Sebastian Schwiecker

CEO & Founder of effektiv-spenden.org

Wiki Contributions

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Introducing TEAMWORK - an EA Coworking Space in Berlin

Very rough monthly cost all in (rent, insurance, electricity, heating, cleaning, internet... ) is around 3.500€. In addition we had some upfront costs (mostly furniture) of around 11,000€. We currently also tend to buy a lot of new stuff which adds up to a couple of hundreds of Euros every month (e.g. we got a Microwave today, last week we bought an air purifier... ). Next week we will get some phone booths which will luckily be paid for through a grant from the EA Infrastructure Fund though (around 14,000€ for 4).

So currently we are still subsidizing the office through our main project (or we just pay a relatively high rent ourselves) but we are getting closer for it to be financial self sufficient (probably not if I would honestly calculate the staff time we invested though). Still feels like a really good investment, especially since we started hosting (small) events as well (e.g. EA Berlin Meetup, EA Consulting Network Meetup, AI Lecture... ).

Make sure to visit us if you are ever in Berlin.

What are the 'PlayPumps' of cause prioritisation?

Great project. Really looking forward to it.

One example that came to mind is this old blog post by GiveWell comparing "saving a child’s life in Africa to that of helping improve a child’s education in the New York City": https://blog.givewell.org/2007/12/19/all-causes-are-not-created-equal/

Effektiv Spenden - Fundraising and 2021 Plans

Our own fundraiser was quite successful so we should be covered to pursue our original plans without limitations till at least the beginning of 2021. But since the donation volume in 2020 turned out to be much bigger than expected (at least a 6x increase compared to 2019 according to preliminary numbers) we are in the process of updating our plans and have some ideas how to use additional capital in a promising way (eg internationalization). So I'm happy to talk if you know someone... ;-)

Effektiv Spenden - Fundraising and 2021 Plans

Hi Chi!

Thanks for your comments. We'll most likely start to "gender" once we relaunch the website somewhen in the next couple of quarters. The reason why I'm reluctant to do this is because I'm quite certain that this will decrease the mass appeal of the website. So when we do it we'll do it with the expectation of decreasing the amount of donations. Reasons are: 

- Currently our site is kind of gender neutral already since we don't just use the male version but male and female versions alternate (see https://blog.zeit.de/glashaus/2018/02/07/gendern-schreibweise-geschlecht-maenner-frauen-ansprache/ for a longer explanation). There are at least some people who care about a gender neutral language who prefer this approach (it was also the new and progressive way to do it when I was at the university). 
- The vast majority of Germans don't use a gender neutral language themselves and I would assume that most don't want it to be used in general. I don't have a data source for the latter but the fact that pretty much all newspaper don't use gender neutral language different to ours seems to be a clear indicator for that. This obviously doesn't mean that one shouldn't do it, just that it's not mainstream yet. Obviously it's very different with different demographics. Eg when I think of people I'm close with I know several who are kind of actively annoyed with gender neutral language but they are all 40+. It's not because they are opposed to the concept but because they are used to a different language and it make the language less appealing for them. I tend to agree (I'm also 40+). For me it's the same as with vegan food. It's the right thing to do but it's just not as appealing as the stuff I'm used to. Talking to EAs who attended university during the last ten years I'm sure it will be quite the opposite.
 

The German Effective Altruism Network - recap 2020

I'm also not sure if Germany is leading on climate issues but the work of John Halstead's and Johannes Ackva (and also Hauke Hillebrandt through Let's Fund) have been very valuable to the effective giving efforts through effektiv-spenden.org.

Effektiv Spenden - Fundraising and 2021 Plans

Hi Brian!

There is a breakdown for all individual organizations:

Against Malaria Foundation: 111,147.50 Euro
Deworm the World: 149,701.57 Euro
GiveDirectly: 251,463.61 Euro
Malaria Consortium: 116,394.15 Euro 

Clean Air Task Force: 83,174.71 Euro
Coalition for Rainforest Nations: 142,242.56 Euro
ITIF: 62,650.22 Euro 

Good Food Institute: 66,687.53 Euro
The Humane League: 43,532.53 Euro

(See https://www.effektiv-spenden.org/fundraiser-2020/#1)

It's important though that we only offered GiveWell recommended charities for the first 7 month and that most of the press we got also focused on them (and to a lesser degree on climate change). The numbers have been more evenly distributed lately.

AMA: Tobias Baumann, Center for Reducing Suffering

Thanks for the reply. With regard to drugs I think it depends on the situation. Many people drink alcohol even if they are in a good mood already to get even more excited (while being fully aware that they might experience at least some kind of suffering the next day and possibly long term). In this case I think one couldn't say they do it to avoid suffering (unless you declare everything below the best possible experience suffering). There are obviously other cases were people just want to stop thinking about their problems, stop feeling a physical pain etc.

AMA: Tobias Baumann, Center for Reducing Suffering

One of my most confusing experiences with EA in the last couple of month has been this poll https://www.facebook.com/groups/effective.altruists/permalink/3127490440640625/ where you and your colleauge Magnus stated that one day of extreme suffering (drowning in lava) could not be outweighed by even an (almost) infinite number of days experience extreme happiness (which was the answer with the most upvotes). Some stated in the comments that even a chance of “1 in a gogol probability of 1 minute in lava” could never be outweighed by an (almost) infinite number of days experiencing extreme happiness.

To be honest these sound like extremely strange and unituitive views to me and made me wonder if EAs are different compared to the general population in ways I haven’t much thought about (eg less happy in general). So I have several questions:

1. Do you know about any good articles etc. that make the case for such views?
2. Do you think such or similar views are necessary to prioritize S-Risks?
3. Do you think most people would/should vote in such a way if they had enough time to consider the arguments?
4 For me it seems like people constantly trade happiness for suffering (taking drugs expecting a hangover, eating unhealthy stuff expecting health problems or even just feeling full, finishing that show on Netflix instead of going to sleep… ). Those are reasons for me to believe that most people might not want to compensate suffering through happiness 1:1 , but are also far from expecting 1:10^17 returns or even stating there is no return which potentially could compensate any kind of suffering.


Disclaimer: I haven't spent much time researching S-Risks, so if I got it all wrong (including the poll), just let me know.

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