Hide table of contents

There are a number of "megaprojects" which I'd like to see people in the E.A. community carry out. Posts like this have been enormously helpful to me as I've browsed the E.A. forum. This is my first post on this forum, so please be nice :)

Without further ado:

E.A. Megaprojects Ideas 

  • Do research into using AI, biological engineering and brain-computer interface to enhance our capacity for love, compassion, reason, and other positive traits for the long-term future.
    • From 80,000 Hours:
      • “better reasoning and cognitive capacities usually make for better outcomes, especially when problems are subtle or complex. And as with institutions, work on improving individual decision-making is likely to be helpful no matter what challenges the future throws up”
  • Improving the psychiatric crisis system through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), mindfulness, and Atomic Habits (training for building good habits and breaking bad ones).
  • Fund E.A. student groups at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Womens’ colleges, and colleges in low- and middle-income countries through the Centre for Effective Altruism to decrease hegemony in E.A.
  • Grant for shifting the focus of AI safety research from value alignment to inculcating virtue and moral character in AI systems (see Moral Machines)
  • E.A.-aligned think tank for drafting evidence-based legislation on X-risks, biosecurity, global health and development, climate change, factory farming, institutional reform, etc., and a SuperPAC for E.A.-aligned candidates in the United States.
  • Launch XPRIZE competitions to:
    • Spur innovation in Global Health and Development by offering $10 million for the creation of a novel intervention at least twice as effective as GiveWell’s top charities.
    • Create an extracurricular training program to rapidly train people to do high-impact work in 80,000 Hours priority paths in less time and for less money than a typical degree program.
  • Launch a lobbying firm to advocate for free trade policies.
    • From Copenhagen Consensus:
      • The goal with the highest benefit-cost ratio in the area of trade policy reform is:
        • Complete the languishing Doha Development Agenda process at the World Trade Organization, which will return ~$2000 to the world for every dollar spent and ~$3,400 to developing countries as a group for every dollar spent.
      • Three other goals in this area which have valuable global benefit-cost ratios are:
        • Implement a free trade agreement between member states of the free trade area of the Asia Pacific which will return ~$1,700 to the world for every dollar spent and ~$2,600 to developing countries as a group for every dollar spent.
        • Implement a free trade agreement between selected APEC countries (known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership) which will return ~$1,200 to the world for every dollar spent and ~$1,900 to developing countries as a group for every dollar spent.
        • Implement a free trade agreement between ASEAN countries and China, Japan, and South Korea (known as ASEAN+3) which will return ~$1,900 to the world for every dollar spent and ~$3,400 to developing countries as a group for every dollar spent.
  • Graze half of the world’s deserts to restore carbon to preindustrial levels (Climate Change/Long-Term Future)
    • How to green the world's deserts and reverse climate change | Allan Savory
    • Grasslands are vast landscapes that have the capacity if properly managed, to address some of humanity’s most urgent challenges such as water and food insecurity, poverty, and climate change.
    • Currently, grasslands are desertifying at alarming rates.
    • Holistic Management of grasslands can result in the regeneration of soils, increased productivity and biological diversity, as well as economic and social well-being.
    • Savory Institute works to regenerate these critically important and fragile grasslands.
    • On average, $30 allows the Savory Global Network to influence 100 acres of land as regional Hubs train farmers, ranchers, and pastoralist communities in their local context.
      • Back of the napkin math from Project Drawdown indicates that Savory Institute may be comparably effective to top climate change charities, like CATF, Carbon180, TerraPraxis, etc.
  • Dating app for Effective Altruists. Or alternatively, a particularly effective dating app (Subjective Well-Being/E.A. Community Building)
    • If the app led to more E.A.s getting married, they could share finances allowing each of them to be able to donate to E.A. charities more than they would have otherwise.
    • Qualia Research Institute research finds that ‘falling in love', ‘marriage’, ‘children born’, and ‘sex’ are among the four most pleasurable experiences which occur in life 
      • This means that if we can achieve outcomes far better than typical dating apps, this could potentially be very effective at promoting subjective well-being.
    • May introduce many women and LGBTQ+ folk to Effective Altruism, which it is currently lacking.
    • Downside: May increase insularity in E.A., i.e. through "inbreeding"
  • Using ALLFED resilient food solutions to provide abundant food to end world hunger and malnutrition now (Global Health and Development)
    • These foods can be scaled up quickly and cheaply.
    • Peer-reviewed paper on how these foods together can achieve a balanced diet.
  • Buy out the most effective mental health apps and provide them for free to increase well-being (Subjective Well-Being)
    • Actissist and UCSF PRIME (reduced psychotic symptoms and symptoms of schizophrenia)
    • Virtual Hope Box (reduced self-harming and suicidal behavior),
    • Agoraphobia free (reduced symptoms of agoraphobia),
    • Challenger (reduced general anxiety and social anxiety)
    • MoodHacker and SuperBetter (reduced depression).
  • Research into psychological homogeneity of folks attracted to EA (on the Big 5, Myers-Briggs, etc) being curious and perhaps concerning re: EA's generalizability (from Milan Griffes's Twitter thread on E.A. blindspots)
  • Fully funding the Qualia Research Institute (from Milan Griffes's Twitter thread on E.A. blindspots) to:
    • Develop a precise mathematical language for describing subjective experience.
    • Understand the nature of emotional valence (happiness and suffering).
    • Build technologies to radically improve people's lives through a better understanding of subjective experience.
  • Fund visionaries like Vishen Lakhiani to upgrade human consciousness (i.e. through upgrading the human education model, models of work and career, spirituality, health and wellness, parenting, politics, citizenry, etc.) to prepare for exponential growth in technology, i.e. through A.I.-induced singularity.
Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since:

Regarding the dating app, it could also spawn a new generation of mega-EA children. But seriously, at least increase the number of future EAs.

It could also increase total fertility, which the FTX Future Fund identifies as an important project due to its effect on economic growth.

I've been thinking quite a lot about the problems of dating apps and had some ideas and would be interested in talking about it.

  1. There's a general problem with people who are a bit clueless / don't have much intimate experience acting in a cold way and sending odd and offputting messages. This can be a vicious spiral where it's hard to connect and get the experience to improve their social skills. 
  2. There's a problem of creepy and aggressive people sending horrible messages and unwanted nudes, they may be just clueless as above or they may be malicious.
  3. Sometimes on dating sites the gender ratio is skewed and men can end up being ignored and women can end up being flooded with messages as soon as they put a profile up. Both of these are bad experiences.

I'd suggest a dating site that improves these things in the following ways.

  1. The sign up / onboarding process is quite long. You pay some token fee, answer quite a lot of questions to fill out a reasonable profile and there's quite a lot of explanations and tests about consent, emotional awareness and the culture of the site. I like the channel "sexplanations" on youtube for instance for this kind of accessible, easily digestible, educational material.
  2. If one of the partners in a chat requests it the mods are allowed to read all messages that are sent on the site. This needs to be flagged up front and consented too, however it gives the mods a lot of power to remove people who send creepy or aggressive messages. It would also be expected that people wouldn't share contact details outside the site early on.
  3. When people are introduced they are "introduced" in a managed way. It's a 1 on 1 pairing where both profiles match relatively well and each person has indicated they are ready to meet someone new. This means people won't get flooded and can meet new people when they want to and properly evaluate a reasonable match.

I feel like this could lead to an experience which is quite heavily managed and structured which is great for people who maybe aren't so confident and aren't sure how to go forward. I think it would be great if one of the main goals was teaching people the skills of building great relationships rather than just assuming that if you connect people that's enough for it to all work out on it's own.

I like your suggestions about the dating site, however, what you describe sounds a lot more like a matchmaking service. Those do already exist but are usually quite expensive. As I understand it, usually they sign on clients for a hefty fee, analyze them, and proceed to introduce them to other clients they think would be a great match. Then the two date and see if it works. 

I don't know what kind of methods they use, but I guess using ML and psychology might be able to reduce the costs of such a project significantly. 

Yeah I think there is some similarity there. I think I was assuming that the matches are made algorithmically, it's just that they are made at a sustainable pace rather than in a flood at the beginning. 

Thanks for the comment :)

Curated and popular this week
Relevant opportunities