March 22, 2017
In this paper, the authors discuss Iason Gabriel’s recent piece on criticisms of effective altruism. Many of the criticisms rest on the notion that effective altruism can roughly be equated with utilitarianism applied to global poverty and health interventions which are supported by randomised control trials and disability-adjusted life year estimates. The authors reject this characterisation and argue that effective altruism is much broader from the point of view of ethics, cause areas, and methodology. We then enter into a detailed discussion of the specific criticisms Gabriel discusses. Their argumentation mirrors Gabriel’s, dealing with the objections that the effective altruist community neglects considerations of justice, uses a flawed methodology, and is less effective than its proponents suggest. Several of the criticisms do not succeed, but we also concede that others involve issues which require significant further study. The authors' conclusion is thus twofold: the critique is weaker than suggested, but it is useful insofar as it initiates a philosophical discussion about effective altruism and highlights the importance of more research on how to do the most good.
March 17, 2017
Some strategic decisions available to the effective altruism movement may be difficult to reverse. One example is making the movement’s brand explicitly political. Another is growing large. Under high uncertainty, there is often reason to avoid or delay such hard-to-reverse decisions.
March 14, 2017
Will MacAskill's appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast. Warning: contains explicit language
March 10, 2017
The term “cause-neutrality” has been used for at least four concepts: cause-impartiality, cause-agnosticism, cause-general investment, and cause-divergent investments. The first aim of this article is to define those concepts.
My second aim is to give a survey of considerations on the value of cause-impartiality, cause-agnosticism, cause-generality, and cause-divergence. In these sections, I among other things discuss the relations between the four concepts.
Though cause-impartiality is sometimes mixed up with the other three concepts, it does not entail any of them. Cause-agnosticism can be a reason for cause-divergent and cause-general investments. Cause-divergent and cause-flexible investments can substitute for each other, whereas cause-divergent and broad impact investments can complement each other. Recruiting cause-impartial individuals amounts to a cause-flexible investment.
March 2, 2017
- The beta launch of Effective Altruism Funds
- Vote swapping is a cost effective political intervention
- Who deserves our care and moral concern?
- GiveDirectly's basic income trial as a solution for technological unemployment
February 2, 2017
- Carl Shulman on donor lotteries
- A WHO consultant analyses access to pain relief in developing countries as a potential high-impact cause area.
- Vox on CRISPR and its potential to become a crucial new technology
- The launch of Conceptually
February 1, 2017
The field of AI Safety has been growing quickly over the last three years, since the publication of “Superintelligence”. One of the things that shapes what the community invests in is an impression of what the composition of the field currently is, and how it has changed. This article provides an overview of the composition of the field as measured by its funding.
January 30, 2017
In the third episode of the Doing Good Better podcast, we discuss what to do if you want to make a difference. What are some actions we can take that really help, what causes do we have the biggest potential to affect, and what is the link between poverty, malaria, and bednets?
January 5, 2017
- Kerry Vaughan's 5 favorite posts of 2016
- Rob Wiblin on where to donate in 2016
- Peter Hurford on the value of creating a GiveWell-recommended top charity.
- The new Oxford Prioritization Project
December 19, 2016
In the second episode of the Doing Good Better podcast, we discuss how to do the most good. That is, how should we think about finding out what works, how can experimental methods give us better insights, and how do we face up to evidence that challenges our existing beliefs?
Featuring special guest interviewer Latif Nasser, from WNYC's Radiolab