Akash Kulgod

243 karmaJoined May 2022


Cognitive Science graduate from UC Berkeley, founder of Dognosis, partnership lead Pratibha Poshak. Emergent Ventures India grantee.

Substack - https://runsandtumbles.substack.com

Dognosis - https://dognosis.tech 

 Pratibha Poshak - https://pratibhaposhak.in

How others can help me

Intros to people in healtech esp olfaction and cancer screening, neurotech builders, talent search folks, investors/funders of above

How I can help others

Intros to people in various communities 


Hm what would you expect/hope people discuss about it here? As far as I remember, people didn't talk much about the Ukraine-Russia war either. Probably because there's not much that most EAs (or people in general) can do about it (not tractable) + not something that people aren't discussing enough (not neglected).

Pretty cool to see this! I'll try and provide a response with some substantive thoughts in a couple weeks, though I'm unlikely to have capacity to do the deep dive that the complexity of the topic requires. Really hoping the issue of 'external validity ' especially w.r.t to Global South populations gets more discourse bandwidth. Big plus one to Ulrik's comment, this seems to extend beyond iron and anemia.

If anyone is interested in further research in anemia and adolescent cognitive development in India specifically, please do reach out. My father Shashikant Kulgod, a gastroenterologist and founder of the non-profit Rajlakshmi Children Foundation, and I are interested in working with a growing dataset we have of public school students from multiple districts in North Karnataka. We have lacked the expertise/capacity to do much with the data already collected (pre/post COVID) but likely have the ability to collect data from thousands of students (health and cognitive data points). My email is akashkulgod@berkeley.edu

Thanks for this Robert, gives me more context on some of the EA flavours. I have a sense that even OP hits-based giving isn't fully aligned with the point Shruti is making (after all EA is not EV - Emergent Ventures) but I wouldn't be sure how to articulate the difference. Think it could be a great conversation for your podcast to host :))

[disclaimer that I'm not Shruti so can only offer my interpretation of the argument she makes]

I think this paragraph from her piece does a good job of distilling the challenge of air pollution -

"It takes decades, maybe centuries to develop high state capacity that can tackle commons problems, mitigate pollution and create a world-class clean public transportation system. And this requires increases in economic growth and government revenue as well as well aligned political incentives. The problem is there is no simple solution that can be easily implemented. Unlike malaria, the impact of air pollution cannot be avoided by handing out air purifiers. They they don’t even make a dent in lowering the hazardous AQI in Delhi. The problem can only be solved though better governance mechanisms and innovation. Innovation can take the form of better construction technology that doesn’t contribute as much to particulate matter pollution. Or by developing cleaner fuel for vehicles. Or through better carbon capture and particulate matter capture technology. But none of this is legible or predictable."

I think the last sentence is the crux, solutions to air pollution are neither legible or predictable. I'd claim that legibility and predictability are pretty central to EA based giving, at least GiveWell flavour EA, because they bear on how measures of tractability and impact are calculated.

On predictability, I'd be interested to know why you'd associate EA with high-risk hits based giving. From reading GiveWell cost-effectiveness reports (on say Iron Fortification for instance), I recall there being discounts based on how uncertain members evaluating the grant thought the evidence was. I thought this was fairly standard practice across such grants.

On legibility, I think Shruti is making the point that it would be really difficult to know the precise interventions needed to make sure Delhi's air pollution problem never got as bad as it did and it still isn't totally clear what the best ones are. What we do seem to know is that improving state capacity (strongly linked to economic growth), and driving technological innovation (funding carbon capture startups for instance) are likely the best approaches to tackling air pollution in India. And neither of those two options seem particularly EA-aligned.


How would he respond to Shruti Rajagopalan's core argument against EA solutions being effective in the case of India (specifically Delhi's) air pollution causes - https://srajagopalan.substack.com/p/altruism-and-development-its-complicated

Reading this made me realize how the view that all suffering matters is quite well-represented in Jainsm - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahimsa_in_Jainism. 

The biodefense market opportunities dovetails nicely with the recently announced market shaping accelerator by UChicago - https://marketshaping.uchicago.edu/challenge/

Just a note, that the Chicago folks are not using biosecurity as exclusively x-risk pandemic prevention, but more general infection containment (confirmed with them via email)

FYI I was intrigued by this post/concept but am thrown off that the vision is application based. I don't think this is the optimal way to get this going but I could be wrong

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