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Effective Altruism Newsletter

July 7, 2017

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Right when people thought the world couldn’t get any worse, Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times goes on to claim that “2017 is likely to be the best year in the history of humanity.”

“Every day, another 250,000 people graduate from extreme poverty, according to World Bank figures.”

While there are many things that are indeed still wrong with the world, it’s also good to keep the larger picture in mind.

For those interested in some more data, click on the image below.

Rock on!

The team


Articles and Community Posts

The videos from EA Global Boston are up! All 27 of them. If you just want to watch one for the moment, this 24-minute talk by Will MacAskill might be of particular interest: As the EA community grows, what we focus on changes from what I should do to what we should – and could – do.

How do we find the best non-profits to donate to? And can we apply start-up investing principles to non-profits? Peter Hurford looks into these questions here.

In this EA Forum Ask Me Anything post Luke Muehlhauser answers questions about his recent report on consciousness and moral patienthood, which essentially investigates the question of “In general, which types of beings merit moral concern?”.

Is improving mental health a better and more cost-effective way to increase happiness/reduce suffering than fighting poverty? Have a look at this post in the EA Facebook group for more on this topic.

The 80,000 Hours team produced tons of research in the past few weeks, including a guide to working in AI policy and strategy. More links below in the Spotlight and Updates sections.


Spotlight: Ways to Get Involved in the EA Community

What would the EA community be without you? If you’re looking for ideas on what to do, read on:

  • Here’s a brand-new and highly comprehensive guide of the many ways you could get more involved: from learning the basics, engaging with others to advancing the field, there’s something there for everyone.

  • For those interested in working at EA organizations, be sure to check out this new 80,000 Hours career review on this topic: Should you work at a non-profit in the EA community? Won’t you be replaceable? Where do you get started? The guide answers these questions and others.

  • If you’re currently just interested to volunteer some of your time or are looking for help on specific tasks, here’s a new EA Volunteering Facebook group for you.

  • Why bother with all of those effective altruists at all? Here’s the 80,000 Hours argument for why to get involved with a community (and one community in particular..).

  • Finally, make sure to check out this EA Global Boston talk by 80,000 Hours CEO Ben Todd on how we can best work together as a community.


Updates from EA Organizations

80,000 Hours

80k published: a guide to AI policy and Machine Learning PhDs, a survey of economics literature on which jobs do good, an analysis of which jobs are highest-paying, and two podcasts. In the last two months, they have also coached over 70 people and were featured in The Telegraph.

Animal Charity Evaluators

ACE received a grant from the Open Philanthropy Project, which will enable them to make a long list of improvements. They checked in with their recommended charities to assess room for more funding, and are testing two new fundraising strategies.

__Centre for Effective Altruism __

CEA ran EA Global Boston focusing on pushing the frontiers of effective altruism – the talks are up on YouTube. CEA has launched EA Grants, been supporting the creation of an EA institute to harness the power of academia and researching areas like moral cooperation.

Centre for the Study of Existential Risk

CSER co-founders Jaan Tallinn and Martin Rees spoke at the STARMUS Festival. Martin also spoke at a conference held in honour of CSER advisor Stephen Hawking’s 75th birthday. Executive Director of the Global Catastrophic Risk Institute and CSER Research Affiliate Seth Baum gave a seminar on Integrated Assessment of Global Catastrophic Risk and AI.

Effective Altruism Foundation

EAF published a policy paper on evidence-based foreign aid (German), providing recommendations for more effective government aid in Germany and Switzerland. They also published a German landing page outlining the basic concepts of effective altruism.

Foundational Research Institute

Executive Director Max Daniel presented on s-risks at the Effective Altruism Global conference in Boston. S-risks are risks where an adverse outcome would bring about suffering on an astronomical scale, vastly exceeding all suffering that has existed on Earth so far. FRI also launched a blog.

Future of Humanity Institute

FHI and co-authors released their survey of AI timelines which got extensive news coverage. A paper on macrostrategy and the ‘aestivation hypothesis’ was published. FHI published its quarterly update including individual researcher progress updates.


GiveWell published a blog post discussing different giving options and their suitability for different types of donors; it believes its top charities are the best option for most donors, but that certain donors may find other opportunities that have a greater impact per dollar. As part of its Incubation Grants program, GiveWell published a page on a $900,000 grant to the Georgetown University Initiative on Innovation Development and Evaluation (gui2de) for its Zusha! Road Safety Campaign.

Open Philanthropy Project

The Open Philanthropy Project ppublished a blog post discussing approaches a small number of decision-makers can use to find and fund a large number of giving opportunities, and why it uses a “people-based” approach. In addition, Project Senior Advisor David Roodman published an update to his risk estimate of a very large geomagnetic storm.

Sentience Institute

Sentience Politics is splitting into two independent organizations. Going forward, Sentience Politics will launch a ballot initiative for the abolition of factory farming in Switzerland while Sentience Institute, a new think tank led by Kelly Witwicki and Jacy Reese, will be researching the most effective strategies to expand humanity’s moral circle. Read more here or have a look at this EA Global Boston talk.

The Life You Can Save

The Life You Can Save has released its 2017 Strategic Plan, which presents growth to date and goals for growing the organization and effective giving over the next three years.


Timeless Classics

Not only is effective altruism (well, the promotion of it) currently only the second-most pressing issue in the world according to 80,000 Hours. It’s perhaps also the most exciting.

If you ever wonder about all the ways humanity could go extinct, make sure to study Nick Bostrom’s classic analysis on the subject. Sweet dreams.


Animal Charity Evaluators

Applications are now open to attend ACE’s research workshop on Effective Animal Advocacy. The deadline to apply is July 31.

Center for Applied Rationality

CFAR is hosting a small, limited-attendance workshop ahead of EA Global San Francisco. If you’re interested in attending, apply here!

EA Global Conferences

If you haven’t already, send in your applications for San Francisco (11-13 August) and London (3-5 November).


Make sure to check out 80,000 Hours' jobs board!

To keep on top of EA jobs, feel free to visit these Facebook and LinkedIn groups as well.


Go forth and do the most good!
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This is an archived version of the EA Newsletter sent to 44,587 subscribers on July 7, 2017.
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