Jordan Arel

243Joined Mar 2022



I’m studying for a master’s of social entrepreneurship at the University of Southern California. I have thought along EA lines for as long as I can remember, and I recently wrote a book “Ways to Save The World” about my top innovative ideas for broad approaches to reduce existential risk.


Thanks Kyle! Hm, this confirms my suspicion that according to what he said he should have gotten into EAGx, though maybe it was because he applied to conferences in a different region. I will investigate further and have him email them. Thanks again!! 🙂

Thanks tou for writing this. This is an incredibly good idea for a cost-effective cause in my opinion. I need about 9 1/2 hours of sleep every night and it is possibly the single greatest obstacle to achievement I face. I think for long-sleeper people like myself, further investigation could have an especially high upside if successful.

Thanks Christian! This was a well-written initial foray. I need about 9 1/2 hours of sleep every night and it is possibly the single greatest obstacle to achievement I face. I think for long-sleeper people like myself this could have an especially high upside if effective. I will definitely look into it more.

Thanks for sharing these learnings and for running this group Ninell! I would have been moderately less likely to start start studying AIS on my own if it were not for this group, and I appreciate how thoughtful you were and how much work you put into this group and this post.

Very good point. Considering last dollar spent or marginal dollar spent lowers these numbers by quite a lot - though I think even an order of magnitude still gives you quite high numbers

Yes, I think it is a very difficult and perhaps neccesarily uneasy balancing act, at least for those whose main or sole priority is to maximize impact. Minimum viable self-care is quite problematic, but it is not plausible we can maximize impact without any sacrifice whatsoever either

In the GiveWell article I quoted they estimate an uber-5-year-old life saved costs $7000, for 37 DALYs,  which equals about $189 per life year saved. But if it was actually $4500 per life as you suggest, that would be closer to $121 per life year saved or about 5 months of life for $50 instead of 3 months as I said, but I would rather err on the conservative side.

Damn. Yeah I guess I implicitly think like this a lot, I feel very torn between telling you it’s okay don’t worry about it each person has their own comfort level, versus yeah, it’s real and those are real people and we’re really sacrificing their lives for petty pleasures.

I think a few things that help me:

  1. Personally I feel I have much higher leverage with direct work rather than donations, so while money is a consideration it isn’t as important as time and focus on what’s highest leverage. Also, with direct work you can sometimes get sharply increasing returns, an effective entrepreneur or content creator may be many orders of magnitude better than an unsuccessful one. This may or may not apply to you.

  2. I don’t feel things I can spend money on is a primary determinant of my happiness . Most luxuries on the hedonic treadmill don’t actually significantly make me happier long-term, what makes me happy is doing healthy things like diet & exercise (which also improve my productivity), spending time with people I love, and most of all, living by my values and knowing I am doing my best to help those in need (and so being able to help them a massive amount is a positive)

  3. I don’t believe other people are full separate or different than myself. In some profound and deep sense helping them feels like helping myself, firstly enlightened self-interest where it feels good and makes me happier to help others, but in another sense maybe we fundamentally are the same universal consciousness behind each mask of individuality, a position called “open individualism.” Basically my consciousness is literally the same consciousness in each conscious being. Sorry if it sounds a little new-agey, but it really does help me not feel like I’m sacrificing so much, even if there’s only a small chance it’s true, since I have such absurd leverage the selfish expected value that it might be true could still bex extremely high.

Hope this helps, let me know your thoughts!

This was amazing. As a professional dropout, I would like to join your organization so that I can immediately quit it.

I have dropped out of college 3 1/2 times now, the 1/2 time was during Covid when I didn’t quite start the school year before dropping out and deciding to become a homeless vagabond.

I always wanted to become an Ivy League dropout, USC isn’t Ivy League but close enough, it’s way more expensive than most Ivy League schools at least, and now I feel much more confident in whatever I do next. Lots of great entrepreneurs were dropouts from fancy pants schools. I think accomplishment is very closely correlated to dropping out, so just imagine how promising I must be having dropped out such an unusually high number of times.

In all seriousness, I am extremely proud of having dropped out so many times. Each time it was the right decision, and I believe dropping out of things in general when there is a higher expected value option available shows a willingness to kick the sunk-cost fallacy in the pants and follow your dreams. Especially if those dreams include being a homeless Covid vagabond living in a tent in your friend’s backyard.

Wow. This is a really great concrete story of the benefit of signaling. Yeah, I find it so fascinating how Effective Altruism has evolved, and I really love all parts of it and think it is a very natural progression which somewhat mirrors my own. It is really unfortunate that not everyone sees this whole context, and I agree worth putting some effort into managing impressions even if it is in a sense a sort of marketing “pacing” which gradually introduces more advanced concepts rather than throwing out some of the crazier sounding bits of EA right off the bat

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