What new EA project or org would you like to see created in the next 3 years?

post by Ozzie Gooen (oagr) · 2019-06-11T20:56:42.687Z · score: 64 (31 votes) · EA · GW · 76 comments

This is a question post.

Contents

  Answers
    29 jpaddison
    29 Ozzie Gooen
    24 Ozzie Gooen
    19 aarongertler
    18 Ozzie Gooen
    15 RomeoStevens
    15 SiebeRozendal
    15 Halffull
    12 SiebeRozendal
    12 Halffull
    9 SiebeRozendal
    8 richard_ngo
    7 Misha_Yagudin
    7 Michal_Trzesimiech
    7 casebash
    6 SiebeRozendal
    6 aarongertler
    5 Halffull
    5 Halffull
    4 SiebeRozendal
None
5 comments

I'm curious to hear other's thoughts on they think would be useful.

Please don't hold back ideas! There's very little harm positing silly or unlikely ideas, but there is some potential value (perhaps more than you realize).

Inspired in part by calebo's comment here

Answers

answer by jpaddison · 2019-06-13T18:09:23.304Z · score: 29 (14 votes) · EA · GW

EA Student Loans

Give out student loans at ~market rates to EAs, with work that is high-impact but lower-than-counterfactual-salary counting as credit towards the loans.

Many talented EAs spend time in college or graduate school TA-ing to save money, or let financial constraints influence their trajectory. It seems risky to just throw money at people with a long time horizon of pay-off, and the risk that they'll just turn around and use that PhD to do unaligned work. This project would require an initial source of funds (perhaps even a traditional bank loan), and a funder that would be willing to commit to pay off the loans once they were satisfied with the impact of the post-graduation work of the debtor.

I believe this idea has been kicking around in my head after a conversation with Amy Labenz.

comment by Ozzie Gooen (oagr) · 2019-06-13T18:44:15.999Z · score: 8 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Seconded. I've loaned someone else money and heard of other loans, and it seems to have worked out pretty well.

comment by Ozzie Gooen (oagr) · 2019-06-24T14:56:10.567Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

While I like this idea, I'm kind of surprised it reached the top here. I'm curious; do other commenters have come across many people who this would have been helpful for? Can people describe these cases a bit, along with what kind of loan setup would have been most useful?

comment by Habryka · 2019-06-24T20:44:42.484Z · score: 12 (5 votes) · EA · GW

I was given a student loan by an EA, which I think was likely a major factor in me being able to work on the things I am working on now.

comment by Ozzie Gooen (oagr) · 2019-06-26T05:26:42.923Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

That sounds like it was a pretty effective spend then. That is pretty good evidence.

answer by Ozzie Gooen · 2019-06-11T21:23:15.187Z · score: 29 (17 votes) · EA · GW

An EA Fiscal Sponsor

There are several reasons why small orgs may want nonprofit status or similar. Official nonprofit status can take many months to get in the US, and cost $10-30k of attorney fees.

One solution is to get Fiscal Sponsorship from another trusting org, but I don't believe many EA orgs are focussed on being the Fiscal Sponsor of many new and small groups.

There are already many groups that act primarily as fiscal sponsors for other orgs, so it is a pretty tried-and-true model. https://fiscalsponsordirectory.org

With all of the EA Funds and CEA community grants coming out, I could imagine a lot of groups may want to become more formal organizations.

comment by casebash · 2019-06-13T14:42:10.952Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Suggesting a tried and true model is a major plus!

comment by nonzerosum · 2019-06-24T20:53:34.199Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

This fiscal sponsor org would get to learn a lot about what different EA aligned donors do and don't like donating to, so you could imagine it providing a helpful service to donors (and EA orgs) of suggesting them orgs that they may be interested in checking out, based on their donation patterns. I could imagine this being appreciated by the donors given that it could have enough data points to make genuinely useful recommendations when those opportunities arise.

comment by David_Kristoffersson · 2019-06-26T17:52:19.604Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Fiscal sponsorship can be very helpful for new groups!

Though regarding attorney fees:

Official nonprofit status can take many months to get in the US, and cost $10-30k of attorney fees.

Where are you getting this from? Attorney fees are on the order of $2-5k.

https://nonprofitelite.com/how-much-will-it-cost-to-get-501c3-tax-exempt-2/

CPA’s and attorneys who specialize in nonprofit organizations routinely charge $2,500–$5,000 for preparation of IRS Form 1023 applications for small organizations, and $6,000-$15,000 for more complex ventures. 

The following two firms used to post public quotes on the order of $2-3k in 2018 (it seems they've taken down the public quotes):

https://www.501c3.org/501c3-services/start-a-501c3-nonprofit/

https://www.harborcompliance.com/nonprofit

Starting a non-profit includes non-trivial amounts of other kinds of work though.

comment by Ozzie Gooen (oagr) · 2019-06-27T05:27:04.702Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Interesting. This came from chats I had with an attorney. That said, they were based in SF, so maybe their prices were higher. I also asked how much it would cost to do "everything", which I think meant more than strictly file the IRS Form 1023. I believe there's a lot of work that could be done by either yourself or the attorney, and I would hope that in many cases we could generally lean more on the attorney for that work.

answer by Ozzie Gooen · 2019-06-11T21:06:11.898Z · score: 24 (14 votes) · EA · GW

An org/project that basically provides easy access to a whole bunch of vetted remote talent for EA organizations.

Our ability to scale current direct workers seems important, and one possible way is by augmenting them with lots of remote help. The costs to set up contractor relationships are considerable, so it often doesn't make sense to set up a relationship if an organization would just use it for themselves.

This organization would interview & organize work with many specialized skillsets, and help provide them on demand.

Some ideas of ways to help:

  • Research assistance
  • Writing help
  • Presentation help
  • Minor web work
  • Bookkeeping
  • Lawyers
comment by aarongertler · 2019-06-15T05:53:58.599Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · EA · GW

How similar is this to what BERI already does for X-risk organizations? I know they help organizations find contractors for research and web design, and I think they've contracted other types of work in the past.

comment by Moses · 2019-06-24T14:50:58.491Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

The costs to set up contractor relationships are considerable

I'm curious, how does that work in the US? Why is contract work different in this regard from receiving services from any other type of supplier?

comment by Ozzie Gooen (oagr) · 2019-06-24T14:54:40.901Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

There are typically many contractors to choose from, and it's difficult to evaluate their quality. For instance, if you want a virtual assistant, it may take several interviews and trials until you find one you like.

I'm not sure what kinds of suppliers you are referring to. If it's simple things like, "buy paper from this company on Amazon", that's typically simpler. The reviews are more indicative of performance and there are often fewer alternatives.

comment by Moses · 2019-06-24T16:22:36.065Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Oh, I thought you refer to some kind of legal costs. You mean costs of vetting. Right. As has been noted: EA is vetting constrained [EA · GW], EA is network constrained [EA · GW].

But this is the case with employees as well, isn't it? It's just about vetting people in general.

One thing I notice, looking at the 80k job board, is that not that many EA(-adjacent) orgs are interested in remote workers.

comment by Ozzie Gooen (oagr) · 2019-06-26T05:25:34.169Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

One difference is that orgs can share contractors, but not employees. For instance, my designer only spends around 1-3 hours per week, so has lots of time to help other groups, like EA groups. I'm thinking of low-time, skill-specific workers (the jobs in that list would all only work a few hours per month or similar)

comment by Moses · 2019-06-26T07:06:34.016Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Ah, got it.

answer by aarongertler · 2019-06-15T06:03:46.566Z · score: 19 (12 votes) · EA · GW

A small battalion of people who generate positive interactions when EA comes up on social media.

I read most of the tweets anyone ever writes that mention EA. Sometimes, I'll intervene when I see an inaccurate statement from someone who means well and try to offer a cheerful correction. Or I'll jump into a conversation that's gone south and make a joke to lighten the mood. As one person, I'm not going to shift the tone of an Internet's worth of conversations, but...

...well, what if people knew of EA as "the nicest, most helpful people on the internet"? They might hate our ideas, but what if they couldn't help but admire our honesty, our charitableness, our kindness?

(I've seen Kelsey Piper convert multiple people toward EA positions on Tumblr through relentless application of the virtues above, so maybe I just want an organization full of Kelsey Pipers?)

comment by anonymous_ea · 2019-06-18T23:33:20.030Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · EA · GW

If done well this could be good, but I worry that a concerted effort will most likely come across as fake or insincere and turn out to be a negative.

comment by aarongertler · 2019-06-19T19:22:03.802Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I share this concern. I think this would be very hard to do, and I'd only want to see it happen conditional on there existing enough people with the skills to pull it off. Kelsey Piper exists, which means this kind of work is possible, but I don't know how well sincerity can be taught.

comment by Ozzie Gooen (oagr) · 2019-06-19T19:58:51.382Z · score: 3 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I think this could be cool, but agree that the people should be pretty good. Perhaps it would work better with 1-3 "ambassadors" who are specifically chosen for being able to do this well, and do it full-time.

I wouldn't be as enthusiastic about random people trying this with lots of important people online, due to the complexity.

answer by Ozzie Gooen · 2019-06-11T21:29:24.536Z · score: 18 (12 votes) · EA · GW

Evaluations-on-Demand

There have been several attempts at making public cost-effectiveness models, but they are often made by people who are working on the relevant research. For instance, organization in area X making an estimate to show that X is cost-effective.

It would be nice to have another agency agree to make their own models, or to go through existing models and check them for validity, similar to a penetration tester.

answer by RomeoStevens · 2019-06-19T22:26:19.497Z · score: 15 (6 votes) · EA · GW

An org devoted to researching measurement methods that are relevant to human welfare. Because no one wants to fund this directly it only gets worked on indirectly at orgs working on other things.

answer by SiebeRozendal · 2019-06-15T14:42:09.578Z · score: 15 (8 votes) · EA · GW

EA Hackathon

A multiple-day event in which people (mostly EA's) work to solve a set of problems. These problems can be in any cause area, as long as a solution could plausibly be cost-effective.

Organizations could send in problem cases, or participants could identify their own. In fact, this thread might already give a nice list of possible problems/solutions to work on!

The event can be made more complex by adding in rounds, which filter the good solutions from mediocre and bad solutions. In further rounds, promising teams/individuals could be matched with a coach. The best few ideas get funding to take the next step in solving the problem (e.g. creating a minimum viable product).

comment by Ozzie Gooen (oagr) · 2019-06-19T15:14:13.466Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

After competing in multiple hackathons, I've found that they rarely produce useful work. It's actually quite a bit of work to extract and formalize problems (from organizations). I feel like around EA, I'm not sure how many problems there are suitable to hackathons.

That said, they can be good for networking / experimenting with working with different groups. I'm happy I went through the hackathons I did, but more for skill building than direct output.

I think overall I'd expect them to be a decent use of a weekend, but would expect the output to be similar to that of other hackathons (i.e. not that much, so just expect that). ~2 days isn't that much, both in costs and expected benefits.

comment by SiebeRozendal · 2019-06-18T16:45:51.189Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I'm quite surprised to see this is the least upvoted of my ideas, as I thought it is a nice meta-suggestion and addresses a big constraint: capacity and coordination to get projects off the ground. Looking at the other suggestions, one think that jumps out is that they are very concrete and have a narrow scope - this makes it easier to see the value and easier to evaluate success, while this project is wider and has a lot left to fill in.

Could anyone comment why they are not upvoting this idea?

comment by David_Moss · 2019-06-19T00:31:40.032Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I didn't see the comment previously (until I saw these comments asking about why it hadn't been upvoted just now). I would speculate that one reason might be that the term 'Hackathon' is often associated just with programming or similar activities (which would be much less interesting than a general EA collective problem-solving event) and so people might have skimmed over it without reading the details.

comment by SiebeRozendal · 2019-06-19T07:24:30.777Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Huh. It's received 9 upvotes since my comment. Goes to show that upvotes reward early comments/answers earlier and answers to this questions should not be viewed as a poll!

comment by Ozzie Gooen (oagr) · 2019-06-19T15:11:54.896Z · score: 6 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Definitely agreed here. It's pretty frustrating, but there's definitely a bias towards early things.

comment by anonymous_ea · 2019-06-18T23:40:07.303Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I didn't see this comment earlier. Having read it, this seems like one of the best ideas here and certainly worth trying. I would also be curious to see if there are strong arguments against this idea.

answer by Halffull · 2019-06-13T14:23:15.827Z · score: 15 (6 votes) · EA · GW

An early stage incubator that can provide guidance and funding for very small projects, like Charity Entrepreneurship but on a much more experimental scale.

comment by Ozzie Gooen (oagr) · 2019-06-19T19:48:50.761Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

To add a bit here; I think there are a bunch of small projects coming up (like all those funded by the Long-Term Fund. They could probably use several kinds of infrastructure. An incubator could be nice, but there could also be other kinds of services provided without quite that specific setup.

comment by remmelt · 2019-06-26T12:35:05.294Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

@Ozzie, I'm curious what kinds of infrastructures you think would be worth offering.

(I'm exploring offering Asana Business + coaching to entrepreneurs starting on projects)


comment by Ozzie Gooen (oagr) · 2019-06-27T05:53:50.740Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I'm honestly not too sure, but could imagine a bunch of different things.

  • nonprofit sponsorship (as described above)
  • operations support
  • coaching / advice (there are lots of things to provide help here with)
  • contractor support

Why are you thinking of Asana Business? Like, you would provide free Asana Business accounts?

answer by SiebeRozendal · 2019-06-15T15:16:15.856Z · score: 12 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Anti-extinction website

A website to deter rogue individuals from developing ideas to ‘destroy the world’ by showing that it's just a very bad idea given their values (e.g. A failed attempt will only make the world worse). The website would specifically target people visiting pro-extinction websites or searching the internet for things like ‘how to destroy the world’.

This project would require a very delicate approach and ideally would attract very little attention from people uninterested in destroying the world. We don't want to give anyone bad ideas. The text on it would require careful phrasing. The project probably would need buy-in from knowledgeable stakeholders (FHI, CSER, FLI, EAF, perhaps even the CIA?), a secure website, and very careful targeting.

comment by Khorton · 2019-06-15T22:16:52.226Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · EA · GW

This is fascinating. I don't know if it's a good idea or a terrible idea, which is why I haven't upvoted or downvoted it, but it's a very interesting idea.

comment by Ozzie Gooen (oagr) · 2019-06-19T19:50:03.573Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

+1 for originality. Perhaps if it were deemed EV-positive in expectation, it could start as just a well-written blog post on the EA Forum or similar.

comment by barryl · 2019-06-18T21:08:24.328Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

For inspiration on implementation, see: Planet Money #915 How to Meddle In An Election

answer by Halffull · 2019-06-13T14:24:36.332Z · score: 12 (7 votes) · EA · GW

An organization dedicated to studying how to make other organizations more effective, that runs small scale experiments based on the existing literature, then helps EA orgs adopt best practices.

answer by SiebeRozendal · 2019-06-15T14:53:15.201Z · score: 9 (6 votes) · EA · GW

EA e-learning community:

Problem:

EA's are focused a lot on learning, but are doing this inefficiently: they study alone, without a syllabus, often without peers, and without getting feedback and evaluation on their learning outcomes.

Solution:

There are many e-learning tools, much more than just MOOC videos, that can be used, although I'm not familiar with them. A learning community could be created within an existing e-learning platform.

People in EA are smart; a lot of value can be gained by facilitating people help each other through carefully designed learning programs. Q&A's with EA researchers whose work is on the syllabus could be arranged to minimize time needed for teaching. The e-learning course/community could also create structure and accountability to get things done, as well as assist students in signalling their EA-relevant knowledge and skills. For example, they could show they passed a course on 'creating good Fermi estimates'.

comment by Ozzie Gooen (oagr) · 2019-06-24T15:01:09.814Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I know there was one Discord group for rationalists learning math that seemed pretty useful.

Separately, there's been a decent amount of work on AI specifically. I was personally matched with a few other people near me to learn about ML, and we did have several sessions, which was pretty nice.

I'd encourage more experiments here. One common thread (you'll likely see in several responses) is that I'd encourage you to think small at first, as in an MVP. Maybe some early versions would look like Slack/Discord groups for one specific niche.

If you (anyone reading this) are interested, I recommend applying to the EA Funds or similar. I imagine some interventions here may be quite cheap, but useful. I'd be happy to review your application or discuss if you do.

comment by SiebeRozendal · 2019-06-25T09:25:29.197Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I'd encourage more experiments here. One common thread (you'll likely see in several responses) is that I'd encourage you to think small at first, as in an MVP. Maybe some early versions would look like Slack/Discord groups for one specific niche.

I totally agree with this sentiment. And I might do an experiment myself in the future :) I don't think funding is necessary for any of these experiments though.

What I like about their eventually being a platform/community to learn about EA-relevant stuff is:

  • It provides a Schelling point, which helps people find learning partners easier, which makes it more likely for learning groups to get started
  • It is scalable
  • It introduces people to knowledge that might be useful that they would not have found on their own
  • It makes it easier for less-connected people to get engaged
  • It provides more tools and offers some best practices, making it easy for groups to get more value out of the experience
  • It lowers the barrier to get started and could serve as a clear next step to become more engaged in EA
answer by richard_ngo · 2019-06-19T21:15:59.111Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Collection and curation of EA content from across the internet in a way that's accessible to newcomers, easily searchable, and will last for decades (at least). Seems like it wouldn't take that long to do a decent job, doesn't require uncommon skills, and could be pretty high-value.

I would be open to paying people to do this; message me if interested.

comment by Habryka · 2019-06-24T19:45:22.914Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · EA · GW

We have basically all of the technology to do that on the EA Forum as soon as CEA activates the sequences and recommendations features, which I expect to happen at some point in the next few weeks.

comment by Ozzie Gooen (oagr) · 2019-06-24T14:57:39.841Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Just curious; do you have opinions on the EAHub, and/or thoughts on how it could do better? That seems to be attempting with some of the content work.

https://eahub.org

comment by richard_ngo · 2019-06-19T21:16:49.387Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I was particularly reminded of this by spending twenty minutes yesterday searching for an EA blog I wanted to cite, which has somehow vanished into the aether. EDIT: never mind, found it.


answer by Misha_Yagudin · 2019-06-17T10:37:37.700Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · EA · GW

EA longitudinal studies

I think the movement might benefit from uncovering predictors of value drift / EA specific causes of mental health issues. It would be interesting to see how ideas propagate from the leaders to the followers.

Also, delegating all the surveys to the central planner might make them more well-thought and might make it easier to integrate the results of different surveys into conclusions.

comment by Peter_Hurford · 2019-06-17T17:00:06.280Z · score: 10 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Note that it is possible to do longitudinal analysis with the EA Survey, and we have done some in the past (such as for retention [EA · GW], GWWC pledge keeping [EA · GW], and changes in cause preferences [EA · GW]). I'd be happy to help walk people through how they can do their own longitudinal analyses and what the relevant caveats are.

answer by Michal_Trzesimiech · 2019-06-16T08:27:20.772Z · score: 7 (3 votes) · EA · GW

There's another list that's kept in here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1yzmg02j8PnvjlV_KX3Vf_u9TNdAS63N-9xy2txmTg-A/edit#gid=957019158. (Posting to make sure you're aware. I think gathering good ideas is important.)

answer by casebash · 2019-06-13T14:35:42.672Z · score: 7 (5 votes) · EA · GW

A URL shortening service. It would be nice if, for example, ea.link/sydney took you to the group page for Sydney, ea.link/cost-effectiveness provided a link to a nice landing page for reading more about cost effectiveness and ea.link/forum linked to the ea forum. The Czech EA association currently owns the ea.link URL, but no-one has picked up this project yet.

comment by Halffull · 2019-06-13T14:47:54.617Z · score: 8 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Note that this is quite easy to do. Give me or someone else that's competent access to the server for a few hours, and we can install Yourls or another existing url shortening tool.

comment by Jan_Kulveit · 2019-06-14T23:06:13.481Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · EA · GW

If people think this is generally good idea I would guess CZEA can make it running in few weeks. Most of the work likely comes from curating the content, not from setting up the service

comment by AviNorowitz (AviN) · 2019-06-14T04:44:23.455Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

You can do this for free with Rebrandly, though only the admin account can create links.

comment by casebash · 2019-06-14T13:38:02.830Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Interesting, unfortunately teammates are only available on the $500 per month version :-(

comment by AviNorowitz (AviN) · 2019-06-14T23:44:55.717Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

You can share one login and password among multiple people if you trust your team members enough.

answer by SiebeRozendal · 2019-06-15T15:10:52.757Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Cause prioritization tool

Cause prioritization is complex, and going through it takes time. The relevant considerations are often unstructured and require a lot of work to discover. This leads so sub-optimal cause prioritization. This can be done much better.

An interactive cause prioritization tool could help people go through relevant considerations. I am imagining something like the GPP’s flowchart, but where are asked only one question at a time.

Features could include:

  • Ability to save progress and return later
  • Insight into how other users answered the question
  • Ability to link to relevant arguments

It should ideally be community-driven (the community can suggest considerations, and the community can vote on the importance of a particular consideration).

answer by aarongertler · 2019-06-15T06:00:25.727Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · EA · GW

An organization/service that helps EA get positive media attention.

This doesn't necessarily mean generating extra news articles about EA, but if a journalist already wants to write about EA or one of our main cause areas, I'd love if they had extremely reliable access to people who know how to talk to journalists, come up with pithy but accurate quotes, etc.

CEA helps EA organizations and groups with the basics of media interaction now, but we're basically reactive; we hear about people who want to do stories, and we talk to them or give advice to those who will be talking with them. I'd love to see something proactive, like a service journalists know they can use to get strong material on AI, poverty, and other such topics.

(This may be doable by having a few people join Help a Reporter, but there's still the question of having folks trained in media interaction.)

answer by Halffull · 2019-06-13T14:26:26.228Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · EA · GW

A tool that makes systems modelling (with sinks, flows, and feedback and feedforward loop) as easy as Monte Carlo modelling was made with Guesstimate.

comment by Ozzie Gooen (oagr) · 2019-06-19T19:52:36.582Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

One thing I'd note is that Guesstimate took quite a bit of time (maybe around 1.5 years engineering/PM time.) I'd guess is that if you were to try to pay for someone to make something similar, it could cost quite a bit (>$200k.)

It may be possible to start with simple Python library with some visualizations or similar.

comment by Halffull · 2019-06-19T21:03:54.305Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Do you think that Guesstimate has not yet made $200,000 worth of value for the world? I'm legitimately unsure about this point but my priors say its' at least possible that it's added that much value in time saved and better estimates. I think that systems modelling could have similar impacts.

comment by Ozzie Gooen (oagr) · 2019-06-21T17:22:14.986Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I would like to think it's worth it, and wasn't suggesting that this would make the project not-worth-it, but just wanted to make it more clear what the costs would be.

Given that the costs are significant (though possibly justifiable), one easier approach would be with small solution to start.

comment by casebash · 2019-06-13T14:30:54.996Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

What would you use it for?

comment by Halffull · 2019-06-13T14:46:15.212Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Impact assessments. I think our ability to do impact assesments are bounded by our tools (for instance, they were on average much worse before guesstimate). If EAs started regularly modelling complex feedback loops because there was a readily available tool for it, I think the quality of thinking and estimates would go up by quite a bit.

answer by Halffull · 2019-06-13T14:25:24.692Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Charity Entrepreneurship, but for for-profits.

comment by Ozzie Gooen (oagr) · 2019-06-13T18:43:20.157Z · score: 8 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Would this basically be an incubator? Would it be for EAs only? (If not, what would distinguish it from other business incubators?)

comment by Halffull · 2019-06-14T19:01:09.839Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Incubators usually take founders and ideas together, whereas I like the Charity Entrepreneurship approach of splitting up those tasks, and that it would fit the EA community well.

I think there are opportunities for lots of high expected value startups, when taking the approach that the goal is to do as much good as possible, for instance:

1. Proving a market for things that are good for the world, like Tesla's strategy.

2. Identifying startups that could have high negative value if externalities are ignored, and trying to have an EA aligned startup be a winner in that space.

3. Finding opportunities that may be small or medium in terms of profitability, but have high positive externalities.

The difference between this and any other incubator is that this would not be measuring just profitability as its' main measure, but also working to measure the externalities of the company's, and aim to create a portfolio that does the highest good for the world.

comment by Ozzie Gooen (oagr) · 2019-06-19T19:55:40.466Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

My current guess is that there's not actually that much room for high-impact startups. It's really, really hard to successfully create a C-corp, let alone optimizing for strategy at the same time. Now that there is significant money available for nonprofit ventures, it seems much less of a draw than it used to.

There are almost no ideas I have for what very useful startups would look like, at least things that I wouldn't expect could be more effective as nonprofits (at least for the first few years).

Happy to be proven wrong of course! Also happy to provide feedback on specific ideas if people are interested.

comment by Halffull · 2019-06-19T21:00:54.968Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I have the reverse intuition here. I think that in general while optimizing profit doesn't make sense, creating sustainable business models that fund their own growth provides many opportunities for impact that simply taking other peoples money doesn't.

answer by SiebeRozendal · 2019-06-15T15:02:49.227Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Guided meditation recordings for EAs

I think meditation is a very interesting medium for learning that we aren't using much yet. Guided meditation recordings are highly scalable and can be used to deal with specific challenges that (effective) altruists encounter, like these by Holly Morgan, or to teach elements from the Replacing Guilt Series.

I would be very interested in seeing someone do a few of these to test the idea. Plausibly, this only becomes effective once the EA has grown substantially in size.

Two other topics suitably for a guided meditation recording:

  • EA events (retreats, conferences) can be very exciting and very taxing, and the meditation could help to calm people down, refresh, process what's going on, set intention or reflect on one's intention, prioritize, etc.
  • Demotivated moments: sometimes EA feels like running against a wall - the effort just seems a complete waste, and it'd be nice to have some meditation to turn to. It could help people to deal healthily with setbacks by trying to learn from them, and then accepting whatever is.

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comment by Ozzie Gooen (oagr) · 2019-06-11T21:33:47.448Z · score: 18 (8 votes) · EA · GW

Related: Some "Top Charity Ideas" by Charity Entrepreneurship: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/ykwQCpBxL3qPKAAqx/top-charity-ideas-2019-charity-entrepreneurship [EA · GW]

An old LessWrong thread on startup ideas: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/YbCc3NRrr5avvWSHT/who-wants-to-start-an-important-startup

comment by John_Maxwell_IV · 2019-06-14T20:57:42.566Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

There's also this post [EA · GW] plus comments.

comment by Ozzie Gooen (oagr) · 2019-06-12T21:42:06.803Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Please do give ideas! Even simple ones are appreciated.

comment by jpaddison · 2019-06-13T18:10:56.856Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Something interesting to note is that most of these are bottlenecked on two skillsets.

1) Entrepreneurship (unsurprisingly)

2) Ops

comment by Ozzie Gooen (oagr) · 2019-06-13T18:44:37.083Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I'd agree. I find these skills undervalued in EA compared to research.

That said, for research tasks, it's possible to do much of that in existing orgs; so the marginal new org may not be as relevant. If I instead asked, "what new research areas would you want to see investigated" I imagine I may have had a bunch of results.