August 4, 2016
Welcome to this special edition of the EA Newsletter!
What’s so special, you ask?
- Well, we recently hit 10,000 subscribers – a very warm welcome to all new readers!
- Tomorrow EA Global kicks off in Berkeley with more than 1,000 people expected to attend. (Here’s the livestream if you can't make it in person.)
- There’s a brand-new EA landing page (more info below).
- And it’s August, generally considered the best month of the year.
Now, read on!
In this new section we’ll be shining a spotlight on different topics, concepts and considerations that lie at the heart of EA.
The first topic is a special one at that: the all-new effectivealtruism.org landing page – it literally went live half an hour ago!
There’s a new Introduction to Effective Altruism section (highly recommended!) as well as a new resources page that collects some of the best introductory writing on EA. Over time, the site content will be expanded to cover more topics in greater detail.
There’s also an interactive Cause Prioritization Tool that helps you explore the many considerations that might inform which cause you should work on.
The site design is more stripped-back and puts more emphasis on content, navigation and readability.
This project is a collaboration between the Centre for Effective Altruism and members of the EA community. If you have feedback or would like to contribute to the project, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2904 people took part in 2015 Effective Altruism Survey and the results are available right here. Happy reading!
There’s also been a separate survey conducted among local group organizers. You can look up the results following this link. In fact, have a look at these great threads if you’re interested to learn more about local EA meetups.
It sounds like bad news but it’s actually a brilliant example of expected value thinking: GiveWell on how deworming might have huge impact, but might have close to zero impact.
Unless you’ve spent a lot of time in a cave recently, you must’ve heard about the Universal Basic Income experiment by GiveDirectly. There’s good news about it everywhere, including in The Quarterly Journal of Economics.
There’s more good news coming from Evidence Action and the Government of India, which has just recently held the largest public health event ever conducted in one day: the country dewormed 179 million children in almost all states and Union territories. Very impressive!
80,000 Hours grew 30% last month, reaching over 85 plan changes per month. This was aided by higher web traffic and workshops, of which they gave 8 in the past 5 weeks (London, Norway, Germany, Australia).
ACE published several blog posts in July, including some initial thoughts on the use of legal and social activism to effect legal change for animals and an accessible explanation of why ACE focused on farmed animals.
The Centre for Effective Altruism is becoming a more unified organization than it has been in the past. The teams that compose Giving What We Can, Effective Altruism Outreach, the Global Priorities Project and CEA Central will now merge and operate as a single unit. 80,000 Hours will continue as an autonomous organisation, based in the Bay Area.
Rest assured that all the teams will continue with their work and that, for example, the Giving What We Can pledge will remain a cornerstone of the EA community. The new CEA consists of a Community & Outreach Division and a Special Projects Division. And there are plans to set up an Oxford Institute for Effective Altruism. Sounds good to us!
The Effective Altruism Foundation, an EA think tank and project incubator that is active in the German-speaking area, now has a basic English website.
FRI has identified a promising class of interventions for reducing risks of astronomical future suffering: Their paper “Suffering-focused AI safety: Why “fail-safe” measures might be our top intervention” presents an overview of the options they plan to investigate further.
FHI made its first biotech hire Piers Millet. This month, Piers organized a closed roundtable with key stakeholders on gene editing and national security. FHI Researchers participated in the White House’s AI governance workshop, IJCAI, and hosted a workshop with EUROSPARC staff and students.
GiveWell published a blog post on the challenges of weighing organizational strength against estimated cost-effectiveness, and how that trade off impacts its recommendations of GiveDirectly and the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative.
The Open Philanthropy Project welcomed new team members to focus on scientific research and biosecurity and pandemic preparedness. The organization also discussed grants to Compassion in World Farming USA for its work to reduce farm animal suffering and Harvard University's Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management to support its work on reforms that impact young adults.
Raising for Effective Giving published its 2015 transparency report: In 2015, they fundraised $597,820 for effective charities, with expenses of just $75,242, putting REG’s donation multiplier or “fund ratio” at 1:8.
Sentience Politics is raising €80,000 for their ballot initiative for fundamental rights for primates in Basel, Switzerland. If successful, this would be the world’s first ballot initiative to legally secure the fundamental rights of a non-human species. Until August 16 all donations will be matched.
- Research Director at GiveDirectly
- Behavioural Insight and Trials Advisor at HM Revenue and Customs (UK)
- Research Associate/Manager at Humane League Labs
- Jr. Database Developer at Mercy for Animals
- Business Operations at Segovia
The ability and willingness to change your mind in the face of new evidence is a core trait we effective altruists like to cultivate. But it can be difficult to change your mind and re-prioritize between cause areas. Claire Zabel has some suggestions on making the re-prioritization process easier.
Go forth and do the most good!
Let us know how you liked this edition and how we can improve further.
See you again on Sept. 1!
Georgie, Michał, Pascal and Sören
– The Effective Altruism Newsletter Team
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This is an archived version of the EA newsletter sent to 10,740 subscribers on August 04, 2016.
To see the full archives, click here.