EA Organization Updates: January 2020

by Aaron Gertler 5 min read14th Feb 2020No comments

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These monthly posts originated as the "Updates" section of the EA Newsletter.

You can also see last month's updates, or a repository of past newsletters (including past organization updates).

Organization Updates

80,000 Hours

80K added over 100 new jobs to their job board. They also released two new podcasts:

They also put out another entry in their “anonymous advice” series: What’s one way to be successful you don’t think people talk about enough?

Animal Charity Evaluators

Animal Charity Evaluators recently published a blog post summarizing the results from their compensation strategy survey. They also published a six-month progress report from their Recommended Charity Fund recipients.

Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative

In 2020, BERI’s main focus will be almost exclusively on their collaborations program, which supports projects with the Center for Human-Compatible Artificial Intelligence, the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, and the Future of Humanity Institute. In particular, BERI is winding down their grants program. Along with this narrower scope, BERI will reduce their core staff count to between 1 and 1.5 full-time employees before the end of the year. For more details, see this blog post.

Center for Human-Compatible AI

Learning Generalized Models by Interrogating Black-Box Autonomous Agents,” a paper by CHAI affiliate Siddharth Srivastava and PhD student Pulkit Verma, was accepted by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) 2020 Workshop on Generalization in Planning.

CHAI researcher Rohin Shah wrote a detailed review of public work in AI alignment in 2019, with some inclusions from 2018. 

Centre for Effective Altruism

CEA has now announced four EAGx conferences for 2020, in Berlin, Singapore, Canberra, and New York City. Visit the EA Global website to see conference dates, as well as information about applying or volunteering.

Charity Entrepreneurship

Charity Entrepreneurship (CE) will open the next round of applications for their 2020 Incubation Program in March. Sign up for their newsletter to be notified when applications open. In the meantime, you can take the CE Resource Quiz, which provides a personalized reading list that can help you prepare for the application process and learn more about launching a high-impact charity. 

If you’d like to learn more about the types of things CE’s entrepreneurs work on, three of their incubated charities recently published introductory posts on the EA Forum: Good Policies, Animal Advocacy Careers, and Fish Welfare Initiative.

CE recently published an article outlining cost-effectiveness analysis as part of their research process, as well as “Comparing Four Cause Areas for Founding New Charities.” They’ve also begun a series of blog posts on charity entrepreneurship:

Faunalytics

Faunalytics published a two-part blog series, "Follow The Money," which explores the economics of plant-based investing and how traditional food companies, venture capitalists, and investment brokers are responding to and driving customer desires. 

Additionally, they launched Wildlife Fundamentals, an overview of issues which include public attitudes toward wildlife, exotic animal trading, wild animals used for entertainment, and climate change and conservation.

Future of Humanity Institute

Applications for FHI’s DPhil scholarships are open until 23 February. Applications for their AI Alignment Visiting Fellowship Program (summer 2020) are open until 28 February. 

Researchers at the Centre of the Governance of AI released their full report on the Windfall Clause, a proposed policy lever to mitigate possible negative impacts of transformative breakthroughs in AI capabilities. The Centre also released their 2019 annual report.

 Other papers published by FHI researchers and collaborators this month include:

Future of Life Institute

FLI released a podcast with Yuval Noah Harari and Max Tegmark — their most popular episode to date. They also released episodes with David Pearce and Andrés Gómez Emilsson and with Anthony Aguirre. Finally, they released the FLI Book Guide, which lists some of their favorite books on existential risk, technology, and more.

GiveWell

In a recent blog post, GiveWell highlights a case that illustrates how thinking through various factors can lead to surprising information that changes one’s understanding of a charity’s impact. 

GiveWell also published pages describing the following grants:

Global Catastrophic Risk Institute

GCRI is hiring for the position of junior research assistant and project manager to support GCRI research and administration, with an initial focus on AI projects. The position is available only to people based in the U.S., on either a full-time or part-time basis. 

GCRI also announced an open call for people interested in seeking advice and/or collaborating on GCRI's AI projects, which focus on a wide range of issues: collective action, corporate governance, ethics, expert judgment, global strategy, international institutions, national security, R&D programs, and safety practices.

The Good Food Institute

  • GFI’s 2019 Year in Review offers an overview of GFI’s work around the globe in the last year.
  • Regulatory Counsel Nigel Barrella, and Director of Policy Jessica Almy, along with counsel at the ACLU and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, filed a brief challenging Missouri’s meat censorship law on First Amendment grounds in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. GFI’s policy team also lobbied against bills in Nebraska, Kansas, and Virginia.
  • The GFIdeas community welcomed 21 new members from 11 different countries in January. Nearly 60 entrepreneurs participated in this month’s call to hear Caio Malufe, Senior Manager for Corporate Strategy and Development at Cargill, deliver a presentation titled “How Investors Think.”
  • GFI’s SciTech team hosted the Cultivated Meat Collaborative Seminar, which was attended by 22 members of the cultivated meat industry from 18 different companies.
  • GFI Senior Scientist Dr. Claire Bomkamp presented to researchers from UC Santa Barbara on the technical feasibility of cultivated seafood. Dr. Bomkamp also joined Senior Policy Specialist Scott Weathers on a call with researchers at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography to discuss GFI’s seafood-related research priorities and explore potential areas of alignment.

Open Philanthropy

Open Philanthropy announced grants including $3 million to Essie Justice Group to organize women with incarcerated loved ones for criminal justice reform, $750,000 to the Washington Center for Equitable Growth to hire a director of macroeconomic policy and research staff, $250,000 to Stanford University to support student education about global catastrophic risks, and $100,000 to the Center for Global Development to support an evaluation of past impact.

Rethink Charity

Rethink Priorities, a project of Rethink Charity, continued to publish analysis of the 2019 EA Survey with an evaluation of the geographic distribution of respondents. They also assessed statistics, welfare considerations, and possible interventions around snail farming, as well as partisan differences in the rates of vegetarianism and veganism in the United States.

Their collaboration with the EA Giving Tuesday team facilitated ~$1.1 million in donations and ~$563,000 in matching funds from Facebook to effective charities. Rethink Charity moved ~$90,000 for EA Giving Tuesday donors, ~$67,000 of which was matched by Facebook. 

RC Forward regranted more than $2 million CAD in 2019 across nearly two dozen effective charities. 

Wild Animal Initiative

Wild Animal Initiative (WAI) published their first two papers in academic journals:

  • “What is the value of wild animal welfare for restoration ecology?” (Restoration Ecology, full text), the result of a collaboration between WAI researchers and University of Missouri professor Samniqueka Halsey.
  • “Animal Welfare in Predator Control” (open access in Animals), the result of independent research funded by a grant from WAI’s predecessor, Wild-Animal Suffering Research.

The Life You Can Save 

TLYCS is working to capitalize on the momentum generated by the launch of the 10th Anniversary Edition of The Life You Can Save by building partnerships, conducting media engagements, and consulting with donors. 

The Giving Games Project has supported a number of Giving Games, notably at OxFID 2020, the largest student-led development conference in Europe (a collaboration between The Blavatnik School of Government, the New York Times, and the United Nations Development Programme).

TLYCS staff Jon Behar and Kathryn Mecrow-Flynn ran an "Ask Me Anything" session on the EA Forum, which you can see here.

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