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I recently experienced a jarring update on my beliefs about Transformative AI. Basically, I thought we had more time (decades) than I now believe we will (years) before TAI causes an existential catastrophe. This has had an interesting effect on my sensibilities about cause prioritization. While I applaud wealthy donors directing funds to AI-related Existential Risk mitigation, I don't assign high probability to the success of any of their funded projects. Moreover, it appears to me that there is essentially no room for additional funds in kinds of denominations coming from non-wealthy donors (e.g. me).

I used to value traditional public health goals quite highly (e.g. I would direct donations to AMF). However, given that most of the returns on bed net distribution lie in a future beyond my current beliefs about TAI, this now seems to me like a bad moral investment. Instead, I'm much more interested in projects which can rapidly improve hedonic well-being (i.e. cause the greatest possible welfare boost in the near-term). In other words, the probability of an existential AI catastrophe has caused me to develop neartermist sympathies. I can't find much about other EAs considering this, and I have only begun thinking about it, but as a first pass GiveDirectly appears to serve this  neartermist hedonic goal somewhat more directly. 

If there's at least a 1% chance that we don't experience catastrophe soon, and we can have reasonable expected influence over no-catastrophe-soon futures, and there's a reasonable chance that such futures have astronomical importance, then patient philanthropy is quite good in expectation. Given my empirical beliefs, it's much better then GiveDirectly. And that's just a lower bound; e.g., investing in movement-building might well be even better.

Consider s-risk:

From your comment, I understand that you believe the funding situation is strong and not limiting for TAI, and also that the likely outcomes of current interventions is not promising. 

(Not necessarily personally agreeing with the above) given your view, I think one area that could still interest you is "s-risk". This also relevant for your interests in alleviating massive suffering. 

I think talking with CLR, or people such as Chi there might be valuable (they might be happy to speak if you are a personal donor).


Leadership development seems good in longtermism or TAI

(Admittedly it's an overloaded, imprecise statement but) the common wisdom that AI and longtermism is talent constrained seems true. The ability to develop new leaders or work is valuable and can give returns, even accounting for your beliefs being correct. 


Prosaic animal welfare

Finally, you and other onlookers should be aware that animal welfare, especially the relatively tractable and "prosaic suffering" of farm animals, is one of the areas that has not received a large increase in EA funding. 

Some information below should be interesting to cause neutral EAs. Note that based on private information:

  1. The current accomplishments in farm animal welfare are real and the current work is good. But there is very large opportunity to help (many times more animals are suffering than have been directly helped so far).
  2. The amount of extreme suffering that is being experienced by farm animals is probably worse, much worse than is commonly believed (this is directly being addressed through EA animal welfare and also motivates welfarist work). This level of suffering is being occluded because it does not help, for example, it would degrade the mental health of proponents to an unacceptable level. However, the suffering levels are illogical to disregard when considering neartermist cause prioritization.

This animal welfare work would benefit from money and expertise. 

Notably, this is an area where EA has been able to claim significant tangible success (for the fraction that has been able to help). 

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