EA Newsletter May 10, 2018

Effective Altruism Newsletter

May 10, 2018

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The most-upvoted EA Forum post of all time starts with the question whether people become less motivated over time to do altruistic things. In the article Joey Savoie introduces some empirical data to what extent value drift might be happening within the community. Darius Meissner shares some suggestions of how value drift can be prevented or reduced.

Aleš Flídr and James Aung share some heuristics and lessons-learned from running the Harvard and Oxford EA groups.

In this 80,000 Hours podcast Natalie Cargill interviews Marie Gibbons, a research fellow with The Good Food Institute and a researcher at Harvard. The podcast focuses on the science and technology of clean meat production.

What is the expeced value of existential risk reduction from the standpoint of a person-affecting view? Gregory Lewis introduces a rough model and draws a few insightful conclusions.

Peter Hurford and Marcus A. Davis just published an in-depth article on the cost-effectiveness of researching vaccines.

The Global Challenges Foundation has announced the 14 finalists for the “Global Challenges Prize 2017 – A New Shape”, which were selected from over 2,700 entries. The submissions will be available for viewing soon. In the meantime you can take a look at the summaries.

Announcements & Calls to Action

Submissions are open for the academic poster session taking place at EA Global: San Francisco (June 8-10). The session will give academics in a number of different fields the opportunity to present research relevant to effective altruism. More details here – the deadline for submitting abstracts is May 10.

Registration for EAGx Netherlands from June 29 to July 1 is now open! Will MacAskill and Michael Plant will be among the speakers.

Timeless Classics

Peter Singer’s 1971 essay Famine, Affluence and Morality argued that there is a moral duty to donate which is as strong as the duty to save a child drowning in front of you. Ben Todd expanded this to the “general pond argument” and how it might be useful for promoting effective altruism.

For writings from philosophers on EA, have a look at Professor Jeff McMahan’s essay on Philosophical Critiques of Effective Altruism and Jon Danaher’s Justice-Related Objections to Effective Altruism.


Animal Charity Evaluators

Animal Charity Evaluators is excited to share their 2017 Year in Review and is proud to have influenced over $6 million in donations to their recommended charities last year. ACE has also published the first post in their new roundtable blog series, kicking it off with a discussion of how to promote healthy workplace culture.

Centre for Effective Altruism

CEA announced Larissa Hesketh-Rowe has moved from COO to CEO. They have published more about their current thinking, including their models of community building and are hosting an operations forum on May 24-28. Tickets for EA Global: San Francisco are almost sold out but you can apply to volunteer or submit an abstract for the academic poster session.

Centre for the Future of Intelligence

CFI welcomed the House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence’s report ‘AI in the UK: Ready, Willing, and Able?’

Centre for the Study of Existential Risk

CSER hosted the Cambridge Conference on Catastrophic Risk 2018, which discussed recent developments in the field, and specific challenges of existential risk research. Keynote videos and report forthcoming. CSER researchers had papers published on The Value of Performance Weights and Discussion in Aggregated Expert Judgment in Risk Analysis, and Beyond Brain Size: Uncovering the Neural Correlates of Behavioral and Cognitive Specializationin_ Comparative Cognition and Behavior Reviews._

Future of Life Institute

FLI is partnering with Sapiens Plurum on their newest short fiction contest (1st place prize $1,000), which encourages writers to imagine an alternative future. Even if short fiction isn't your forte, consider submitting a story anyway. FLI also kicked off a new podcast series on AI alignment with an episode titled Inverse Reinforcement Learning and Inferring Human Preferences, featuring Dylan Hadfield-Menell. For FLI’s monthly podcast, Ariel Conn also spoke with Seth Baum and Robert de Neufville on quantifying the odds of a nuclear war.


GiveWell published a review of their research in 2017 and their 2018 plans for research, including plans to explore areas that may be more cost-effective than their current recommendations but don't fit neatly into their current criteria. They also reviewed and evaluated their progress last year in outreach and operations and described some high-level goals for 2018.

Open Philanthropy Project

The Open Philanthropy Project announced grants of $11.4M to the University of Washington to develop a universal flu vaccine, $3.2M to Founders Pledge, $2.9M to the Global Priorities Institute, and $1.5M to Compassion in World Farming USA. They also published a cause report about decreasing biosecurity risks from viral pathogens.

Raising for Effective Giving

REG ran another $300,000 matching challenge for seven charities from a variety of cause areas. The final tally came to $336,299 which was doubled by the five professional poker players who put up the matching funds.

The Life You Can Save

Is pleased to share their 2017 Annual Report and 2018 Strategic Plan. In 2017 they moved over $3.6 million to their 20 recommended nonprofits while spending less than $300,000. That means ~$13 went to great causes for each $1 they spent.

Wild-Animal Suffering Research

Ozy Brennan published two blog posts: the first on the effects of aquatic noise on wild fish; and the second on some crucial considerations for wild animal welfare advocates. Persis Eskander was awarded a grant for $7400 from the Animal Advocacy Research Fund to complete a research project on establishing a field of research for wild-animal suffering.


Data Analyst at Animal Charity Evaluators

Several positions at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Editing and writing internship at Charity Entrepreneurship

AI Safety and Machine Learning internship program at the Future of Humanity Institute

Several positions at GiveWell

Summer Research Visitor Programme at the Global Priorities Institute

Consumer Research Fellow at the Good Food Institute

Director of Operations at One for the World

Several positions at the Open Philanthropy Project

Researcher at Sentience Institute

Go forth and do the most good! Let us know how you liked this edition and how we can improve further.

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

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