All of Niel_Bowerman's Comments + Replies

Where are you donating in 2020 and why?

My wife and I are currently allocating 10% of my income to "giving later" , investing the funds 100% in stocks in the interim.  

We will likely make our regular donation to the donor lottery this year, which will come out of these funds.  I would consider giving more to the donor lottery, but on first glance I am less excited about needing to put money into a DAF or equivalent if we win because it is less flexible than money in an investment account.  

If users have thoughts on the ideal vehicle to put "giving later" funds in, I would be inter... (read more)

5MichaelA9moI don't have much thoughts on this myself, but you might find the post Donor-Advised Funds vs. Taxable Accounts for Patient Donors [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/vh6KPLquguraByLGW/donor-advised-funds-vs-taxable-accounts-for-patient-donors] useful. Some other potentially useful resources: * [Question] Pros/Cons of Donor-Advised Fund [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/hxmnJAS89QSSBPsjX/question-pros-cons-of-donor-advised-fund] * Posts tagged Investing [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/tag/investing] * Posts tagged Patient Altruism [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/tag/patient-altruism] (Personally, I'm just using a fairly standard investment account as well, but this isn't the end point of lots and lots of careful deliberation.)
Careers Questions Open Thread

Hey Jia, I haven't done many online courses, but one that I did and enjoyed was the Coursera Deep Learning course with Andrew Ng.  https://www.coursera.org/specializations/deep-learning

I think if you will be working on multi-agent RL and haven't played around with deep learning models, you will likely find it helpful.  You code up a python model that gets increasingly complicated until it does things like attempting to identify a cat (if I'm remembering it correctly).  It's fairly 'hands on' but also somewhat accessible to people without a t... (read more)

3nikvetr9moI'd second the Ng Coursera course -- very straightforward and easy to follow for those lacking technical backgrounds! Which may be a plus or a minus, depending on your desired rigor.
UK Income Tax & Donations

This post is extremely helpful, and I have referred to it multiple times as I plan my finances. Thanks again for putting it together.

Space governance is important, tractable and neglected

The importance of this and related topics is premised on humanity's ability to achieve interstellar travel and settle other solar systems. Nick Beckstead did a shallow investigation into this question back in 2014, which didn't find any knockdown arguments against. Posting this here mainly as I haven't seen some of these arguments discussed in the wider community much.

I also recently wrote up some thoughts on this question, though I didn't reach a clear conclusion either.

Atari early

[Spitballing] I'm wondering if Angry Birds has just not been attempted by a major labs with sufficient compute resources? If you trained an agent like Agent57 or MuZero on Angry Birds then I am curious as to whether the agent would outperform humans?

Growth and the case against randomista development

This is one of the most thought-provoking (for me) posts that I've seen on the forum for a while. Thanks to you both for taking the time to put this together!

[Notes] Could climate change make Earth uninhabitable for humans?

Thanks for flagging this. I think estimating temperature rise after burning all available fossil fuels is mostly educated guesswork. Both estimating the total amount of fossil fuels is hard and estimate the climate response from them is hard.

However, I hadn't seen this Winkelmann, et al. paper, which makes a valuable contribution. It suggests that the climate response is substantially sub-linear at higher levels of warming.

The notes that are currently posted above about how warm it would get if we burned all the fossil fuels were back-of-the-en... (read more)

4Linch2yThanks for the quick response, and really appreciate your (and Louis's) hard work on getting this type of sophisticated/nuanced information out in a way that other EAs can easily understand!
4Louis_Dixon2yNo worries - edit made.
[Notes] Could climate change make Earth uninhabitable for humans?

Great question. I'm afraid I only have a vague answer: I would guess that the chance of climate change directly making Earth uninhabitable in the next few centuries is much smaller than 1 in 10,000. (That's ignoring the contribution of climate change to other risks.) I don't know how likely the LHC is to cause a black hole, but I would speculate with little knowledge that the climate habitability risk is greater than that.

As I mentioned in the talk, I think there are other emerging tech risks that are more likely and more pressing than this. But I would also encourage more folks with a background in climate science to focus on these tail risks if they were excited by questions in this space.

I'm Cullen O'Keefe, a Policy Researcher at OpenAI, AMA

What is you high-level on take on social justice in relation to EA?

(For relevant background, I spent ~all of my undergraduate career heavily involved in social justice before discovering EA in law school and then switching primarily to EA)

A bunch of high-level thoughts:

  1. EA is overall the better ideology/movement due to higher-quality reasoning, prioritization, embrace of economics, and explicit welfarism.
  2. There is probably lots of potential for useful alliances between EAs and SJ people on poverty and animal welfare issues, but I think certain SJ beliefs and practices unfortunately frustrate these. Having EAs who can com
... (read more)
Introducing Animal Advocacy Careers

Hi Lauren, this is Niel from 80,000 Hours. We've already discussed this over email, but I'm excited that new organisations are being set up in this space. 80,000 Hours has limited resources and is not planning on increasing the amount we invest in improving our advice for animal advocates in the near term. I'm hopeful that Animal Advocacy Careers will be able to better serve the animal advocacy community than we can. Best of luck with the project!

1Ula2yThis is such a nice welcoming! Great that 80K is supporting this project, it is very much needed in the animal space.
8 things I believe about climate change

In the current regime (i.e. for increases of less than ~4 degrees C), warming is roughly linear with cumulative carbon emissions (which is different from CO2 concentrations). Atmospheric forcing (the net energy flux at the top of the atmosphere due to changes in CO2 concentrations) is roughly logarithmic with CO2 concentrations.

How temperatures will change with cumulative carbon emissions at temperatures exceeding ~4 degrees C above pre-industrial is unknown, but will probably be somewhere between super-linear and logarithmic depending on what sorts of ... (read more)

Accuracy issues in FAO animal numbers

Btw, your link to FAO feedback on Indonesian broiler chickens leads to a discussion about Latvian egg-laying hens instead.

[This comment is no longer endorsed by its author]Reply
2saulius2yI fixed it, thanks
The case for building expertise to work on US AI policy, and how to do it

I think working on AI policy in an EU context is also likely to be valuable, however few (if any) of the world's very top AI companies are based in the EU (except DeepMind, which will soon be outside the EU after Brexit). Nonetheless, I think it would be very helpful to more AI policy expertise within an EU context, and if you can contribute to that it could be very valuable. It's worth mentioning that for UK citizens it might be better to focus on British AI policy.

eaforum.org now redirects to this forum

Yeah, I imagine there's some version on the subdomain option that could work. I'll put this on Kerry Vaughan and Tyler Alterman's radars as they are now managing those domains.

Book-campaign in Norway - The plan and a request for input

Hi Jorgen, Great to hear that you guys are planning this. I'd be happy to chat with you about it sometime, and offer some thoughts. My availability is here: calendly.com/niel-bowerman/2 You should also talk with Chris Jenkins (chris@centreforeffectivealtruism.org) if you are considering doing a bulk order.
Looking forward to speaking.
Niel

EA Advocates announcement

To clarify, while 'The Most Good You Can Do' is not a CEA project, in that we do not own rights to the book, it is a CEA project in that we are coordinating the global marketing campaign for the book with Goldberg McDuffie Communications (USA), Yale University Press (USA), Yale University Press UK (Europe), Text Publishing (Australia), and The Life You Can Save doing the bulk of the work. We will be playing a similar role for William MacAskill's book, except that the holding company for the rights for Will's book is contractually obliged to donate the r... (read more)

Assessing EA Outreach’s media coverage in 2014

Thanks for these comments Peter. I think I agree with most of them. To respond specifically to the one I have additional information about:

In the interview with Tim Harford, Elie and Niel discussed SCI, and Tim Hartford decided to donate there at the end of the show. After the appearances, SCI contacted us to report that they had received several £1000s of donations as a result of our media. The exact amount SCI received as a result of this media attention was difficult for them to estimate relative to the variable background rate, but they suggested

... (read more)
Announcing the Effective Altruism Newsletter

This would save me enough time that I'd happily pay £s per newsletter! Thanks so much for offering to put this together.

$10k of Experimental EA Funding

Will you make prices and projects public after the first round so that we can calibrate?

2Paul_Christiano7yDefinitely.
Seth Baum AMA next Tuesday on the EA Forum

What is your assessment of the recent report by FHI and the Global Challenges Foundation? http://globalchallenges.org/wp-content/uploads/12-Risks-with-infinite-impact-full-report-1.pdf
How will your integrated assessment differ from this?

0Sean_o_h7yI am interested in the answer to this question. However, I would point out that Seth is listed as a major contributor to the FHI-GCF report.
Seth Baum AMA next Tuesday on the EA Forum

How many man-hours per week are currently going into GCRI. How many paid staff do you have and who are they?

Seth Baum AMA next Tuesday on the EA Forum

I can't make it for the AMA, but I'm going to load up some questions here if that's OK...

  • What would you say is the single most impressive achievement that GCRI has achieved to date? (I'll put other questions in other threads)
Effective Altruism Outreach needs your donations this Christmas!

I agree they are relatively similar. We've been keeping the publishers up to date with the plans of the other authors and publishers that are publishing books on EA in 2015. Thus the publishers think that these dates are pretty optimal in terms of when we would want them all released: spaced out enough that each can get its own media coverage and attention, but close enough that people can write about the trend and broader movement of EA with so many books coming out around the same time. I am a little worried that they will compete for attention, which... (read more)

Effective Altruism Outreach needs your donations this Christmas!

Hi Chris,

This is a good question. Many of the sub-projects that we are doing are one-off opportunities which we are unlikely to seek funding for in future years (e.g. a publicist for Will and Peter). Other projects are experiments that we would like to repeat and/or expand in future years if they are successful, such as EA Global, the EA Fellows Programme, etc.

EA Outreach as a whole is also in this category - if it is successful (or more accurately if it looks in hindsight like it was a worthwhile bet) then we would like to continue working on it and f... (read more)

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What do you see as the biggest risks and failure modes of EA Outreach?

Some of the most salient failure modes for EA Outreach are in the individual sub-projects:

  • For Will and Peter's books, the outside-view median outcome is that they don't make a splash in the media and don't sell very well. Unfortunately there are just so many books published each year (~1m per year) that the outside-view chances of ours being one of few that gain considerable attention and sell well is slim. Even when you account for the fact that we have a substantial advance and

... (read more)
0Ben_Kuhn7yFor EffectiveAltruism.org, do you know the search volume for "effective altruism" or related queries? Do you have any sense of how much traffic you could possibly get (e.g., what quantitatively would count as "lots of traffic" vs. "not much traffic")?
0Ben_Kuhn7yFor EA Global, I have a couple additional worries that I'd love your thoughts on: 1. It seems like organizing the events itself will be another large difficulty. I understand that previous EA summits required a fairly large push from Leverage; I'm guessing Tyler Alterman will be able to command at least some of the same resources, but potentially not all of them (at least, that's what I infer from him explicitly being in charge and not Geoff Anders). Meanwhile, if costs are lower, the events could be even larger and more difficult to organize, especially for those without such extensive experience as Leverage. 2. If there are a number of different summits going on, some of which are less-officially organized but under the same "EA brand," it seems like this increases the potential for damaging that brand if something weird happens. I think this was a decent risk factor even for the 2014 summit as it was run, for instance. Do you have any plans to deal with these? Sorry to ask so many questions, but I'm hoping they'll be useful to other people as well!
Effective Altruism Outreach needs your donations this Christmas!

Does the claim "We are currently due to run out of funding next month" include the £62,500 donation? It seems like not, but you didn't insert any caveats about that into your claim. At any rate, what's the situation for marginal funds? What do you anticipate getting cut if you don't meet your goal, and what would you do with funds over your budget (or will you just stop accepting donations)?

Unfortunately the £62,500 donation is only a ballpark figure at the moment and won't be confirmed until late December or January. Sorry that I didn't make... (read more)

Effective Altruism Outreach needs your donations this Christmas!

Four. How does funding this related to funding CEA or other CEA sub-projects? It seems like part of your budget is actually a part of CEA central's expenses, so presumably donations are somewhat fungible between the two?

The 'Central Team' within CEA can be thought of as providing services to the projects that it incubates, and so the projects split the costs of 'Central' CEA according to a splitting algorithm. Historically, unrestricted donations to CEA have been split following an algorithm between the different projects that it incubates. In 2015, ... (read more)

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Two. What's the difference between Will and Peter's books? Their titles are extremely similar, so it's hard to tell...

While the books are on a similar topic, they approach effective altruism from slightly different angles. For example:

  • Peter's book is probably more focused on the altruism side of EA, while Will's focuses more on the effectiveness side.
  • Peter's book focuses slightly more on big giving and the good you can do with your money, whereas Will's takes in a wider range of topics from career choice to consumerism.
  • Will's book discusses a wider range of potential causes than Peter's book (I think, I'd have to double check to be sure)
0Ben_Kuhn7yFrom your description, they sound quite similar. What's the rationale for releasing so close to each other and splitting publicity efforts between the two of them? Are you at all worried that they will interfere with each other or compete for attention?
Effective Altruism Outreach needs your donations this Christmas!

Hi Ben,

Great questions as always. I'm going to hand a couple of these over to Kerry Vaughan, but I'll take a shot at answering most of them. Again, I'm afraid my answers are too long to fit into a single comment, so I'll answer questions one-by-one.

  1. It's great that so many people are working on giving lots of people a positive initial impression of EA. But my sense is there's a pretty big gap between "initial impression of EA" and "EA is a big part of my life" that isn't being filled very well right now. Are there any plans to wor
... (read more)
1Ben_Kuhn7yThanks so much for answering in such detail! Have you written up anything about the 1:1 tools for EA.org anywhere? WRT chapter suggestions, I'm only just figuring things out myself and I'm afraid I don't have any magic bullets! I'll let you know if I come up with any though :)
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A lot of these learnings are written up in the various organisations' annual and six-monthly reviews such as https://www.givingwhatwecan.org/sites/givingwhatwecan.org/files/Jacob%20Hilton/giving_what_we_can_six_month_review.pdf and https://80000hours.org/2014/05/summary-of-the-annual-review-may-2014/

Unfortunately I think that much of our learning in areas like marketing is not generally applicable enough to be useful to more than a dozen or so people in the world right now. We are talking with these people already and generally I find those conversation... (read more)

Effective Altruism Outreach needs your donations this Christmas!

These are more great questions Ben. Do you mind if I come back to you on them on Monday as I'm going to try and take today as a day off? Thanks in advance.

1Ben_Kuhn7ySure, go ahead.
Effective Altruism Outreach needs your donations this Christmas!

Yes, I believe so. Just contact kerry@centreforeffectivealtruism.org and he can let you know the details. Thanks for showing an interest.

1jayd7yThanks. Is there a more detailed project plan than the one on page 9 here [https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3yC4Q2ekHgsM2Q2dWhsQkZtODQ/view?pli=1]? Can you give examples of the sorts of projects that it might fund?
Effective Altruism Outreach needs your donations this Christmas!

It may also be worth mentioning that if anyone would like to track what EA Outreach are doing in more detail, we send out monthly updates on our activities which you can sign up for here: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/ea-outreach-updates

1Peter Wildeford7yApplied! Thanks.
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On question six:

6.) How does CEA know that Will's viral Ice Bucket articles generated £10K for SCI? What is being done, if anything, to track the impact of these outreach projects? Even if we can't understand well the impact of outreach overall, it would be nice to be able to compare projects against each other.

We got our money moved to SCI data from SCI. They ask where the donations came from and they saw a large spike in donations citing online media at the time when I did a national radio segment with Elie from GiveWell on why to donate to SCI ra... (read more)

0Peter Wildeford7ySure thing. Thanks for the care and attention to these questions.
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On question five:

5.) Is there any danger in CEA increasing how central it is to the movement? We certainly do want more resources and CEA seems to be in a very good place to execute these projects in a way that no one else can. But it would be bad for CEA to become a single point of failure for the movement. Has there been any spot in spinning off more orgs out of the CEA umbrella? Any thought in putting some of these projects on hold and use EA Ventures to try to get some of them out instead?

I agree with you that CEA is becoming an increasingly key n... (read more)

2Peter Wildeford7yThat sounds good to me. I look forward to seeing how this develops.
4Robert_Wiblin7yI would actually push back on CEA being a bigger failure node than in the past. I think a smaller share of people identifying as working on 'effective altruism' are in CEA than ever before. GiveWell has grown faster than us, and we now have other groups like CS too. Also, CEA is an incubator for many different projects, so it would be surprising for them all to collapse simultaneously.
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On question four:

4.) Why is EA Ventures included in this? It doesn't even seem thematically related.

There are a number of ways of interpreting your question on EA Ventures. The benefits of the project (increased coordination, less matching costs for donors and projects, incentives for and ease of creating new EA projects, etc.) are outlined here: http://bit.ly/EAVentures (note that the intended audience of this document is donors, and so it doesn't stress the benefits to entrepreneurs as much as it could)

I agree that EA Ventures is less thematically r... (read more)

2Kerry_Vaughan7yJust to add to this, I do think EA Ventures is an outreach project. The medium-term plan is to change the name of the project to something other than EA Ventures and to pitch the project to impact-oriented donors who do not self-identify as EA. Tyler has already had some success in doing this. I think we can also reach entrepreneurs who are looking for funding for high-impact projects but who do not self identify as EA. To be sure, the primary benefit is likely to be connecting EAs with funding from other EAs, but there's no reason that needs to be the only benefit of the project.
3Robert_Wiblin7yAnother practical reason is that Kerry Vaughan is very keen to push EA Ventures forward, and is on the Outreach team. In the longer run I could see EA Ventures being coordinated by central CEA, but at least in the short run funding to EA Outreach will in part go to help getting EA Ventures set up (assuming we get enough funding to include that).
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On question three (the forum keeps renumbering my answers to I'm writing the numbers in text):

3.) I like the program plan and a lot of individual projects, but it feels a bit like throwing everything but the kitchen sink, very loosely fit together by theme. There doesn't seem to be that much rationale for why some projects are taking place and others aren't. While it's good to try many things to learn lots fast, it's also good to focus on a few things to do them well. What thought has CEA given to this tradeoff?

I agree with you that there are a lot o... (read more)

4Kerry_Vaughan7yAnother factor that I notice is that because Niel and I are, as far as I know, the first EAs to focus exclusively on EA outreach, the space of possible projects is vast, and there's lots of low-hanging fruit. EA Ventures is a great example. I think I've talked to around a dozen people who independently had an idea similar to EAV, but didn't have the time to get it off the ground. Given a vast space of high-impact projects, I think it makes sense to try many different things and then double down on the projects that show the most promise. That said, if there are good arguments for not doing some projects or for doing others instead, I think Niel and I would be very keen to update our views.
3Robert_Wiblin7yI wouldn't view this as throwing in 'everything and the kitchen sink'. A large majority of the funding will go to four things: 1) Promotion for Singer's book 2) Promotion for MacAskill's book, including websites for people to land on before/after reading it 3) Getting EA Global to happen 4) Getting EA Ventures off the ground. Much of the first three will be outsourced, which is why two people can handle this many projects at once, with the funding necessary to pay professionals.
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On question two:

2.) What, if anything, has EA Outreach learned from those who have already done outreach, such as CEA's own orgs, or others? Didn't, for example, GWWC already try VIP outreach?

2a. We've tried to talk with everyone who we think might have useful insights or learnings we might be able to use on EA Outreach. Kerry Vaughan in particular has been doing a lot of this (as he is coordinating the movement-facing side of our work) and he is regularly Skyping and talking with half a dozen people a day to ask for advice and feedback on things tha... (read more)

3Peter Wildeford7yThat makes sense. I hope someone from GWWC or CEA would be willing to write up some of these lessons learned for the benefits of the wider audience trying to spread EA ideas.
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On question one:

1.) What will EA Outreach do, if anything, to coordinate with other people working on marketing EA? Will EA Outreach be transparent, or aim to produce research that is of value to typical EAs? Will there be any attempt to bring forward some "lessons learned"? While I know the Global Priorities Project has done a lot, I feel like there has been incredibly little that an EA can personally use and learn from (though I understand that may not have been the point).

1a. We would like to co-ordinate and collaborate with anyone who is... (read more)

2Peter Wildeford7yThanks. I feel like this concern of mine is as addressed as well as it can be.
3Vincent_deB7yInteresting - is what Tyler or Leverage are doing written up anywhere? Likewise interesting - what are the options for this? Would this be the sort of thing that EA Ventures might fund, or are you imagining slightly different sorts of projects?
3Sebastian_Farquhar7yHi Peter. I'll be joining GPP in January. Niel and Rob have both said exactly what I'd say on the point of GPP. I'd perhaps add that GPP has been experimenting with a number of avenues towards impact using the outcome of its research. We'll be deciding exactly what approach seems most promising early in the new year, and that will be really important for shaping the organisation. My current hypothesis is that out biggest comparative advantage as an EA org is in tools for policy rather than for EAs, though obviously many things useful for one can be made useful for the other. From your comment it sounds like you had some specific ideas for things you thought GPP could be bringing to EAs, PM me and I'd love to chat about it.
3Robert_Wiblin7yRegarding GPP, your expectations from this year have to be calibrated to the fact that GPP only has one dedicated staff member working 0.75 full time equivalents. It has also not had effective altruists as its target demographic, instead focussing on people working on government policy, and academics. Despite that, we have written up our experience with public policy work as mentioned by Niel. I also expect this line of research to be fruitful for effective altruists trying to choose what cause areas to work on: http://www.effective-altruism.com/ea/c4/make_your_own_costeffectiveness_fermi_estimates/ [http://www.effective-altruism.com/ea/c4/make_your_own_costeffectiveness_fermi_estimates/] . Owen is currently working on publishing a paper on this topic.
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Hi Peter,

Great questions, thanks for asking them. I'm going to respond to your different questions in different comments as my response is too long to be accepted as a single comment.

5Niel_Bowerman7yIt may also be worth mentioning that if anyone would like to track what EA Outreach are doing in more detail, we send out monthly updates on our activities which you can sign up for here: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/ea-outreach-updates [https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/ea-outreach-updates]
2Niel_Bowerman7yOn question six: We got our money moved to SCI data from SCI. They ask where the donations came from and they saw a large spike in donations citing online media at the time when I did a national radio segment with Elie from GiveWell on why to donate to SCI rather than ALS in the ice bucket challenge, which was the reproduced on BBC online and in the Financial Times. They also asked a few of the donors and they said that our articles were the cause. I agree with you that it would be nice to be able to compare the impact of the different projects. The impact metrics we are tracking for each of the projects are different in places, but we try and measure similar metrics across the projects such as direct money moved wherever we can. We have also been attempting to monitor whenever one of the projects leads to a new Giving What We Can member, and GiveWell have been giving us numbers on new traffic to GiveWell as a result of our media (we will set this up for other projects as well once they reach scale). For example multiple articles we have placed in the media have driven 1000s of new visitors to GiveWell (Approximately 1 in every 200 new visitors donates to GiveWell and the average donations size is $1000, though I imagine the visitors we sent over were substantially less likely than average to donate large amounts). We hope to use direct money moved as one indicator of the impact of each project, though this is quite an imprecise metric that doesn't capture many of the other benefits of the projects, so we will be monitoring others as well such as the number of people who sign up to an EA org as a result of these projects, the number of people who become actively involved in the movement because of these projects, etc. I hope this answers some of your questions, and feel free to get in touch if you have further questions.
6Niel_Bowerman7yOn question five: I agree with you that CEA is becoming an increasingly key node in the EA movement, and that this is a potential failure mode, and it is one that we have been taking steps to address. We are currently in the process of finalising a governance reform package within CEA that would turn CEA into more of an incubator, which will make it easier for CEA to start and end projects. We have already successfully spun two projects out of CEA (Animal Charity Evaluators and Life You Can Save), and these reforms would also potentially make it easier for projects to spin out of CEA should they wish to. I won't go into the details of these reforms publicly until we are able to finalise the package and discuss it with the trustees, but we are certainly taking steps to make CEA more resilient, adaptable, and ultimately less likely to be a failure mode within the movement. As for whether EA Ventures should try to start up some of these initiatives instead, I see CEA and EA Ventures as occupying two different roles. EA Ventures is a project to make it easier for projects to get financing, whereas CEA is an incubator of new projects. EA Ventures primarily provides funding, whereas CEA provides: office space, book-keeping, hr and logistics support, fundraising support, legal support, charity status, and mentoring and strategy advice. It would take a considerable amount of setup time for EA Ventures to be able to provide all of these services, and I don't think this would be the best use of resources. Similarly, projects at CEA are always welcome to spin-off from CEA and source these services independently, but they find it beneficial enough that they choose not to do this as it allows them to focus purely on their project and not on non-profit administration which is largely handled by CEA. For this reason I would like to continue using CEA's incubation services for the projects that I am starting and working on, at least until they reach sufficient scale, because it
4Niel_Bowerman7yOn question four: There are a number of ways of interpreting your question on EA Ventures. The benefits of the project (increased coordination, less matching costs for donors and projects, incentives for and ease of creating new EA projects, etc.) are outlined here: http://bit.ly/EAVentures [http://bit.ly/EAVentures] (note that the intended audience of this document is donors, and so it doesn't stress the benefits to entrepreneurs as much as it could) I agree that EA Ventures is less thematically relevant to the rest of the programme than many of the other projects, but I think it is unfair to say that it is not thematically related: this project is about making it easier for EAs to get the funding they need to start new projects, and it is in the plan in the context of getting EAs access to the skills and resources they need to have impact. The idea was suggested by a number of different EAs in a number of different forums, and multiple people asked whether we were interested in leading on the project as no-one else seemed to want to take the lead on it. We mentioned it to a couple of donors, who seemed pretty interested in the idea, and after writing it up in more detail and discussing its merits relative to the other things we would have been spending the time on, we decided to take it on.
6Niel_Bowerman7yOn question three (the forum keeps renumbering my answers to I'm writing the numbers in text): I agree with you that there are a lot of different projects here (and the list used to be much much longer before we had to cut it down to what was more realistic to achieve!) The strategy that we tend to use at CEA is to experiment on a number of different things when we move into a new area and then scale up the things that work well. For example when we created 80,000 Hours we experimented with making it a campaigning movement, an online app, a community, and a lecture series, before settling on the current model of it being a service to help people choose their careers. Without this experimentation it is easy to commit too many resources to sub-optimal projects that we end up pivoting away from. This is why this list does look long, and why we expect it will narrow at the end of this year, and possibly even during the year if one or more of the projects seem particularly bad on closer inspection. It is also notable that we have also taken one bigger bet, in the books that we are publishing. In including writing time, William MacAskill's book and marketing campaign will have at least one person-year of time put into it. This is because we were presented with a particularly good publishing deal - pretty much the best deal that it is possible to get as a non-celebrity first-time author.
5Niel_Bowerman7yOn question two: 2a. We've tried to talk with everyone who we think might have useful insights or learnings we might be able to use on EA Outreach. Kerry Vaughan in particular has been doing a lot of this (as he is coordinating the movement-facing side of our work) and he is regularly Skyping and talking with half a dozen people a day to ask for advice and feedback on things that he is working on. I won't bore you with a long list of everyone we are currently getting advice from, but I can assure you that it is extensive! 2b. On your questions about learning within CEA, I am fortunate enough to have led on outreach for Giving What We Can, VIP engagement for CEA, and outreach for 80,000 Hours in previous roles I've had at CEA, so much of the project plan ( http://bit.ly/EAO2015 [http://bit.ly/EAO2015]) is built off the back of things I felt I learned while in those roles, and I regularly discuss strategy and learnings with the current teams working on those projects. Finally, at CEA we have 'training lunches' which all the teams are invited to, in which someone presents on a topic that they have experience with, or a topic that they have recently been studying, and the group gets to discuss and give feedback. We regularly have these on outreach-related topics, and in fact on Wednesday Steph Crampin from GWWC will be giving one on what she has learned from the marketing diploma that she is in the final stages of getting.

On question one:

1.) What will EA Outreach do, if anything, to coordinate with other people working on marketing EA? Will EA Outreach be transparent, or aim to produce research that is of value to typical EAs? Will there be any attempt to bring forward some "lessons learned"? While I know the Global Priorities Project has done a lot, I feel like there has been incredibly little that an EA can personally use and learn from (though I understand that may not have been the point).

1a. We would like to co-ordinate and collaborate with anyone who is... (read more)

Effective Altruism Outreach needs your donations this Christmas!

This is an interesting argument and one that I'd like to think about some more. I'll let Kerry respond in more detail as he is leading on EA Global, but IIRC the main reasons we had in mind were around fostering more of a sense of community, excitement, and illustrating the global scale of the movement. It might also make it easier to use the events to promote the books on EA that are coming out if they are near one of the book launches. Finally, having them simultaneously would make it easier to get pre- and post-event media coverage, especially if we ... (read more)

Effective Altruism Outreach needs your donations this Christmas!

Hi Ben, We can add your donations to the CauseVox page manually. Just let Rob or me know. Thanks, and let me know if you have any additional questions.

Open thread 5

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Open Thread 4

Additionally, GiveWell have to consider whether they have enough room for more funding for all GiveWell donors (i.e. $ millions per year), which is more difficult case to make than simply having room for more funding from a single donor (presumably $ hundreds or $ thousands per year)

1Peter Wildeford7ySome of it I think depends on the "if all people who thought similarly did this" principle. If enough small individual donors all thought there was enough RMRF for their small, individual donation, they might collectively run out of RMRF.
1Tom_Ash7yTrue, though GiveWell give the impression of that AMF have room for more funding even for small individual donors, given their cash reserve. Does anyone know whether that's not in fact what they think?
Tell us about your recent EA activities

I'd recommend reading the links offered here: http://effectivealtruism.org/resources/#reading They are some useful introductory articles to effective altruism.

Aim high, even if you fall short

In the UK I like "Swedish Glace" as a non-dairy ice cream. Not sure if they have it over the pond though.

On Progress and Prosperity

Hi Ilya, I think the reason that Paul is discussing this is because he values everyone equally, regardless of when they exist. And thus he is trying to figure out what actions people should take now in order to maximise the impact he can have on everyone in the world at all times. I agree with your sentiment that much academic work has had little to no utility to humankind (the median published paper is cited once apparently), however there are some questions such as "how can I do as much good as possible" that are significantly understudied, an... (read more)

Effective Altruism is a Question (not an ideology)

I agree with this, and try (sometimes awkwardly) not to put the phrase "effective altruist" in materials whose intended audience is the general public, much as I do with the acronyms GWWC and 80k.

My worry though is that people will use "effective altruists" as a phrase to describe people in our movement unless we give them a better one to use. Other than "aspiring effective altruist", which I have used occasionally when talking with journalists, I don't find any of the others 'sticky' enough.

I would love to hear suggestio... (read more)

3tomstocker7yEBA? (Evidence based altruistim - no identifier as it's aspirational as mentioned)Like EBM..while this.particular suggestion may be poor, I'd like to try and see if there's a word that puts humility at the heart of it. I think it will be appealing and accurate- rationality, evidence and caring about other people as much as yourself all have roots in humility? I find EA difficult, as it defines others as either stupid or selfish and sounds exclusive and.elitist to non academic types, and think under promising with overdelivery has many benefits. It draws a parallel with evidence based movements, which seek to overturn people's God complex and over riding belief in ad hoc.guesswork, shower inspiration, social proofing, and emotional intuition, as well as the motivational vices that lead there?
1Squark7yHow about "pragmatic altruist"? It conveys the idea we want to do good but we approach it rationally rather than emotionally. Also it conveys the idea we want people to do things that are reasonable (like donating 10% of their income) rather than things that most people wouldn't consider to be reasonable (like donating everything except a minimal subsistence wage).
1MichaelDickens7yOne possibility is "good-seeker", although it may be insufficiently descriptive.
0Austen_Forrester7yYoung people "determined to make a difference" I think captures the grit of those who intend to become EAs, but haven't necessarily already started. I think it sounds kinda catchy, myself. "Ambitious to make their mark in the world" is another one that I think makes EA seem aspirational and part of a leading a successful life, even if the grammar isn't perfect (try correcting the grammar and it sounds really lame!).
4Owen_Cotton-Barratt7y"Effectiveness-minded altruist" has the right meaning, but it's not very pithy.
1Ilya7yNeil, I agree with your sentiment that declarative phrase “effective altruist” is an ideal/abstraction. No mortal can be true (100%) effective altruist. Term “effective altruist” will confuse most people. It also infers ideology “effective altruism”. I feel that translating declarative abstract meaning into operational average-person words shall help better sustain common sense of what we want to do. Take popular key words, having altruistic flavors, such as voluntarism, charity, giving, etc., and decorate them with qualifiers that imply a degree of effectiveness relatively to an average person cognition. For example, phrases like Charity Wise, Giving It Right, Smart Givers, Giving With Wisdom, etc.
Your Good Deeds 2014 Thread

If your aim is tax-deductibility, and there are charities that you can't current get tax-deductibility to, then why not setup a charity that simply makes grants to overseas charities? This is what we have done in the UK with the Giving What We Can Trust, which has had hundreds of thousands of pounds donated through it to non-UK charities. This means that you can donate to any charity in the world rather than limiting yourself to Australian charities.

2Helen7yTurns out tax deductibility is much more complicated in Australia than elsewhere, and is made even worse by the fact that a couple of legal challenges are currently underway, so the case law is in flux. There are a couple of people in Melbourne (not me!) who know their way around the tax system very well and are planning to write up the parts that would be relevant to setting up a re-routing fund. I think they're not prioritising it because setting up such a fund looks like it would be at least 1 full time job, plus a decent amount of accounting/legal/senior-community-figure support.
0Amanda_Jane7yHi Niel - there are other people doing the trust idea :) The aim of my group is mostly outreach - there are heaps of people interested in charity who want to give to effective Australian groups who aren't EAs as such. (This is not something I personally agree with, but a large number of people do) so there's a real need for some local guidelines.
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