COO @ Rethink Priorities
Working (6-15 years of experience)
2580Joined Dec 2018


COO at Rethink Priorities.

I previously co-founded and served as Executive Director at Wild Animal Initiative and one of its predecessor organizations, Utility Farm. I also ran corporate animal welfare campaigns for Mercy For Animals.

I run a monthly newsletter on invertebrate welfare. Archives are here: https://www.invertebratewelfare.org/newsletter


Topic Contributions

Not sure if it is active anymore, but there is a longstanding hub for EAs to do this: https://donationswap.eahub.org/

I've noticed that it takes new orgs up to a year to show up in that search, so it might also be that they've applied for or gotten the status recently (given that FTX stuff was so new). Delaware corporation search suggests they are registered as a nonprofit corporation in Delaware - https://icis.corp.delaware.gov/ecorp/entitysearch/NameSearch.aspx, (have to search them by name). 

Unfortunately not! We use Greater Wrong because we can do an RSS feed for a specific tag for the forum. E.g., we have a communications Slack channel where any post made and tagged "Rethink Priorities" is automatically posted using an RSS feed.

This isn't really that big a deal for us - I just thought I'd mention it here :)

This is minor, and probably not relevant to most people, but my work (Rethink Priorities) would definitely use an RSS feed version of the Forum so we can get notifications of when things with certain tags are posted in Slack. I think we could do this now with an account / notifications to email / email to Slack, but instead are using Greater Wrong for now for simplicity (e.g. this feed goes to our comms Slack channel) https://ea.greaterwrong.com/topics/rethink-priorities?format=rss). Thanks for all you do!

Yeah, I agree with this entirely. I think that probably most good critiques should result in a change, so just talking about doing that change seems promising.

That makes sense to me.

Yeah, I definitely think that also many people from left-leaning spaces who come to EA also become sympathetic to suffering focused work in my experience, which also seems consistent with this.

Definitely mostly using it to mean focused on x-risk, but most because that seems like the largest portion / biggest focus area for the community.

I interpret that Will MacAskill quote as saying that even the most hardcore longtermists care about nearterm outcomes (which seems true), not that lead reduction is supported from a longtermist perspective. I think it's definitely right that most longtermists I meet are excited about neartermist work. But I also think that the social pressures in the community currently still push toward longtermism.

To be clear, I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing - it definitely could be good given how neglected longtermist issues are. But I've found the conversation around this to feel somewhat like it is missing what the critics are trying to get at, and that this dynamic is more real than people give it credit for.

I think something you raise here that's really important is that there are probably fairly important tensions to explore between the worlds that having a neartermist view and longtermist view suggest we ought to be trying to build, and that tension seems underexplored in EA. E.g. an inherent tension between progress studies and x-risk reduction.

I mean, my personal opinion is that is there was a concerted effort of maybe 30-50 people over ~2015-2020, the industry could have been set back fairly significantly. Especially strong levers here seem to be around convincing venture capital not to invest in the space, because VC money is going to fund the R&D necessarily to get insectmeal cost-competitive with fishmeal for the industry to succeed. But the VC firms seemed to be totally shooting in the dark during that period on whether or not this would work, so I think plausibly a pretty small effort could have had a substantial impact on whether or not funding got into the space. At least, I think there would have been an opportunity to delay its development by several years, and give the animal welfare community time to organize / figure out better strategies.

Now, the biggest bottleneck for this space is finding people interested in working on it. (which would have been a bottleneck before too). It's definitely weird, but there just aren't that many people who want to do this work. Finding capable founders for new animal charities focused on highly neglected animals seems especially difficult.

Yeah that's fair - there are definitely people who take them seriously in the community. To clarify, I meant my comment as person-affecting views seem pretty widely dismissed in the EA funding community (though probably the word "universally" is too strong there too.).

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