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EA Newsletter May 9, 2019

Effective Altruism Newsletter

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]

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Fireside Chat with Rachel Glennerster

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".

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Why Companies Should be Leading on AI Governance

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".

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What role might insects play as part of the future of food?

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.

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EA Newsletter April 4, 2019

Effective Altruism Newsletter

April 4, 2019

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Reframing Superintelligence

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.

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Policy Makers Love Their Children Too

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.

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Psychology of Existential Risk and Long-Termism

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.

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How Corporate Reform is Changing the Landscape for Animals

March 22, 2019

By applying pressure to meat-producing companies, it’s possible to score huge wins for farm animal welfare. Publicly visible protests, directly contacting corporations en masse, and passing legislation are all good methods, and they work even better in concert. In this talk from EA Global 2018: London, Vicky Bond provides an overview of strategies to achieve corporate reforms for animals.

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Eliminating Parasitic Worm Infections

March 18, 2019

Schistosomiasis affects about a quarter of a million people worldwide, particularly people living in some of the world’s poorest countries. In this talk from EA Global 2018: London, Carolyn Henry of the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative talks about SCI’s work against the disease, the value of buy-in from the recipients of their aid, and the importance of mentoring local government officials.

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