Problems in effective altruism and what to do about them 2019-10-17T16:07:50.138Z
Charity opportunity on /r/vegan ($40 per person) (ends tomorrow) 2019-06-28T15:13:51.381Z
Human vs animal trolley problem 2019-05-21T20:16:40.865Z
Charity opportunity going on over at /r/veganactivism 2019-05-08T15:19:25.070Z
Why animal charities are much more effective than human ones 2019-04-08T17:48:24.427Z
Charity ranking sheet I made 2019-03-13T03:00:40.526Z


Comment by utilitarian01 on Opinion: Estimating Invertebrate Sentience · 2020-01-01T01:00:09.272Z · EA · GW

>In the case of C. elegans, despite being a widely studied animal, evidence of their being conscious is weak and their behavioral reactions are simple and highly stereotyped.

What do you mean by simple? Having nociceptors is a good indicator of pain, right? Surely more than a 1% chance, that just seems like crazy overconfidence.

Comment by utilitarian01 on What if planet and society attained the same personhood that businesses enjoy? · 2019-12-18T04:32:36.666Z · EA · GW

That's true, but barring some huge change in the exact way capitalism works, I doubt it will ever happen.

Comment by utilitarian01 on Where are you donating this year and why – in 2019? Open thread for discussion. · 2019-12-11T04:56:09.174Z · EA · GW

>Leverage: It seems empirically evident to me that meta EA activity is influencing both the amount and the direction of funding at a ratio of at least £10 influenced £1 inputted.

How? Skimming through the page I see no evidence of that, it's literally just a random hypothetical that they throw out.

Comment by utilitarian01 on EA Survey 2018 Series: Donation Data · 2019-11-22T12:39:13.348Z · EA · GW

I know I'm like 1 year late, but do you have the raw data still?

Comment by utilitarian01 on What is the size of the EA community? · 2019-11-19T13:54:28.193Z · EA · GW

I would expect the number of ea-but-dont-know-about-ea people to be pretty high actually. Givewell received $42 million last year from people who gave $1 million or less, if each person gave $5000 (which I think is a generous amount), that's 8400 donors compared to the 3,500 that took the EA survey last year. Of course that could just be cause most people don't like taking surveys, but I would expect that to be countered by a lower average donation amount. In contrast, taking the median estimate of $750 in the last survey, it looks like we have 56,000 self-reported EAs (or at least Givewell EAs), that seems kinds high to me.

Comment by utilitarian01 on [Link] Bolsonaro is cutting down the rainforest (nytimes) · 2019-08-01T05:17:09.512Z · EA · GW

Great news for the animals suffering :)

Comment by utilitarian01 on Corporate campaigns affect 9 to 120 years of chicken life per dollar spent · 2019-07-08T19:21:15.185Z · EA · GW

Even at worst that's still 4 years of suffering averted per $, insane cost-effectiveness.

Comment by utilitarian01 on I find this forum increasingly difficult to navigate · 2019-07-05T16:16:12.249Z · EA · GW

"Decidedly" lmao

Comment by utilitarian01 on What is the effect of relationship status on EA impact? · 2019-06-27T21:18:22.879Z · EA · GW

Hm, my intuition goes the other way. I would assume being in a relationship increases your chances of convincing your gf/wife to donate at least a little, perhaps 10%, to your choice charity. I've never been in a relationship though so who knows.

Comment by utilitarian01 on Needed EA-related Articles on the English Wikipedia · 2019-06-27T20:17:51.099Z · EA · GW

Interestingly the EA wikipedia page gets an average of 9000 pageviews a month. Curious where most of these people first hear about it before googling, maybe Doing Good Better?

Comment by utilitarian01 on Insect herbivores, life history and wild animal welfare · 2019-06-10T23:59:03.819Z · EA · GW

Where would starvation fall under in the juvenile mortality pie chart? Or is that something r-selected species don't typically go through.

Comment by utilitarian01 on Invertebrate Sentience: A Useful Empirical Resource · 2019-06-09T20:34:45.978Z · EA · GW

Fantastic post, I'll be looking forward to the next one about insects as a cause area. I suggest researching the effects of buying beef to reduce springtail and nematode populations on grazing lands. See this post and this one as well. I could also pm you my spreadsheet that tried to compare it to other causes to give you a starting point.

Comment by utilitarian01 on [deleted post] 2019-05-30T12:14:17.825Z

Watching cricket makes you a better altruist

Comment by utilitarian01 on 35 Independent Pieces of Evidence for Why New Corporate Campaigns Might (or Might Not) Work · 2019-05-23T20:02:18.038Z · EA · GW

Off-topic but what do broiler chicken campaigns look like typically? I know for hens it's cage-free, is it just more space per chicken for broilers?

Comment by utilitarian01 on What caused EA movement growth to slow down? · 2019-05-12T14:20:56.426Z · EA · GW

If you make the definition of EA "anyone who donates to an EA charity" then the movement is much bigger, there's more than 20K people in the world donating to effective charities. The Humane League alone has 1.1M followers on facebook, assuming only 200K of those donate, that's still the same as the double every year number. I'd say anyone that donates would be considered an EA in my book, even if they don't self-identify as one.

Comment by utilitarian01 on Why we should be less productive. · 2019-05-09T20:09:24.833Z · EA · GW

I think it's cause of the cheese line. Most of us here are vegans and we don't like hearing that kind of thing.

Comment by utilitarian01 on What is the Impact of Beyond Meat? · 2019-05-04T23:20:07.606Z · EA · GW

I could still see a sizable impact coming from the consumer skipping a meal of chicken that they otherwise would have ate and substituting it with beyond meat. It doesn't have to be an exact substitute.

Comment by utilitarian01 on Reasons to eat meat · 2019-04-30T14:01:27.875Z · EA · GW

Donating is much more effective than the increase in demand though, especially when you consider the elasticity factor. So in that case you should just buy whatever food is cheaper and donate the excess, tofu is about 3x cheaper ($2 per pound) vs grass-fed beef ($6 per pound). I guess if you truly hate tofu you could have an excuse but there's always soy sauce to make it tastier.

Comment by utilitarian01 on [LINK] Farmed Fish Welfare Report · 2019-04-27T13:08:30.034Z · EA · GW

Also worth noting that aeration of the water has many economic incentives (preventing die offs) to it so there's a good chance that fish aren't suffering from low oxygen levels.

Comment by utilitarian01 on Reasons to eat meat · 2019-04-23T20:36:06.177Z · EA · GW

Fair point. Also this model gives a very similar number too, if you take the median of the -6, 13 estimate (3.5).

Comment by utilitarian01 on Reasons to eat meat · 2019-04-23T11:16:20.823Z · EA · GW

ACE charities are also super cost-effective (15 chickens spared per dollar or so) so if you can hold yourself to a deal like "I'm gonna eat steak tonight but promise to donate $1 to The Humane League after", you just did a lot more good than bad, at least in expected value.

Comment by utilitarian01 on Why animal charities are much more effective than human ones · 2019-04-09T11:44:17.129Z · EA · GW

The first impression though is that animal charities should be accepted as more effective until proven otherwise by some large positive AMF flow-through effect that outweighs saving a life (maybe reducing insect populations?) Until then it seems much more straightforward to donate to ACE charities, specifically the cage-free ones.

Comment by utilitarian01 on What are the Principles (guideline, moral spirit, social contract, or whatever the name is) for Effective Altruism? · 2019-04-04T01:21:22.851Z · EA · GW

Utilitarianism is probably the biggest one

Comment by utilitarian01 on 35-150 billion fish are raised in captivity to be released into the wild every year · 2019-04-03T00:10:44.132Z · EA · GW

Good catch, I also don't think the welfare improvement would be anywhere near a cage-free campaign, especially after reading that economic incentives part of your post. Unless you think the slaughter is really really bad, this probably isn't a worthy cause area.

Comment by utilitarian01 on 35-150 billion fish are raised in captivity to be released into the wild every year · 2019-04-02T15:53:01.250Z · EA · GW

> How cost-effective could they be compared to other animal welfare interventions?

This is a hard one, but I'll take a (crude) stab at it. Currently the best charity working on fish welfare is Albert Schweitzer (ace top charity). This 2016 guesstimate model of Albert Schweitzer shows a figure of 57 animals spared per dollar, but ~75% of these are chicks being spared from debeaking, which I think is too easy of a policy to implement compared to the oxygen/food problems that arise with fish welfare. The other 25% are cage-free hens which is probably closer to what we're dealing with here, so I'll assume it's 14 animals per $. Albert Schweitzer chiefly works in Germany, where 34 million laying hens are killed annually, of which ~1 million were spared, or 3%. Before factoring in for the 10% welfare increase, this is 11 million hens annually that are cage-free because of them.

According to this graph, german fish production totals 313,000 metric tons per year, or about ~400 million Alaskan pollocks (most popular fish). With all the same variables as the hen campaign, that's 4e8*.33*.1*5.5 (years of impact) = 7.3e7 or 73 million Pollocks spared over the course of 5 years. Assuming a a fish has the same worth of a chicken (less neurons but they also endure suffering for much longer on farms), that's 73/11 = 6.6*14 = 92 fish spared per $. This pretty much blows every other animal charity out of the water (heh).

Comment by utilitarian01 on Which asks should be prioritized in animal advocacy? - Charity Entrepreneurship · 2019-03-29T15:34:57.457Z · EA · GW

The dissolved oxygen comes from the nitrogen spike when overfeeding the fish, correct?

Comment by utilitarian01 on A Research Agenda for Establishing Welfare Biology · 2019-03-17T22:26:31.724Z · EA · GW

True, I still believe that making a toy model with made-up numbers is still better than not doing it at all.

Comment by utilitarian01 on A Research Agenda for Establishing Welfare Biology · 2019-03-17T12:13:35.788Z · EA · GW

Sure I'd be happy to discuss it more

Comment by utilitarian01 on A Research Agenda for Establishing Welfare Biology · 2019-03-16T15:27:48.077Z · EA · GW

I don't think its enough to say they're net negative because of r-selection though. Insect larvae probably have like 2 orders of magnitude less neurons and they might not even be conscious in the first place. Also I saw those welfare reports but really didn't like them because they left out the duration of suffering which is a huge factor in how bad something is. A broiler chicken experiencing a moderate amount of stress for it's entire life could be much much worse than it being boiled alive for a few seconds.

This is my welfare spreadsheet but I didn't intend to share it so if you want citations for the numbers I can try to link them.

Comment by utilitarian01 on A Research Agenda for Establishing Welfare Biology · 2019-03-15T19:45:00.912Z · EA · GW

Has there been any explicit calculation actually done on whether wild animal lives are net positive or negative? Because I've done some myself and it seems to be positive, at least for microorganisms and insects which are the most populous by a large margin.

Comment by utilitarian01 on Charity ranking sheet I made · 2019-03-13T11:33:19.864Z · EA · GW

Also do you know where I can find the ACE models?

Comment by utilitarian01 on Charity ranking sheet I made · 2019-03-13T11:31:01.817Z · EA · GW

The charities I chose wasn't a very principled decision, I just used the Givewell #1 (Malaria Consortium) and compared it to a couple other charities I thought could be more effective. The model is really just a basic attempt at comparing animal charities to human charities which is surprisingly something I haven't seen anyone try yet. There's also the utility number and duration of suffering I use to try to get a good grasp of how bad the life is for a chicken/fish