CEARCH ran our Cause Exploration Contest over the month of July, as part of our search for (a) potentially impactful causes as well as (b) useful methodologies to search for new causes going forward. We would like to thank everyone in the EA and broader philanthropic community for participating.
We are pleased to announce the following winning entries:
- In the category of promising cause areas: Bean soaking, submitted by Nick Laing of OneDay Health. In summary, persuading citizens in sub-Saharan Africa to soak before cooking them (and thus saving on fuel use) may have health, economic and environmental benefits; however, there are some outstanding uncertainties over tractability and why soaking is not already common practice.
- In the category of useful search methodologies: Brainstorming for solutions that may not have the most impact in the context of solving a single problem, but which may have significant overall impact given the benefits it brings across multiple cause areas; this was submitted by Jeroen De Ryck.
The prizes are USD 300 and USD 700 for the cause and search methodology categories respectively. We will be getting in touch with the winners to send them their winnings, though we are of course happy to donate to the charities of their choice if they so prefer.
We would also light to highlight the following entries that stood out. In the category of promising causes:
And in the category of useful search methodologies:
- A list of seven methods generally focused on taking different moral, political, epistemic and metaphysical perspectives (e.g. consulting the perspective of preference satisfaction; prioritizing causes systematically overlooked by human biases; copying ethical pioneers; consulting non-standard cosmology; consulting different political values; considering ideas that have gone out of fashion; and researching utopia building); this was submitted by David Mears, with input from Amber Dawn Ace.
- Consulting J-PAL's existing list of RCTed interventions, with the idea being that at lower levels of granularity, we can focus on very targeted interventions that may be very cost-effective but not generally applicable; this was submitted by Sophia Moss.