The Effective Altruism Newsletter & Open Thread – March 2016 Edition

1

Open thread
Frontpage
The Monthly EA Newsletter – March 2016 Edition

EA Newsletter Logo
Hello you,

It’s a big edition this time, so let’s get to it!

Ciao,

The Team
 
Articles and Community Posts
 
Can Effective Altruism Change the World? It already has.” Scott Weathers responds to Lisa Herzog on Open Democracy. He refutes common misrepresentations about EA, such as the focus on donations and individual action.

Ben Todd published a strategic post on the value of coordination in the EA movement.

EA Forum user Anj has written a cautiously optimistic review of the possibility to sustainably eradicating mosquito-borne diseases with gene drives.

Claire Zabel urges us to post our reasoning before we make a donation (e.g. on the EA Forum or the Facebook group), ask for feedback and tell people when you’ve changed your mind.

Jon Danaher discusses some justice-related philosophical objections to EA on the blog of the Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies.
Updates from EA Organizations
 
80,000 Hours

80,000 Hours has been rewriting their career guide. They’ve also published a lot of new posts on their blog, including a review of the question whether you should seek or avoid stress in your career decisions.

Animal Charity Evaluators

ACE announced their hire of Greg Boese, a PhD student in social psychology, as Advocacy Research Program Officer. Boese will spearhead a $1,000,000 program to create high-quality empirical research in the animal advocacy field. ACE also published an intervention report of undercover investigations and a blog post detailing their room for more funding.

ACE has also been interviewed by Sören Mindermann about opportunities to work, get involved and more background info.

Charity Entrepreneurship

The Charity Entrepreneurship team has finished shallow reviews on approximately 30 intervention areas and are now beginning the second stage of their research where they will dig deeper nto a number of specific charity ideas. A very broad outline of their research timeline is available here.

Charity Science

Charity Science published a detailed review of their first 2.5 years.

Centre for Effective Altruism

CEA is holding a competition for a short EA introduction essay which will be on the landing page of effectivealtruism.org. The winning contribution gets $250 to spend on their favorite charity. The deadline is 10 March.

Giving What We Can

Giving What We Can is collaborating with the Founders Pledge who encourage entrepreneurs to commit at least 2% of their proceeds to charity when they sell their businesses. Giving What We Can is providing research expertise to encourage these pledges to go to the most effective charities. You can see the latest research reports on theirwebsite.

Sören Mindermann has published an interview with Michelle Hutchinson about working at GWWC.

Global Priorities Project

The Global Priorities Project ran a workshop in Oxford connecting top x-risk policy-makers and researchers. They visited the Cabinet Office to deliver a presentation on effective altruism.

Open Philanthropy Project

The Open Philanthropy Project described its approach to grantmaking so far andannounced one of its first large grant recommendations within the focus area of criminal justice reform: funding to launch the Alliance for Safety and Justice, a multi-state policy reform organization. They also awarded a $1,000,000 grant to The Humane League for their corporate cage-free campaigns.

Raising for Effective Giving

REG now has officially raised $1M for effective charities since its launch in mid-2014. They’re expanding into finance and probably other industries in 2016.

Sentience Politics

Sentience Politics will host a conference on effective strategies to reduce animal suffering in Berlin on May 21st and 22nd. Speakers include Nick Cooney, Jon Bockman and Sebastian Joy. Registration is now open.

The Life You Can Save

The Life You Can Save’s 2015 Year in Review report is out, reflecting that for every $1 they spent last year, they moved $5.5 to their recommended effective charities; their conservative total estimate is $1.55 million moved – about double the 2014 impact.
Job Postings

.impact is seeking a full-time or part-time employee in Vancouver, focusing on the local effective altruism network. They are also now looking for interns on a rolling basis. For more details and to apply, see here.

80,000 Hours is looking to hire a freelance web engineer at 3 days per week, starting immediately.

Animal Charity Evaluators is hiring a Research Associate to help find and promote the most effective ways to help animals. They hope to fill the position by the end of March.

The Foundational Research Institute is looking to hire full-time, part-time, or intern researchers to explore how to reduce wild-animal suffering, with a focus on environmental choices and policy. Work can be done remotely with no set working hours.

GiveDirectly is hiring for multiple positions, including interns, in New York, Rwanda and Uganda.

Applications for Giving What We Can’s summer internship are open! Read Thomas Sittler’s experience from last year here.

Raising for Effective Giving is still looking for a Director of Growth to help run its activities in poker and expand into finance/trading. They’re looking for EA-minded people with an interest in communications and fundraising.
Other Announcements

Will MacAskill and Jeff Johnson will edit an issue of the journal “Essays in Philosophy” on EA. Submissions are open.

Are you interested in starting a local EA group? If so, then say so! Or if you start one,register it on the map of groups.

Do a quick review of your career for the start of 2016. Check out 80,000 Hours’ five question checklist.

Peter Hurford is seeking someone to carry out a study on how much the EA movement is growing and through what means.

The Global Innovation Fund invested in Segovia, a new tech company aiming to make (highly effective) cash transfers cheaper, easier and more reliable. Segovia was started by three members of GiveDirectly's board.

Mercy for Animals, in collaboration with .impact, released a study of online ads that are used to inspire people to reduce their consumption of animal products. Effective altruistsKieran Greig and Jeff Kaufman provided their own analyses of the data, and ACE called it“the highest quality randomized controlled trial so far of an animal advocacy intervention.”
 
Timeless Classics

Ben Todd’s TEDx talk “To find work you love, don't follow your passion” is the second most-viewed EA video of all time.
 
Go forth and do the most good!

Let us know how you liked this edition and how we can improve further.

See you on April 7!

Georgie, Michał, Pascal and Sören
– The Effective Altruism Newsletter Team

The Effective Altruism Newsletter is a joint project between the Centre for Effective Altruism, theEffective Altruism Hub and .impact
 
Like this newsletter? Click here to forward it to a friend
A community project of the Centre for Effective Altruism, a registered charity in England and Wales, Registered Charity Number 1149828 Centre for Effective Altruism, Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Littlegate House, St Ebbes Street, Oxford OX1 1PT, UK
16 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 11:11 PM
New Comment

Is there a specific income line above which I should strongly favor earning to give over other venues of altruism? I am personally within shouting distance of being a 1%er and wondering whether I should work harder at getting above that line.

As someone who is somewhere between Peter's stance on what proportion of us should earn to give (EtG), (ratio of EtG:direct-work between 1:1 and 9:1) and 80,000 Hours (80k) position (ratio of 1:9), if you think you're within shouting distance of being in the top 1% of American income earners, I concur with Tom you should definitely favour earning to give. You have a strong comparative advantage for EtG compared to most of us who consider it, and I expect others who are just as able but aren't inclined towards high-earning fields, e.g., software or finance, have a comparative advantage to doing direct work relative to you. You have the sort of potential that would likely cause even 80k to recommend you pursue earning to give.

do you have skills that could make you extraordinarily directly useful?

Unknown. How would I tell?

If you're interested in improving civilisation's prospects in the long-run, skills that would be useful might include forecasting, risk assessment, technology policy, and tech engineering including AI and synthetic biology. If you're interested in also improving global development, being talented at design of crops, or vaccines, or various other things would be useful. If you're a talented project manager of small projects, you could also lead philanthropic projects relating to any of the above.

If you have already undertaken some training to do one of those roles, it might be better to do direct philanthropic work in one of those roles, rather than earning funds in some other role to hire someone else who may be less effective.

Given that the top 1% in the US have a household income of $400,000, I'd strongly favour earning to give. The most relevant post on this is Peter Hurford thinks that a large proportion of people should earn to give long term (the second most upvoted article here ever).

I am nowhere near $400,000.

I should probably have been more precise. I am single, and among single earners, I am at about the 98th percentile and have had job offers above the 99th percentile. However, I am somewhere around the 94th percentile of household incomes, where the 99th percentile is around $400,000.

Can you tell us roughly what income you're looking at through ETG? :)

I don't know what you mean by "through ETG".

I estimate that I could get a salary+bonus of roughly $250K with a few months of searching at the moment. And by estimate, I mean that I literally turned down a job for that amount of money.

I really should have just said that up front instead of being coy.

Good question. The answer would presumably depend on how much value you could create doing direct EA work, but it would be nice to have a rule-of-thumb.

Unless you concretely know you can make a bigger difference filling a talent gap, I'd encourage earning to give if you're within shouting distance of being a 1%er.

Can I get 5 karma so I can make a post? Thanks in advance.

Yes you can!

[-][anonymous]6y 1

I haven't yet looked into this sufficiently to estimate effectiveness, but I would like to put it on the radar in case someone else is currently in a position to do so: Mosul dam engineers warn it could fail at any time, killing 1m people

.impact is looking for a volunteer to work with us to publish the results from our 2015-2016 EA Survey, the sequel to the EA Survey from last year.

You don't need to know anything about statistical programming to do this work -- all you need to know is how to draw effective conclusions from data, and having taken a few classes in the social sciences should be sufficient! I will supply you with all the fully cleaned data and all the tables and all you have to do is write up the report with the data and help us draw conclusions. You can even follow last year's report pretty closely and it shouldn't be that much work.

We're looking to have the report done by the end of March. Work can be done remotely from anywhere with an internet connection. While we'd love a volunteer willing to do the work for free to build skills and help the EA movement, we understand the importance of compensation. Therefore, we would be happy to pay for work at good rates upon request (though this money would be money otherwise going to top EA charities).

If you're interested in helping out with the EA survey or a similar data analysis project, you can apply using this form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1n92eaCgPUh009RbNF7uZbQHjKXfXkApC1ZPTVO-QvYQ/viewform