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Latest Updates

• Bill Gates with an article on why there should be more focus on how to reduce emissions from making steel and other materials, the third biggest contributor to greenhouse emissions 

William MacAskill with an Ask Me Anything, looking at what should be changed if EA started again, what he's changed his mind about and if there is a problem with hero worship in EA

• Eva Vivalt on why they've changed their mind on giving now vs giving later

• St Catharine’s College at Cambridge is establishing a research hub to provide information about existing and emerging biological security risks and interventions

• An article looking at how malaria eradication has stalled with infections and deaths having held steady since 2015

• A post on what is known about Amazon fires and what could be done about them

• Another post on why focusing on Amazon fires may be neglecting bigger issues related to climate change

• The University of York is setting up a £35 million research facility to address the safety of robotics and other systems that use artificial intelligence

• The OECD has made a step-by-step behavioural insights guide to help policy makers when analysing a policy problem and developing interventions

• The UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose with a report attempting to quantify the macroeconomic impact of government innovation policy

• A look into whether academic scientific progress in the natural sciences is stagnating or if these worries are overblown

Solutions Journalism are an organisation who train and connect journalists to solutions to problems rather than just reporting on issues

• How blockchain technology is distributing aid to Jordan, allowing the World Food Programme to provide $37 million in cash-based assistance and reduce financial transaction costs by 98%

• Richard Easterlin on the improvement in people's feelings of wellbeing due to policies based on social science

• VoxDev with an article on the impact of microcredit finding that the average effects of these loans are small

• Saulius Šimčikas listing 35+ ways that cost-effectiveness estimates can be misleading

• Malaria Consortium on how they are improving nutrition in Nigeria using training and supervision

• Jasmine Wang with a literature review of potential resources for a new field of Progress Studies. Daniel May also has a list of book recommendations for people interested in this area

Replication Markets, a new research study and over $100,000 in prizes for predicting social and behavioural science results

• There is a new centre set up in July, researching the neurobiology of compassion to identify the mechanisms that transform compassion from biology to behaviour and to develop new ways to teach and instil empathy

• Rachel Glennerster with a twitter thread on the 4 most effective ways for DIFD to invest in addressing climate change AND reducing poverty

• Ben Dixon with a post on where and why they donated in 2019

• Jess Whittlestone with an article on 'How useful is technical understanding for working In AI policy?'

• Kit Harris summarising 'The Dead Hand' which recounts high-level decision-making around nuclear and biological weapons, and how nations engaged in arms races and arms control

• Lauren Mee is looking for people who work or volunteer in animal advocacy to fill in a 5 minute survey on what skills are most needed in animal advocacy careers to help inform their research

• Adam Bricknell with some ideas on how to look for an optimal career in climate change

• London Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease Research with a large-scale deworming initiative in Ethiopia evaluating the impact of using biometric finger print technology

• Deepmind looking at how they can use AI to predict acute kidney injury and accelerate ecological research

• Haven King-Nobles and Tom Billington on why they've set up their new charity, the Fish Welfare Initiative

Organisation Updates

• Animal Charity Evaluators with their goals and strategy for 2019

Effective Thesis with an updated website and a focus on connecting students to academic coaches

• Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative on the future of grant-making funded by Jaan Tallinn

• Forum post with a variety of EA organisation updates

• Open Philanthropy Project with a post on the questions they ask themselves when making a grant

• Malaria Consortium's seasonal malaria chemoprevention campaign has begun to distribute preventive antimalarial medication to more than 5.5 million children in the Sahel region

• Evidence Action looking at how, by partnering with the Indian government, they were able to deliver mass school-based deworming to 270 million children annually, and are looking at new opportunities including combating anaemia

• J-Pal Africa launched the digital Identification initiative to study the impact of innovative government and private sector payment systems and ID reforms on citizens and governments across Africa


• Open Phil have made 2 grants recently, including $1,000,000 for the Effective Altruism Foundation and $100,00 on criminal justice reform

• Open Phil also have funding for graduate studies for people who want to work in AI policy careers or global catastrophic biological risks. Applications close October 15th

• The Purple Orange Ventures fellowship is providing 120,000 EUR grant funding and mentorship for scientists and engineers to explore startup ideas to create or support the creation of products that mimic animal-based food products. Closes 1st October

• Animal Charity Evaluators donated $90,000 of their recommended charity fund to 12 organisations

• Microsoft has AI for Earth grants to projects that use artificial intelligence to address issues with climate, agriculture, biodiversity and water

• Google is partnering with GiveDirectly to give $3,000,000 in cash to victims after the next natural disaster in the U.S.

• GiveWell allocated all $2,300,000 of their discretionary fund to the Against Malaria Foundation


• Cambridge’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk with a new report on how governments are failing to understand human-driven catastrophic risks

• Our World in Data with a new series on child mortality, looking at historic trends, the current situation, the biggest killers of children are today and what we can do about it

• A paper on how machine learning could be used to tackle climate change, including smart grids and disaster management

• Eric Drexler with a paper on reframing superintelligence, looking at how advances in AI might point to more distributed systems rather than opaque, unitary agents

• Also the Slate Star Codex review of the paper above on reframing superintelligence

• Karolina Sarek looking at whether China and India are the most promising countries for animal advocacy

• J. Mohorčich with an article on what can bio-fuel commercialisation teach us about scale, failure, and success in biotechnology?

• Faunalytics looking at the trends in U.S. public opinion on animal welfare issues over the last decade

• ACE with an in depth look at animal advocacy in India

• The World Bank with lessons learnt from using Pre-Results at the Journal of Development Economics

• What Works Wellbeing summarising research on how volunteering has a significant positive impact on individual wellbeing, especially when it's formal volunteering as part of a group

• Sentience institute with a paper on lessons from GMO adoption and resistance for cell-cultured meat

• An update to the 80,000 Hours post on philosophy careers in academia

• RescueWorks with a report on how removing barriers to refugees working could boost GDP in the six countries they looked at by $53 billion

• The Good Food Institute with an overview of the U.S. plant based market


• Jeff Bezos giving away $100,000,000 to homelessness nonprofits with no restrictions or formal vetting

• Looking at whether donations to Amazon fire charities will make a difference

• Why governments are bad at facing catastrophic risks

Should we be worried about overpopulation?

• An interview with Bryan Walsh on whether we are doing enough to prevent human extinction


• A new podcast series from DeepMind, hosted by Hannah Fry and including episodes with Demis Hassabis, Victoria Krakovna and Jan Leike

William MacAskill discussing effective altruism on Crazy Money with Paul Ollinger

• Jeffrey Ding on China’s AI goals

• Centre for Global Development podcast on looking beyond aid when thinking about development

• Jade Leung on the governance of AI

• Lewis Bollard talking about Open Philanthropy’s approach to ending factory farming

Paul Christiano on 80,000 Hours discussing messaging the future, divesting and meta-ethics

• Sébastien Aguilar talking to a financial independence podcast on EA from an FI point of view

• Climate crisis as an existential threat with Simon Beard and Haydn Belfield

Effective altruism in media

Peter Singer with an interview in Project Syndicate, talking about white saviour narratives, brothel legalisation, underrated philosophers and surfing

Liv Boeree interviewing Anders Sandberg (YouTube Video) about the future of humanity





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Happy to see the updates, that's a lot of things!

I was surprised to hear that Blockchain was useful in global aid, and checked out the article. It makes some claims, but also seems pretty grandiose and non-rigorous. Some fun quotes:

  • "This is in contrast to a traditional database (such as Excel)"
  • "Blockchain, however, ensured unparalleled transparency through its publicly accessible immutable ledger"
  • "it is at least safe to say that social assistance programmes may never be the same again."

It also had one other weird bit: "In effect, the giant system, named ‘Building Blocks’, acted as a database, storing the information of refugees in a secure manner whilst not actually utilising the main unique features of the underlying blockchain technology.".

I'm not sure if in the future projects it did use blockchain technology?

I'd be dubious of the specific claims made by this article.

Note: To be clear, I'm optimistic about technology use, but skeptical of the specific need for blockchain technologies in cases like these.

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