Jason Schukraft

Dr. Jason Schukraft is a Senior Research Manager at Rethink Priorities. He earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin.

Sequences

Invertebrate Sentience

Wiki Contributions

Comments

Philosophy PhD Application: Advice on Written Submission

Hi tcelferact,

I have a PhD in philosophy, and I'm a senior research manager at Rethink Priorities. If you want to discuss PhD applications, shoot me a PM and we can set up a call. My main piece of advice is to optimize the writing sample for getting accepted to whatever programs you think are the best fit for you. Optimizing that metric might result in a much different writing sample than trying to find an actual good idea and writing about that.

Intervention Report: Charter Cities

Despite the skepticism about charter cities that Dave and I express in the report, I would be comfortable recommending @effective_jobs retweet openings at Charter Cities Institute. There are plenty of folks in the EA community who would be a good fit for CCI, and it seems to me that an aggregator like @effective_jobs should lean toward casting a wider rather than narrower net.

Comparisons of Capacity for Welfare and Moral Status Across Species

Hi Alex,

Thanks for your comment. I've written a bit about the potential relevance of intelligence and emotional complexity to capacity for welfare here. But I share your skepticism about their relevance to moral status. I'm reminded of this comic:

saulius's Shortform

Someone could say that they will torture animals unless vegans give them money, I guess. I think this doesn't happen for multiple reasons.

Interestingly, there is at least one instance where this apparently has happened. (It's possible it was just a joke, though.) There was even a law review article about the incident.

Money Can't (Easily) Buy Talent

I do think we have been able to acquire talent that would not have been otherwise counterfactually acquired by other organizations.

As an additional data point, I can report that I think it's very unlikely that I would currently be employed by an EA organization if Rethink Priorities didn't exist. I applied to Rethink Priorities more or less on a whim, and the extent of my involvement with the EA community in 2018 (when I was hired) was that I was subscribed to the EA newsletter (where I heard about the job) and I donated to GiveWell top charities. At the time, I had completely different career plans.

Why "cause area" as the unit of analysis?

A lot depends on what constitutes a cause area and what counts as analysis. My own rough and tentative view is that at some level of generality (which could plausibly be called "cause area"), we can use heuristics to compare broad categories of interventions. But in terms of actual rigorous analysis, cause area is certainly not the right unit, and, furthermore, as a matter of empirical fact, there aren't really any research organizations (including Rethink Priorities, where I work) that take cause area to be the appropriate unit of analysis.

Very curious to hear the thoughts of others, as I think this is a super important question!

Meat substitutes: outside view

If you haven't seen it yet, you might find this report on the viability of cultured meat helpful. Open Philanthropy commissioned the report.

Notes: Stubble Burning in India

Hi David,

Thanks for the suggestions! Anyone who works on this topic in the future should probably investigate them further. My current rough impression is that, even if there were a market for the stubble, the process of baling the stubble for transport and sale would either be time-and-labor intensive or require equipment that the average farmer in the region can't afford. Because of the nature of the crop cycle, farmers are under intense pressure to clear the stubble quickly, hence the appeal of stubble burning.

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