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Does the Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative (self-)identify as an EA-aligned organization?

by Evan_Gaensbauer1 min read30th Jun 20201 comment

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Effective altruism exists at the intersection of other social and intellectual movements, and communities. Some but not all of the organizations part of these communities focused on various focus areas of EA, such as existential risk reduction, identify as part of effective altruism as a movement. Such organizations are typically labeled as "EA-aligned organizations," meaning they either identify themselves as part of the EA movement in an uncomplicated way, or identify with some or all of the 'core values' of how to have a highly effective and positive social impact on the world.

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I'm the Executive Director of BERI. Thanks for the question, sorry no one's answered it until now!

BERI doesn't explicitly identify as an EA-aligned organization, but I wouldn't actively disagree with someone who called BERI an EA org. Some ways in which we are related to the EA movement:

  • Our mission is to improve human civilization’s long-term prospects for survival and flourishing. That sounds pretty EA-aligned to me.
  • We shared an office with CEA for a year.
  • BERI job openings have been posted on the 80k job board, and we had a table at an EAG SF job fair in 2019.
  • Multiple past and current BERI employees (including myself) personally identify as EA-aligned.

Despite these links, I haven't felt the need to state our alignment explicitly (e.g. on our website). I have some worries that this sort of question can contribute to an in-group/out-group mentality. BERI works with people who want to reduce existential risk, or otherwise improve human civilization’s long-term prospects for survival and flourishing. We don't require that our collaborators identify as EA. I worry that if we explicitly branded ourselves as EA, potential collaborators would feel less inclined to reach out if they didn't personally identify as EA-aligned.

Put another way: BERI has historically been an "EA friendly" organization, and will likely continue to be so. But "aligned" has some implications that I don't think are necessary or helpful for us as an organization.