Ozzie Gooen

8155 karmaJoined Dec 2014Berkeley, CA, USA


I'm currently researching forecasting and epistemics as part of the Quantified Uncertainty Research Institute.


Amibitous Altruistic Software Efforts


Topic Contributions

I feel like you're comparing the marginal benefit of CEA, to the total benefits the other groups.

I'd guess that much of CE's and GWWC's core needs will be met, so the more relevant ask might be the remaining parts where there's some uncertainty. 

(Not saying this change is enough to change one's decision, but flagging that I think the default comparison is unfair) 

Many of CEAs projects seem nicely split up. (Events, Community Health, Groups).


I could imagine a list of the money / counterfactual costs spent on each. A bit tricky, but doable. You'd have to include overhead, of course.


Very simple models of the value of each project. These could be in some kind of relative value, so we could at least tell things like, "Project X seems to be more valuable in total than Project Y, though less efficient"

Even relatively simple versions of this could be illuminating and help for making consensus. 

I'd be happy to put together a simple potential version of this if that could be useful. It could make sense for it to be private (within the org) for a while, maybe a long time, if you don't have internal accounting like this already. 

Thanks for the clarity here! 

Very quickly, what I assume:
1. Pre-FTX-crisis, FTX funded EV for ~$22mil.
2. Post-FTX-bankruptcy, the current FTX bankruptcy lawyers are coming after many groups that FTX gave money to for clawbacks. I assume they threatened EV US with legal action, unless the money was fully returned.
3. The final agreement between the two is for EV US to give back all $22mil to FTX debtors. 

Some quick thoughts:
- I'm continue to be thankful to the staff at CEA and hope the team good luck going forward, especially around the new ED and whatever direction that might bring.
- I think it's unhealthy for the ecosystem for CEA to get such a high ratio of funding from OP. When this happens, I assume that CEA adjusts to represent the interests of OP more than I'm comfortable with. As such, I'm excited by other donors becoming involved here.
- At this point, I'm probably most excited about "long term institutional health" improving than anything else. Between FTX, some of this OpenAI fiasco, and other issues, I think that the "EA Bureacracy" has some maturing to do. If there are ways that CEA could help here (maybe by reinforcing/helping the community health team, or with some project like [these](https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/s/jxBRTDWZZYBbknuGK/p/Cvn6fwzdoLNLgTJif), I'd be most optimistic, though I realize these are tough to do well.
- It seems tricky to raise money while waiting on a new ED, but so it goes.
- I'm happy you provided BOTECs, but these strike me a bit like toy examples. Also, of course, happy to see Squiggle used! (I'm biased, of course). I'm not sold on the use of Shapley values for the first one - I'm personally not a big fan of Shapley values for these things - but this is a smaller point.

> we think that a more detailed model would obscure more than enlighten

I realize this might be controversial, but I'd be excited about a world where CEA posts generic costs+benefits of all of the big programs. I wouldn't fault CEA, as no one else does this yet, but I think some of this would be very useful, though perhaps too confrontational. 

Anyway, again, I'd really like to see CEA do well in the future, and would encourage motivated donors to ideally work with them to help make that happen. I'd be most excited about active donors who could really help give feedback on initiatives and help provide a contrasting viewpoint to OP.

Congrats Yonatan! Good luck deciding where to donate! Seems like there are a lot of good options now. 

So when it comes to "programs we'd like to see" including "a comprehensive investigation into FTX<>EA connections / problems," I take it that you disagree with that recommendation

To be clear, I'd still like to see this, it's just that I probably don't see it as urgent as you seem to. I was trying to represent the arguments on the other side of the issue - I personally fall somewhere in-between. 

The penthouse wasn't really a secret, but it wasn't publicized. When I saw that, it seemed weird, but more like a minor yellow flag, in comparison to all the craziness that startups can be like.


My quick, incredibly personal opinion, is that the task of "doing serious investigation and negotiation, regarding the EA+FTX relationship", is a task no EA organization really owned. Open Phil didn't want to own this, as they were sort of a competitor.  CEA wasn't well placed for this, in part because they were a significant donee of FTX. I think there has been a serious gap that we don't have significant evaluation/investigation into the funders themselves, but this is an awkward topic (the funders are often the most powerful actors, and don't like being investigated). I think there were enough yellow/red flags around that if a serious and lengthy investigation would have happened, it might have revealed interesting insights. I am excited about the investigation type work we proposed.

I'd also flag that I think there's a fairly unhealthy power imbalance in EA. A gigantic amount of funding and power comes from OP. This is awkward because they would likely be some of the main people organizing/funding such an FTX investigation, so that might well change incentives around it revealing public information about mistakes that they made.

I'd really like to see more diversified funding and leadership around the future of EA. 

Thanks for linking! I've heard of IAA, happy to see community work here. 

I'm not part of EV/CEA, so can't speak for them. 

Some quick, very rough and speculative, thoughts:

1. The legal battles will probably take at least a few more years to resolve. SBF was convicted, but there's a lot more to it. The bankruptcy proceedings could take a long time, it's a massive pain to all involved. I'd expect that EV is continuing to be cagey with releasing certain information, as recommended by their lawyers.
2. We listed some project ideas for either investigating the FTX situation in a more thorough and public way, and for setting up groups to prevent similar issues in the future. We're enthusiastic about people taking these on. https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/s/jxBRTDWZZYBbknuGK/p/Cvn6fwzdoLNLgTJif

3. Even though Julia works at CEA, I wouldn't take these posts at all as an official stance by CEA. Opinions listed are mainly those of the three of us, they're not meant to represent others.
4. I'm not sure how much enthusiasm there is by decision makers with real authority, on these issues. Many prominent longtermist EAs are really focusing on direct longtermist projects, especially with the intensity around AI now. I believe CEA is still searching for a new ED, and once they find one, it will likely take them a while to decide on large new initiatives.
5. "then why haven’t major orgs in EA pursued this/why is it being flagged a year later?" -> For one thing, there's a question of what one could do about it at this point. It's unlikely that a similar disaster will happen soon, so it might not be particularly urgent to set up programs to prevent similar future disasters. 

In terms of what we'd learn investigating the history of the FTX issues:
1. These topics have been heavily investigated and discussed publicly, then later on the forums. It's not clear to me just how much more would be uncovered with more EA investigation.
2. I think the basic remaining story is fairly straightforward (at least, the parts that people could agree upon). I think many EAs believe they have a decent enough grasp on it (though it's of course possible they're wrong). I might write up my very personal takes sometime, but this is based on very little semi-insider knowledge.

I'd still like to see more work here, just trying to outline why "extended public postmortems on EA/FTX"  might not be a huge priority right now. 

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