I second the need to focus on growth in LMICs, partly on the grounds of more money better translating to happiness for poorer people than for richer people.
But also, it seems like HICs benefit from more think tanks and people working on policy specific to their country, whereas LMICs seem to have fewer think tanks based in their own countries working on policy specific to that country, but I might be wrong about the numbers of think tanks and the benefits they provide.
Even then it would seem preferable to me to fund something like a “department of AI safety” at an existing university, since the department (staff and graduates) could benefit from the university’s prestige. I assume this is possible since FHI and GPI exist.
Compared to the other ideas here, I think the benefits of an explicitly EA university seem small (compared to the current set-up of EA institutes at normal universities, EAs doing EA-relevant degrees at normal universities and EA university societies).
Are there other major benefits I’m missing other than more value-alignment + more co-operation between EAs?
One downside of EA universities I can think of is that it might slow movement growth since EAs will be spending less time with people unfamiliar with the movement / fewer people at normal universities will come across EA.
I think this is one of these things that are a bit hard to judge unless you have contextual knowledge of, e.g. how things work out at EA-dominated research university institutes. I think more abstract considerations will only take you so far.
The same point also pertains to the other comments in this thread.
I would be surprised if it were worthwhile building an entire university with all the normal departments, but I could see value if it offered specialist masters degrees that you can't obtain elsewhere such as a Masters of AI Safety.
Thanks that looks really good! 😃
I'm in college, looking at global health / pandemics / biomedical research, but I thought it might be useful to have general list of EA relevant summer opportunities for EAs in college.
This opinion is mine and doesn't represent EA:
I would fund Soch (https://youtube.com/c/SochYoutube), a Vox-like Indian YouTube channel which sometimes presents a technocratic / academic perspective on Indian politics and news so that they can do more of that, and AltNews, an Indian anti-fake-news fact-checking website to expand their work.
This would be with the idea of decreasing populism in India.
I think this is suited to small donors because the effects of these seem ridiculously hard to measure or estimate, even with back of the envelope calculations. B... (read more)
I agree with most of your comment.
However, given that GiveWell want to use a bar of 5-7x GiveDirectly, I think accounting for a study that at best will demonstrate that GiveDirectly is 2.6 times more effective than previously thought, will not influence GiveWell’s decision to wait for better opportunities, since it still doesn’t meet the 5-7x GiveDirectly bar.
Hi, amazing to see that Effective Thesis is expanding its services!
Personally I think Effective Thesis could become one of the highest impact EA initiatives, since hundreds of thousands of theses and dissertations are written every year, and steering these towards pressing global problems seems to have very high expected value.
I may start an EA society at my university in the future, and I was wondering whether you actively collaborate with university EA societies to promote Effective Thesis to students, and the extent to which you do this?
Thanks for the reply, that answers my question perfectly :)
Apologies if I’ve missed this in the post, but I don’t think it discusses a potential decrease in the marginal value of LLINs and SMC due to RTS,S, instead focusing on a comparison between LLIN and SMC vs RTS,S.
Do GiveWell intend to explore the effect on marginal value at a later point in time / in more detail? It seems plausible to me that despite LLIN and SMC being more cost effective than RTS,S, a decrease in their marginal value could mean that donors would prefer to donate to other GiveWell top charities over AMF.
I’m not very well versed on what good methods would be to increase migration, but I think there’s need for an international organisation that advocates for / researches policy change towards more lenient immigration policies, focused on making it easier to migrate from the poorest to the richest countries.
For example, such an org could try to identify which rich country would be the best within which to push for more lenient immigration rules.
I hope to do a post about this at some point after having given the idea more thought.
In my opinion, the public seems to dislike the idea of rejuvenation biotechnology, but doesn't dislike it enough that public opinion would significantly hamper the progress of this field.
I think the billionaire space race may be a good example of the public disliking weird stuff that billionaires are doing, but public opinion not significantly impacting their ability to do the weird stuff.
I am also not too worried about bad PR keeping good scientists away since I think high salaries should help to overcome their fears / misunderstandings surrounding anti-ageing research.
Thanks for your comment.
I'm agnostic (EDIT) I personally do not think funding certain types of research within anti-ageing research could still have similar EV to EA priorities despite the EV being lower than it was before, but I think this is plausible.
I'm also hopeful that Altos Labs is more open and collaborative than Calico Labs.
While I'm seeing some criticism of the idea that billionaires want to live longer, I think it's unlikely to be widespread enough or draw enough attention to noticeably damage Altos Labs, or cause much further damage to anti-ageing research in general.
Yes you're right, now that I think about Harrison's comment, I think both a) "the industry is already/now getting lots of money from billionaires, so the marginal value of donating additional money is smaller" and b) donating money to anti-ageing research will lead to billionaires donating less money to anti-ageing research.
The first! (And not the second). I’m not 100% sure if ‘subsidising billionaires’ is the correct term but I mean that money donated towards aging is probably going to be donated by billionaires anyway.
Same! I think neglectedness is more useful for identifying impactful “just add more funding” style interventions, but is less useful for identifying impactful careers and other types of interventions since focusing on neglectedness systematically misses high leverage careers and interventions.
Technological developments in the biotech / pharma industry are notoriously expensive, and my (fairly subjective) impression is that the industry is riddled with market failures.
Especially when applied to particularly pressing problems like pandemic prevention / preparedness, infectious diseases in LMICs, vaccines, ageing and chronic pain, I think EA for-profits and non-profits in this industry could absorb 100 million dollars of annual funding while providing high expected value in terms of social impact.
FWIW, I do think Reddit neoliberalism has important differences to EA (mainly that it has a strong preference for free markets and deregulation), but I think this is still compatible with considering Reddit neoliberalism to be “close to EA but not EA”.
Hi, thank you for your post!
As a student involved with some community building work and some other voluntary EA-aligned work, I’m still a bit reluctant (perhaps irrationally so) to apply for “converting energy to time” funding and thought that I’d share what I think my reservations are.
I think it feels too self-centred to consider things like healthy ready meals and Ubers for me to be worth EA funding when this could theoretically go to AMF instead.
I’m worried that I won’t end up using the time saved for EA work.
I’m worried that getting funding w
That’s great to hear! I too am quite skeptical about finding many good interventions in this area for the reasons you describe, I think most good interventions here would be along the lines of “improving the efficiency with which resources are being used” rather than “adding more resources”
Hi, thanks for providing those reasons, I can totally see the rationale!
One general point I'd like to make is if a proposed intervention is "improving the efficiency of work on cause X", a large amount of resources already being poured into cause X should actually increase the EV of the proposed intervention (but obviously, this is assuming that the work on cause X is positive in expectation, and as you say, some may not feel this way about some pro-Palestinian activism).
I think the interventions would be very specific to the domain. I mentioned an intervention to direct pro-Palestinian activism towards a tangible goal, and with redirecting western anti-racism work towards international genocide prevention, this could possibly be done by getting western anti-racism organisations to partner with similar organisations in countries with greater risk of genocides, which could lead to resource / expertise sharing over a long period of time.
Yep exactly that!
So in both of the examples provided, EAs would be funding / carrying out interventions that improve the effectiveness of other work, and it is this other work that would improve well-being / preserve lives in expectation.
Because I suspect that these interventions would be relatively cheap, and because this other work would already have lots of resources behind it, I think these interventions would slightly improve the effectiveness with which a large amount of resources are spent, to the extent that the interventions could compare with GW top charities in terms of expected value.
Thanks for the suggestion, I've added an attempt at this to the post
The 2011 Indian anti-corruption movement used non-partisan, non-violent civil disobedience to get an anti-corruption bill passed in Parliament
Some people argue that we not only need to prevent further greenhouse gas emissions, but that it should also be a priority to reduce the current amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Do they share this position, and if so, do they think that it could be more effective to fund the development of greenhouse gas absorbing technologies (which could potentially reduce the current amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere) than to fund initiatives to reduce further GHG emissions, which do not share this potential.
How do they think funding the development of alternative proteins might compare to donations to the Clean Air Task Force?
I'm not comfortable sharing an excerpt publicly on the forum since it could compromise my anonymity, but I'm happy to send it to anyone who's interested over the forum's messaging function.
I'm going to a more detailed post on this when I have time, but I think we should be more stringent in thinking of EA's priority cause areas as problems with cost-effective interventions that are easier to find, and other areas as problems with cost-effective interventions that are harder to find.
I think some people might have downvoted on the basis of "the Israel-Palestine conflict doesn't seem like it should be a priority EA cause area" (which I'd agree with), rather than "this intervention doesn't seem cost-effective".
There is a very large amount of suffering in the world. It is morally good to alleviate this suffering. But alleviating suffering costs resources of some kind, like money or effort.
So if there are opportunities to alleviate more suffering using the same amount of resources, it makes sense to seek out these opportunities, and take them.
I'm a student, and I have a Google document that I refer to whenever I feel demotivated in terms of my goals or don't feel like studying.
It's essentially my personal EA 'theory of change' - it covers the sequence of events from me studying now / working on EA stuff now, all the way to lots of people suffering a lot less and lots of people being far happier.
I think it really helps me and I'd definitely recommend it! 😀
Thanks for your posts about ESG!
One thing I'm unclear on is "To judge whether ESG investing is actually having an impact, we need to look at scenarios where there is a tension between ESG factors and profitability factors."
In my view, given that businesses / investors aren't perfect at profit maximisation, it seems like situations where ESG increases profits compared to no ESG should still be thought of as part of ESG's impact.
Yes it is, thank you!
Thank you for writing this!
One question I have for you:
How do you think a UK parliamentary assistant role compares to a role doing policy work at an NGO working at a more international level / in a less affluent country?
I think it'd be harder to scale up
My opinion is no, but a related initiative I might make a more detailed post on in the future would be something along the lines of making it easier to adopt children from abroad (or even in the same country) / advocating for more adoptions
Great! I'd also recommend reaching out to leaders of university EA groups who might be able to share the videos on social media
I think this is a brilliant idea! I'd like to recommend a video on how the news tends to focus on novel and infrequent problems, and how this systematically misses some of the worst problems which are happening far more frequently, which messes with our ideas of what the worst problems are.
I didn't downvote this comment, but
a) This may have not been your intention, but even in context, the "white supremacy" claim in the e-book does read as your claim
b) I don't think "poorer countries should transfer their wealth to richer countries" supports "a political, economic and cultural system in which whites overwhelmingly control power and material resources". The richest countries include many countries that aren't majority white such as Singapore, Qatar, UAE, Taiwan etc, so I don't think the 'overwhelmingly' criterion is met here.
c) I'... (read more)
I think this is a great idea and personally I think it's relevant enough for the forum
I think this is still a good cause area for EAs:
Thanks, exactly what I was looking for!