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Alix Zwane: Using Evidence for Smart Impact Investing

November 11, 2019

Alix Peterson Zwane is CEO of the Global Innovation Fund, which invests in social innovations designed to improve the lives of the poorest people in the developing world. In this talk, she explores her current thinking around what it means to be an “effective altruist”and how this definition applies to the field of development finance. She proposes that the tools funders use have not kept pace with the rate of change in the world’s most “fragile” places — and she advocates for new approaches, such as supporting early-stage entrepreneurs.

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Catherine Hollander: GiveWell Incubation Grants and Learning Through Grantmaking

November 11, 2019

What makes a charity worthy of assessor GiveWell’s “top charity” recommendation? And what about organizations that aren’t quite ready for that designation, but could be with the right backing? Catherine Hollander, a research analyst at GiveWell, shares why the charity assessor decided to launch its Incubation Grants program, the main criteria organizations must meet to become grant recipients, and a few examples of model grantees.

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Scott Weathers: When Will Farm Animals Experience More Utility Than Suffering?

November 11, 2019

Scott Weathers is a strategic partnerships manager at Compassion in World Farming USA, which advocates for the end of factory farming. In this talk, he rejects Robin Hanson’s “logic of the larder” argument — the idea that it is better to live and be slaughtered than not live at all — and explains why he finds it problematic. He also shares evidence for focusing efforts on chickens, and walks through the pros and cons of a new proposal for evaluating farm animal welfare from researchers Karolina Sarek and Joey Savoie.

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Helen Toner: Building Organizations

October 17, 2019

At the time of this talk (2016), Helen Toner was a senior research analyst at the Open Philanthropy Project. Here, she shares management lessons — such as holding regular one-on-ones and soliciting feedback — that she learned in her first year at GiveWell and the Open Philanthropy Project.

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EA Newsletter July 11, 2019

Effective Altruism Newsletter

July 11, 2019

  • The 80,000 Hours podcast interviewed Philip Tetlock about his latest research on making accurate predictions about the future.
  • Rethink Priorities published a new report examining features relevant to understanding the potential sentience of different species.
  • Luisa Rodiriguez published a series of EA Forum posts outlining the potential consequences of nuclear war.

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EA Newsletter June 12, 2019

Effective Altruism Newsletter

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).

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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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Max Dalton and Jonas Volmer: How to Avoid Having a Negative Impact with your Project

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.

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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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