News from the World of Effective Altruism
 
Good news, everyone!
 
The first edition of the Effective Altruism Newsletter has just been released. You can subscribe through effectivealtruism.org or effectivealtruismhub.com/newsletter.

It'll come out every two weeks and will include articles, updates from EA organizations and local communities, projects, job openings and other announcements.

As a test, this newsletter will double as an Open Thread on the EA forum where you can discuss news or any other EA-related topic that's on your mind.

Let us know how we're doing and what you would like to see in the future through this form.

Happy reading for now!
 
The Effective Altruism Newsletter Team
 
What is EA?
 
If you’re not familiar with effective altruism, EA – to use its common abbreviation – is a growing social movement founded on the desire to make the world as good a place as it can be, the use of evidence and reason to find out how to do so, and the audacity to actually try.
 
If you want to learn more, start with reading What is effective altruism, watch (and share) this 6-minute video or check out the free EA Handbook.

 

Articles and Community Posts
 
In this section we’ll be highlighting articles and posts from the community that have been particularly popular.
 
Michael Dickens published a comprehensive post about his cause selection, weighing arguments for and against different causes with the goal of identifying the one that does the most good.
 
Will MacAskill’s Quartz article tells you which three factors can help you find a career that’s both satisfying and impactful.
 
On the Giving What We Can blog, Coralie Oddy published a highly topical piece on the current refugee crisis.
 
One big question within EA is whether one should work on a cause directly or “go meta”, i.e. getting more people to work on that cause. Read through Peter Hurford’s concerns about EA falling into a “meta trap” and Ben Todd’s reply why we need more meta
 

 

Updates from EA Organizations and Projects
 
In this section we’ll be sharing updates from EA organizations and EA projects.
 
80,000 Hours
 
While in the Bay Area learning from their Y Combinator mentors, 80k has released a new interactive tool for making career decisions and has been doing a university campus tour for the start of the academic year.
 
Charity Science
 
Charity Science has created an easy way to leave money to GiveWell’s top charities in your will. It’s a simple form that takes as little as 5 minutes to complete and leaves you with a ready-made will. They have also extended their peer-to-peer fundraiser pages to let you raise money for any event or pitch, in addition to their birthday and Christmas fundraisers.
 
Effective Altruism Foundation
 
GBS Switzerland is rebranding as Effective Altruism Foundation (EAF). You can find more information on their German website. They were recently featured on national TV in Switzerland and are currently setting up a new EA hub in Berlin – EAs who are interested are encouraged to get in touch.
 
Future of Humanity Institute
 
FHI recently received $2.2m from the European Research Council for existential risk research, $1m to run the Alexander Tamas Programme on Artificial Intelligence Safety, and a $1.5m grant from the Future of Life Institute to create a Strategic Centre on the Future of Artificial Intelligence, together with the Cambridge-based Centre for the Study of Existential Risk.
 
Giving What We Can
 
Giving What We Can now has 1,288 members who have donated nearly $10m to effective charities and have pledged almost half a billion dollars over their lifetimes! Take the pledge as well or consider Try Giving.
 
Global Priorities Project
 
GPP just published an update on their activities. In the last few months they secured grants from the Finnish Foreign Ministry and the Future of Life Institute to expand their work on policies to reduce existential risk. Be sure to check out this big flowchart of how to help the world and prioritize between different causes.
 
Local Effective Altruism Network
 
The local effective altruism network’s support team has grown recently, and created websites for dozens of groups in the network and helped set up meetups of their leaders at all three EA Global conferences. Work creating new local presences continues, through both recruiting existing EAs and mass-contacting potentially interested people at universities as part of the coordinated chapter push.
 
Open Philanthropy Project
 
The Open Philanthropy Project recently published a comprehensive update on the overall progress and future plans. There has been a lot of progress in many areas.
 
Raising for Effective Giving
 
REG recently released their report about the second quarter of 2015, in which they raised a total of $160,000 for effective charities. They’re also launching new sub-projects in professional gaming and daily fantasy sports.

 

Other Announcements
 
This section serves to highlight announcements that are of interest to many in the community and aren’t covered elsewhere in the newsletter.
 
Strangers Drowning
 
Larissa MacFarquhar’s book “Strangers Drowning” has been released. The book examines people who devote themselves wholly to helping others. The New York Times writes: “This writer does so many things well in “Strangers Drowning” that it’s hard to know where to begin.” If you buy via this link (Amazon US; for Amazon UK click here), 5% of the price will go to effective charities.
 
Center for Applied Rationality Workshop
 
In mid-November CFAR will be running their largest-ever rationality workshop in San Francisco. There are substantial discounts available: The original all-inclusive sticker price is $3900. That's reduced to $2900 for everyone who attended one of the EA Global conferences, and $1950 for full-time students or people working at nonprofits. Additional financial aid is also available on a case-by-case basis.
 
.impact
 
Are you looking to get more deeply involved with EA while working from home? Join .impact, the community of people working on independent EA projects! Check out the current projects that people have shared on its wiki, add your own idea to it, and work and talk with others during their internet-based Sunday workathons.

 

Job Postings
 
The EA movement is growing quickly and whenever EA organizations are looking for people we’ll be posting the jobs here. If you’re an EA organization, you can submit new openings through our form here.
 
80,000 Hours is looking for a product engineer with full-stack web development experience and an eye for design.
 
Giving What We Can is hiring a Director of Growth as well as several Research Analysts.
 
The Global Priorities Project is looking for a Director of Policy and Research Fellows.
 
Several other positions at Oxford’s Centre for Effective Altruism are open at the moment, including Director of US OperationsFinance Manger and Effective Altruism Strategy FellowApplications for these positions – and all other ones above – close on October 18.
 
Animal Charity Evaluators is looking for a Program Officer to lead their research on effective animal advocacy.
 
Sentience Politics is hiring a Project Manager to establish the organization in Germany.
 
The Centre for the Study of Existential Risk announced new postdoc positions in the field of technological risk and is also looking for an Academic Project Manager.
 
The Future of Humanity Institute is hiring researchers interested in artificial intelligence safety and strategy, as well as a senior policy fellow and flexible generalists.
 
GiveWell has already opened their applications for Summer Research Analysts for 2016. There is no firm deadline but it’s best to apply early.
 
Get in Touch!
 
We hope you liked this first edition of the Effective Altruism Newsletter.
 
Tell us via this form how you liked it and what you would want to see in the future.
 
Now go forth and do the most good!
 
See you in two weeks,
 
Georgina, Michał, Pascal and Sören

The Effective Altruism Newsletter Team – a joint project between the Centre for Effective Altruism, the Effective Altruism Hub and .impact

8 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 11:20 AM
New Comment

Also, it doesn't seem people are using this post as an open thread much yet. I'm guessing it's because:

  • it's the first time the open thread has been in this format.
  • there was already an open thread people were using for this month, and they got their fix from that.
  • this was released quickly without announcement as a change in forum policy.

Anyway, I think we ought to keep experimenting with it next month and every two weeks after that on the EA Forum as well. I like more frequent open threads, plus I like how the topics in the newsletter provide a natural hook for starting discussions in the comments. I hope it's a way to get more folks involved in the Forum. I personally actually enjoy spending time on the EA Forum, and also it's my primary source for information on effective altruism now. However, that might just be because I'm a weird nerd that way.

"However, that might just be because I'm a weird nerd that way."

We all are :)

Good points, I'd suggest the same.

The two links at the top are broken.

Can anyone point me towards the video of the Superintelligence panel at EA Global with Musk, Soares, Russell, and Bostrom?

Yeah, confirming AviN's comment, the two links at the top are still broken. Other than that, the newsletter is great! It's even better quality than I expected. The breakdown of topics seems natural, and it seems to solve even more issues in communicating to effective altruism as a community than I expected. For example, you've covered every update anyone might need to know within the EA community, and it's also a handy way to solve the the problem of job postings, since the EA jobs board .impact created so many months ago hasn't been used as much as was hoped for (or expected?...).

Anyway, let me know anyway I can help out with this. After reading this, my credence in that someone should subscribe to the newsletter is "it's handy to know about", to "subscribing is important". I will increase how much I urge others to subscribe accordingly.

What would count as taking Effective Altruist frugalness too far, and what are the arguments against it? I'm torn as to whether I should keep eating out or buying first hand clothes, but these do bring time savings and other benefits.

I don't have an answer for this, but I've been thinking about it recently also.

Sometimes it may be useful to eat out if you are developing a network or relationship with someone/some people. In contrast, it may be useful to ask to eat at a cheaper place, or invite people over for a home meal, explaining why, aiming to influence them subtly.

Also, it may be worth buying nice clothes to be perceived more highly by your colleagues, which could be useful (promotions, influence etc.). As before though, it may be beneficial to buy second hand to subtly encourage colleagues to do the same, and to not perpetuate the idea that people need to spend a lot of money on clothes to be 'in'.

I definitely haven't answered your question!