Cullen_OKeefe

I am a lawyer and policy researcher interested in improving the governance of artificial intelligence using the principles of Effective Altruism. In May 2019, I received a J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School. I currently work as Associate Counsel for Policy & Governance at OpenAI.

I am also a Research Affiliate with the Centre for the Governance of AI at the Future of Humanity Institute; Founding Advisor and Research Affiliate at the Legal Priorities Project; and a VP at the O’Keefe Family Foundation.

My research focuses on the law, policy, and governance of advanced artificial intelligence. To learn more, visit my personal website, cullenokeefe.com.

You can share anonymous feedback with me here.

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Concerns with ACE's Recent Behavior

Agreed that it’s not dominant in society at-large, though I think it is dominant in a number of important institutions (esp. higher ed, the liberal nonprofit sphere, and journalism)

Cullen_OKeefe's Shortform

Random, time-sensitive charity idea: start a pledge drive for people who have received their COVID vaccine to contribute the cost of at least one vaccine to the COVAX facility. Unfortunately, Americans can’t directly donate to COVAX, but people from the UK can.

Altruistic motivation

I suggest that this be merged with the motivation tag.

Open Thread: April 2021

A Wikipedia-style "random post" feature for the Forum could be cool, to help people find new posts. It would also help people find posts that are not fully tagged or organized.

Style guide

Citation Formatting

I would suggest that we don't encourage citations to books to include the name or (especially) city of the publisher. This information is almost always superfluous.

A Comparison of Donor-Advised Fund Providers

Great post. One more resource that EAs should be aware of is Charitable Solutions LLC. They facilitate large (>$250k) DAF donations of exotic assets like restricted stock, LP interests, art, etc.

Law school vs MPP in Australia for those who have strong verbal skills but are weak at maths

Fair points. My impression is that it's actually just hard to get into those lines of work without substantial experience. US law school is also just structured to make getting traditional law jobs much easier than policy jobs. I also think it's often prudent to model oneself as the median person in the reference class, even if there's good reason to think that one is not. Finally, empirically, most EAs that I knew in law school did in fact end up working as traditional lawyers.

What Makes Outreach to Progressives Hard

Ah great, very happy to hear about the broader success. Seems like the causes may have been more local to my approach while leading HLSEA.

EA for Jews - Proposal and Request for Comment

With the obvious caveat that Israel is not synonymous with Judaism, it may be worth noting that Israel has a (AFAICT) active and successful EA (or EA-adjacent) ecosystem, especially in the space of animal advocacy and meat alternatives.

Law school vs MPP in Australia for those who have strong verbal skills but are weak at maths

Unfortunately I'm not sure I have great answers to this question given my lack of knowledge about the Australian law ecosystem. I would defer more heavily to those who, like Michael, know much more about that.

As Michael pointed out, law is not very well tailored to policy careers generally in the sense that it both teaches you much more than you need to know for policy in some areas (e.g., the minutiae of contract law) and much less in others (e.g., how to analyze proposed policy changes, economic/fiscal policy). However, it's also true that, for whatever reason, lawyers tend to be very overrepresented in lawmaking AFAICT.

Nevertheless, the prudent assumption in pursuing a law degree would be that you will be doing traditional lawyering for a while (maybe at least a decade) before being able to branch out into areas like policy or politics. This is the modal career path for lawyers and so you should assume it would be yours, too. For commercial law, this can entail grueling hours—you should be very clear-eyed about that. Opportunities within government can be both more livable and higher leverage, while still prestigious and good career experience (at the cost, of course, of lower pay).

Lesser quantitative skills are certainly more common among lawyers, though in many areas of law (e.g., tax, securities) they are important. It's also true that philosophers tend to do well in law due to similar skill requirements. So overall, I tend to agree that law is the better option here (as opposed only to an MPP). However, I'd only pursue the law degree if you're comfortable working as a lawyer in some capacity for a while, before pursuing things like policy or politics.

Hope this helps!

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