Akash Kulgod

17Joined May 2022


A potted bio I wrote for EV India's cohort announcement - 

Akash Kulgod is a 22-year-old researcher, writer and techno-optimist from Belagavi, with a degree in Cognitive Science from UC Berkeley. He envisions a world where Umwelt-bridging technology increases the bandwidth of cooperation with fellow sentient beings and is embarking on this quest with Dogluk — a startup-DAO aiming to augment the ability of dogs to detect disease by transforming their olfactory perceptual abilities into digital and multidimensional signatures. He is also a team member of the Rajalakshmi Children Foundation which works on health development and talent search programs for underprivileged children in Northern Karnataka. Akash will be writing and podcasting about Dogluk, effective altruism, and the psychedelic revival on his substack.

Links -

Substack - https://akashkulgod.substack.com/

Rajalakshmi Children Foundation - rajalakshmifoundation.in


Free-Ranging Dog Welfare in India as a Cause Area

I really appreciate your comment Karthik as I was wrestling with the same feelings myself - the majority of streeties I've met at home and during travels have seemed to live happy, agentic lives. I'd go so far as to say some of them lived better lives than many companion dogs — they had complete freedom (to many housed dogs live the majority of their lives tied in the same place), had rich social lives and were allowed to live out their natural impulses. I'm hesitant to know how much to trust this experience, the happy/friendly dogs are far more likely to be the ones I've interacted with, and it seems undeniable that the high early mortality, short lifespans, and general insecurity of basic needs suggests a less than desirable state of being. But, I take back how strongly I worded the sentence you quote.

I also realized while writing the tension between highlighting WALYs lost by premature pup deaths and suggesting  birth control as an intervention. It seems to boil down to - does the average streetie live a happy life? It's a seemingly impossible question and I don't know yet what my answer is. For what it's worth, on an IG poll I just ran 16 ppl voted No and 4 voted Yes.

About the DALY-WALY conversion, honestly I don't find comparing cortical neurons to assess degrees of suffering meaningful but I'll admit to not knowing a better way. I think this is where EA's forcing apples to be oranges so we can crunch them together breaks down. However, note that DALY-WALY is not the same as dog life - human life, because humans live 8x longer lives. So the 30:1 ratio is implying you should save a human baby over saving 240 puppies.  Curious to know if you think that's too high based off your 1/100th, which would imply the 30:1 ratio is actually too conservative.

Targeted Treatment of Anemia in Adolescents in India as a Cause Area

Thanks for the comment and apologies for the delay in responding!

  1. That's a great point and you're  right that lower estimates  are likely influenced by prevailing mass iron supplements. In their paper estimating the new cutoffs, they exclude individuals meeting the criteria for iron-deficiency using the WHO, 2020 cut-offs (12 μg/L for 1–4 years, <15 μg/L for 5–19 years), since they need a healthy sample on which to base the new cut-offs on. It seems quite probable that this sample would look different if you excluded those who were taking supplements already.  I posted the table from the paper with the percentage difference of anemia by age group b/w WHO and new cut-offs and the drop is pretty substantial for most groups. So, I still expect a drop in the supplements but someone's got to run some models to quantify this drop more accurately.
  2. Interesting, could you elaborate more on how exactly it could be p-hacking? I have a decent understanding of  p-hacking in neuroscience and it goes as follows - you collect data from hundreds of voxels, apply different connectivity outcome measures and see which voxels slide under the p<0.05 and then claim that was your outcome measure all along and don't correct for multiple comparisons. In the case, would the claim be that the authors ran multiple samples on the data and chose the one which showed an association above 1.001?
Steering AI to care for animals, and soon

Not sure why my link is just rerouting to this page, url is earthspecies.org

Steering AI to care for animals, and soon

There is the Earth Species project, an "open-source collaborative and non-profit dedicated to decoding non-human language" co-founded by Aza Raskin and based in Berkeley. Seems like Project Ceti but for all other-than-humans. They're just getting started but truly excited by  such projects and the use of AI to bridge Umwelts. Thanks for the post.

Open Philanthropy's Cause Exploration Prizes: $120k for written work on global health and wellbeing

The link to the Health prompt page on the website leads to the Development prompt page