Posts

Have GWWC talk to your workplace/group this Giving Season! 2022-09-30T05:11:13.464Z
We’re still (extremely) funding constrained (but don’t let fear of getting funding stop you trying). 2022-09-16T04:43:21.579Z
Marketing Messages Trial for GWWC Giving Guide Campaign 2022-09-08T16:22:43.860Z
Caring about the future doesn’t mean ignoring the present 2022-08-30T07:21:53.409Z
Effective altruism's billionaires aren't taxed enough. But they're trying. 2022-08-24T09:45:15.908Z
[BBC Future] What is longtermism and why does it matter? 2022-08-08T07:34:08.857Z
Tony Senanayake (ID Insights) @ GWWC Meetup (Europe/Asia) 2022-08-04T22:22:10.986Z
GWWC Meetup (Americas/Oceania) 2022-06-17T05:38:22.452Z
GWWC Meetup (Europe/Asia) 2022-06-17T03:48:38.713Z
Effective Giving Open Forum (Europe/Asia) 2022-06-16T06:22:15.378Z
On being ambitious: failing successfully & less unnecessarily 2022-05-26T07:21:30.443Z
EA Funds donation platform is moving to Giving What We Can 2022-05-23T03:57:51.015Z
"Big tent" effective altruism is very important (particularly right now) 2022-05-20T03:39:10.749Z
Giving What We Can - Pledge page trial (EA Market Testing) 2022-05-16T22:39:25.473Z
GWWC has ambitious plans from 2022 onwards (we're hiring!) 2022-03-16T06:21:37.131Z
High schoolers were given over $8,000 to donate to charity. Here's what they chose. 2022-02-01T23:12:41.745Z
Celebrating 2021: What are your favourite wins & good news for EA, the world and yourself? 2021-12-14T03:56:18.578Z
GWWC October 2021 Newsletter 2021-10-29T05:43:46.912Z
[Podcast] How to talk about effective altruism and giving effectively 2021-10-27T06:13:20.027Z
October Effective Giving Meetup by GWWC (Europe/Asia) 2021-10-01T07:41:28.936Z
October Effective Giving Meetup by GWWC (Americas/Oceania) 2021-10-01T07:37:53.195Z
GWWC September 2021 Newsletter 2021-09-28T08:41:29.742Z
Does awareness of global inequality increase personal giving or support for international redistributive policies? 2021-09-28T03:45:43.990Z
Guide to talking about effective altruism and effective giving 2021-09-10T05:15:19.654Z
GWWC August 2021 Newsletter 2021-08-27T05:55:11.747Z
Effective Giving Open Forum (Americas/Oceania) 2021-08-25T04:27:38.127Z
Crafting Your Effective Giving Story | GWWC September Meetup (Europe/Asia) 2021-08-25T04:24:03.535Z
Crafting Your Effective Giving Story | GWWC September Meetup (Americas/Oceania) 2021-08-25T04:22:33.849Z
Stephen Fry narrating a video on effective altruism, explaining the cause-prioritisation framework while giving us the appropriate emotional response to helping others 2021-07-30T03:32:54.465Z
GWWC July 2021 Newsletter 2021-07-29T05:24:00.664Z
Member motivations survey: Why people pledged to give 10% of their income to effective charities 2021-07-29T05:04:29.687Z
GWWC June 2021 Newsletter 2021-06-29T04:11:00.778Z
Climate change questions for Johannes Ackva and John Halstead 2021-06-04T01:41:07.724Z
World Environment Day: How big are the risks from climate change and how can we effectively mitigate these risks? 2021-06-01T05:17:56.500Z
Why should we be effective in our altruism? 2021-05-31T01:56:11.081Z
Follow ups to 'Personal Finance for Generous People' event 2021-05-26T20:45:21.491Z
GWWC May 2021 Newsletter 2021-05-25T05:49:58.061Z
"Other comments" that make my day: What people have said when signing up to GWWC 2021-05-20T00:02:08.932Z
Don't we need political action rather than charity? 2021-05-17T01:13:22.286Z
GWWC April 2021 Newsletter 2021-04-22T07:09:33.748Z
What are your questions for World Malaria Day with Rob Mather (AMF), Maddy Marasciulo (Malaria Consortium), and Alekos Simoni (Target Malaria)? 2021-04-20T03:18:29.615Z
What key facts do you find are compelling when talking about effective altruism? 2021-04-19T00:40:05.049Z
If I pay my taxes, why should I also give to charity? 2021-04-15T06:44:17.194Z
Can foreign aid and international charity make a difference? 2021-04-13T01:38:21.501Z
GWWC March 2021 Newsletter 2021-03-30T03:49:17.112Z
Why do EAs have children? 2021-03-15T03:17:50.147Z
Brainstorm: What questions will the general public find most interesting about charities and causes? 2021-03-02T01:15:35.983Z
GWWC February 2021 Newsletter 2021-03-01T03:24:57.378Z
Would an interactive table help you to make donation decisions or understand the EA charity space better? If so, what filters would you want? 2021-02-23T06:04:49.197Z
Join our collaboration for high quality EA outreach events (OFTW + GWWC + EA Community) 2021-02-23T02:49:02.960Z

Comments

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on Have GWWC talk to your workplace/group this Giving Season! · 2022-10-02T07:52:43.706Z · EA · GW

Depending on the context a small audience can also be super valuable. Always feel free to just ask!

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on Author Rutger Bregman about effective altruism and philanthropy · 2022-09-21T04:37:37.587Z · EA · GW

Such a great interview – well done! And go Rutger, what an amazing human!

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on We’re still (extremely) funding constrained (but don’t let fear of getting funding stop you trying). · 2022-09-18T08:20:04.730Z · EA · GW

Ahah, TIL! That is confusing. Have changed to "thrifty".

Thanks for pointing that out 😀 

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on "Doing Good Best" isn't the EA ideal · 2022-09-17T03:53:50.525Z · EA · GW

From GWWC perspective I’m incredibly open to specific feedback as to where you think we can strike the right balance better.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on We’re still (extremely) funding constrained (but don’t let fear of getting funding stop you trying). · 2022-09-16T22:48:59.338Z · EA · GW

Thanks Miranda, that is very kind of you to say!

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on We’re still (extremely) funding constrained (but don’t let fear of getting funding stop you trying). · 2022-09-16T22:47:59.413Z · EA · GW

Yep, absolutely!

A lot will come down to comparative advantage and context and that’s not a bad way of finding out. That being said the organisation might not know well enough on many edge cases to say it to someone and it could fall prey to the social desirability bias etc. However, not hiring someone is sometimes a signal that the money is more valuable than the labour they’d get.

Anyways, we are constrained on many fronts but also growing in many fronts. Sometimes there are cases where there are fewer constraints (eg lots of money earmarked but not enough talent) but those are narrow cases and don’t apply to “EA”.

My main concern is how often I’ve seen people publicly write and say in person things along the lines that EA is overfunded (eg the examples I gave in my postscript ). It baffles me, concerns me, and I think does a lot of damage.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on We’re still (extremely) funding constrained (but don’t let fear of getting funding stop you trying). · 2022-09-16T09:48:58.749Z · EA · GW

Thanks for letting me know 😀

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on My emotional reaction to the current funding situation · 2022-09-16T05:11:13.132Z · EA · GW

I did write about this, but decided to mostly write it in poem format followed by a postscript.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on CEA Ops is now EV Ops · 2022-09-14T07:01:45.148Z · EA · GW

I once met an EA (effective altruist) who worked at EA (Electronic Arts) and I asked to meet his EA (executive assistant) and it turned out they lived in EA (East Anglia) and were studying EA (enterprise architecture) but considering adding in EA (environmental assessment)  to make it a double major, the majors cost $40k ea (each) 😉

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on My emotional reaction to the current funding situation · 2022-09-11T23:48:45.674Z · EA · GW

people were writing plans on a whiteboard for how we could spend the effectively-infinite amount of money we could ask for.

It's a common exercise when doing ambitious brainstorming to start with the premise of "if money was no object" and then later come back through the ideas and think about feasibility. Turning off the critical brain can sometimes help with creativity and this is one way of doing that. 

I've run sessions like this within EA and also within other organisations/communities. However, as a facilitator it's always important to be clear that you're not giving people the impression that there are no constraints, but that you don't want them to think about the constraints while being ambitious and creative.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on My emotional reaction to the current funding situation · 2022-09-11T23:46:26.885Z · EA · GW

Thanks for sharing your experiences here Sam.

Something that I find quite difficult is the fact that all of these things are true, but hard to 'feel' true at the same time:

  1. We have increased available funding by an order of magnitude over the past decade and increased the rate at which that funding is being deployed
  2. We don't want lack of funds to be the reason that people don't do important and ambitious things; and yet
  3. We are still extremely funding constrained in most cases

You're experiencing a bit of #1 and #2 right now. And I think that the huge upsides to that is (a) we're have good a shot of doing a lot more good; and (b) EA is less likely to be the pursuit of the already privileged (e.g. those who can afford to fly to a conference in SF or London or quit their job to pursue something that the world doesn't compensate for its value).

I'm glad that access to funding hasn't been a barrier for your pursuit of doing a lot of good.

Regarding #3.

It still stings every time I hear the funding situation talked about as if it's perpetually solved.

I'm glad that a promising AI safety researcher is likely to find the funding they need to switch careers and some of the top projects are able to absorb that talent without needing to beg for funding from everyday donors...

But I still feel very deeply the opportunity cost of not funding more bednets while AMF still has a funding gap. I sometimes struggle to sleep based on the fact that we haven't yet transferred at least 1 trillion dollars to the extreme poor to double their income and get them above  the extreme poverty line. I still feel very deeply the anxiety of being unprepared for the next superpandemic and that we don't have nearly have enough resources for the kinds of megaprojects needed to build resilience. And I haven't even touched on animals and how far we could go if we had the resources.

I'm going to write about this soon.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on Celebrations and gratitude thread · 2022-09-03T00:26:23.241Z · EA · GW

I’m really grateful for CEA’s recent efforts on communications. The new intro essay, new fellowship materials, hiring a head of comms, hosting a comms retreat, revisiting the effectivealtruism.org website. I can’t emphasise enough how happy this makes me to see this all get attention.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on EA is about maximization, and maximization is perilous · 2022-09-03T00:21:29.812Z · EA · GW

Thank you very much for writing this post.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on Effective altruism's billionaires aren't taxed enough. But they're trying. · 2022-08-26T02:22:30.283Z · EA · GW

I totally agree both that the article doesn't make the case that taxes are too low; and that linkposts should use the title.

I just used this title because it is the page title. However, the heading tag on the page is different to the page title. I also included the heading tag in the body of the post.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on "Call off the EAs": Too Much Advertising? · 2022-08-24T09:47:39.053Z · EA · GW

👌

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on "Call off the EAs": Too Much Advertising? · 2022-08-22T23:22:15.472Z · EA · GW

Podcast advertising isn't a Google product. 

Google has frequency caps for YouTube Ads (e.g. pre-roll) but creators can't customise their own sponsored ads reads by geography/individuals (also that'd be a LOT of potential ad reads as they'd need their own inventory etc).

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on "Call off the EAs": Too Much Advertising? · 2022-08-22T00:11:23.898Z · EA · GW

These also typically perform worse than a host read-out. And also I don't think they yet have user-level sophisticated targeting so they can't put on frequency caps for individuals.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on EA 1.0 and EA 2.0; highlighting critical changes in EA's evolution · 2022-08-12T01:16:41.229Z · EA · GW

Largely yes. That's why  I said I'm disappointed with this framing (not just in this post but in other contexts where this is happening).

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on EA 1.0 and EA 2.0; highlighting critical changes in EA's evolution · 2022-08-12T01:02:24.319Z · EA · GW

Almost everything you can imagine (other than organisations who've a very specific focus):

  • Any given day top posts on the EA Forum range across various worldviews and cause areas
  • Any given day the amount of funding going through GWWC  ranges across various worldviews and cause areas
  • Answers to cause priorities on the EA Survey 
  • A quick straw poll of any broad EA event
  • Topics covered in EA groups and fellowships

The contrary is much harder to prove.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on EA 1.0 and EA 2.0; highlighting critical changes in EA's evolution · 2022-08-10T10:12:16.224Z · EA · GW

I think that this is a far too binary way of representing EA.

EA has been a “big tent” and a complex ecosystem for a long time – and that is good!

However, I am disappointed with it being framed as a shift, or as a binary, or with any particular feature of a part of EA being seen “as EA”.

  • “EA” isn’t talent constrained, but many causes and projects within EA are (so that on net the community is talent constrained).
  • "EA" isn't flush with talent, but many roles within EA can be very competitive (so that on net it'd often be worth applying for any suitable role, but also most people won't get roles after applying for a while).
  • “EA” isn’t funding constrained, but many causes and projects within EA are (so that on net the community is funding constrained).
  • “EA” isn’t flush with cash, but some projects have easier access to funding than they used to (e.g. GiveWell’s research team, top AI safety researchers, some new high-EV projects within longtermism who have strong founding teams and a solid idea).
  • “EA” isn’t longtermist, but many people, causes and projects within EA are (so that longtermism makes up a ~plurality of job opportunities, a ~plurality of new projects, and a significant segment of funding).
  • "EA" isn't neartermist, but many people, causes and projects within EA are (so that neartermism makes up a ~majority of current funding, ~majority of broad base EAs & individual donors to EA causes).
  • “EA” isn’t vegan, but many people, causes and projects within EA take animal lives into serious consideration (such that a norm within EA has been to default to catering vegan).
  • “EA” isn’t political, but many people, causes and projects take the impact of politics seriously (such that most people consider their politics as a meaningful consideration for their impact on the world).

Et cetera…

The balance and distributions of these features moves within the community over time, but “EA” is the project of trying to figure out how to do more good and to act on what we find.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on GWWC has ambitious plans from 2022 onwards (we're hiring!) · 2022-08-04T22:24:54.363Z · EA · GW

Great question! We're working on finalising this post-merger and having a page on the website again. But in the meantime you can use this:

https://dashboard.effectivealtruism.org/public/dashboard/a68fb137-7db8-4019-aabd-b6499424c153 

(Note: there is a bug on the recurrence reporting right now which marks many recurring donations as one-off)

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on Leaning into EA Disillusionment · 2022-07-22T07:18:40.675Z · EA · GW

Thanks for writing this post. I think this would be very good to have as a required reading for fellowship programs.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on What are some measurable proxies for EA community health? · 2022-07-16T02:53:35.376Z · EA · GW

Nice! Similarly you could look at comments and posts on the EA forum.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on What are some measurable proxies for EA community health? · 2022-07-15T02:40:54.161Z · EA · GW

You can measure various different churn rates wherever they make sense and measure the average increase/decrease in churn (is churn rising, falling, staying the same).

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on What are some measurable proxies for EA community health? · 2022-07-15T02:39:14.073Z · EA · GW

I'd add sentiment analysis on public social media (twitter is pretty easy for this) for a few key terms, accounts, and hashtags.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on EA Infrastructure Fund: September–December 2021 grant recommendations · 2022-07-13T08:40:51.309Z · EA · GW

Thanks for publishing the acceptance rate! I think that's useful information to share.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on Announcing Non-trivial, an EA learning platform for teenagers · 2022-07-13T05:32:57.716Z · EA · GW

I just want to give a huge round of applause to the Non-trivial team! So great to see this resource! I'm very keen to see this reach the next generation of critical thinking do-gooders!

Dalle-2: Group of internet users standing up and applauding the launch of a website in the style of the last supper

Much excite.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on EA for dumb people? · 2022-07-12T22:53:28.812Z · EA · GW

Strongly agree!

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on EA for dumb people? · 2022-07-12T22:52:06.805Z · EA · GW

I also want to chime in here and say that it was a bit of a shock for me coming into the EA community also: I was one of the more analytical people in most of my friendship groups, yet it was pretty quickly clear to me that my comparative advantage in this community was actually EQ, communications, and management. I'm glad to work with some incredibly smart analytical people who are kind enough to (a) help me understand things that confuse me when I'm frank about what I don't understand; and (b) remind me what else I bring to the table.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on EA for dumb people? · 2022-07-12T22:45:52.655Z · EA · GW

Let me know if you decide to go ahead with the idea and I'll see how I can help 😀 

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on Marriage, the Giving What We Can Pledge, and the damage caused by vague public commitments · 2022-07-12T02:52:27.291Z · EA · GW

Thanks for sharing your perspective here Jeffrey!

[Note: I wasn’t involved in the decisions around the wording of The Pledge so am speaking from my personal perspective as a member of The Pledge, and as a staff member at GWWC who has spoken with many members and prospective members.]

I agree that there is a downside to having ambiguity around the technicality of GWWC pledges. There are members who, from my perspective, I think they take it too loosely and others who take it too seriously.

However, the level of specificity is a very difficult tradeoff to make when making a short standardised simple language moral commitment for a large and diverse group of people with different backgrounds, contexts, and levels of scrupulosity.

If GWWC were to try to precisely state everything in the pledge language then it’d be less of a moral commitment and more of a legal contract – it certainly wouldn’t fit on a pledge certificate. We’d certainly miss many circumstances and getting agreement from members who’ve already taken a pledge to be backwards compatible would be very difficult.

Furthermore, I think an overly legalistic pledge would make it harder for most people to make (it’d be too scary/confusing) and keep their commitments. I think that trusting people to use their conscience (while providing guidance like is done in the FAQ and in member conversations) is a feature not a bug.

if I agreed to a pledge like this, I'd need to carefully specify the conditions under which I'd allow myself to exit this pledge or not, since it's not nearly clear enough to me in its current wording.

I want to be a person of unusual honesty and integrity, and so I want to think about what commitments mean to me and how I can structure my environment to help me make good ones and keep them.

I'm glad that you have self-knowledge to know that you'd like to have more specificity. Many people who’ve taken a pledge have also gone further in specifying things that they think are important to their commitment (such as under what specific conditions they would resign from their pledge) and sometimes write up a document (or blog post) and share it with several close friends they want to hold them accountable. If someone were considering a pledge and had these strong preferences around specificity then I’d encourage this route.

I think it’s great that the pledge now asks you to specify a starting and end time and particular percentage by default. (Previously, it read “until I retire”).

Actually, this depends on whether you are taking a Trial Pledge (which requires a specific amount and period) or The GWWC Pledge (which is still a 10% pledge of lifetime earnings, “until I retire”).

I think it’s quite bad that the main text of the pledge doesn’t include any mention of an exit clause.

This is where it is quite similar to marriage and I’d argue that’s generally a good thing. Of course there are reasons that marriages end, but they’re variable and relevant to the individual people. If you look at the reasons marriages end sometimes people could work through those things and other times it’s best it ends. I wouldn’t include something like “infidelity” or “poor communication” as an exit clause within my wedding vows, but I can imagine both cases where the marriage would survive the common reasons people end marriages and also other cases where it’d be best to end it for some of those reasons (in good conscience). That being said, I’m all for people customising their vows (me and my wife did!) but still generally committing to the same thing as other married folk (put a damn good effort into sticking with the person for the rest of your lives until it's clear it’s no longer a good thing for you to do). The same can be said for giving pledges: you can generally commit to the same thing, but also customise to what makes sense to you (e.g. write up a separate document also).


Hope that helps to provide an alternative perspective and is useful to hear a bit of the reasoning behind why things might be the way they are right now, and why I’m not currently in favour of any major changes to the pledge language to include an exit clause.

GWWC is also currently in the process of updating our new FAQs and would love any input here.

Giving What We Can’s mission is to make giving effectively and significantly a cultural norm. If you think that any changes (e.g. to the FAQ, pledges language, or ways of communicating these ideas) would help us better achieve that mission then we’d be especially grateful to hear those suggestions.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on How I Recommend University Groups Approach the Funding Situation · 2022-07-05T03:18:13.758Z · EA · GW

+1 to the comment here about humour. I'm someone who loves a good laugh and has a pretty dry sense of humour but am particularly wary about it when talking about money and suffering (I've seen it go pretty badly in several EA or EA-adjacent contexts).

It's also very important to think about humour in non-EA social contexts where there are a lot of people within the EA community alongside those who aren't. Someones first exposure to the community might be somewhere like an informal party and first impressions really count.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on How I Recommend University Groups Approach the Funding Situation · 2022-07-05T03:12:32.582Z · EA · GW

Thank you so much for writing this up! I particularly like the tangible examples and even exact wordings that make it easier for other organisers e.g. 

  1. Your suggested language for conference funding (“we don’t want financial barriers to prohibit...attend the conference only if you want...”).
  2. Your  heuristics that you use to determine how you spend money for Brown EA.
  3. Your answers to FAQs about funding situation

In terms of promoting effective giving, I recommend university group leaders look at the guide for promoting effective giving, effective giving event guides and please don't hesitate to reach out to community@givingwhatwecan.org if you want help (such as connecting you with local people who are a few years ahead and can talk about their experience, giving a talk or providing sponsorship for giving games etc).

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on Future Fund June 2022 Update · 2022-07-01T07:54:38.957Z · EA · GW

Thank you for such a detailed and transparent post! It's really exciting to see experimentation in funding models as Future Fund enters the ecosystem. (It's also great to see a bunch of promising things getting the resources they need!)

I've found that the project ideas, areas of interest and grants/regrants databases are also especially useful resources in helping people to think about how they might best contribute! I've shared these multiple times when speaking with very promising people who are relatively cause neutral and just want to do as much good as they can given their specific skills & context.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on More funding is really good · 2022-06-27T03:27:17.267Z · EA · GW

FWIW: GiveWell actually already had some opportunities in the pipeline that they were still working on (e.g. Dispensers for Safe Water). Given the funding needs of their top charities right now it's looking very likely they'll have more room for funding than they can fill this year (unless there's unprecedented growth which seems unlikely given current projected economic conditions). At the GiveDirectly bar of funding (10%-30% as cost effective) there's nowhere near enough funding for the foreseeable future.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on 80k would be happy to see more projects in the careers space · 2022-06-22T05:21:42.826Z · EA · GW

Thanks Michelle for posting this! I think it really helps to clarify what 80K is doing and what it's not and to encourage people to fill the gaps (and even compete, well!).

I love the collaborative nature of the community and this is a great example.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on Critiques of EA that I want to read · 2022-06-20T00:00:29.323Z · EA · GW

Thanks for sharing! I'd also love to read some of these critiques more fleshed out! Really appreciate that you posted bullet point summaries instead of either holding off for a more developed critique or just posting a vague list without summaries 😀 

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on Community builders should focus more on supporting friendships within their group · 2022-06-16T03:27:27.986Z · EA · GW

Thanks for this post! If it weren't for making friends with people in the EA community it's very unlikely I'd have made a career change to the direct work I'm doing and less likely I'd still be donating (certainly not at the level I have).

I like that you have specific suggestions for how community builders can act on this too 😀 

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on Michael Nielsen's "Notes on effective altruism" · 2022-06-05T23:56:25.901Z · EA · GW

Thanks Erin! I wouldn't say that EA is only about the key question, I just disagree that utilitarianism and an obligation to maximise are required or 'what EA is about'. I do agree that they are prevalent (and often good to have some upwards pressure on the amount we devote to doing good) 😀 

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on Michael Nielsen's "Notes on effective altruism" · 2022-06-04T03:15:30.469Z · EA · GW

EA is about two things.

[1] belief in utilitarianism or a utilitarian-esque moral system, that there exists an optimal world we should aspire to.

[2] belief that we should try to do as much good as possible

I would say that is a reasonable descriptive claim about the core beliefs of many in the community (especially more of the hardcore members), but IMHO neither are what "EA is about".

I don't see EA as making claims about what we should do or believe.

I see it as a key question of "how can we do the most good with any given unit of resource we devote to doing good" and then taking action upon what we find when we ask that.

The community and research field have certain tools they often use (e.g. use scientific evidence when it's available, using expected value reasoning) and many people who share certain philosophical beliefs (e.g. that outcomes are morally important) but IMHO these aren't what "EA is about".

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on Announcing a contest: EA Criticism and Red Teaming · 2022-06-03T00:10:25.181Z · EA · GW

I also suspect that making a big deal about the winners would be a good thing. For example, if the winner of the prize was awarded on the main stage at an EA Global and given a fireside chat that'd further encourage good faith criticism and demonstrate that we really care about it.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on High Impact Medicine, 6 months later - Update & Key Lessons · 2022-06-02T08:20:15.794Z · EA · GW

Thanks so much for writing this up! I really appreciate hearing more about what's going on inside different groups. I'm especially excited to see the work being done in professional groups.

Hearing ideas without them being exclusively attached to a wider philosophy and in more neutral (rather than persuasive) fashion may help avoid putting people off and allows individuals the freedom to pick aspects they found more meaningful to explore. This helps encourage a ‘truth seeking’ approach that focuses on ‘learning useful tools and asking important questions [... ] and helping [individuals] have the biggest impact they can’ rather than the impression that EA was a large, take-it-or-leave-it all-encompassing philosophy you must be persuaded of. The objective was not to subtly trick people into becoming more EA but to provide information about ideas that we thought were important, worthy of discussion and that people may be receptive to. We found that some of our members did in fact become more involved in EA more broadly, whilst several individuals took on board ideas that are common in EA but felt ambivalently or negatively towards EA as a wider movement. 

I think this is a really great approach. You get to 'have your cake and eat it' by connecting people interested in EA to it and nudging many more people to higher-impact option in a way that encourages a lot of autonomy and agency. I also quite like the approach mentioned in footnote #2.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on EA Funds donation platform is moving to Giving What We Can · 2022-06-02T01:54:01.221Z · EA · GW

Glad to hear it!

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on On being ambitious: failing successfully & less unnecessarily · 2022-06-01T23:56:30.319Z · EA · GW

Thanks Punty!

I take your concern as being, probably rightfully so, these groups working on things without knowing of similar ongoing/completed attempts.

Yep! I agree that competition is sometimes great, but it's the lack of awareness/learning/collaboration that can be a problem.

Would you propose collaborated record keeping between funders and entrepreneurs of ongoing and completed projects, with their potential points of failure? Including, why funding was not approved.

Yep, something like this. For example, I've heard/read many times both these things:

  • The idea seemed good but the team didn't seem like they could execute (knowing this, another team who could be a better fit should definitely apply, and/or the original team could upskill/find new members etc)
  • The idea seems pretty bad (for reasons that might not be immediately obvious) but the team seemed pretty capable (knowing this other people wouldn't pursue the idea, and the team would move onto something else instead of thinking that "they" are the problem).

I also really like the criticism of the "EA is overfunded" meme.  I think emphasising the good that can arise from the donations by the global 1% remains an important part of EA, and saying that "EA is overfunded" is contradictory to this.

Thanks! It's a meme that I think could be incredibly self-defeating.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on What YouTube channels do you watch? · 2022-06-01T23:35:43.215Z · EA · GW

Here's the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/477649789306528/posts/1061641704240664/

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on Monthly Overload of EA - June 2022 · 2022-05-28T00:36:57.016Z · EA · GW

Thanks David! I always appreciate your curation 💕

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on On being ambitious: failing successfully & less unnecessarily · 2022-05-28T00:34:57.264Z · EA · GW

Thanks for writing this! I strongly upvoted this comment because I think it contributes a lot to and extends the OP on many different points.

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on On being ambitious: failing successfully & less unnecessarily · 2022-05-28T00:30:36.431Z · EA · GW

Definitely. Thanks for sharing that argument and example!

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on Sophia's Shortform · 2022-05-28T00:29:24.831Z · EA · GW

Yeah, but what people experience when they hear about EA via someone like Matt will determine their further actions/beliefs about EA. If they show up and unnecessarily feel unwelcome or misunderstand EA then we’ve not just missed and opportunity then and there but potentially soured them for the long term (and what they say to others will spur other before we get a chance to reach them).

Comment by Luke Freeman (lukefreeman) on Sophia's Shortform · 2022-05-28T00:26:38.865Z · EA · GW

Thanks Sophia. I think that you’ve quite articulately identified and laid out the difference between these two schools of thought/intuitions about community.

I’d like to see this developed further into a general forum post as I think it contributes to the conversation. FWIW my current take is that we’re more in a multiplicative world (for both the reasons you lay out) and that the lower cost solutions (like the ones you laid out) seem to be table stakes (and I’d even go further and say that if push came to shove I’d actively trade off towards focusing more on the median for these reasons).