alexrjl's Comments

evelynciara's Shortform

I think that's probably true for those working directly on the pandemic, but I'm not sure education researchers would mind being bothered. If anything they might welcome the distraction.

New Top EA Causes for 2020?

I discussed this with my wife, who thinks that the broad idea is reasonable, but that kittens are a better choice than puppies:

  • As puppies are not role models their unconditional love is less relevant than first appears.
  • Most EA causes involve helping agents who aren't directly in contact with you.
  • If people learn their altruism from helping puppies, they will learn to expect gratitude, worse still, they will learn to expect gratitude even for relatively minor help!
  • Cats care about you only to the extent that they can receive food and/or pets. This is a much better model.
  • They also have toebeans.
What's the best platform/app/approach for fundraising for things that aren't registered nonprofits?

I think you can do this on the SoGive platform. Have sent Sanjay a message.

What posts you are planning on writing?

Yes, or at least I think the way they are often interpreted is different. I actually have no issue with 80k's formal definition, but qualitative use in practice (not by 80k) has often put both both of 80k's last two points in the tractability metric, then there's this other nebulous factor called 'Neglectedness' which ends up being counted again. The key metric is how much good can be done by one marginal extra person or dollar, and I've seen a few cases of people estimating that (which will clearly be affected by diminishing marginal returns), then adding a Neglectedness score on as well, which seems wrong.

I haven't written this up yet as I don't think it's hugely important- it's typically a feature of naïve/rough work, and there's definitely a chance that some of this kind of work is actually using a framework modelled on 80k but just not exposing that well. Most high quality research is just done by an actual CEA rather than by ITN framework, so there's obviously no issue there.

Shapley Values Reloaded: Philantropic Coordination Theory & other miscellanea.

Your previous post on this was immensely valuable. I haven't yet finished this but want to say thank you anyway for producing what is so far another extremely high-quality and informative post.

Are there any public health funding opportunities with COVID-19 that are plausibly competitive with Givewell top charities per dollar?

A large donor working with DMI to scale up messaging around handwashing seems like an obvious place to start given that they are plausibly close to that level of cost-effectiveness even ignoring coronavirus, and under optimistic assumptions are significantly better than that.

What are the key ongoing debates in EA?

I looked into worms a bunch for the WASH post I recently made. Miguel and Kramer's study has a currently unpublished 15 year follow up which according to givewell has similar results to the 10 year followup. Other than that the evidence of the last couple of years (including a new metastudy in September 2019 from Taylor-Robinson et. al.) has continued to point towards there being almost no effects of deworming on weight, height, cognition, school performance, or mortality. This hasn't really caused anyone to update because this is the same picture as in 2016/7. My WASH piece had almost no response, which might suggest that people just aren't too bothered by worms any more, though it could equally be something unrelated like style.

I think there's a reasonable case to be made that discussion and interest around worms is dropping though, as people for whom the "low probability of a big success" reasoning is convincing seem likely to either be long-termists, or to have updated towards growth-based interventions.

Where to find EA-related videos

Robert Miles has an excellent YouTube channel looking at AI safety.

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