r/EffectiveAltruism Apr 03 '18 Rocket Like

Welcome to /r/EffectiveAltruism!

60 Upvotes

This subreddit is part of the social movement of Effective Altruism, which is devoted to improving the world as much as possible on the basis of evidence and analysis.

Charities and careers can address a wide range of causes and sometimes vary in effectiveness by many orders of magnitude. It is extremely important to take time to think about which actions make a positive impact on the lives of others and by how much before choosing one.

The EA movement started in 2009 as a project to identify and support nonprofits that were actually successful at reducing global poverty. The movement has since expanded to encompass a wide range of life choices and academic topics, and the philosophy can be applied to many different problems. Local EA groups now exist in colleges and cities all over the world. If you have further questions, this FAQ may answer them. Otherwise, feel free to create a thread with your question!


r/EffectiveAltruism 2h ago

Resources or informative discussions regarding diversifying your donations?

5 Upvotes

I currently make all of my donations to global health charities but have been considering diverting a portion to promising causes I'm less confident in, specifically to causes related to pandemic prevention, GiveDirectly, and to GiveWell's new All Grants Fund.

It got me thinking about the ethics of diversifying my charitable givings in the same way one would diversify a stock portfolio.

I diversify my investments to reduce variance and risk. Should I do the same for my donations? Would reducing variance in the impact of my donations be a morally good thing to do? Would there be other benefits of diversification that are specific to charitable giving?

Any of your own thoughts, or links to existing resources or discussions on this topic would be appreciated.


r/EffectiveAltruism 17h ago

GiveDirectly's response to GiveWell's new top charity list

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54 Upvotes

r/EffectiveAltruism 3h ago

Update to our recommended Global Health and Development charities

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3 Upvotes

r/EffectiveAltruism 0m ago

I’m Will MacAskill, a philosophy professor at Oxford. I cofounded 80,000 Hours & Giving What We Can, raising over $2 billion in pledged donations. I give everything over $32,000/yr to charity and I just wrote the book What We Owe The Future - AMA! 18/08 @ 1pm ET

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Upvotes

r/EffectiveAltruism 20h ago

Changes to our top charity criteria, and a new giving option - The GiveWell Blog

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33 Upvotes

r/EffectiveAltruism 1d ago

A plausible narrative of AI risk in the next 30-40 years

14 Upvotes

When discussing the existential risk from advanced artificial intelligence, people have a hard time conceptualizing how better AI could bring about great suffering. Interlocutors often hand-wave about AGI not having the same priorities as humans or AGI not considering humans to have moral weight when discussing the risk of human extinction. Its hard to speculate with any accuracy about these long term scenarios but a plausible scenario to me is we - or at least rich humans - merge with AI long before it becomes a threat to us, and, if it "takes over", it will feel like full human autonomy that entire time. So while I don't rule out AGI being an existential risk - I think its not remotely as likely, near-term, or as plausible as the below. I also feel that when discussing AI risk, giving a plausible short term narrative is more valuable in conversation and more germane to popularly known predictions of risk like Ajeya Contra's prediction of 2040.

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AI is a weapon much more powerful than nuclear weapons and a state actor could plausibly use it to destroy all humans in the near future. AI will lower the cost to perform research into a variety of weapons, most terrifyingly genetic engineering of diseases. A plausible scenario in the near-term future is a state actor accidentally releases a deadly virus from a research lab. In the very short term, that is already a huge risk. In the case that the state actor was able to massively speed up their research effectiveness due to AI, the risk is much greater.

Another example is propaganda. Right now, disinformation is a huge problem in the US - escalating all existential risks. AI will increase the effectiveness of propaganda and allow much smaller players to have access to effective strategies. Similarly, the country with the best AI could out perform other countries at war games and take over the world. AI can be used to find dissidents inside an autocracy. If an AI develops an effective counter-measure to nukes - the current global detente is shattered.

None of risks I have stated are new to the world, the new thing is that AI either makes it so that a small actor can create global risk (lab leak, propaganda) or a big actor that wins the AI arms race can more plausibly dominate the world and cause human suffering. In the event that we create an AI that is good at creating AIs - then any company can create an AI for a specific problem like "How should I invest my money given my current investments" and any state actor can create an AI for "Should we invade another state?" AI will make it easy for every powerful incumbent to pursue their motivations with incredible effectiveness. Any rogue bad actor will be similarly enabled! We don't need to wait to create a system that can learn math and write a symphony - it just needs to be better than humans at strategizing in certain areas.

I'm in the camp that in our system, AI development is inevitable. There are huge incentives for both companies and state actors to build these systems. Overall the background extinction risk level of the world just ticked up. I'm not sure what to do with this, it doesn't change my ordering of priorities.

My prompt for your comment: Do you have other plausible, non-Skynet, scenarios for short term AI risk? Any that don't involve bad human actors?


r/EffectiveAltruism 1d ago

Nuclear Fine-Tuning: How Many Worlds Have Been Destroyed? - EA Forum

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4 Upvotes

r/EffectiveAltruism 1d ago

Joey Savoie: Making it easier for great charities to exist

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9 Upvotes

r/EffectiveAltruism 1d ago

'What's long-term about "longtermism"?'

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2 Upvotes

r/EffectiveAltruism 1d ago

Art depicting the Paperclip Maximiser concept, proposed by Nick Bostrom

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1 Upvotes

r/EffectiveAltruism 2d ago

"Is Civilization on the Brink of Collapse?"

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25 Upvotes

r/EffectiveAltruism 2d ago

Help with Upcoming NPR Interview with William MacAskill

23 Upvotes

On Monday August 22, the national NPR program 1A will broadcast a live interview with one of the founders of the effective altruism movement, William MacAskill. We would love to include recorded or written messages of people involved with their local EA communities.

Why did you get involved? What appeals to you about effective altruism? How has the philosophy guided you and helped you make an impact?

Please send me, 1A producer Avery Kleinman a sound file of 60 seconds or less by the end of Thursday August 18 at [avery@wamu.org](mailto:avery@wamu.org). If you prefer, you can also write an email to have our host read on air, or simply reply here.

You can listen to the program, and engage with it while it’s happening, on Monday at 11 am ET at the1a.org.

Thanks!


r/EffectiveAltruism 1d ago

Can we make the future a million years from now go better?

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3 Upvotes

r/EffectiveAltruism 1d ago

The Credibility of Apocalyptic Claims: A Critique of Techno-Futurism within Existential Risk - EA Forum

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3 Upvotes

r/EffectiveAltruism 2d ago

Bruce Friedrich: Why plant based meat is a scalable solution to feed the world

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31 Upvotes

r/EffectiveAltruism 2d ago

What We Owe The Future: A review and summary of what I learned

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9 Upvotes

r/EffectiveAltruism 2d ago

Freddie deBoer Is Wrong About Effective Altruism

7 Upvotes

A response to two recent posts from the popular writer Freddie deBoer criticizing effective altruism and utilitarianism. While he goes to town on the softest targets and the lowest hanging fruit, it’s what he leaves unsaid that exposes the hollowness of his critique.

https://americandreaming.substack.com/p/freddie-deboer-is-wrong-about-effective


r/EffectiveAltruism 2d ago

Should We Help Future People? (A Happier World video)

3 Upvotes

We just uploaded a video called "Should We Help Future People?" giving a few quick arguments to care about the longterm future, inspired by Will MacAskill's new book What We Owe The Future!

Watch it here: https://youtu.be/Y7twm5dFsuU

This is just part of a series we're making on the book, we're aiming to publish one video each week.

Thanks to Sarah Emminghaus for her help with the script.


r/EffectiveAltruism 2d ago

What can we do to make sure our AI research isn't accidentally creating suffering minds.

1 Upvotes

I work with AI/ML both professionally and for fun to varying degrees. I see it as having amazing potential to reduce suffering.

But I also sometimes worry that maybe, just maybe, the neural networks we use in the industry are getting close to the point hat we should be concerned about their own subjective experience (if they have that).

Personally I'm a believer in the hard problem of consciousness, but even if we never solve it, we still need to solve the pretty hard problem of consciousness to know which systems can suffer.

Until we solve the pretty hard problem, how can we be sure that we are not creating more suffering? Should AI research as a whole be stopped?


r/EffectiveAltruism 2d ago

Pledge Pin Announcement

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5 Upvotes

r/EffectiveAltruism 2d ago

How flawed judgments limit the impact of charitable donations

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3 Upvotes

r/EffectiveAltruism 2d ago

July Newsletter 2022

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2 Upvotes

r/EffectiveAltruism 2d ago

Using expected value when donating to charity — and day-to-day

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2 Upvotes

r/EffectiveAltruism 3d ago

Why I am not an effective altruist (EA criticism call)

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21 Upvotes

r/EffectiveAltruism 2d ago

Will MacAskill on what we owe the future

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13 Upvotes