Posts

Coronavirus Research Ideas for EAs 2020-03-27T21:01:48.181Z · score: 101 (38 votes)
We're Rethink Priorities. AMA. 2019-12-12T16:09:19.404Z · score: 88 (34 votes)
Rethink Priorities 2019 Impact and Strategy 2019-12-02T16:32:25.324Z · score: 64 (30 votes)
Please Take the 2019 EA Survey! 2019-09-23T17:36:35.084Z · score: 47 (22 votes)
GiveWell's Top Charities Are Increasingly Hard to Beat 2019-07-10T00:34:52.510Z · score: 40 (20 votes)
EA Survey 2018 Series: Do EA Survey Takers Keep Their GWWC Pledge? 2019-06-16T23:04:46.626Z · score: 77 (23 votes)
Is EA Growing? EA Growth Metrics for 2018 2019-06-02T04:08:30.726Z · score: 168 (65 votes)
EA Survey 2018 Series: How Long Do EAs Stay in EA? 2019-05-31T00:32:20.989Z · score: 52 (26 votes)
Rethink Priorities Plans for 2019 2018-12-18T00:18:31.987Z · score: 62 (41 votes)
Open Thread #40 2018-07-08T17:51:47.777Z · score: 8 (10 votes)
Animal Equality showed that advocating for diet change works. But is it cost-effective? 2018-06-07T04:06:02.831Z · score: 23 (20 votes)
Cost-Effectiveness of Vaccines: Appendices and Endnotes 2018-05-08T07:43:43.262Z · score: 8 (9 votes)
Cost-Effectiveness of Vaccines: Exploring Model Uncertainty and Takeaways 2018-05-08T07:42:53.369Z · score: 10 (9 votes)
What is the cost-effectiveness of researching vaccines? 2018-05-08T07:41:10.595Z · score: 9 (8 votes)
How much does it cost to roll-out a vaccine? 2018-02-26T15:33:03.710Z · score: 6 (6 votes)
How much does it cost to research and develop a vaccine? 2018-02-24T01:23:33.601Z · score: 7 (7 votes)
What is Animal Farming in Rural Zambia Like? A Site Visit 2018-02-19T20:49:45.024Z · score: 15 (14 votes)
Four Organizations EAs Should Fully Fund for 2018 2017-12-12T07:17:14.418Z · score: 39 (42 votes)
Is EA Growing? Some EA Growth Metrics for 2017 2017-09-05T23:36:39.591Z · score: 19 (17 votes)
How long does it take to research and develop a new vaccine? 2017-06-28T23:20:04.289Z · score: 11 (11 votes)
Can we apply start-up investing principles to non-profits? 2017-06-27T03:16:49.074Z · score: 34 (25 votes)
The 2017 Effective Altruism Survey - Please Take! 2017-04-24T21:01:26.039Z · score: 10 (10 votes)
How do EA Orgs Account for Uncertainty in their Analysis? 2017-04-05T16:48:45.220Z · score: 8 (10 votes)
How Should I Spend My Time? 2017-01-08T03:22:46.745Z · score: 13 (13 votes)
Effective Altruism is Not a Competition 2017-01-05T02:11:23.505Z · score: 25 (27 votes)
Semi-regular Open Thread #35 2016-12-30T22:28:48.381Z · score: 9 (9 votes)
Why I Took the Giving What We Can Pledge 2016-12-28T00:02:57.065Z · score: 17 (17 votes)
The Value of Time Spent Fundraising: Four Examples 2016-12-23T04:35:25.797Z · score: 7 (7 votes)
What is the expected value of creating a GiveWell top charity? 2016-12-18T02:02:16.774Z · score: 10 (10 votes)
How many hits does hits-based giving get? A concrete study idea to find out (and a $1500 offer for implementation) 2016-12-09T03:08:25.796Z · score: 13 (13 votes)
Thoughts on the Reducetarian Labs MTurk Study 2016-12-02T17:12:44.731Z · score: 15 (14 votes)
Using a Spreadsheet to Make Good Decisions: Five Examples 2016-11-26T02:21:29.740Z · score: 42 (25 votes)
Students for High Impact Charity: Review and $10K Grant 2016-09-27T21:05:44.340Z · score: 15 (17 votes)
A Method for Automatic Trustworthiness in Study Pre-Registration 2016-09-25T04:22:38.817Z · score: 12 (11 votes)
Using Amazon's Mechanical Turk for Animal Advocacy Studies: Opportunities and Challenges 2016-08-02T19:24:58.259Z · score: 17 (12 votes)
Five Ways to Handle Flow-Through Effects 2016-07-28T03:39:44.235Z · score: 23 (15 votes)
End-Relational Theory of Meta-ethics: A Dialogue 2016-06-28T20:11:52.534Z · score: 9 (9 votes)
How should we prioritize cause prioritization? 2016-06-13T17:03:45.558Z · score: 12 (9 votes)
A Case for Empirical Cause Prioritization 2016-06-06T17:32:43.818Z · score: 12 (13 votes)
Global poverty could be more cost-effective than animal advocacy (even for non-speciesists) 2016-05-31T15:02:32.339Z · score: 10 (14 votes)
More Thoughts (and Analysis) on the Mercy For Animals Online Ads Study 2016-05-27T03:00:29.228Z · score: 13 (13 votes)
.impact's pivot to focus projects 2016-04-29T19:59:47.775Z · score: 14 (8 votes)
Is EA growing? A concrete study idea to find out (and a $100 offer for implementation) 2016-02-21T21:42:28.036Z · score: 16 (18 votes)
Do EAs underestimate opportunities to create many small benefits? 2016-01-25T04:20:10.880Z · score: 11 (13 votes)
EA risks falling into a "meta trap". But we can avoid it. 2015-08-25T15:22:26.620Z · score: 45 (52 votes)
Peter Hurford thinks that a large proportion of people should earn to give long term 2015-08-17T15:42:07.612Z · score: 47 (50 votes)
Moral Economics in Practice: Musing on Acausal Payments through Donations 2015-08-12T17:41:12.855Z · score: 6 (6 votes)
Peter's 2015 Q2 Personal Review 2015-07-21T18:17:04.171Z · score: 5 (7 votes)
Join .impact's Third Workathon this Sunday at Noon Pacific 2015-07-19T00:02:18.999Z · score: 2 (2 votes)
Meetup : .impact's Third Workathon 2015-07-18T23:59:31.012Z · score: 0 (0 votes)

Comments

Comment by peter_hurford on Coronavirus Research Ideas for EAs · 2020-03-28T16:46:56.381Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · EA · GW

This is a really good point. I'd love to see more people look into this.

One thing I've really liked is Zoom breakout groups... I think if done right they can actually be better than in-person meetups for coordinating discussion among >20 people.

Though apparently Zoom's privacy sucks (see also).

Comment by peter_hurford on Coronavirus Research Ideas for EAs · 2020-03-28T16:45:38.486Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Email me at peter@rethinkpriorities.org and I'll send an invite back to your email.

Comment by peter_hurford on Coronavirus Research Ideas for EAs · 2020-03-28T16:45:19.716Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Fixed - thanks!

Comment by peter_hurford on Coronavirus Research Ideas for EAs · 2020-03-28T16:45:03.332Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Yes, definitely, thanks! I will aim to keep it up to date as best and as quickly as possible.

Comment by peter_hurford on AMA: Leah Edgerton, Executive Director of Animal Charity Evaluators · 2020-03-28T02:53:38.499Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I predict you're going to see a lot more about this in the coming weeks and months.

Comment by peter_hurford on The best places to donate for COVID-19 · 2020-03-28T02:20:30.482Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Also worth noting, per AMF's latest 25 March Update, AMF is declaring they have a more urgent and higher impact need for donations than previously stated.

GiveWell is also investigating.

Comment by peter_hurford on What questions could COVID-19 provide evidence on that would help guide future EA decisions? · 2020-03-27T21:16:33.170Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I put together a large list of coronavirus-related research questions.

Comment by peter_hurford on AMA: Leah Edgerton, Executive Director of Animal Charity Evaluators · 2020-03-27T20:38:55.580Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

That's awesome!

Comment by peter_hurford on What's the best platform/app/approach for fundraising for things that aren't registered nonprofits? · 2020-03-27T15:36:59.923Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Can you raise money through a non-profit that regrants?

Comment by peter_hurford on Why not give 90%? · 2020-03-27T07:58:42.831Z · score: 14 (4 votes) · EA · GW

such as consistency and justification effects

And selection effects!

Comment by peter_hurford on Advice for getting the most out of one-on-ones · 2020-03-21T04:09:41.912Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Who should I meet with?

People you think could help you with your goals. People you think you could help with their goals. And some random people too, because serendipity and unknown unknowns also matter.

What's the best way to score a meeting with someone I want to talk to? (especially if I don't have any immediately useful skills or knowledge to share)

Email them and ask to set up a meeting.

What if someone I really want to talk to doesn't respond? Should I follow up?

In my opinion, follow up once after 1-2 weeks, then leave them alone. They usually get back to you eventually.

What do I say? What sorts of questions should I ask?

Depends on who you are talking to and why.

What should I do after the conference? Should I follow up? How often/in what way?

In my opinion, it really depends on the relationship.

Comment by peter_hurford on The best places to donate for COVID-19 · 2020-03-21T00:35:42.761Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

The contention is that the higher rated donation opportunities would outperform.

On what basis do you make that contention?

Comment by peter_hurford on The best places to donate for COVID-19 · 2020-03-20T14:46:08.624Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I must admit I am confused. I don't know why you are making recommendations for COVID-19 donations if you'd also prioritize the neglected needs of the developing world? I am skeptical that anything in Categories 1 and 2 are cost-competitive with existing EA work - and at the minimum this cost-effectiveness is still far from being established.

And in any case, you still could use GiveDirectly to help with cash transfers to the African population dealing with COVID-19.

What kind of criteria were you using to generate these recommendations?

~

GiveDirectly counters that the government response will likely not be enough. That may well be correct, but it will probably be enough to ensure that it doesn't damage Trump's re-election chances.

I'm also confused here.

1.) If the response is likely not enough, wouldn't it be worthwhile to help?

2.) I also very much doubt there won't be an affect on Trump's re-election chances, but I don't think it is relevant.

Comment by peter_hurford on The best places to donate for COVID-19 · 2020-03-20T14:42:14.178Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I would agree with all of that. I wonder if it still may be more effective than other donations within the domain of COVID-19 response, however?

Comment by peter_hurford on The best places to donate for COVID-19 · 2020-03-20T02:23:15.004Z · score: 17 (10 votes) · EA · GW

It might also be worth funding prediction platforms more, like Metaculus or Foretold.

Comment by peter_hurford on The best places to donate for COVID-19 · 2020-03-20T02:18:10.392Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Also, if you're looking at FHI and CSER, it might also be worth looking at CSET (see their COVID-19 work).

Comment by peter_hurford on The best places to donate for COVID-19 · 2020-03-20T02:15:51.456Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · EA · GW

What do you think of GiveDirectly's COVID-19 response?

Comment by peter_hurford on What are some 1:1 meetings you'd like to arrange, and how can people find you? · 2020-03-18T17:54:32.069Z · score: 11 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Who are you?

I'm Peter Hurford. Along with my friend Marcus A. Davis, I am a co-founder and co-Executive Director of Rethink Priorities. We do research, mainly on farmed animal welfare, wild animal welfare, longtermism (especially nuclear security), EA movement building, and mental health.

~

People can talk to me about:

I'd be interested in talking to anyone who works in areas related to our research or who might use our research. I'd also be interested in talking to folks considering a career in EA-related research.

~

Questions that personally interest me (may be different from RP's views as an org):

How could Rethink Priorities be better?

How do we best run an EA research organization?

How can we best grow the overall talent pool, skill, and output of EA researchers?

What should we research? How do we prioritize research?

How can we best learn with and interact with non-EA research institutions?

What can we do to best help nonhuman animals?

How can EAs positively shape political policies? Is this even a good idea?

How can we use the EA Survey, The Local Groups Survey, and related work to make a stronger EA community?

What should the EA community do with regard to longtermism?

What does the EA community lose by taking a longtermist attitude? Are there still benefits to shorttermist approaches of quick feedback loops, concrete measurement, etc.? Can we apply some of that to longtermism?

Are there any risks with the likelihood of completely and permanently eliminating humanity's future potential, other than Unfriendly AI?

Is mental health an important cause area for EAs to look into? What does prioritizing mental health teach us about measuring benefits?

What is the best way to measure and compare cost-effectiveness across a variety of different domains?

~

Other interesting things about me you may want to talk about:

I spent about seven years working full-time while doing a significant amount of EA volunteering. I switched into full-time EA research work a lot more recently and I have thoughts about how to transition.

I've thought a lot about the mechanics of running an org operationally.

I've thought a lot about the mechanics of individual productivity.

I've worked from home for more almost three years and have gotten pretty good at that.

I've been a full-time data scientist for five years and have thoughts about earning-to-give in tech.

I've been involved with EA since around 2012, so I've seen it change a lot.

~

How to get in touch:

Email peter@rethinkpriorities.org and I can try to either correspond via writing or set up a meeting.

Comment by peter_hurford on AMA: Toby Ord, author of "The Precipice" and co-founder of the EA movement · 2020-03-17T22:48:41.847Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Sometimes the obvious is still important to discuss.

Comment by peter_hurford on AMA: Toby Ord, author of "The Precipice" and co-founder of the EA movement · 2020-03-17T15:32:07.943Z · score: 2 (5 votes) · EA · GW

What are the three least interesting ideas you've heard in the last three years? (They don't have to be the least important, just the least surprising/brilliant/unexpected/etc.)

Comment by peter_hurford on AMA: Leah Edgerton, Executive Director of Animal Charity Evaluators · 2020-03-17T15:31:19.209Z · score: 28 (12 votes) · EA · GW

What implications do you think longtermism has, if any, for the work that Animal Charity Evaluators does?

Comment by peter_hurford on AMA: Elie Hassenfeld, co-founder and CEO of GiveWell · 2020-03-17T15:30:52.134Z · score: 12 (8 votes) · EA · GW

Since GiveWell has been founded, a lot of the EA movement has drifted away from global health and economic development as a cause area. What do you think of that?

Comment by Peter_Hurford on [deleted post] 2020-03-17T12:08:08.102Z

No

Comment by peter_hurford on EA should wargame Coronavirus · 2020-03-16T12:35:12.983Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I guess it's not really a war game anymore... it's now actual war.

Comment by peter_hurford on FHI Report: The Windfall Clause: Distributing the Benefits of AI for the Common Good · 2020-03-16T11:59:01.999Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Do you think this could be more effective as legislation rather than corporate policy? That is, could political advocacy be better than corporate campaigning for achieving this?

Comment by peter_hurford on How can EA local groups reduce likelihood of our members getting COVID-19 or other infectious diseases? · 2020-03-16T11:55:44.480Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Wow. A lot can change in just eighteen days.

Comment by peter_hurford on What types of content creation would be useful for local/university groups, if anything? · 2020-03-16T11:24:37.834Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I'd recommend reaching out to Catherine Lowe.

Comment by peter_hurford on Request for feedback on my career plan for impact (560 words) · 2020-03-16T11:23:02.520Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

IMPACT = amount of causes i can help (A) x amount of people (B) x amount of time (C) x efficiency of methods (D)

In my personal opinion, I think you are missing or under-weighing the per person effectiveness (maybe that is counted in D). I also don't think there is any particular reason to maximize the number of causes helped and you certainly shouldn't treat all causes equally, given that there can be orders of magnitude differences in the value of causes.

Comment by peter_hurford on EA Directory & Groups Discussion Board · 2020-03-16T11:10:26.287Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I really appreciate a lot that you're trying to solve this. That being said, in my personal opinion, my blunt feedback is I find your new site even more confusing and difficult to navigate the EA Forum.

Comment by peter_hurford on My Charitable Giving Report 2019 · 2020-03-16T09:55:17.569Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Congrats! This is great! You should be proud!

Comment by peter_hurford on Examples for impact of Working at EAorg instead of ETG · 2020-03-15T18:58:52.579Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · EA · GW

To make a very long story very short, I think you should focus on trying to get a direct work job while still doing what is needed to keep your FAANG* options open. Then apply to direct work jobs and see if you get one. If you don't, pivot to FAANG.

Also, while doing a FAANG job, you could still aim to build relevant skills for direct work and then switch. This is what I did (except I didn't work in FAANG specifically).

Also, from what I know, donating $200k/yr while working in FAANG is possible for the top ~10% of engineers after ~5 years.

~

*For those following along who don't know, FAANG = Facebook Amazon Apple Netflix Google

Comment by peter_hurford on Examples for impact of Working at EAorg instead of ETG · 2020-03-15T16:40:05.759Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · EA · GW

It looks like EA Funds distributes a roughly fixed amount (based on their own fundraising) whereas I imagine OpenPhil is more flexible.

Comment by peter_hurford on Examples for impact of Working at EAorg instead of ETG · 2020-03-15T00:33:23.046Z · score: 9 (6 votes) · EA · GW

I mean, it's kinda intertwined, right? Presumably you are earning to give to fund people to do stuff. So someone needs to do that stuff. That person could be you. Or you could be the one funding. I think it really comes down to comparative advantage / personal fit (how good are you personally at doing vs. earning?) and marginal resources (of the orgs you would donate to or work for, how much do they want a talented person versus more money?).

In short, I think getting general examples of people having a high impact by working in an EA org would be misleading for anyone actually making this kind of career path decision.

Comment by peter_hurford on 4X donation match - Int'l Women's Day - TODAY only · 2020-03-09T01:11:17.140Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

My personal opinion: these kind of important, time-sensitive, and relatively content-free fundraising announcements should be kept to EA Facebook groups.

Comment by peter_hurford on The 2014 Survey of Effective Altruists: Results and Analysis · 2020-02-15T21:14:43.317Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

The link is fixed now.

Comment by peter_hurford on The 2014 Survey of Effective Altruists: Results and Analysis · 2020-02-15T17:18:23.226Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks. We're working on relocating it and will fix the link when we do.

UPDATE: fixed

Comment by peter_hurford on EA Survey 2018 Series: How Long Do EAs Stay in EA? · 2020-02-15T16:27:32.303Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Yeah, I suppose you're right. I guess the point is that the offset effect still makes it hard to estimate the true retention effect... not to mention any other differential non-response in survey taking.

Comment by peter_hurford on EA Survey 2018 Series: How Long Do EAs Stay in EA? · 2020-02-15T16:26:14.401Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

We aren't currently planning on doing so - why?

Comment by peter_hurford on Global Cochineal Production: Scale, Welfare Concerns, and Potential Interventions · 2020-02-13T20:28:52.642Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · EA · GW

It's really cool to see more work on invertebrates. Thanks!

Comment by peter_hurford on How to estimate the EV of general intellectual progress · 2020-02-10T13:55:40.410Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Is it too naive / basic to just suggest value of information calculations?

Comment by peter_hurford on Responding to the Progressive Platform of “Foreign Policy Generation” · 2020-02-10T13:48:15.551Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · EA · GW

This was really well put-together and thoughtful. I liked it a lot. I wish it had gotten more recognition from others. Thanks and please keep doing this sort of thing!

Comment by peter_hurford on What question would you want a prediction market about? · 2020-02-10T03:53:59.272Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Worth taking a look at Metaculus if you haven't seen it.

Comment by peter_hurford on Should Longtermists Mostly Think About Animals? · 2020-02-06T18:15:21.306Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Good point. I agree.

Comment by peter_hurford on Should Longtermists Mostly Think About Animals? · 2020-02-05T20:39:45.985Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I agree. However, I suppose under a s-risk longtermist paradigm, a tiny chance of spacefaring turning out in a particular way could still be worth taking action to prevent or even be of utmost importance.

To wit, I think a lot of retorts to Abraham's argument appear to me to be of the form "well, this seems rather unlikely to happen", whereas I don't think such an argument actually succeeds.

And to reiterate for clarity, I'm not taking a particular stance on Abraham's argument itself - only saying why I think this one particular counterargument doesn't work for me.

Comment by peter_hurford on Should Longtermists Mostly Think About Animals? · 2020-02-04T15:34:47.395Z · score: 36 (16 votes) · EA · GW

I worry this is very overconfident speculation about the very far future. I'm inclined to agree with you, but I feel hard-pressed to put more than say 80% odds on it. I think the kind of s-risk nonhuman animal dystopia that Rowe mentions (and has been previously mentioned by Brian Tomasik) seems possible enough to merit significant concern.

(To be clear, I don't know how much I actually agree with this piece, agree with your counterpoint, or how much weight I'd put on other scenarios, or what those scenarios even are.)

Comment by peter_hurford on Please take the Reducing Wild-Animal Suffering Community Survey! · 2020-02-03T22:46:08.112Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

+1

Comment by peter_hurford on Concerning the Recent 2019-Novel Coronavirus Outbreak · 2020-01-28T15:55:25.043Z · score: 26 (13 votes) · EA · GW

Strong kudos for betting. Your estimates seem quite off to me but I really admire you putting them to the test. I hope, for the sake of the world, that you are wrong.

Comment by peter_hurford on Concerning the Recent 2019-Novel Coronavirus Outbreak · 2020-01-28T03:52:37.516Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

P(a particular person gets it | it goes world scale pandemic) = 1/3, estimating from similar events

What do you base this one on?

Comment by peter_hurford on Concerning the Recent 2019-Novel Coronavirus Outbreak · 2020-01-28T03:37:00.115Z · score: 33 (18 votes) · EA · GW

Note: The relevant Metaculus for this forecast also has currently ~2% odds on this level of catastrophe.

Comment by peter_hurford on Opinion: Estimating Invertebrate Sentience · 2020-01-25T23:58:27.131Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Chimps have much more neuroanatomical similarity with humans, more apparent cognitive sophistication (such as learning ability, language ability), and more complex social behavior, relative to chickens and cows.