Jorgen_Ljones

Head of Operations @ 80,000 Hours
597 karmaJoined Sep 2014Working (0-5 years)London, UK

Bio

Participation
4

Currently Head of Operations at 80,000 Hours. Previously managed Gi Effektivt, an effective fundraising platform run by EA Norway. Before that, I was Assistant Executive Director at EA Norway. I co-founded EA NTNU, the first EA group in Norway when studying. 
\\ Interested in operations and finance controlling. Also fundraising, philanthropic advising, community building, and project management. My current plan is to continue working in meta EA.
\\ I have a masters engineering degree at NTNU, Trondheim, Norway in industrial economics and technology management. My engineering field is computer science, with a focus on artificial intelligence and operations research.

Comments
25

I really like these kinds of write-ups that provides a rough calculation of the cost-effectiveness of altruistic actions! A point I would like to poke on is the conclusion that if there's a 1/3 chance of your blood being used in a (fatal) surgery, you should attribute 1/3 * your share of the blood used of a life saved. This isn't counterfactual reasoning, which I think is the best way to go about analyzing this. When deciding, on the margin, whether I should donate blood or not, I should try to figure out what the expected consequences are if I donate as compared to me not donating.

My guess is that, in developed countries, it's extremely rare that people die during surgery because of a lack of blood units available at the hospital.

Some context for this initiative and how impactful it could be. I'm heading Gi Effekivt (www.gieffektivt.no) in Norway - the inspiration for Ge Effektivt (www.geeffektivt.se) in Sweden and now Giv Effektivt in Denmark. We've been up since 2016 and fundraised NOK 32 million (~$3.5 mrd) to GiveWell recommended charities so far.

Creating national EA donation platforms with localization of content and payment methods should be a no-brainer in my opinion. People seems to have a much lower barrier for donating to a registered, transparent charity in their own country. For countries with tax deduction - securing this is an important sales point as well. Creating and running a donation platform is a great movement building experience as well. It's concrete, easy to grasp the value of and many different skillsets (marketing, content, development, legal, organizing, accounting and so on) are useful, but few skills are essential as a simple website with some info and a bank account number to donate to is enough to get started.

Aren't OpenPhil? https://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/how-to-apply-for-funding#Can_I_apply_for_a_grant

They specify that they have low expectations for unsolicited proposals, but it's possible to contact them about it.

One argument against the effectiveness from mega charities who does a bunch of different, unrelated interventions is that from the Central Limit Theorem (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_limit_theorem) the average effectiveness of a large sample of interventions is apriori more likely to be close to the population mean effectiveness - that is the mean effectiveness of all relevant interventions. In other words, it's hard to be one of the very best if you are doing lots of different stuff. Even if some of the interventions you do are really effective, your average effectiveness will be dragged down by the other interventions.

Thanks for pointing out these unclear sentences. I've made some changes in this paragraph to make my point more clearly.

The first part of the sentence remains; in some views, it is not right that a giver of gifts get any privileges on other benefits. But in a pure utilitarian view, this might be the case in some sense. If one party provides a gift to another, otherwise equal party, this will create an inequality that decrease the total utility. A pure utilitarian view will demand that a redistribution of benefits should follow to restore the equal situation.

Of course, the utilitarian will not use the term "rights" or "privileges" to argue the case for a redistribution after the gift. Also, it is worth pointing out that in a utilitarian view the initial gift is immoral as it decreases total utility, but this is a bit beside the point as this gifting is an assumed fact with this argument.

This made me think of backing up online EA content. It's not that hard to automatize backing up the content on the EA Forum, the EA Hub and the websites of CEA, GiveWell and other organizations. Not all movement collapse scenarios involve loosing access to online content and communication platforms, but it may be part of both internal conflict scenarios and external shocks.

Is the EA Forum regularly backed up, Aaron?

Regarding the question about the preferred resource allocation over the next five years, I would like to see someone take a stab at estimating the current allocation of resources over the same categories. My guess is that many of the cause areas are far from these numbers and it would imply a huge shift from status quo to increase or decrease the number of people and/or money going to each cause area.

The 3.5% allocation to wild animal welfare, for example, is 35 of the most engaged EAs contributing to the cause area and the money that goes with it. Or more people and less money if we trade off the resources against each other. Currently Wild Animal Initiative, the most significant EA actor in the field, employs eight people according a document on their website, most of them part-time. Going from here to 35 people would mean large investments and need of management, coordination and operations capacity. Especially if we should interpret it to mean 35 people on average over the next five years, given the position we're starting at.

I believe similar examples could be made from biosecurity (90 people and 9% of funding) or AI in shorter-timeline scenarios (180 people and 18% of funding). I guess that meta EA, global health and development and maybe farmed animal welfare are the categories that would need to scale back funding and people involved to reach these allocation targets.

Aaron commented that the respondents answered quickly to the survey questions, and this particular question even asks for a "rough" percentage of resource allocation. This might suggest that we shouldn't look too much at the exact average numbers, but only note the order of cause areas from most to least resources allocated.

Another possibility is that the respondents answered the questions based on the assumption that one could disregard all practical issues of how to get from status quo to this preferred allocation of resources. If so, I think it would be helpful to state this clearly with the question so that all respondents and readers have this in mind.

FWIW, I was a stem cell donor in March this year.

Here in Norway you can sign up after donating blood at least three times, they take a couple of extra blood samples for the stem cell registry and then you wait for the call. Most people on the list are never matched with anyone. I understand that the registry is an international collaboration, so the patient could have very well (most likely) been from a different country than Norway. I don't know where the patient lives that received my stem cells.

Here's a database of countries and agencies that take part in this international collaboration: https://share.wmda.info/display/WMDAREG/Database#/

I donated through blood, which means I was first treated with injections of growth factors in the four days leading ut to the blood harvesting to provoke the release of stem cells from the bone marrow into the blood. This induce flu like symptoms with neck and back pain as the bone marrow swells up. The first injection my doctor gave me, but the rest I took at home after observing how it was done. On the day of the harvest I went to the hospital and spent about 3h in a bed hooked up to an apheresis machine which takes my blood out one arm, separated out the stem cells and puts the rest of the blood in the other arm.

The day of the harvest was a Monday, and I started feeling sick (the induced pseudo-flu) Friday evening with significant back pain on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, but I was back to work the second half of Tuesday.

In total I think I spent a total of ~30 hours of productive hours (including Sat and Sun), while the Norwegian Bone Marrow Donor Registry refunded my workplace for the 15 hours I was on leave for this. I didn't pay anything in the end, nor got compensated anything else than my normal salary for the hours I was on leave. Some of this time I spent on low productive things like reading books and the rest I spend relaxing, playing computer games or sleeping.

I don't think this was the most effective thing I've done in my life, and I'm unsure it was even better than the expected value of my hours, but I'm confident that was higher than average.

Since I already was a blood donor it was very low effort to registrer for stem cell donation, and when I was a match, the relevant calculation on my part was the time I was going to spend, not the time all non-matched donors already had spent.

I also value that I learned some interesting things about stem cell treatment and stem cell donation in particular, and I enjoyed the experience and the story I can tell afterwards.

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