be room for specially designed refuges that safeguard against catastrophic pandemics (e.g. cycling teams of people in and out with extensive pathogen agnostic testing, adding a ‘civilization-reboot package’, and possibly even having the capability to develop and deploy biological countermeasures from the protected space).
Global Health and Development
- A Democratic Currency (@MikkW) +2
The author outlines the creation of a new (digital) currency with a view to tackle poverty:
[T]he major source of the currency will be in the people as a whole, with a certain fixed percentage of the value represented by the currency (that is, the market cap), being credited, on regular intervals (for example, every day), to every single person known to the currency.
- The transformative potential of cryptocurrencies (@bejaq) +10
The author argues that decentralized creation of money (instead of money creation by central banks) could lead to better ways of distributing money.
2. Fighting Fistulae
- [Question] Can it be more cost-effective to prevent than to treat obstetric fistulas? (@brb243) +6
The author suggests a way of preventing fistulas which may be much cheaper than surgery: “targeting midwives to share information on when to seek specialized care and identify at-risk patients, training doctors at government (free of charge) clinics, providing equipment, and potentially offering travel stipend to extremely poor households”.
3. Research on Inbreeding
- Inbreeding and global health & development (@pafnuty) +40
Inbreeding (also known as consanguinity) is associated with an increased risk of adverse prenatal outcomes including stillbirths, low birth weight, preterm delivery, abortion, infant and child mortality, congenital birth defects, cognitive impairments, malformations and many other complex disorders. . . . [R]esearch on this issue in the context of global health and development is scarce, and additional research might generate ample information value about potentially impactful interventions.
4. Stopping Miscarriages
- Might stopping miscarriages be a very important cause area? (@SaraAzubuike) +9
The author implies that stopping miscarriages could be important (if there’s some probability that embryos are human), given that miscarriages occur in 20% of pregnancies.
5. Advocacy for Legalizing Abortion
- [Question] Developing countries and adolescent pregnancy: how effective could advocacy for legalizing abortion be? (@Ramiro) +6
Adolescent pregnancy is associated with high rates of child mortality. The author advances that advocacy for legalizing abortion may be an effective way to prevent this tragedy in developing countries.
6. Diet Change
- Dietary habits – Another potential Cause Area? (@peter_janicki) +13
Unhealthy food choices result in poor diets that reduce expected lifespan and life quality. The author of this post collects a considerable amount of evidence and argues that this a neglected area, given the number of people affected by those choices.
- EA Should Spend Its “Funding Overhang” on Curing Infectious Diseases (@joshcmorrison) +82
The author argues that “funding overhang” should be spent developing vaccines against infectious diseases:
If EA’s investing $10 billion in vaccination over the next ten years could save the equivalent of 3-5 years of disease burden of a disease like tuberculosis, it would represent a cost per disability-adjusted-life-year (DALY) saved of roughly $50-$85 (on par with GiveWell top charities).
8. Drug Legalisation
- Ending The War on Drugs - A New Cause For Effective Altruists? (@MichaelPlant) +111
Moving from drug prohibition to legalisation would be beneficial to drug users (decriminalisation) and drug-producing and trafficking countries (less violence). The author raises the question of whether this could be an area to be prioritized.
9. Patent Policy
- Global Health Innovation Incentives, Patent Trolls, and Evergreening: Discussion of Subtopics within US Patent Policy (@schethik) +12
This post covers three candidates within patent policy: The first is global health innovation incentives:
Alternative innovation finance mechanisms—such as advanced market commitments and the Health Impact Fund—can help incentivize firms to invest in R&D aimed at helping developing countries’ poorest people. The present patent system, on the other hand, provides limited incentive to create innovations for these people.
The second candidate is patent trolling: Some firms' merely buy patents and sue others for infringing on their rights, without really producing anything themselves. These patent trolls cost money to other firms, which therefore turn hesitant to use technology, and unwilling to innovate.
However, many legislative and judicial steps have been taken since 2013 to address patent trolling in the US, making the issue—in our view—presently low in scale, neglectedness, and tractability.
The third is evergreening, which doesn't seem to be a high priority either:
It does not appear that companies unfairly extend (i.e., evergreen) their patent terms using statutory strategies. However, there is reason to believe companies use other means such as the 30-month stay provision to extend effective market monopolies.
The author also recommends further research into this area.
- How a ventilation revolution could help mitigate the impacts of air pollution and airborne pathogens (@Mike Cassidy) +64
Indoor air pollution can be worse than outdoor pollution, yet it is neglected. Installing ventilation and filtration systems in our buildings would reduce economic losses arising from air pollution and respiratory viruses.
11. Training Economists
- Hits-based development: funding developing-country economists (@Michael_Wiebe) +75
One specific mechanism [for promoting growth] is to train developing-country economists, who then work in government and influence policy in a pro-growth direction, ultimately increasing the probability of a growth episode.
12. Improving Welfare Algorithms
- [Link] Improving the lives of millions of Latin Americans through better welfare targeting algorithms (@NORIEGA) +11
More than 50 million people in Latin America are impacted by the decision of very simple linear algorithms which determine how much welfare they receive from social programs. Simple changes to the algorithm lead to hundreds of thousands of people being added or removed to major welfare programs.
The author holds that improving these algorithms would allocate billions of dollars more effectively.
13. Low Back Pain
- Preventing low back pain with exercise (@Ryan Kidd) +11
This post argues that exercise seems to be the most effective treatment to prevent low back pain, which is a symptom experienced by people of all ages and socioeconomic circumstances. A comment by Aaron suggests that this might be a solid cause area in the developing world.
14. Chronic Pain
- Should Chronic Pain be a cause area? (@mariushobbhahn) +59
This post gives an overview of what chronic pain is, and its relation with demographic and environmental factors. It finally discusses whether it could be a worthy cause area, reaching no conclusion.
15. Health in Younger Generations
- The health of millennials (@Michael_2358) +8
Inspired by a study on the health of the millennials, the author advances that mental and physical health might be deteriorating in younger generations. This idea is only proposed as a subject for future research.
16. Charter Cities
- Intervention Report: Charter Cities (@David Rhys Bernard & @Jason Schukraft) +133
A comprehensive report on the subject. Conclusions are pessimistic, given the uncertainties involved, but the authors state that further research could be valuable at a modest cost.
- Further thoughts on charter cities and effective altruism (@marklutter) +68
This is a defense of charter cities and a reply to the foregoing report.
17. Golden Rice
- Should GMOs (e.g. golden rice) be a cause area? (@mariushobbhahn) +105
In this post, I want to very roughly evaluate whether golden rice should be of interest to EAs and whether genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in general are worth investigating deeper.
The author concludes that this cause is valuable, though acknowledges that golden rice wouldn't allow to reach levels of efficiency comparable to GiveWell top charities.
18. Agricultural Land Redistribution
- Intervention report: Agricultural land redistribution (@David Rhys Bernard & @Jason Schukraft) +63
The authors conclude that advocating for agricultural land redistribution is neither tractable nor cost-effective.
19. Delaying Aging
- Work Test for Charity Entrepreneurship: Delaying Aging (@Heye Groß) +7
This post argues that aging is the most common cause of death and human suffering. There are already known effective interventions (exercise, fighting smoking) against accelerated aging. For this reason, research confirming that aging itself is responsible for aging-related diseases could yield many cost-effective programs.
20. Starvation in Afghanistan
- [Linkpost] Millions face starvation in Afghanistan (@aogara) +23
Since the Taliban seized power, US sanctions and the sudden suspension of foreign aid worsened the situation in Afghanistan to the extent that millions of people are at risk of starvation and death.
21. Alleviating Price Risk
- Want to alleviate developing world poverty? Alleviate price risk. (2018) (@RomeoStevens) +23
This post is an excerpt from this piece by Peter Harrigan. It calls attention to the idea that price risk is one of the more overlooked sources of poverty. Third world farmers face constant risk from price volatility, which reduces their profits and leads them to bankruptcy.
22. Fighting Corruption
- Fighting corruption in aid-embezzling (@MarcSerna) +14
This post estimates that aid-embezzling in developing countries could cut “from 10% to 50% of donations received by charitable organizations in humanitarian and development settings”. It proposes the creation of an organization dedicated to do audits of development and humanitarian projects in such countries.
23. Lead Exposure
- Global lead exposure report (@David Rhys Bernard & @Jason Schukraft) +117
This is a comprehensive report on the problem of lead exposure. The authors conclude that it is neglected and deserves more attention among effective altruists leaning towards neartermist interventions.
24. Fungal Diseases
- Antifungal Resistance - The Neglected Cousin of Antibiotic Resistance (@Madhav Malhotra) +48
This post links to an interview with Marcio Rodrigues, an expert in the field, about the importance and neglectedness of fungal diseases.
Global Health and Development: Mental Health
- "Fixing Adolescence" as a Cause Area? (@kirchner.jan) +80
Adolescence comes frequently with substantial suffering. After analyzing abundant data, and pointing out the lack of strategies to tackle this problem, the author suggests that more research is desirable to establish this as a cause area.
- [Link] Preprint is out! 100,000 lumens to treat seasonal affective disorder (@Fabienne) +59
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is common and debilitating. The standard of care includes light therapy provided by a light box; however, this treatment is restrictive and only moderately effective. Advances in LED technology enable lighting solutions that emit vastly more light than traditional light boxes. Here, we assess the feasibility of BROAD (Bright, whole-ROom, All-Day) light therapy and get a first estimate for its potential effectiveness.
This post argues that instead of trying to discourage sex workers, there is a number of reasons for which “it is worth considering integrating this profession more into society”:
Sex workers satisfy a very essential need, providing not only sexual intercourse but also company, a listening ear, a safe space where is no judgment. Otherwise dangerous paraphilias can be safely practiced, believed to be shameful wants can be satisfied, never said fantasies can be discussed. Victims of sexual abuse, people with mental health conditions, couples with sexual problems can not only talk or discuss their problems, as it would be possible in a clinical setting but can also receive practical help too. All of these attributes make sex work a potentially valuable addition to mental health and wellbeing services.
Politics: Global politics
1. Democracy Promotion
- Decreasing populism and improving democracy, evidence-based policy, and rationality (@Hauke Hillebrandt) +34
This post explores several funding opportunities in this area. The author lists the following causes:
- Increasing rationality: Rationality could be increased by funding books as Galef’s The Scout Mindset, or projects as the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence.
- General education spending: “[E]ducation can often predict populism better than income. Thus one funding idea might be to try to increase education budgets globally.”
- Civic education: “[C]ivic education can strengthen democratic beliefs and explain the relevance of pluralism, which can play an important role in preventing populist attitudes.”
- Journalism: Funding ideas include payments for online news content, the provision of local and investigative journalism, and investigative fact-check websites in general.
- Information spreading: “One way to reduce populism is to give activists the tools to expose and debunk populist 'common sense' arguments”, tools like Our World in Data.
- Research on populism: “Funding opportunity: Fund an academic researcher working on populism.”
- English language education: “Fostering English language learning improves access to more content. This might improve international relations.” But the author notes that learning English doesn’t seem neglected.
- Elections and voting: Funding opportunities include switching back to paper ballots to increase trust (Verified Voting Foundation), voting system reform, and the uses of statistical techniques to test election results, among others.
- Combatting computational propaganda: Several funding opportunities and ideas are proposed here to counterbalance current AI techniques spreading misleading information.
- Fostering more independent commissions and monitoring: Following the example of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact, which scrutinises UK aid spending, institutional decision making could be improved by setting up independent commissions for every major department in government.
- Aggregating expert consensus: “Aggregating expert consensus might decrease populism by reducing the faith put in common sense approaches.”
- Prediction markets: “Furthering the use of prediction market might help increase the accuracy of forecasts for important policy issues.”
- Doing more fundamental research: Funding could foster fundamental research, which is useful to find new techniques to improve institutional decision making.
2. Promotion of Parliamentarism
- The effective altruist case for parliamentarism (@Tiago Santos) +22
The author applies the ITN framework to promotion of parliamentarism and concludes that it is a valuable cause for EAs to focus on.
3. Promotion of Self-Determination
- A framework for self-determination (@kbog) +18
This post discusses the advantages of promoting more recognition of a right to self-determination. It develops a set of criteria to be met and applies them to the particular cases of Artsakh, Taiwan, and Crimea. Finally it shows some possible ways to reinforce the idea of self-determination.
Politics: System Change, Targeted Change, and Policy Reform.
1. Policy Design and Implementation
- Answer to “Short List of Cause Areas?” (@Jack Cunningham) +6
The answer enumerates several reasons why policy design and implementation could be the most promising cause area along with global health, animal welfare, long-term future, and building the EA movement.
Politics: Armed Conflict
1. Ukraine Conflict
- Ukraine giving - short term high leverage (@Timothy_Liptrot) -3
This post proposes supporting Ukraine as a cause area, arguing that if Russia is not strongly punished, other states could follow similar policies. The author goes on to propose buying satellites for improving Ukraine’s military system.
1. Land Use Reform
- Cause Area: UK Housing Policy (@GMcGowan) +92
The author gives an overview of the problem and presents the solution advocated by the YIMBI movement in the UK, namely a political reform reducing veto power and giving households on a street the means of allowing development by a majority vote. The concluding section lists a number of reasons for and against EA involvement in this area.
This post examines the problem posed by veto players when majorities are trying to bring forward development. Improving coordination techniques could be the way to break such deadlock not only here, but also in many other areas:
With high uncertainty, I think that focusing a small amount of resources on improving broader coordination techniques for reducing such large deadweight losses in various areas could be a highly impactful, tractable and neglected area of research.
2. Improving Information
- A Case for Better Feeds (@Nathan Young) +22
A proposal to adapt information spread on EA databases to other methods of accessing it (email, twitter, RSS readers, etc.). If distribution of information is improved, there should be an increase in general impact.
- Wikipedia editing is important, tractable, and neglected (@Darius_M) +172
This post highlights the importance of Wikipedia editing and gives useful suggestions for how this should be done.
- Intactivism as a potential Effective Altruist cause area? (@Question Mark) +3
The author argues against the practice of circumcision and proposes its abolition.
- [Question] Neglected biodiversity protection by EA (@Danny Forest) +10
This post claims, without elaborating on it, that biodiversity of life should be considered worth funding. Some of the comments reason why it shouldn’t.
- Answer to “Preserving natural ecosystems?” (@RafaelF) +9
The author gives a list of ideas for tackling this issue.
5. Population Size Reduction
- Population Size/Growth & Reproductive Choice: Highly effective, synergetic & neglected (@RafaelF) +12
The author argues that reduction of population growth should be prioritised, because it would have significant positive effects on several other EA cause areas, such as climate change, animal welfare, etc.
6. Scientific Progress
Creating the right incentive structures in science could make science more fluid, efficient, and painless. . . . The aim of this post is to suggest science policy as a possible research area for EAs where it might be possible to do progress that results in better science.
7. Metaverse Democratisation
- Metaverse democratisation as a potential EA cause area (@Paul_Lang) +23
This post argues that we may now be at a tipping point that decides whether we are steering either towards a utopian or to a dystopian future of hybrid virtual/physical realities. It encourages a discussion on the assessment of the problem and brainstorming of potential solutions.
8. Cause Prioritisation Research
- The case of the missing cause prioritisation research (@weeatquince) +270
This post points out that there has been little progress on cause research for several years. Some difficulties relating to it are discussed, but “they are all overcomeable, and they do not make a strong case that such research is intractable”.
9. Sleeping Less to Increase Lifespan
- Theses on Sleep (@guzey) +51
The author argues that sleeping under 6 hours is perfectly healthy. If people sleep less, then their lifespan would be increased.
10. Combating Ageism
- [Linkpost] Is Combatting Ageism The Most Potentially Impactful Form of Social Activism? (@JosephBronski) -14
The author claims that people between 15 and 17 years are “the most oppressed group in the West”.
- How can we reduce s-risks? (@Tobias_Baumann) +37
In this post, I’ll give an overview of the priority areas that have been identified in suffering-focused cause prioritisation research to date.
- The Importance of Artificial Sentience (@Jamie_Harris) +59
Artificial sentient beings could be created in vast numbers in the future. While their future could be bright, there are reasons to be concerned about widespread suffering among such entities. . . . Research may help us assess which actions will most cost-effectively make progress.
- The problem of artificial suffering (@Martin Trouilloud) +45
This post reviews Metzinger's paper, Artificial Suffering: An Argument for a Global Moratorium on Synthetic Phenomenology.
12. EA Meta
This post goes over why we think Effective Altruism meta could be highly impactful, why CE [Charity Entrepreneurship] is well-positioned to incubate these charities, why 2021 is a good time, differences in handling EA meta compared to other causes, and potential concerns. We finish by introducing our three top recommendations for new charities in the space: exploratory altruism, earning to give +, and EA training.
13. Prioritization research on slacktivism
- Effective Slacktivism: why somebody should do prioritization research on slacktivism (@Kat Woods) +31
There are some tasks that could be done with almost no effort, and yet they could have a lot of impact. This post notes that “[s]ome slacktivism is probably way more effective than other slacktivism, so somebody should do some prioritization research to find the best slacktivism techniques”.
- Brain preservation to prevent involuntary death: a possible cause area (@AndyMcKenzie) +37
The author argues that brain preservation is “one of the best areas for people interested in helping others to work in” and “a great place for people who are interested in helping others to donate money”.
2. Mind Enhancement
- Mind Enhancement: A High Impact, High Neglect Cause Area? (@timfarkas) +22
This post aims to raise awareness, provide a rough framework for classification and list the most important theoretical arguments and considerations regarding the impact/desirability of mind enhancement.
- Cause profile: Cognitive Enhancement Research (@George Altman) +51
This post is a first attempt at analysing cognitive enhancement research using the ITN framework and cost-effectiveness estimates. Several interventions enhance cognitive functions such as intelligence and decision making. If we identify effective, cheap and scalable cognitive enhancement interventions, they may be competitive with GiveWell charities.
The following posts collect lots of funding ideas, many of which are novel interventions and cause areas:
- E.A. Megaproject Ideas (@Tomer_Goloboy) +11
- Milan Griffes on EA blindspots (@Gavin) +80
- [Question] What EA projects could grow to become megaprojects, eventually spending $100m per year? (@Nathan Young) +129
- Humanities Research Ideas for Longtermists (@Lizka) +137
- EA Projects I'd Like to See (@finm) +145
- EA megaprojects continued (@mariushobbhahn, @slg, @MaxRa, @JasperGeh & @Yannick_Muehlhaeuser) +171
- The Future Fund's Project Ideas Competition (@Nick_Beckstead, @ketanrama, @leopold, @William_MacAskill) +233
+314 | +270 | +233 | +180 | +172 | +171 | +145 | +137 | +133 | +129 | +117 | +111 | +105 | +97 | +92 | +82 | +80 | +80 | +77 | +75 | +71 | +68 | +64 | +63 | +59 | +59 | +59 | +51 | +51 | +50 | +50 | +50 | +48 | +45 | +43 | +41 | +40 | +38 | +37 | +37 | +34 | +34 | +31 | +31 | +28 | +27 | +26 | +25 | +23 | +23 | +23 | +23 | +22 | +22 | +22 | +19 | +19 | +18 | +18 | +17 | +14 | +14 | +13 | +12 | +12 | +12 | +11 | +11 | +11 | +11 | +10 | +10 | +10 | +9 | +9 | +9 | +8 | +7 | +7 | +6 | +6 | +6 | +4 | +3 | +2 | +1 | -3 | -4 | -14
This post was written by Leonardo Picón, managed by Nuño Sempere, and funded by the Quantified Uncertainty Research Institute.
See Appendix II: A Note on Nomenclature for a clarification of these terms.
There has also been this post on cognitive enhancement research:
This partially falls under cognitive enhancement, but what about other forms of consciousness research besides increasing intelligence, such as what QRI is doing? Hedonic set-point enhancement, i.e. making the brain more suffering-resistant and research into creating David Pearce's idea of "biohappiness", is arguably just as important as intelligence enhancement. Having a better understanding of valence could also potentially make future AIs safer. Magnus Vinding also wrote this post on personality traits that may be desirable from an effective altruist perspective, so research into cognitive enhancement could also include figuring out how to increase these traits in the population.
Thanks for raising this point. I agree that such category could include enhancements not strictly limited to "being smarter". I think this is a legitimate cause area, but I'm not sure if I would include Magnus's excellent post. I just don't feel he is proposing this as a cause area. . . Anyway, the real reason I didn't include it was far more trivial: It was published in April and this update is supposed to cover up to March. I'm thinking about ways of extending the limit and keeping this up to date on a regular basis.
On biosecurity, I'd add this post we wrote: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/NzqaiopAJuJ37tpJz/project-ideas-in-biosecurity-for-eas
(And I'll note that Nuno's list also nearly completely neglected bio.)
Added. This is a great contribution. Thanks a lot!
It seems like Improving Institutional Decision-Making: Which Institutions? (A Framework) belongs somewhere under Politics. Also see the follow-up, A Landscape Analysis of Institutional Improvement Opportunities.
Note that improving institutional decision-making can be a modality through which to pursue other causes, in addition to a cause unto itself. I'm planning to write more about that soon.
I’ll add them soon, thanks! Yes, you’re right about the beneficial influence of improving institutional decision-making over other causes. This is something that occurs very frequently between other causes as well (though not always, as the meat eater problem has shown). I look forward to reading that post.
So improving institutional decision-making doesn't seem like it's a new cause area. You've been working on it for quite a while
I guess I'm confused then, since there are some others on the list with longer histories in the movement, including cause prioritization research, biosecurity, s-risks, and EA meta. Arguably democracy promotion, lead exposure, and animal-free proteins as well. Maybe it would be helpful to clarify the criteria for inclusion?
All of these are arguably either neglected or less-discussed, or at least that's what the posts discussing these causes suggest. I suppose the same goes for your posts (I just didn't have the time to read them in detail yet) and that's why I lean towards including them.
Yeah, it also seems like you're trying to highlight posts where the author is doing a lot of work to define and/or make the case for the cause area. Maybe that's an easier way to think about the logic for inclusion.
Is this available in a data format somewhere (spreadsheet, airtable, database etc?)
It could be helpful to connect with the research database I’m trying to build for the Unjournal project.
There is a rough draft. I’ll try to update it and let you know.
Maybe it's worth adding snakebite deaths to the global health list. https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/WyqGircJgCBG9ivNL/snakebites-kill-100-000-people-every-year-here-s-what-you
I like that one very much, but I stopped listing posts in March, that's why it is not included. Thanks anyway.