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Effective Altruism Newsletter

January 8, 2019

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We’re doing something new this year: In the spirit of EA, we’re tracking our own impact!

Have you ever taken action because of something you read in the Newsletter? (Donating, attending an event, applying for a job, etc.)

If so, could you please fill out our impact survey? It takes about 5 minutes, and it really helps us.

Thanks,

The Team

Articles and Community Posts

Should we genetically modify mosquitoes to fight malaria? The United Nations recently allowed further testing of the idea.

80,000 Hours offers a step-by-step method for choosing which charity to support for any cause you care about.

Kelsey Piper explains why we should take AI seriously as a threat to humanity. Dylan Matthews, Piper's coworker at Future Perfect and a  skeptic of AI risk, read the article and changed his mind about the issue.

Jason Schukraft explores the philosophy around a critical question: How can we know whether an animal deserves our moral concern?

More news and ideas from the EA community:

Timeless Classic

The Centre for Effective Altruism responds to some of the most common objections to EA. While these objections aren’t perfect, they still contain important points and deserve careful consideration.

Jobs

As always, 80,000 Hours’ High-Impact Job Board features a wide range of positions (169 and counting). Of those, 77 were added in the last month!If you want to hear about new jobs as they arise (or post one yourself), check out the EA Job Postings group on Facebook.

Announcements

Effective Altruism Global: San Francisco will take place from 21-23 June. Applications will open a few weeks from now — we’ll send more details in the next newsletter!

Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE) is now accepting grant applications for their Effective Animal Advocacy Fund. The deadline to apply for the first round of grants is 11 January.

Updates

80,000 Hours
80,000 Hours added 77 new vacancies to its job board; released a podcast on how to feed everyone through a nuclear winter and another on using evidence to end poverty (with Dr. Rachel Glennerster, Chief Economist of the UK's aid agency); published a major update to its advice on effective giving; and offered some suggestions on handling adversity in one's career and life in general.

Animal Charity Evaluators
ACE published a post where some of its staff members discuss where they gave in 2018 and explain the reasoning behind their donations.

Center for Human-Compatible AI
CHAI researchers attended the NeurIPS conference. Highlights: Anca Dragan hosted a workshop on Machine Learning for Intelligent Transportation Systems; Daniel Filan, Adam Gleave, Dylan Hadfield-Menell, Gillian Hadfield and Matthew Rahtz attended the AI Safety Unconference; and Michael Wellman spoke at the Workshop on Challenges and Opportunities for AI in Financial Services. Stuart Russell was interviewed by Lex Fridman at MIT, and was announced as the winner of the 2019 AAAI Feigenbaum Prize.

Centre for Effective Altruism
CEA launched the 2018 donor lottery with block sizes of $100k and $500k, and announced that EA Global: San Francisco will take place from 21-23 June 2019. Fund managers from three of the four EA Funds participated in AMAs about their grantmaking on the EA Forum.

Centre for the Future of Intelligence
Stephen Cave wrote a piece on democratizing AI for The Guardian. The AI Narratives report was launched at the Royal Society. The second Varieties of Mind conference will take place from 19-21 June 2019. Professor Daniel C. Dennett will give the annual Margaret Boden lecture in 2019. Huw Price was appointed to the board of the Ada Lovelace Institute.

Centre for the Study of Existential Risk
Lord Martin Rees was interviewed by Christiane Amanpour on CNN and Stephen Sackur on BBC Hardtalk. Dr Shahar Avin’s paper on Mavericks and Lotteries (on using random selection as part of the selection process for scientific grants) was published in Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science.

Charity Entrepreneurship
Charity Entrepreneurship published two reports (Ethical Pest Control and How High Contraceptive Use Can Help Animals) and two articles (The Importance of Time Capping and Why Research Matters if We Want to Save More Animal Lives).

Foundational Research Institute
Caspar Oesterheld’s paper on robust program equilibria was published in Theory and Decision.

Future of Humanity Institute
FHI released Alan Dafoe’s AI Governance: A research agenda and Eric Drexler’s Reframing Superintelligence: Comprehensive AI Services as General Intelligence. FHI hired Tanya Singh as Head of Operations and James Fischer Martin as its Website and Communications Officer. FHI will be releasing more operations roles in January, and will also be opening applications for the Research Scholars Programme.

GiveWell
GiveWell published an updated analysis on the spillover effects of GiveDirectly's cash transfer program, and responded to concerns about the analysis in this blog post. GiveWell also added more options for cryptocurrency donors.

Sentience Institute
Sentience Institute’s research director, Jacy Reese, published additional articles following the publication of his book, including a piece on “What PETA Has Cost the Animal Rights Movement” in Quillette. SI is seeking funds to hire a new researcher to work on the quantitative projects in their agenda.

Open Philanthropy Project
The Open Philanthropy Project determined its 2018 allocation to GiveWell Top Charities, released a new web app for calibration training, offered suggestions for individual donors, and announced grants of $3M to Alliance for Safety and Justice, $1.9M to Nuclear Threat Initiative, and $1.5M for a Chinese animal welfare institute.

Raising for Effective Giving
As part of REG’s Double Up Drive, six professional poker and DFS players matched $2.7 million in donations to EA charities. $1.4 million went to global health and development charities, $800k to effective animal advocacy, and $500k to long-term future projects.


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The Effective Altruism Newsletter is a joint project between the Centre for Effective Altruism, and Rethink Charity.

This is an archived version of the EA Newsletter sent to 50,914 subscribers on January 8, 2019.
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