Charlie Dougherty

Hi! My name is Charlie, and I am the new executive director of Effective Altruism Norway. I was born and raised in the USA, but I have lived in Norway now for the last 10 years and have dual citizenship.

My interests include animal welfare, future history, politics, and meta-EA questions

Topic Contributions


EA Tours of Service

Hi Ben,

Thanks for the clarification!  I am sorry i misunderstood your position. If I reflect on how I think I misunderstood the idea myself, I think its because I see a full time job as a type of relationship. Typically in a relationship there are not goals to meet or timeframes; I have never told a girlfriend, "I expect to feel Z way in 6 months so lets come back in 4 months and see if we are on track."

Thats a dramatic comparison, but the dynamic is still a little skewed between me and the other person in the relationship in this situation. If I was friends with someone and they told me, "I like you, and I think we could be even better friends in 2 years if you do X,Y, Z, so lets come back to this in 1 year and see where you stand. Dont worry, this wont necessarily affect our friendship, its just something I could expect from you", then I would struggle to see how failing at improving our relationship in this particular way would not negatively effect our relationship regardless of what you say. 

To try to explain it another way, in the example above we are tying goals to the relationship, not setting goals "within" the relationship. The relationship becomes dependent on the goals. 

 This if of course also very normal in work, your job is very dependent on your performance, but I think framing it in this way can just have a strong interpersonal effect that I would struggle to wrap my head around. It is important for people to feel that they are good enough as they are, not just good enough as their last piece of work. 

Saying that, I think goals are great and I love ambitious multiyear goals to keep people aligned and motivated. I think having  a project as the primary framework for looking at the employment relationship can make the relationship more angsty than it needs to be. 

Of course all of the nuances here could just be a language problem, and we are all working in the same spirit :) In fact, when you first said tours of service I thought of the management trainee programs larger corporations have where you try different departments and geographies in a 2 or 3 year period. 

EA will likely get more attention soon


Could you clarify your section about connecting projects with journalists? I am not sure I understand entirely what you are looking for. Are there are particular journalists you have connections with already, is there a particular geography or topic you are thinking of, etc.?

 Also, does this meant that CEA wants to coordinate and do  outreach on behalf of all affiliated organizations and groups?


Thanks so much!


EA Tours of Service

Hi Ben,

While I appreciate the sentiment of a tour of service, I would also like to highlight the asymmmetrical power imbalance of a tour of service. As I understand it, the difference between contractual work and your tour of service is the spirit of the work relationship: a mutual understanding between the employed and the employer. 

However, the only person in that relationship that could extend the relationship, or make it permanent, is the employer.  This is to the disadvantage of the employee, and for all practical purposes is no different than a time-limited contract for the employee.

Why would it not be possible to have the spirit of the tour of service and still offer full-time employment? No one gives or accepts a full-time position with the anticipation that they will work their until the retire anyways, so I dont understand what advantages this has for the employee. If after two years an employee feels that their position isn't worthwhile for them, then they can quit, as many do after 4 years regardless of their contract. A company can fire a person, in some countries, for their role being redundant if the work isn't necessary anymore. In that case a person can file for unemployment, which they could not do under a time-limited contract. 


If the logic for the tour of service is due to the role being temporary  or having  uncertain funding, then I would suggest that the role is both in practice and spirit just a contracting gig, with all of the moral hazards that accompany those hiring practices.

Charlie Dougherty's Shortform

TLDR: It would be a shame if we just cross our fingers and hope everything goes well in Space for the next 100 years. Also maybe we can all play nice and one day have a space elevator or 10.  Its stimulating to imagine the far future when we are orbiting suns throughout the universe, but until then we first have to play nice and figure out how to reliably get off of Earth. 

If the future of humanity is dependent on moving beyond earth, then any longterm plans are dependent on us being able to regularly escape Earth's gravity well with ease and low cost, at least while we are still dependent on Earth. 

Ignoring any Deus Ex Machina like an AGI that comes and sorts out all of our problems, we will have to make sure that escaping Earth's atmosphere remains possible based on our own efforts and problem-solving.  Not getting the next 100 years right could be a type of "lock in" that is frustrates future human flourishing. 

Currently the main issues I see for access to outerspace.

  1. Militarization of space, or the problem of states, or the problem of global coordination, the potential issue of ultrawealthy private actors
    1. Satellite-killing missiles
    2. Satellite-killing satellites
    3. Rocket-killing missiles or rockets
    4. Drones- murderbots for rockets or even aircraft
    5. Rogue space development, aka the desire for glory. How do we manage potential net negatives that can be ignored due to the desire for glory? 
  2. The Kessler Syndrome - Garbage production in LEO could spiral out of control to the point that it is extremely risky, potentially impossible, to launch anything out of Earth's atmosphere for a significant period of time (10s to 100s to 1000s of years).  
  3. The pure difficulty of exiting Earth's gravity well
    1. Cost
    2. Technological hurdles
    3. Access to appropriate launch sites
    4. Control of powerful actors over access to space
  4. Space Governance
    1. Currently it is the Internationl Telecommunications Union which regulates Low Earth Orbit and sets the requirements for satellite retirement and safety. 
    2. Coordination
    3. Planning out the future. 
    4. I cant imagine that we can afford many space elevators in the nearer future, so we will probably have to find a way to place nice here without causing any wars or destroying the elevator before it is built.

One (of many, surely) Assumption: Anthropcentric focus, I am not sure if I actually believe humanity should be separated categorically from our ecosystem. When I say 'we', I am saying whatever we decide is 'us' will probably go into space eventually.

If you are interested in this topic get in touch, I want to begin writing a series of posts first establishing why space is important and explaining immediate  concrete issues that we need to address before becoming an extra-earth phenomenon.  Its stimulating to imagine the far future when we are orbiting suns throughout the universe, but until then we first have to play nice and figure out how to reliably get off of Earth. 

Announcing What We Owe The Future

Hi Will, 

How do you feel this book fits into the fidelity model of communication advocated by CEA? 


Announcing the actual longtermist incubation program

I see in your guesstimate you used Expected Impact instead of Expected Value, could you please make your spreadsheets public so we can criticize them? I am not attacking you as a person, only your intelligence. Its for the good of the future of humanity.


We have a potential new member, Monica, who is an actual tram conductor. I am tired of philosophers telling me what to do, so we are recruiting experts into the community. She should be able to resolve the trolley problem in under 10,000 words with  only one game theory matrix. 

A Landscape Analysis of Institutional Improvement Opportunities

@IanDavidMoss, thanks for the reply. I would love if you could go a little deeper into what is an institution to you.  How do you characterize it, and why is this nomenclature important? I just would like to go back to my apples to apples comparison question. My first instinct is that comparing Meta to Blackrock to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation to the Office of the President of the USA  to the CCP Central Commitee is going to create some false parallels and misunderstandings of degree of importance or possibility for change ( I will just call this power). 

I would suspect that the amount of power of the President of the USA is orders of magnitude greater than the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. So while they might be on a long list together, they are a bit like comparing our moon and the Sun.  So we would have a magnitude issue. 

In addition we would have a capabilites issue. The office of the President is much more powerful than Mark Zuckerberg, I would argue, but Meta can also do things that the President could only dream of. Facebook has been an incredible tool for spreading information, both for good and nefarious purposes. The US government could only wish for that ability to reach peoples' brains. 


These thoughts lead me to imagine what you final recommendations will look like, and I am not sure. I suspect you will discover that you end up making very specific suggestions for different insitutions. Other than a standard 80k be flexible and build up your career capital suggestion, I think it  might be difficult to give thematic recommendations that are equally useful in all of the types of organizations you tackle here. 

A Landscape Analysis of Institutional Improvement Opportunities

It is an interesting analysis, but how do you propose to have any influence over these institutions? For example, how would you  go about,"Ensuring that Alphabet's corporate board of directors is well-educated about AI safety issues"? How would you influence Amazon? What would be the intention of the intervention? How would you influence the office of the President of the USA? The importance of these "institutions" seems self-evident, but what you would actually do to change things, and what exactly you would want to change, seem to be more salient questions. 


Another question is if you comparing apples to apples when comparing Amazon to Congress. What makes them both institutions, and what is useful about creating a category that includes both of them? Would you use the same interventions?

Mapping of EA

Hi Jordan, 

Thanks for the interest! I am not sure what form this would take, or if I am the right person to be doing it, but if something happens to come up I will keep you in the loop 

Mapping of EA

Thanks Gidon! Would you think this is a useful exercise to try?

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