June 12, 2019
- Owen Ozier published a history of the Worm Wars, arguing that a simple misunderstanding was behind a massive debate within development economics over the impact of deworming.
- Brian Kateman wrote about the immense suffering animals experience in the wild, and the careful way in which researchers are beginning to approach this problem.
- Ivan Vendrov and Jeremy Nixon wrote an EA Forum post arguing that working on "recommender systems" (like Facebook's News Feed) could help us improve our ideas about AI alignment while also offering an opportunity to improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people (for example, by suggesting content that isn't as psychologically manipulative).
May 9, 2019
- The Future of Life Institute chose Dr. Matthew Meselson to receive the Future of Life Award, a yearly prize given for “a heroic act that has greatly benefited humankind”. Meselson spent his career advocating against the development and use of biological weapons. [Future of Life Institute]
- Holden Karnofsky wrote about the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, which brought together scientists from both sides of the Iron Curtain to discuss nuclear disarmament. Mostly funded by private donors, the conferences may have influenced several key nuclear treaties; however, it’s unclear whether such strong philanthropic opportunities still exist today. [Open Philanthropy Project]
- Beyond Meat just became the first vegan meat company to go public; the stock price more than doubled in the first day of trading. This may indicate a strong market for similar products being developed by startups and established companies. [Good Food Institute, Bloomberg]
April 26, 2019
Max: We are effective altruists, and we're trying to help the world. The reason we pick projects is because the effects that we can see – that is, the first-order effects – are positive. Maybe there are some negative things in there that we know about, but the stuff that we're seeing is net positive. That's why we're doing the projects.
April 15, 2019
Rachel Glennerster is the Chief Economist of DFID, the UK's ministry for coordinating international development. In this conversation with Nathan Labenz, she discusses the most important lessons she's learned about development and what it really means for a study's result to "generalize".
April 8, 2019
Are companies better-suited than governments to solve collective action problems around artificial intelligence? Do they have the right incentives to do so in a prosocial way? In this talk, Jade Leung argues that the answer to both questions is "yes".
April 5, 2019
What role, if any, should insects play in the future of agriculture? In this talk from EA Global 2018: London, Nicole Rawling of the Good Food Institute, Nick Rousseau of the Woven Network, and Kyle Fish of Tufts University offer their varying perspectives.
April 4, 2019
- Dangerous pathogens like smallpox and SARS aren’t always handled safely by the labs that work on them. Kelsey Piper discusses the many ways in which these errors, which could kill millions of people, take place.
- Davis Kingsley argues that we should be very careful when we discuss dangerous ideas, even if they seem “obvious”.
- Timeless Classic: Lewis Bollard discusses animal advocacy on the 80,000 Hours podcast.
April 1, 2019
When people first began to discuss advanced artificial intelligence, existing AI was rudimentary at best, and we had to reply on ideas about human thinking and extrapolate. Now, however, we've developed many different advanced AI systems, some of which outperform human thinking on certain tasks. In this talk from EA Global 2018: London, Eric Drexler argues that we should use this new data to rethink our models for how superintelligent AI is likely to emerge and function.
March 29, 2019
The political scientist Hiski Haukkala used to believe that as traditional power structures weakened, we would be able to change the world by creating totally new structures. Now, however, he thinks that some work within existing systems, like national governments or international organizations, will be necessary. In this talk from EA Global 2018: London, Hiski encourages effective altruists to become involved in policymaking and the political process more broadly.
March 25, 2019
Consider three scenarios: scenario A, where humanity continues to exist as we currently do, scenario B, where 99% of us die, and scenario C, where everyone dies. Clearly option A is better than option B, and option B is better than option C. But exactly how much better is B than C?? In this talk from EA Global 2018: London, Stefan Schubert describes his experiments examining public opinion on this question, and how best to encourage a more comprehensive view of extinction’s harms.