Executive Director @ BlueDot Impact
561 karmaJoined Dec 2019Working (0-5 years)


Topic Contributions


Thank you for making this thread Clifford, and we're really grateful for all feedback! We're working hard as a team to improve the course and the infrastructure we have for hosting other courses, and everyone's feedback has been incredibly valuable on our journey thus far :) 


Here's the video, in case people would like to engage with this that way. Thanks for the post Akash! 


I really enjoyed and appreciated reading this, and it resonates a lot with me. Thank you for writing it :) 


We don't currently believe the name collision will cause significant issues, and we're taking steps to mitigate any potential confusions that do arise. 

We also discussed the name collision with the other BlueDot in August and September of this year to evaluate how much of an issue it would pose to them and to us, and we ultimately decided to move forward with this name choice. 

Some other things: 

  • We consulted with other advisors within and outside the biosecurity community to evaluate how much of an issue this might pose 
  • We emphasize that we're an education-y project that has courses on many different global problems 
  • Our focus area websites (e.g. the AGI Safety Fundamentals site) are currently the more public-facing brands that we use, as opposed to the project brand (BlueDot Impact), though this might change with time 
  • We always say "BlueDot Impact," and not "BlueDot", and the BlueDot Impact  branding is very different from the other BlueDot 

I started thinking about alternative names to Cambridge EA in Summer 2021, and we've brainstormed and evaluated many different names since then. BlueDot Impact was overwhelmingly preferred by people we surveyed and within the team. I'm overall very excited about this name and to develop this brand, and hope to be able to collaborate with other stakeholders if/when confusions arise :) 


Cool, thanks Lizka and the Forum team! 

If you click "New Post" in the subforum, does that post also appear on the Frontpage? My assumption is yes, but just wanted to clarify. 


Surprised to see Anthropic mentioned there, I hadn't realised that SBF led their recent funding round. I wonder what this implies for them. 


This is incredibly exciting, thanks for the update! 


I'm very surprised to hear that this work is funding constrained. Why do you currently think this has received less interest from funders?


Thanks for this post, I knew nothing about Effective Philanthropy and this was very informative.


The following section resonated a lot with me: 

I appreciate the presence of philosophers in effective altruism- a lot. Looking back at history, we can see philosophers and thinkers who had huge long-term influence. Peter Singer is hugely influential in global development and animal welfare. I admire other EA philosophers who take seriously issues like evidential decision theory, the longterm future, and infinite ethics.

But I don’t think such concepts need to always be so central when trying to mobilize broader resources.

In theory, effective altruism is a question about how to do the most good or how to do as much as good as possible given the resources you’re willing to commit. In practice and in social terms, effective altruism is a take-it or leave-it bundle of claims, beliefs, and institutions. 

I often find myself frustrated in EA conversations or with EA outreach where we front-load specific moral beliefs that are not obviously necessary for inspiring people to undertake actions we think will lead to people making high-impact career choices, and where with some sub-groups who are less likely to be interested in philosophizing (e.g. engineers and entrepreneurs), this approach is actively counter-productive (especially when we need engineers and entrepreneurs! (1), (2), (3)). 

However, obvious ways trying to rebalance this can go wrong is if having the biggest impact requires regular re-evaluation of the long-term objective throughout one's career; where having strong shared moral beliefs can lead to improved cooperation and coordination across the (EA/cause-area) community; or where there are significant down-side risks within the relevant action space, and that taking maximising expected value seriously (or having other action-guiding moral beliefs) would lead you to avoid those risks. Therefore, I'm keen for students who want to inspire other students to pursue impactful careers to not to go down the path of "avoiding spending a lot of time discussing philosophy," but to re-evaluate what messaging they use to pique different demographic groups' interests initially and get them through the door, and then evaluate how interested those people are in thinking really hard about doing the most impartial good later (where that seems important to do). I think this also needs to be heavily tailored for the specific problem that the student group is trying to solve, the (ideally long-term) talent requirements for that problem, and all the nuances associated with the current community working on it. 


I also think EA funders should consider seeding cause-focused communities or student groups that focus on important issues, not just EA community groups. In theory, Giving What We Can groups  could have served this function in terms of global health and development. However, it has now, like the rest of the effective altruism community, moved towards longtermism and general effective altruism.

Cambridge EA, which I run, is (I believe) much  more focused on building cause-focused communities than other groups (we're currently focused on AI safety, biosecurity, nuclear, climate change and alternative proteins / FAW, and have individual full-time members of staff committed to different cause areas), and we have received generous funding from EA donors, so there is at least some movement in this direction already. FWIW I think GWWC is trying to move away from the GH&D focus, though I'd be excited for more impact-oriented student groups to be developed that resemble the work of Charity Entrepreneurship. 

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