284Joined Dec 2021


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Legal Assistance for Victims of AI
· 15d ago · 1m read
The Basefund Survey
· 7mo ago · 1m read



So, maybe, focusing on stronger cases?

Yes, and seminal cases.


I agree that your proposal gets around most (maybe all?) of the issues I mentioned.

Ah, that's where we went wrong. I assumed you would have mentioned that if you thought so.

However, your proposal focuses on earning-to-givers who have already given a fair bit, this seems to be tackling a minority of the problem (maybe 20%?).

I agree, and it is quite challenging to determine the size of that minority. If anyone knows anyone who has been in this situation, please send me a message.


Hey, I wrote the article you refer to. I only intend to partially reimburse people who donated money to EA-related causes. Most problems you describe apply to a safety net for all effective altruists, which would be much more difficult. I'll quote a comment of mine:

By focusing exclusively on reimbursing donors in financial trouble, we avoid opening a can of worms. First of all, the risk of fraud is much lower. If EAs can only get back half of what they gave away, there is no way to use the fund to make money, unless they control a GiveWell-recommended charity. Second, we do not have to judge whether people are EA-aligned. Third, people cannot take advantage of the fund and, perhaps more importantly, people will not have to worry other people are taking advantage of the fund.

To expand on the last point, if we ever decide to reimburse a donation because someone's second car broke down, that might annoy some people with a different idea of what constitutes an emergency, but at least they know that person donated at least twice the amount needed to fix the car. Now, if we handed out fix-your-second-car money to people who never donated anything to charity, I'd predict riots.

Also, coupling the two promotes donations. People who would normally find parting with substantial amounts of money scary have the assurance that they can always knock on our door.

I believe this covers all points you raised, but let me know if I missed anything. Just to reiterate, my hypothetical charity wouldn't make a judgment on whether applicants are still effective altruists if they need money.

The top comment on my article:

This seems like the type of infrastructure that should be experimented with on a small scale rather than heavily debated

Do you agree with this?


This is a commendable effort! However, it is unfortunate that detected fraud cases and actual fraud cases are conflated throughout the article.

$241,633 was lost to fraud this year — that’s about what we expect

We estimate 0.23% of those funds was lost to theft, bribes, and imposters.

By your own admission, the increase from 0.18% to 0.23% is mostly the result of improved detection. Such a large improvement in a one-year span suggests there is still a lot of low-hanging fruit. Because of that, fraud is probably much more common than reported here.

It is perfectly normal not to know how much money you are losing to fraud! I have spoken to fraud detection folks at an insurance company as well as ex-forensics. Established large organizations don't have reliable estimates either. Detected fraud cases do have a use, of course, as a lower bound on actual fraud cases.

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