August 2019 Newsletter

Effective Altruism Global: London 2019 applications are now open, with the conference taking place on the 18th-20th October weekend.

This can be a really useful event if you've been reading EA related content online but haven't engaged with the community or related organisations in person yet, especially for people who are more advanced in their careers and considering a career switch or weighing up key uncertainties about causes/donations.

It's also a smaller conference than last year with 350 places, and over 200 applications already received, so if you are interested it is best to apply soon.

Early bird tickets are available at £299 until midnight on 31st July, and £399 thereafter, but you can choose to get up to 75% discounted off the price, which is roughly £75 for a ticket. If you're interested in volunteering it also makes sense to apply as at past conferences most volunteers were successful applicants.

You can learn more about the conference and apply here.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Using the Law to Help Animals
When: Thursday 1st August
An evening discussion organised by the UK Centre for Animal Law

Cellular Agriculture UK - Summer Meat and Great
When: Saturday 3rd August
A meetup in Regents Park to give people interested in cellular agriculture an opportunity to connect and chat

EA and Tech Meetup
When: Monday 5th August
Lightning talks by Vicky Clayton on the desirability of automating impact measurement and Ozzie Gooen on forecasting infrastructure followed by discussion for people interested in EA and tech

Stuart Russel on the Future of AI
When: Monday 7th October
An event organised by the How to Academy with Berkeley professor Stuart Russell looking at the potential for good and unintended consequences of AI

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

COMMUNITY NEWS 

• Meet the 13 charity entrepreneurs planning to start new effective charities in London. Thomas Billington, George Bridgwater, Joel Burke, Fiona Conlon, Vicky Cox, Clare Donaldson, Ishaan Guptasarma, Haven King-Nobles, Lauren Mee, Caleb Parikh, Michael Plant, Michal Trzesimiech and Varsha Venugopal

• Charlotte Stix won a rising star in AI award at CognitionX

• Haydn Belfield from CSER on a podcast answering questions about existential risks

• Jamie Harris with reflections on the effectiveness of grassroots protests

• Saulius Šimčikas with a report on how corporate campaigns affect 9 to 120 years of chicken life per dollar spent

• Richard Parr has set up The Good Food Institute Europe and is happy for people to reach out to them to find out more and/or join this mission

• A look at 24 tech startups from around Asia attempting to solve a range of problems, including health, climate and education, as part of Entrepreneur First co-founded by Matt Clifford



Story

Julia Wise writing about how nobody is a statistic.

"...I've been thinking about the documentary “The Life Equation” about how people use data to decide make life-and-death decisions. The central example is a woman named Crecencia, a mother of seven who lives in rural Guatemala and has cervical cancer. The doctor treating her knows that screening other women for cancer is more cost-effective than treating this woman, and that the community doesn’t have enough money to fully fund both.

The filmmaker writes: 'Crecencia’s life depends on decisions made by doctors and donors, decisions increasingly driven by Big Data. It’s a scientific, evidence-based approach that cuts through the emotion and promises to transform the lives of hundreds of millions. But who, and what, gets lost in the number crunching?'

The film is touching, depicting Crecencia’s prayers for healing, her relationship with her children, her fervent wish to stay alive. It asks how her doctor should decide between this individual patient and “statistics.”

Here’s the thing about those “statistics”: they’re all individuals.

The other women who don’t get screened, whose cancer isn’t caught in time? They’re people too. They have families. They want to stay alive too.

We’re more likely to help a person if we can see their face and know their name. People will actually give more money if they’re told it’s going to one child than to two children..." Read on


Latest Jobs

• The Future of Humanity Institute are hiring up to eleven new researchers, closing on 16th August

• GiveDirectly are hiring a partnerships associate and a people & compliance manager in the London office as well as various roles in Uganda, Malawi and Liberia

• Open Philanthropy have funding for graduate studies for people who want to work in AI policy careers, applications close October 15th

• Founders Pledge are looking for a graphic designer, researchers and a key relationship manager

• Open Philanthropy are hiring research fellows - remote

• The Vaccine Impact Modelling Consortium at Imperial are looking for a project coordinator, closing July 29th

• The Alan Turing Institute are looking for various roles including research associate for data science and ethics in the criminal justice system, data scientist, HR and finance

• UK intelligence agencies are looking to hire Mandarin linguists for a variety of roles

• Wave are hiring for a range of remote roles, including engineering, finance and operations

• Compassion in World Farming UK are looking for a head of fundraising. Based in Surrey

30+ roles at DeepMind and Deepmind Health, including research assistant, organisation designer and strategic policy researcher

• 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

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

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


Latest Research and Updates

• For people who are interested in long-termism and China, and have at least conversational Mandarin, there is a new fellowship to help people accelerate their careers in this area. Closes July 30th

• Anders Sandberg writing for the BBC on the biggest challenges humanity will face if we survive into the far future

• Larry Temkin writing in the Journal of Practical Ethics on the possible negatives of global aid, with responses from William MacAskill and Theron Pummer & Matthew Clark

• The EU is deciding how to invest 100,000,000,000 Euros of research and development money over the next few years, through the new Horizon Europe programme. If you have ideas on how this could be spent, they are surveying people here

• Rosie Campbell with a post on their favourite AI alignment and policy newsletters

• An article on why our current thoughts on recycling and landfill may be incorrect

• The Atlantic reporting on how Chinese scientists and philanthropists are trying to eradicate malaria in Kenya by giving antimalarial tablets to everyone there

• Marc Gunther looking at how a badly run charity can still get a 4 star rating from traditional charity raters

• World Economic Forum whitepaper outlining 8 actions to enable technology to ethically address mental ill-health at scale

• A look at Target Malaria, with a small-scale release of genetically modified sterile male mosquitoes in Burkina Faso

• National geographic looking at how AI can combat climate change

• 80,000 Hours with a calibration training tool to help improve your predictions

More than half of the people who live below the absolute poverty line are children despite only making up a third of the population

• William MacAskill with definitions of effective altruism and longtermism

• A new group for Buddhists interested in EA

• The Indian government is creating a new 'Nudge' unit to reform policy using behavioural economics

• A post on 5 actions governments and international funders should take to meet sustainable development goals, including keeping an up to date directory of interventions that need to be scaled

• Open Philanthropy with a post on how "GiveWell’s Top Charities Are (Increasingly) Hard to Beat"

• Uplift with 5 tips on how to compare apps that help with depression and the evidence behind these tools (Uplift themselves create their own app but are open about that)


Organisation Updates

Wild Animal Initiative with a 6 month update and fundraiser post

• The EA Funds have had some changes to three of the fund management teams

•The Center for Innovative Governance Research on why charter cities may be an impactful intervention

• CSER with an overview and notes of the APPG for Future Generations event on drones and the future of warfare and on negative emissions technology


Grants

• Open Phil have made 10 grants recently, including $2,000,000 on land use reform (California YIMBY), $933,000 on farm animal welfare, $680,000 on scientific research (Off-grid refrigeration challenge), $437,000 on global catastrophic risks, $440,000 on biosecurity and pandemic preparedness and $115,000 on criminal justice reform

• The Purple Orange Ventures fellowship is providing 120,000 EUR grant funding and mentorship for scientists and engineers to explore startup ideas to create or support the creation of products that mimic animal-based food products

• The Effective Altruism Foundation has opened applications for people interested in working on reducing risks of astronomical suffering. Closes 12th August


Research

• The UN released their multidimensional poverty index, demonstrating that labelling countries - or even households - as rich and poor is an oversimplification. Two-thirds of the multidimensionally poor live in middle-income countries. In India there were 271 million fewer people in poverty in 2016 than in 2006

• Lewis Bollard looking at whether companies will make good on their cage-free pledges

• A paper looking at how ethics classes with Peter Singer can affect animal consumption amongst students

• The Urban Institute with a literature review of the role of philanthropic funding in nuclear disarmament

• OpenAI with papers on why responsible AI development needs cooperation on safety

• Rethink Grants with a write up of their evaluation process for a corporate ambassador program

• A psychology paper on how helping socially distant others can result in negative perceptions by those closer

• The Global Catastrophic Risk Institute with a report on "Risk Trade-off Analysis of Nuclear Explosives for Asteroid Deflection"

• The Welcome Foundation with a global survey of 140,000 people on how they think about science and major health challenges, key figures including 79% agree that vaccines are safe and 72% trust scientists

• A cause profile on invertebrate welfare by Jason Schukraft


Vox

• Microsoft has a new billion dollar partnership with OpenAI to help build beneficial AI

• Looking at the first decade of the Giving Pledge, the campaign to change billionaire philanthropy

• How cryptocurrency is being used to help people in Venezuela, which is now the fourth largest bitcoin trading country in the world

• Vox covering Let's Fund research into public clean energy research and development as a potentially high impact donation opportunity

• An overview of the work by David Denkenberger at ALLFED, figuring out how to reduce the risk of starvation in the aftermath of global disasters


Podcasts

Helen Toner from the Center for Security and Emerging Technology talking to 80,000 Hours about common misconceptions when thinking about emerging tech and China

• Future Perfect looking at the value of moon exploration

• The Future of Life Institute with a podcast on whether nuclear weapons testing is coming back

• A podcast looking at why people generally find A/B testing uncomfortable

• A podcast from the Charities Aid Foundation looking at the history of EA and rational giving, including Scientific Philanthropy and how EA is different to these past movements


Effective altruism in media & blogs

• Inside Philanthropy looking at how Open Philanthropy has granted over $70,000,000 to criminal justice reform from an effective altruism perspective

Quartz looking at effective altruism and how it has changed over the last decade

• An article looking at why only 9% of donations in New Zealand go to international charities