Right now the door is pretty open. The projects we would consider are ones that can make a case for being highly impactful relative to other options in the space. I suspect projects with large funding gaps would be less of a good fit (e.g., people seeking over $500k).
So I think this conversation might be more productive if we clarified some terminology/dove into the specifics. There are a lot of different ways to set salaries in general.
Thanks for the comment, I think this describes a pretty common view in EA that I want to push back against.
Let's start with the question of how much you have found practical criticism of EA valuable. When I see posts like this or this, I see them as significantly higher value than those individuals deferring to large EA orgs. Moving to a more practical example; older/more experienced organizations/people actually recommended against many organizations (CE being one of them and FTX being another). These organizations’ actions and projects seem pr... (read more)
As someone who has been concerned about insects as an area for years, I think the aspect that stops animal-focused people I speak to from engaging with insects as a cause area is not really to do with scale or neglectedness. Many vegans do not eat honey; suggesting a concern for the bees creating it, and SWP (https://www.shrimpwelfareproject.org/) has gotten quite a lot of support from the animal movement. The issue is pretty directly tied to tractability and concrete actions that can be taken. If the current inventions focused on insects are research-orie... (read more)
I quite like this idea, and many of the most frugal people I know also do a ton of these things as well. I think a bunch of them pretty clearly signal altruism. Interestingly, I would say that things that make EA soft and cushy financially seem to cross apply to non-financial areas as well. E.g. I am not sure the average EA is working more hours compared to what they worked 5 years ago; even with the increases in salary, PAs and time to money tradeoffs.I also agree there are a lot more that could be listed. I think "leave a fun and/or high-status job for a... (read more)
https://www.ppf.org/ or https://rethink.charity/fiscal-sponsorship are the most common organizations used for new EA projects.
Indeed this is only considering nonprofit funding sources. I think the data would be quite different if also considering for-profit options.
Keen to hear about any data on this topic, James is right it is the number of ~EA funders with unique perspectives.
LTFF, OP, SFF, FTXF etc. are all keen to fund bio stuff. If they don't do so in practice, it's because nobody pitches them with good proposals, not because they're not interested. Also, some of the bio grants aren't public.
"Organisations should be open about where they stand in relation to long-termism."
Agree strongly with this. One of the most common reasons I hear for people reacting negatively to EA is feeling tricked by self-described "cause open organizations" that really just focus on a single issue (normally AI).
"Please don't criticize central figures in EA because it may lead to an inability to secure EA funding?" I have heard this multiple times from different sources in EA.
This is interesting if true. With respect to this paper in particular, I don't really get why anyone would advise the authors not to publish it. It doesn't seem like it would affect CSER's funding, since as I understand it (maybe I'm wrong) they don't get much EA money and it's hard to see how it would affect FHI's funding situation. The critiques don't seem to me to be overly personal, so it's difficult to see why publishing it would be overly risky.
We (Charity Entrepreneurship) have considered doing something like this. Would love to see the results and to know what locations you are considering. We are in west London.
1) Where do you see untapped opportunities for nonprofit entrepreneurs in the space of mental health?2) What role do you see entrepreneurs (vs. established organizations) play in this field, including incubation programs like CharityEntrepreneurship.com that has incubated mental health charities before?
3) How do you assess the potential of new mental health treatments for the Global South? Is this sufficiently prioritized and do you see particular roadblocks to rapid adoption?
Hey Larks, thanks for the great comment. I think it gets at some key assumptions one has to consider when evaluating this as an intervention. We didn’t end up going into that in this post, but happy to cover it below.I both see the scenario in which the benefits outweigh the costs (the one in which we are happy to incubate this charity), and I also see scenarios where the costs are higher than the benefits (in that case we wouldn't recommend it). Specifically:
Existing people get the benefit of building relationships with these new people.
When you con... (read more)
I think the majority of unusual empirical beliefs that came to mind were more in the longtermist space. In some ways these are unusual at even a deeper level than the suggested beliefs e.g. I think EAs generally give more credence epistemically to philosophical/a priori evidence, Bayesian reasoning, sequence thinking, etc.
If I think about unusual empirical beliefs Charity Entrepreneurship has as well, it would likely be something like the importance of equal rigor, focusing on methodology in general, or the ability to beat the charity market using research.
In both cases these are just a couple that came to mind – I suspect there are a bunch more.
"I now believe that less work is being done by these moral claims than by our unusual empirical beliefs, such as the hinge of history hypothesis, or a belief in the efficacy of hits-based giving. " This is also a view I have moved pretty strongly towards.
[Responding to the quoted sentence, not specifically your comment]
I definitely agree that empirical beliefs like those listed do a substantial amount of work in leading to EA's unusual set of priorities. I don't have a view on whether that does more of the work than moral claims do.
That said, I think there are two things worth noting in relation to the quoted sentence.
First, I think this sentence could be (mis?)interpreted as implying that the relevant empirical beliefs are ones where EAs tend to disagree with beliefs that are relatively confidently,... (read more)
Thanks for this – I checked out the full list when the post went up. We will be researching increasing development aid and possibly researching getting money out of politics and into charity as our focus moves to more policy-focused research for our 2022 recommendations. We also might research epistemic progress in the future, but likely from a meta science-focused perspective.We definitely considered non-Western EA when thinking through EA meta options, but ended up with a different idea for how to best make progress on it (see here).For-pr... (read more)
Indeed I have seen that post. I would be keen for more than one group to research this sort of area. I can also imagine different groups coming at it from different epistemic and value perspectives. I expect this research could be more than a full-time job for 5+ people.
Good question. We keep the information updated on room for funding on this page.
Indeed these sorts of issues will be covered in the deeper reports but it’s still valuable to raise them!A really short answer to an important question: I would expect the research to be quite a bit deeper than the typical proposal – more along the lines of what Brian Tomasik did for wild animal suffering or Michael Plant did for happiness. But not to the point where the researchers found an organization themselves (as with Happier Lives Institute or Wild Animal Initiative). E.g. spending ~4 FT researcher months on a given cause area. I agree that a b... (read more)
Our current plan is to publish a short description but not a full report of the top ideas we plan to recommend in the first week of Jan so possible applicants can get a sense before the deadline (Jan 15th).
Glad you found it interesting!
I agree I was expecting a much stronger consensus as well. Sorry to say I told the folks I interviewed the data would remain at this level of anonymity many were fine with sharing their results but some preferred it to be pretty anonymous.Number scores are based on people ranking the option above or below average with 3 being average.
Sadly not able to share that data I can say it tended to be bigger organizations and bigger chapters.
Happy to have my posts used for this. One thing I would love to see integrated would be a willingness to pay metric as we have been experimenting with this a bit in our research process and have found it quite useful.
Great question. Keen to see other people’s recommendations. We have a list of some of our team’s favorites organized into categories – can be seen on the website here or below. My personal top 5 are Principles, Made to Stick, The Life You Can Save, Algorithms to Live By, and The Lean Startup.
A few examples:- Introduction of new cause areas (e.g. mental health, WAS) - Debates about key issues (e.g. INT framework issues, flaws of the movement)- More concrete issues vs philosophical ones (e.g. how important is outreach, what % of EAs should earn to give)I think the bar I generally compare EA to is, do I learn more from reading the EA forum per minute than from reading a good nonfiction book? Some years this has definitely been true but it has been less true in recent years.
This could be turned into one quite quickly https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/kFmFLcdSFKo2GFJkc/cause-x-guide
Hey Ramiro and Thomas,
Thanks for your engagement with this system. I think in general our system has lots of room for improvement - we are in fact working on refining it right now. However, I am pretty strongly in favor of having evaluation systems even if the numbers are not based on all the data we would like them to be or even if they come to surprising results.
Cross species comparison is of course very complex when it comes to welfare. Some factors are fairly easy to measure across species (such as death rates) while others are much more difficult (d... (read more)
Equally or more focused on doing good but less involved with the EA movement. Broadly I am less sold that engaging with the EA movement is the best way to increase knowledge or impact. This is due to a bit of an intellectual slowdown in EA, with fewer concepts being generated that connect to impact and a bit of perceived hostility towards near-term causes (which I think are the most impactful).
Hey Charles, we don’t prioritize long termist projects as we do not think they are the highest impact (for epistemic not ethical reasons). This view is pretty common in EA, but most people who hold this perspective do not engage much on the EA forum. In the future we might write more on it.
We have recommended meta charities in the past (e.g. animal careers) and expect to recommend more in the future. There are some people considering a long-term/AI focused incubator, so this might be a project that happens at some point.
Sadly don’t have time to go into much depth on this, but we strongly recommend it to all charities that run through our CE program (including all the research orgs) and create a ToC for each idea we research.
Here are a few different areas that look promising. Some of these are taken from other organizations’ lists of promising areas, but I expect more research on each of them to be high expected value.
Slight correction: The Charity Entrepreneurship program will be based in London, UK this year.
When I was writing this, I was mostly comparing it to other highly time consuming activism (e.g. many people are getting a degree hoping it will help them acquire an EA job). In terms of being the optimal thing for EA organizations to look for, I do not really have a view on that. I was more so hoping to level the understanding between people who have a pretty good sense that this sort of information is what you need, and people who might think that this would be worth far less than, say, a degree from a prestigious university.
Ok given multiple people think this is off I have changed it to 3 hours to account for variation in application time.
My sense is they already had a CV that required very minimal customization and spent almost all the time on the cover letter.
It came from asking ~4 successful employees who where hired
The following is a rough breakdown of the percentage of people who were not asked to move on to the next round in the Charity Science hiring process. These numbers assume one counterfactual hour of preparation for each interview and no preparation time outside of the given time limit for test tasks.~3* hour invested (50%) - Cover letter/resume~5 hours invested (20%) - Interview 1~10 hours invested (15%) - Test task 1~12 hours invested (5%) - Interview 2~17 hours invested (5%) - Test task 2~337 hours invested (2.5%) - paid 2-month work trialHired (2.5%)So, ... (read more)
1 hour for Cv/cover letter seems extremely optimistic...
The endline goal of any piece of evaluation criteria is to be able to be used to best predict “good done”. I broadly agree that one criteria factor is unlikely to rule in or out an intervention fully (including limiting factor - it was one of four in our system). If we know a criteria that was that powerful there would be no need for complex evaluation.
Although limiting factor is not a pure hard limit I do not think this changes its usefulness much; an intervention might be low evidence, and in theory multiple RCTs could be done to improve thi... (read more)
Good idea, I added CE to the first use of "we".
Really interesting post, but I do want to flag a big concern I have in the comparative calculation. Broadly, estimated effects are almost always just going to be way more positive than well studied effects. For example if you estimated GD’s impact using standard income vs happiness adjustment measures (e.g. the value of double someone's income on their happiness) you end up at a much higher number than the RCT results. I think this sort of thing happens pretty consistently and predictability. For example, it would be really easy to imagine Strong Mind... (read more)
Our team has fairly recently done pretty similar work to what you are describing. You can see it here http://www.charityentrepreneurship.com/blog/from-humans-in-canada-to-battery-caged-chickens-in-the-united-states-which-animals-have-the-hardest-lives-results
When we looked at larger groups like fish or bugs we looked for species that were a) more studied and b) more populous. For example, for bugs this tended to be ants, bees, flies, and beetles. Overall though we tried to get a score that we felt would be consistent with “a random unknown bug is killed by an insecticide. What was the welfare score of that bug?”
We only set aside enough time to cover a certain number of animals, and we did not think looking at most regional differences was as important as covering more animals. We will be releasing a table with... (read more)
Wild rat indeed includes rats that live in cities and apartments (as long as they are not domesticated/pet rats). We definitely considered causes of death by humans (which for rats was quite a sizable percentage of their deaths) and our next report is in fact on ethical pest control, including possibilities like more ethical rodenticides and legal changes to move people from sticky to snap traps.
So on #1, there have been some discussions of this but out team was not convinced of the arguments enough to include a factor involving it into our analysis. You can see more here https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/2jTQTxYNwo6zb3Kyp/preliminary-thoughts-on-moral-weight and on the links at the bottom of that post. It would change things quite a bit. We have not done the calculation but off the top of my head I would expect it would impact insects most significantly with other animals moving up or down a category e.g. cows might move to mid but I would not expect them to move to high.
On #2, indeed our research is mostly focused around which charities should be founded in the animal space. That being said, I do think it cross applies. For example, I would far prefer someone to eat beef and give up chicken than the opposite. For giving up different food categories I think it would go something like Fish > Chicken > Eggs > Pork > Beef > Milk > Cheese in order of importance based on both the animal welfare and the amount of animals it takes to form a meal (e.g. 1 chicken or 0.01 cows).
In terms of other animals that could be quite net positive, large herbivores and predators at the top of their food chain with relative abundance of food (e.g. elephants, moose, whales and dolphins) would be my guess, but we did not go deep into any of those animals. Some domestic animals (e.g. well treated dogs and cats) also seem plausible to have pretty net positive lives.