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Donating against Short Term AI risks 2020-11-16T12:23:10.469Z

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Comment by jan-willemvanputten on AI policy careers in the EU · 2020-11-23T21:52:32.161Z · EA · GW

Can you elaborate on the EU's AI Ethics guidelines case? What did they try and why didn't they succeed?

Comment by jan-willemvanputten on Donating against Short Term AI risks · 2020-11-17T09:27:08.532Z · EA · GW

Thanks, great response kokotajlod. Do we have any views if there are already other EAs seriously investigating this, to see how probable and large the danger is and try to brainstorm tractible solutions?

At the moment I am quite packed with community building work for EA Netherlands but I would love to be in a smaller group to have some discussions about it. I am relatively new to this forum, what would be the best way to find collaborators for this?

Comment by jan-willemvanputten on Donating against Short Term AI risks · 2020-11-16T15:28:31.387Z · EA · GW

Thanks! I would love to see more opinions on your first argument: 

  • Do we believe that there is no significant increase in X-risk? (no scale)
  • Do we believe there is nothing we can do about it (not solvable)
  • Do we believe there are many overfunded parties working on this issue (not neglected).
Comment by jan-willemvanputten on EA Israel Strategy 2020-21 · 2020-10-13T15:46:41.171Z · EA · GW

Hi Sella and Gidon,

Great to read all this, thoughtful considerations on many topics. I think the EA Netherlands (EAN) strategy is comparable to yours and therefore I would love to collaborate in the future. First a few comments from our experience:

1) About direct work / broad scope of activities

I think the Dutch and Israeli mentality are very similar, people want to do stuff when they are part of a community. In addition to the pro direct-work arguments and goals you've mentioned I think you can add another goal of direct projects: changing the way people in "regular" business and government act.

E.g. Unilever is one of the largest food companies of the world and uses a lot of animal products. Changing the companies stance on animal welfare would have enormous impact. Of course, people can't do that alone. Therefore encourage people to start EA Communities within companies, sectors and government (example from another community: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/BG68BvbaaT32u76kr/how-we-promoted-ea-at-a-large-tech-company-1). I spoke to George Howlett recently who coined the term workplace activism for this. He once started the EA Workplace Activism network which I would like to expand over the coming years.

We spark local business / government communities in multiple ways, ranging from lunchtime talks to young professionals to in-depth EA workshops to civil servants. These projects have direct effects (providing EA knowledge to influential people in Dutch society), but also indirect effects as growing our own community and putting attention on effective donations. These groups are usually way more affluent than students and are therefore also able to donate larger sums to effective charities. We just started on this project, but the first steps are promising.

I think focusing on business and government is more effective than focussing activities on existing (non-effective) charities. They are very hard to move in the right direction. Most of the times they even don´t focus on the right cause are, something that is even harder to change.

In addition I would like to stress that direct work is never a substitute for classic community building work, e.g. high quality events, fellowships, book clubs and all kind of other activities we also work on here.

2) University groups / funnel

CEA's recent focus on university groups is spot on in my opinion. Before the change of focus we already decided to spend quite some time kickstarting local university groups (The Netherlands has a relative large numbers of good universities). We help them providing our network, advice and knowledge. This is something we definitely will continue working on.

However, I still believe national groups are key to keep people engaged with EA after they graduated. Higher educated people often move to other cities after graduation and are probably interested in other types of EA communities and activities, something that university groups can´t offer. National groups are able to fill this gap. In that way Effective Altruism can overcome the status of youth movement (https://www.overcomingbias.com/2015/08/youth-movements.html).

University groups also cause a clear division between the younger university groups and the older national groups. I think that university groups make the national group more attractive to older groups, because it has the potential of increasing the average group age of national groups. Reason for this could be that young professionals are usually more reluctant to meet students that other young professionals.

3) Leadership structure

Our structure is a bit different. We have three board members with a seasoned history in EA. They have limited capacity (time-wise) but a well-developed EA network, experience and knowledge. The board gives advice to the management team, but also oversees the long term strategy of EAN.

Marieke and I form the management team. We have (for EA standards) quite some professional experience with on average ~10 years of working experience in multiple sectors. EAN shares the same goals as you: I am mainly responsible for direct projects and Marieke mainly for EA Community and Network. We get help from a heavily involved core team and many other amazing volunteers to work on these two goals.

I feel this structure offers the right checks and balances and gives us room to scale in the future. Our only current bottleneck to this is a lack of funding, something that still occupies a lot of management’s time. We need to change this soon if we want to sustain our current level of activities, let alone to grow the activities and to improve quality.

I am definitely open sharing materials and experiences, but also would love to hear more from you, especially about the way you measure all your metrics. We could learn a lot from that. Good luck!



Comment by jan-willemvanputten on Revamping Existing Charities · 2020-08-12T13:05:50.668Z · EA · GW

I am really intested to hear if some of this was implemented in a concrete project? We as Effective Altruism Netherlands receive an increasing amount of requests from very skilled people (e.g. from finance, data science, legal professions and change management) who want to contribute to existing charities. We are currently talking to effective charities to see if they need skilled volunteers, but I have strong doubts they can meet all the demand from skilled volunteers.

Letting them work at existing less effective charities, making them more effective, could be worthwile for the reasons mentioned in this post. We can provide volunteers with some formal training and standardized methods to ensure high quality. I´ve looked into Benjamin Todd´s post and we could try to collaborate with one of the organisation mentioned there.

Does anyone here have any shareable experiences on this?