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Effective Altruism
2017
GlobalX: Berlin
2016-2017 - Year in Review
Some achievements to date
● AMF secured distributions to protect 34 million
children with bednets in 2016 alone
● Corporate cage-free egg campaigns have
spared 225 million hens per year from cages
● Concern for safe AI development has become
mainstream and respectable in the field.
Organisation updates
● Charity Science: Health received a GiveWell incubation Grant of
$200,000
● The Life You Can Save: $2.7 million moved in 2016, up 72% from
2015
● Founders Pledge raised over $100 million in pledges
● Raising for Effective Giving raised over $1.4 million to effective
charities
● Animal Charity Evaluators moved over $3.4 million to its
top-recommended charities
Organisation updates
● .Impact redbranded as Rethink Charity, incorporating Local
Effective Altruism Network and Students for High-Impact Charity
● Sentience Politics became an independent organisation, the
Sentience Institute, doing animal advocacy research
● The Oxford University Global Priorities Institute formed taking
its first staff member
Centre for Effective Altruism
● GWWC Pledges up by 61% to 3090, now at $1.5 billion of
lifetime pledges
● Went through Y Combinator, the world’s leading startup
incubator
● Launched EA Funds in March, with $1.7 million raised so far
● Launched EA Grants, with over £0.5 million in grants distributed
to new EA projects
80,000 Hours
● Launched the 80,000 Hours
paperback
● Had over 1.3 million readers on its
site in the last year
● Over 1000 significant plan changes,
10x growth compared to 2013
GiveWell
● Added three more top charities: The END fund, Malaria
Consortium, and Sightsavers
● Moved over $90 million to top charities
● Made $10 million of ‘incubation grants’, including to New
Incentives, No Lean Season, Charity Science: Health, ID Insight,
Results for Development and Innovations for Poverty Action
Open Philanthropy
● Gave $180 million through over 100 separate grants in the last
12 months, up from $100 million the 12 months prior
● The most major grants included:
○ $15 million to Against Malaria Foundation
○ $13.5 million to Schistosomiasis Control Initiative
○ $17.5 million (over four years) to Target Malaria
○ $16 million (over three years) to John Hopkins Center for Health Security
○ $30 million (over three years) to Open AI
● Significantly ramped up its funding of areas outside of global
health and development
Open Philanthropy’s grants,Jun 2016-Jun
2017
Adapting as EA grows
Adapting as EA grows
● Externalities become larger
● Less in-person interaction
● Greater engagement with other groups
● Greater resilience and momentum
Community impact
● The EA community is getting bigger
● In the early days, EAs could ask: “How do I do the
most good?”
● Now we need to ask: “How can we do the most
good?”
Three types of community
● Single player
● Market community
● Shared-aims community
What that means
1. Take a portfolio approach in career choice
2. Take externalities really seriously
3. Consider moral trade
4. Follow rules and cultivate character traits rather than
trying to calculate every decision
The Portfolio Approach
Ben earns to give Ben does direct work
Matt earns to give 6 10
Matt does direct work 8 4
The Portfolio Approach
● When the community was small, communication
could solve coordination problems.
● That’s not possible in a larger community, so we
each need to ask: “How can I move the EA
community closer to an ideal portfolio of careers?”
The Portfolio Approach
Ben earns to give Ben does direct work
Matt earns to give 6 10
Matt does direct work 8 4
The Portfolio Approach
● Rather than building general-purpose skills, it might
be better for almost everyone to build specialist
skills.
● Some underrepresented specialisms just now?
○ Skills: Operations, management, policy, marketing
○ Areas of knowledge: biology, economics, history,
politics.
Externalities (positive)
● Value of information
● New ideas
● Impressive achievements
● Five minute favours
Externalities (negative)
● Reputational costs
● Contributing to a bad culture
● Second-order effects (people talking less in public)
Moral trade
● Even though we have different aims, inevitably we
will still disagree.
● In those cases, we can still moral trade.
○ Specific trades: e.g. jointly funding ‘second-preferred’
charities; going veg*n; reading articles.
○ Open-ended trades: sharing donors, potential hires, and job
opportunities; favours for people.
Rules and character traits
● Disagreement and community co-ordination means
we should adopt good rules and character traits.
● E.g. don’t defect in prisoner’s or unilateralist’s
dilemmas; make promises and stick to them; treat
people with different views with respect.
● This is especially true given low-information
communication (i.e. on-line).
CEA’s suggested guiding values for EA
● Putting effective altruism into practice means
acting in accordance with its core principles:
○ Commitment to others
○ Scientific mindset
○ Openness
○ Integrity
○ Collaborative spirit
What we can do
● Take a portfolio approach to career choice
● Rely on the mindset more than particular recommendations
● Experiment
● Put more ideas in public writing
● Take reputational costs very seriously
● Be really considerate
● Constantly embody and cement the EA mindset and culture
Effective Altruism
2017
GlobalX: Berlin

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Current Status of the EA Movement

  • 2. 2016-2017 - Year in Review
  • 3. Some achievements to date ● AMF secured distributions to protect 34 million children with bednets in 2016 alone ● Corporate cage-free egg campaigns have spared 225 million hens per year from cages ● Concern for safe AI development has become mainstream and respectable in the field.
  • 4. Organisation updates ● Charity Science: Health received a GiveWell incubation Grant of $200,000 ● The Life You Can Save: $2.7 million moved in 2016, up 72% from 2015 ● Founders Pledge raised over $100 million in pledges ● Raising for Effective Giving raised over $1.4 million to effective charities ● Animal Charity Evaluators moved over $3.4 million to its top-recommended charities
  • 5. Organisation updates ● .Impact redbranded as Rethink Charity, incorporating Local Effective Altruism Network and Students for High-Impact Charity ● Sentience Politics became an independent organisation, the Sentience Institute, doing animal advocacy research ● The Oxford University Global Priorities Institute formed taking its first staff member
  • 6. Centre for Effective Altruism ● GWWC Pledges up by 61% to 3090, now at $1.5 billion of lifetime pledges ● Went through Y Combinator, the world’s leading startup incubator ● Launched EA Funds in March, with $1.7 million raised so far ● Launched EA Grants, with over £0.5 million in grants distributed to new EA projects
  • 7. 80,000 Hours ● Launched the 80,000 Hours paperback ● Had over 1.3 million readers on its site in the last year ● Over 1000 significant plan changes, 10x growth compared to 2013
  • 8. GiveWell ● Added three more top charities: The END fund, Malaria Consortium, and Sightsavers ● Moved over $90 million to top charities ● Made $10 million of ‘incubation grants’, including to New Incentives, No Lean Season, Charity Science: Health, ID Insight, Results for Development and Innovations for Poverty Action
  • 9. Open Philanthropy ● Gave $180 million through over 100 separate grants in the last 12 months, up from $100 million the 12 months prior ● The most major grants included: ○ $15 million to Against Malaria Foundation ○ $13.5 million to Schistosomiasis Control Initiative ○ $17.5 million (over four years) to Target Malaria ○ $16 million (over three years) to John Hopkins Center for Health Security ○ $30 million (over three years) to Open AI ● Significantly ramped up its funding of areas outside of global health and development
  • 11. Adapting as EA grows
  • 12. Adapting as EA grows ● Externalities become larger ● Less in-person interaction ● Greater engagement with other groups ● Greater resilience and momentum
  • 13. Community impact ● The EA community is getting bigger ● In the early days, EAs could ask: “How do I do the most good?” ● Now we need to ask: “How can we do the most good?”
  • 14. Three types of community ● Single player ● Market community ● Shared-aims community
  • 15. What that means 1. Take a portfolio approach in career choice 2. Take externalities really seriously 3. Consider moral trade 4. Follow rules and cultivate character traits rather than trying to calculate every decision
  • 16. The Portfolio Approach Ben earns to give Ben does direct work Matt earns to give 6 10 Matt does direct work 8 4
  • 17. The Portfolio Approach ● When the community was small, communication could solve coordination problems. ● That’s not possible in a larger community, so we each need to ask: “How can I move the EA community closer to an ideal portfolio of careers?”
  • 18. The Portfolio Approach Ben earns to give Ben does direct work Matt earns to give 6 10 Matt does direct work 8 4
  • 19. The Portfolio Approach ● Rather than building general-purpose skills, it might be better for almost everyone to build specialist skills. ● Some underrepresented specialisms just now? ○ Skills: Operations, management, policy, marketing ○ Areas of knowledge: biology, economics, history, politics.
  • 20. Externalities (positive) ● Value of information ● New ideas ● Impressive achievements ● Five minute favours
  • 21. Externalities (negative) ● Reputational costs ● Contributing to a bad culture ● Second-order effects (people talking less in public)
  • 22. Moral trade ● Even though we have different aims, inevitably we will still disagree. ● In those cases, we can still moral trade. ○ Specific trades: e.g. jointly funding ‘second-preferred’ charities; going veg*n; reading articles. ○ Open-ended trades: sharing donors, potential hires, and job opportunities; favours for people.
  • 23. Rules and character traits ● Disagreement and community co-ordination means we should adopt good rules and character traits. ● E.g. don’t defect in prisoner’s or unilateralist’s dilemmas; make promises and stick to them; treat people with different views with respect. ● This is especially true given low-information communication (i.e. on-line).
  • 24. CEA’s suggested guiding values for EA ● Putting effective altruism into practice means acting in accordance with its core principles: ○ Commitment to others ○ Scientific mindset ○ Openness ○ Integrity ○ Collaborative spirit
  • 25. What we can do ● Take a portfolio approach to career choice ● Rely on the mindset more than particular recommendations ● Experiment ● Put more ideas in public writing ● Take reputational costs very seriously ● Be really considerate ● Constantly embody and cement the EA mindset and culture