Jamie_Harris

Jamie Harris is a researcher at Animal Advocacy Careers, a charity that he co-founded which seeks to address the career and talent bottlenecks in the animal advocacy movement, and at Sentience Institute, a social science think tank focused on social and technological change, especially the expansion of humanity's moral circle.

As well as hosting The Sentience Institute Podcast, Jamie does a number of small projects and tasks to help grow and support the effective animal advocacy community more widely. He works on whatever he thinks are the best opportunities for him to improve the expected value of the long-term future.

Jamie_Harris's Comments

MichaelA's Shortform

The only other very directly related resource I can think of is my own presentation on moral circle expansion, and various other short content by Sentience Institute's website, e.g. our FAQ, some of the talks or videos. But I think that the academic psychology literature you refer to is very relevant here. Good starting point articles are, the "moral expansiveness" article you link to above and "Toward a psychology of moral expansiveness."

Of course, depending on definitions, a far wider literature could be relevant, e.g. almost anything related to animal advocacy, robot rights, consideration of future beings, consideration of people on the other side of the planet etc.


There's some wider content on "moral advocacy" or "values spreading," of which work on moral circle expansion is a part:

Arguments for and against moral advocacy - Tobias Baumann, 2017

Values Spreading is Often More Important than Extinction Risk - Brian Tomasik, 2013

Against moral advocacy - Paul Christiano, 2013


Also relevant: "Should Longtermists Mostly Think About Animals?"

The Effects of Animal-Free Food Technology Awareness on Animal Farming Opposition

Good point that the interaction terms are relevant to that. But yeah, the nonsignificant relationships there don't tell us much, I don't think, as the interaction term is presumably just "cannibalising" the effect of AFFT.

When can I eat meat again?

Cool to see more recent estimates, thanks Claire! What's the timeframe for the table? I.e. when are those "approximate share" columns referring to? Is that meant to be 2070 onwards, i.e. once the technologies are something like being "fully" developed?

Wild Animal Welfare Meetup (Spring 2020)

(Low relevance to the original post, but relevant to this discussion)

I've written the following for a draft "skills profile" I'm writing on fundraising roles at animal advocacy nonprofits for Animal Advocacy Careers. Feedback would be welcome. Message me directly (preferably email jamie.a.harris94 [at] gmail [dot] com) if you'd like to see/review the full draft or the footnotes, which I haven't copied over here.

"There are reasons to doubt that the animal advocacy movement is substantially constrained by funding:

  • At the time of searching (March 2020), the Open Philanthropy Project had granted out $110 million since 2016 to organisations categorised as focusing on “farm animal welfare,” including $38.5 million in 2019. The 4 “top charities” in Animal Charity Evaluators’ ratings had received an average of $7.5 million each (covering on average about 50% of each organisation’s expenditure since 2016), compared to the wider average of $2.2 million per grantee. This seems to provide evidence that the most cost-effective organisations — at least by Open Philanthropy Project and Animal Charity Evaluators’ estimations — will receive substantial funding.
  • A 2019 survey of effective altruism organisations by the Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA) found that, on average, organisations rated themselves as more “talent-constrained” (average 3.8 out 5) than “funding-constrained” (average 2.4 out of 5). Using similar methodology, 80,000 Hours’ surveys from 2018 and 2017 had found similar results — 1.1 out of 4 and 1.5 out of 4 “funding-constrained” in 2017 and 2018, respectively, versus 2.6 out of 4 and and 2.8 out of 4 “talent-constrained.” 80,000 Hours’ surveys also found that, in general, the organisations were willing to sacrifice a lot of extra donations to hold on to their most recent hires. Importantly, however, in CEA’s survey, Animal Charity Evaluators and the Good Food Institute were the only included organisations that focused primarily on animal issues, representing 3 out of 29 listed respondents, and 80,000 Hours’ surveys had similarly low representation of animal advocacy organisations. The cause areas that CEA and 80,000 Hours are most interested in (and hence were best represented in the surveys) do not seem to be substantially funding constrained and 80,000 have noted that there are many other limitations of these results.

There are also reasons to expect that the movement is substantially funding constrained:

  • Despite the large amounts of funding received through Open Philanthropy Project’s grants, Animal Charity Evaluators’ “top charities” were only assigned this status because ACE concluded that they each had considerable “room for more funding.”
  • Animal Charity Evaluators and Open Philanthropy Project seem to frequently agree about which charities can make best use of additional funding. If you disagree with their views about animal advocacy strategy, then you might conclude that the movement is substantially more funding constrained, because important tactics and organisations are still not receiving much of this funding. Of course, these two funding bodies only provide a small portion of the total funding in the animal advocacy movement.
  • In our short initial survey and interviews with 12 CEO’s and hiring professionals from 9 of the “top” or “standout” charities currently or formerly recommended by Animal Charity Evaluators, 9 respondents selected “funding” as the bottleneck that they “identify most” with in their organisation, though most respondents selected more than one option. We asked participants another question that provided evidence that funding was a major bottleneck for organisations, but the answers seemed highly counterintuitive to us, so we don’t think that we should place much weight on this finding.
  • Our impression from a limited number of conversations (and these comments by three organisations working on wild animal welfare research) is that progress for effective animal advocacy research organisations seems to be slowed more by a lack of funding than by a lack of good candidates. Of course, these organisations may not be highly representative of the animal advocacy space more broadly."
What are some good online courses relevant to EA?

The Good Food Institute have a short online course relevant to animal-free food technology. It's not very detailed, but I understand that they are working on adding to it so that it becomes a more thorough walk-through of the issues and technical knowledge.

Additionally, Animal Advocacy Careers is a new nonprofit focusing on addressing career and talent bottlenecks in the effective animal advocacy community. One intervention that we're planning to trial this year is running an online course and workshop focusing on integrating 1) effective animal advocacy research and 2) 80k and EA career considerations into career decision-making. People can express interest in participating in that programme here.

What career advice gaps are you trying to fill?

Animal Advocacy Careers is a new nonprofit focusing on addressing career and talent bottlenecks in the effective animal advocacy community.

Soon, we'll be publishing online "skills profiles", comparable to 80,000 Hours profiles on AI safety policy work and operations. We'll providing one-to-one careers coaching for people interested in maximising their impact for animals through their careers. We'll be running an online course and workshop focusing on integrating 1) EAA research and 2) 80k and EA career considerations into career decision-making. People can express interest in participating in those programmes here.

We're also running training programmes with animal advocacy organisations, focusing on upskilling their staff on areas that are a bit of a bottleneck.

As context, see this post I wrote. In the 80k post that you linked to, 80k wrote: "We don’t intend to create new detailed articles about animal welfare or global health. You can see our old articles on these subjects here and here."

(Vaidehi, I know you already know this, but sharing for the benefit of any other readers!)

Effective Animal Advocacy Nonprofit Roles Spot-Check

I don't think that the baseline we should expect if all was fair and there was perfect equality of opportunity is 50% female. Bear in mind that far more veg*ns are female than male (without looking into the best studies on this, a quick Google suggests 80% female in the US). I'd guess that "animal advocates" has a similar gender balance. So this would suggest that women are still slightly underrepresented in paid roles, or at least that they're not overrepresented. Also note that women are slightly underrepresented in management and leadership roles in my findings compared to the number of employees (although not by as much as I would have guessed)

A naive analysis on if EA is Talent constrained
I find this very hard to understand.

This is useful feedback. I might need to work on the wording.

Without that I think it is hard to say if 17% is high or not right?

I don't think I agree with that -- I think the important consideration is the number of identified advertised roles of a particular type relative to the number of identified currently filled roles of the same type. Not the number of advertised roles of type A relative to advertised roles of type B. But FWIW the full report is now published.

this seems like weak evidence for bottleneck claims

I agree its weak evidence; I think it's the weakest of the 5 bullet points above. I find weak evidence useful.

A naive analysis on if EA is Talent constrained

Thanks for the input! If the above bullet points were evidence of funding constraints, then this "more negative reading" would be a plausible alternative explanation. But I'm not following how the above bullet points could be read in this way. Apologies if I'm missing something.

Are you thinking this applies to all 5 of the above bullet points? Or specific bullet points within that group?

A naive analysis on if EA is Talent constrained

<<Would you be able to give me a real example to satisfy your claim?>>

The difference here is probably whether an individual or an organisation (80k, AAC) is evaluating TC.

If, via some research, you have the ability to either 1) make claims about TC across a movement or range or orgs, with moderate confidence or 2) make claims about TC in one or two orgs, with higher confidence, an individual might opt for (2), as they can focus on orgs they're more interested in. But 80k/AAC would opt for (1), because the advice is useful to a larger number of people?

<<I am lost. What is "MANY"? What does a "position in government" even look like.>> Given that the ideal distribution of roles and applicants and how this compares to the current situation is only really one consideration among several important considerations that affect career decisions (i.e. it affects your comparative advantage), maybe a high level of precision isn't that important?

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