April 2019 Newsletter

I've been thinking more about stories recently and how useful they can be, not only for increasing understanding of different views, but also providing memorable examples of how we can overcome problems we face and inspiring us to do more good.

The plan is to include an effective altruism related story with each newsletter, ranging from how people first got involved or how they used EA related ideas to solve a problem or make an important decision. This month there is an origin story from Michelle on why they started giving.

Doing Good with Technology
When: Tuesday 2nd April
A social event for people in software and tech to meet each other and think about ways we could do more good with our skills, interests and networks

80,000 Hours Podcast Discussion - Will MacAskill
When: Saturday 6th April
A meetup to discuss the 80,000 Hours podcast

EA Peer Support Group
When: Saturday 20th April
A group to provide a supportive community to turn to, and in particular a friendly, listening ear

Monthly Picnic Social
When: Saturday 27th April
No structure - just come along and chat with others who are trying to do good, hopefully in the sun

Crick Chat on Malaria
When: Thursday 2nd May
An event by the Francis Crick Institute - A talk and discussion on the latest research on malaria from scientists and collaborators at the institute

EA Academic Dinner
When: May
If you're an academic interested in talking to other academics about how EA intersects with your profession, research and teaching then fill in the expression of interest form above 

EA Global London
When: 18th-20th October
EA Global London will take place this year near the Barbican. Applications will open later this year.

What Londoners are up to . . . 

• CSER postdoc Ellen Quigley with a letter to the Financial Times signed by business and civil society leaders and academics on improving business school rankings

• Edie Bowles has set up the first UK law firm dedicated to animal protection

• Jess Whittlestone with a paper on the role and limits of principles in AI ethics for the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence

• Charlotte Stix with an overview of the EU's AI ecosystem

• Kimberley Jayne has published a book on the benefits of ending animal experimentation, with a foreword by Peter Singer

• Victoria Krakovna of DeepMind writing about designing incentives to avoid side effects

• A transcript of the talk Vicky Bond of THL gave at EA Global London - "How Corporate Reform is Changing the Landscape for Animals"

• James Snowden on what it's like to work at GiveWell

• Richard Parr, the new GFI managing director for Europe, is quoted in this BBC article on UK scientists producing cell-based meat

• Carolyn Henry talking about the work that SCI does in eliminating parasitic worms

• Stefan Schubert on the psychology of existential risk and long-termism

• A profile in the Times on Demis Hassabis, one of the founders of DeepMind

• Saulius Šimčikas won an EA forum prize for their post "Will companies meet their animal welfare commitments?"

EA Story
Michelle Hutchinson on how they first got involved with effective altruism and what motivated them to give.

"I’ve been vaguely involved in charity since school – organising penny races, hassling the other kids to bake cakes for bake sales, volunteering at Oxfam. But I didn’t feel particularly motivated, because it was all a little ad hoc. We didn’t really know what causes to support, and mostly we were setting up things events we enjoyed (like selling goes with a toy gun trying to shoot down tin cans in a classroom!).

I actually studied Peter Singer’s arguments in Philosophy class, and found it really compelling that when I had an income I ought to donate a significant proportion of it, given how much more benefit others could get from it. But no-one else seemed to believe that, or act on it, so I just figured I wouldn’t end up caring either.

At Oxford, similar factors still let me rationalise inaction. In particular, I didn’t really know where to donate – there are so many charities, and I didn’t feel I had any way to justify giving to one rather than another. I think the first time that really changed was during my Masters..."  Read on

Latest Jobs
• 3IE are hiring an evaluations specialist in international development

• LSHTM are looking for a research fellow in modelling emerging infections

• A job board for roles in cellular agriculture companies

• Beyond Carnism are looking for a director of operations.

• CEA are looking for an operations specialist. Closes 5th April

• Founders Pledge are looking for a head of brand and researchers

• The Behavioural Insights team are looking for advisors in international development and energy/environment as well as a research assistant

• A job board for roles in British politics and think tanks

• J-PAL have over 50 roles around the world

• Several roles at DeepMind and Deepmind Health, including brand managergovernment relationsethics research scientist and ethics research intern

• The Centre for Security and Emerging Technology in Washington DC are looking for researchers, data scientists and program staff

• Grants manager role for the International Rescue Committee. Closes 3rd of April

• 80,000 Hours job board with filters by location, problem area and role type. You can also sign up to their career coaching waitlist here

• If you want to meet up and discuss career options in person, you can apply via this form

• There is also the EA London members directory with people in different careers who may be able to help advise

Latest Research and Updates
• A BBC article on whether we can reinvent democracy for the long-term future

• A post on the Long-Time project - which is looking at existential risks from a cultural and artistic perspective and how these will be crucial for shifting beliefs, including 5 pathways to thinking in a long term way - "Our short-termism means we are effectively colonising the future, prioritising our own short-term gains over the future collective good."

• If you're interested in being interviewed on why you've taken the Giving What We Can pledge for a written series to inspire others - contact Alexandra on this Facebook link

• A post from Jeremy who got an unexpected response from a Facebook post offering to give books to friends and will fund you to give away copies of Doing Good Better

• A 30-million page archive of human knowledge has been sent to the moon to help preserve civilisation

Organisation Updates
• A write up from SHIC on why they are suspending outreach operations following their impact report

• Charity Entrepreneurship with a post on what to expect on their charity incubation program

• Forethought Foundation have a £2000 prize for undergraduate thesis in global priorities research

• Open Phil with reflections on their 2018 researcher hiring process

• 80,000 Hours with an updated article on how to make a tough career decision, including a decision making tool

• CSER giving advice to the UN High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation 

• CSER also leading a UK government review of the economics of biodiversity

• Malaria Consortium have announced a 5 year programme to reduce the burden of malaria in Nigeria, which accounts for 25% of all malaria cases worldwide

• Q&A with the founding director of the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET)

• WHO have launched a new global influenza strategy aimed at protecting people in all countries

• ICT Mumbai and GFI are setting up the worlds first cellular agriculture research centre in Maharashtra

• A summary of the Google flood forecasting meets ML workshop event, where they believe it can help the hundreds of millions of people affected by floods every year

• The Good Food Conference is happening in California this September (noisy link)

• The worlds leading behavioural science conference is in London on the 5th and 6th of September, with past EA Global speakers Cass Sunstein and Rachel Glennerster

• Open Phil have made 2 grants since February, with $2,500,000 for Schistosomiasis Control Initiative and $1,800,000 for The Center for Election Science

• Open Phil have announced a $6,000,000 prize to any group who successfully develops a technology that can accurately and rapidly determine if a chick is male as early as possible in the egg production process

• CEDIL have a call for proposals on impact evaluation research to commission £9,500,000 of research projects

• Charity Entrepreneurship with research on meat reductionhumane slaughter & transportincreasing the price of animal products and fish feed optimisation as potential new charity ideas

• Research from the CGD on education that finds girl-targeted interventions and general interventions deliver similar gains

• Founders Pledge with research into existential risks, recommending 3 charities. The Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins University, The Biosecurity Initiative at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and The Center for Human-Compatible AI

• An NBER paper looking at whether celebrity endorsements affect beliefs about vaccination

• A global study looking at the link between democratic governance and adult health

• The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine Outcome Monitoring Project has found that major medical journals don’t follow their own rules for reporting results from clinical trials 

• ONS have released their personal and economic well-being in the UK report, showing changes over the last decade

• BIT with a report on applying behavioural insights to international development, including combating corruption in Nigeria, improving responses to intimate partner violence in Georgia, promoting financial inclusion in Mexico, building tax capacity in Indonesia and increasing medication adherence in Moldova

• How movement capture shaped the fight for civil rights

• Why disaster relief is so hard

• Why some scientists are saying that p-values and 'statistical significance' should be used less

• Stanford has a new Institute for Human-Centered AI, launched with a speech by Bill Gates - “The world hasn’t had that many technologies that are both promising and dangerous the way AI is"

• How deadly pathogens have escaped the lab multiple times 

• Consumers in China and India are more likely than Americans to be okay with purchasing lab-grown meat

• 80,000 Hours podcast with OpenAI on how policy can keep up with advances in technology

• Nick Bostrom on the Sam Harris podcast talking about existential risks

• An FLI podcast with Max Tegmark looking at DNA, bio-weapons and biological existential risks

• A BBC Radio 4 segment on whether humanity will survive the century featuring interviews with people from FHI, CSER, FLI and GCR

• A podcast with Seth Baum of GCR talking about the long term future

Effective altruism in media & blogs
• Inside Philanthropy looking at why an effective altruism donor has given millions to AI security

• A firsthand account of GiveDirectly's work in Kenya

• A BBC article on Development Media International and the results of their randomised controlled trial looking into radio interventions

• The Council on Foreign Relations on the continuing risk of nuclear war

Good news roundup
• Angola has decriminalised same-sex conduct

• The Central African Republic has signed a peace deal after 7 years of conflict