Posts

[Expired] 20,000 Free $50 Charity Gift Cards 2020-12-11T20:00:57.934Z
Make a $10 donation into $35 2020-12-01T19:52:36.749Z
EA Giving Tuesday, Dec 3, 2019: Instructions for Donors 2019-11-24T04:02:34.896Z
Will CEA have an open donor lottery by Giving Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019? 2019-10-07T21:38:47.073Z
#GivingTuesday: Counter-Factual Donation Matching is the Lowest-Hanging Fruit in Effective Giving 2017-11-25T20:40:12.834Z
What is the expected effect of poverty alleviation efforts on existential risk? 2015-10-02T20:43:30.808Z
Charity Redirect - A proposal for a new kind of Effective Altruist organization 2015-08-23T15:35:29.717Z

Comments

Comment by williamkiely on Seeking part-time contractor for Facebook group support · 2021-01-15T22:50:15.315Z · EA · GW

This seems useful. I'm curious if CEA would consider having this contractor also do something to improve what's happening over at the EA subreddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/EffectiveAltruism/

I've looked at a few threads on the subreddit over there the last few weeks and unfortunately it seems to me like the quality of much of the discourse there is significantly worse on average than I've seen in any EA Facebook group. It doesn't seem like a great way for new people to hear about EA for the first time. I'm not sure what should be done to improve the situation.

Maybe an 80/20 to improve it would be to write some new high quality intro / overview posts and pin them to the top indefinitely? Maybe have a copy of the EA Forum Digest pinned to the top until the next one comes out, with an archive of past digests saved there? Having the date of the digest in the title might get more people who go to the subreddit to click on it.

Comment by williamkiely on Non-itemizing US taxpayers can deduct $300 of their 2020 donations · 2021-01-05T21:23:08.064Z · EA · GW

It is "capped at $300 per tax return whether you’re single or married filing jointly."

Married filing separately is capped at $150 per tax return (citing the same link).

Comment by williamkiely on I made a video on engineered pandemics · 2020-12-22T04:45:15.166Z · EA · GW

Michael Montague, 7:48:

"I think the argument for extinction level events from artificial pathogens is profoundly weak. These complex systems--things like transmissibility, lethality--that's a hard thing to predict, to actually engineer. Just ask yourself how hard is it for record labels to predict which songs are going to be a hit. Until it hits the market, there's really no where to know. And that's a relatively simple situation, which pathogen is going to be immunologically a hit. You might have dialed in this little detail just a little bit wrong--oh it killed the patient too fast to transmit it."

This sounded like an improvised answer instead of a succinct summary of the strongest argument against extinction level events being likely--which I think would have been a more ideal thing to include in the video.

In particular, Michael's answer leads me to wonder how he knows that future technological developments wouldn't make it much easier to predict which pathogens would "immunologically be a hit" and yet the video doesn't tell me.

Or a second objection: Why, given a long enough time horizon, wouldn't the possibility of a bad actor engineering many, many pathogens until one of them finally hits wouldn't be a concern?

Comment by williamkiely on I made a video on engineered pandemics · 2020-12-22T04:32:03.799Z · EA · GW

Great video! I didn't know the history about the weaponization of smallpox, cholera, anthrax and plague.

Comment by williamkiely on Make a $10 donation into $35 · 2020-12-21T20:22:44.276Z · EA · GW

I see you joined via my link, but also see that you somehow joined somewhat differently than everyone else (on my Joins tab it says you "joined William Kiely", but does not say this for anyone else on my Joins tab) . I'm not sure what's going on.

Anyway, I'll PM you a $25 gift card now that you can give to a charity of your choice. (I have a few of these for an independent reason.)

Comment by williamkiely on Why did MyGiving need to be replaced? And why is the EffectiveAltruism.org replacement so bad? · 2020-12-14T23:19:02.771Z · EA · GW

Came back to this thread to say I'd really like to be able to export to CSV.

Comment by williamkiely on [Expired] 20,000 Free $50 Charity Gift Cards · 2020-12-11T21:57:30.275Z · EA · GW

Here's a list of EA-aligned nonprofits that were supported by EA Giving Tuesday: https://www.eagivingtuesday.org/nonprofits-supported

Over 1.5 million charities are eligible recipients of the $50 Charity Gift Cards, so most should be findable.

Comment by williamkiely on Charles_Dillon 's Shortform · 2020-12-11T18:58:56.624Z · EA · GW

20,000 more $50 Charity Gift Cards were made available at 1 PM EST today. Will probably be gone by 2-4 PM EST today, so anyone reading this before then sign up now: https://redefinegifting.tisbest.org/

Comment by williamkiely on [Expired] 20,000 Free $50 Charity Gift Cards · 2020-12-11T18:57:11.464Z · EA · GW

Free $50 Charity Gift Card available now! 30 seconds to sign-up: https://redefinegifting.tisbest.org/ (Update: Still available as of 3:30pm EST, 2.5 hours later)

Comment by williamkiely on My mistakes on the path to impact · 2020-12-09T08:20:28.210Z · EA · GW

While reading this post a few days ago I became uncomfortably aware of the fact that I made a huge ongoing mistake over the last couple years by letting myself not put in a lot of effort into developing and improving my personal career plans. On some level I've known this for a while, but this post made me face this truth more directly than I had done previously.

During this period I often outright avoided thinking about my career plans even though I knew that making better career plans was perhaps the most important way to increase my expected impact. I think I avoided thinking about my career plans (and avoided working on developing them as much as it would have been best for me to) in part because whenever I tried thinking about my career plans I'd be forced to acknowledge how poorly I was doing career-wise relative to how well I potentially could have been doing, which was uncomfortable for me. Also, I often felt clueless about which concrete options I ought to pursue and I did not like the feeling of incompetence this gave me. I'd get stuck in analysis paralysis and feel overwhelmed without making any actual progress toward developing good plans.

It feels embarrassing to admit this, but for many months over the last few years I failed to make much or any progress on developing good career plans for myself. I should have reached out for help, even by saying something as simple as "I haven't been making nearly as much progress on developing my career plans as I should be, and I think this is mostly because I haven't been taking many actions that I probably should be taking. I'm not sure whether I just need some external accountability to help with my motivation or if there's something else that's holding me back, but in any case I clearly haven't solved this myself and don't expect to solve it myself anytime soon, so I likely need help from someone in order for me to make a lot of progress soon." Instead I did not admit this to people whom it would have been helpful for me to admit this to. I was afraid to be seen as incompetent. The conversations I had with others about where I was at with figuring out my career plans were superficial and did not help get me out of my pattern of unproductivity. If I had been more honest with myself about what I was failing at and why, I probably would have made a lot more progress on developing my career plans a lot sooner, which would have increased my expected impact in expectation, perhaps by a large amount.

Your post helped me admit a lot of things along these lines to myself and I think it will help me to not neglect putting in work (including asking for help when I need it, even if it's uncomfortable for me to do so) to improve my career plans in the future. So thank you very much for writing this and sharing it.

Comment by williamkiely on Make a $10 donation into $35 · 2020-12-05T14:07:12.538Z · EA · GW

Moving these post updates to the comments:

24-Hour Update: Already 103 people have joined downstream of this post, with at least $1,275 of matching funds allocated (and probably more like ~$2,200, assuming the 85% donated/joined rate (=51/60) holds for all 103 people). Wow! Thank you for your generosity everyone!

68-Hour Update: The every.org/metrics dashboard reports that only $12,605 of the $250,000 matching dollars available have been used so far. Assuming the 87% donated/joined rate (=109/225) holds for all 228 people who have joined downstream of this post, the amount of matching dollars directed to EA-aligned nonprofits by all of your donations downstream of this post is approximately ~$4,970, or 39% of all matching funds used so far. Once again, wow! And thank you for continuing to share this great opportunity!

90-Hour Update: We just reached at least $3,000 in matching funds allocated (and probably more like ~$5,475, assuming the 87% donated/joined rate (=120/137) holds for all 251 people). That's a lot of money for effective charities! Thank you for your generosity everyone!

The every.org/metrics dashboard reports that only $13,030 of the $250,000 matching dollars available have been used so far, confirming that it is very likely this opportunity is not going to run out before the December 25th end date. Thank you for continuing to share this great opportunity and helping to direct this money to the nonprofits that will use it to do the most good!

Comment by williamkiely on [Expired] 20,000 Free $50 Charity Gift Cards · 2020-12-05T00:57:20.478Z · EA · GW

(One person took me up on the offer at $15. When I made the donation, I realized that I was making the donation unmatched. I get most of my donations matched, so I actually only think this is a good deal for me for amounts <$25/2, so I lowered the offer to $10.)

Comment by williamkiely on [Expired] 20,000 Free $50 Charity Gift Cards · 2020-12-04T21:07:09.622Z · EA · GW

[Out of date comment thread]

Anyone who is interested: Reply to this comment with your preferred nonprofit after signing up and I'll donate $10 to it now, conditional on you agreeing to donate any Charity Gift Card you receive from this to a nonprofit of my choice (which I'll name here if and when I receive a Charity Gift Card). (Note: If you'd prefer to message me your preferred charity privately, feel free to comment with "I accept" or similar.)

I make this offer available to the first 10 people who take it before this Forum post is 24 hours old or before I edit this comment to retract the offer.

Comment by williamkiely on [Expired] 20,000 Free $50 Charity Gift Cards · 2020-12-04T20:48:32.494Z · EA · GW

Epistemically I'm confident enough in this opportunity that I'm happy to broadcast it to the whole EA Forum with a top level post. I spent nearly an hour thinking about this and right now think the chance that new sign-ups get $100 gift cards is about 25%. I don't want to encourage others to take more time to think about this by offering a bet, but I would encourage others who already are going to take the time to read Ray Dalio's tweets to share their quick forecasts to sanity check mine.

Comment by williamkiely on [Expired] 20,000 Free $50 Charity Gift Cards · 2020-12-04T20:28:45.317Z · EA · GW

Thanks to Christopher L and Charles_Dillon for mentioning this opportunity previously.

Comment by williamkiely on Charles_Dillon 's Shortform · 2020-12-04T19:23:49.099Z · EA · GW

I absolutely agree. 20 minutes ago Ray Dalio just Tweeted:

As many of you may have seen, yesterday I offered 10,000 @TisBest Charity Gift Cards to you to donate to your favorite charities. I was so happy that so many people signed up, but felt terrible that others were closed out. (1/2)

With the help of friends I’m working to make more Charity Gift Cards available, and I’m thrilled that @reedhastings has signed on with a donation to spread this charitable way of gifting. Stay tuned for updates on additional donors and when we'll be releasing this next phase. 2/2

Naively I'd estimate a ~30% chance that people who sign up within the next 24 hours receive a $100 gift card to donate.

Comment by williamkiely on A new strategy for broadening the appeal of effective giving (GivingMultiplier.org) · 2020-12-04T17:12:18.145Z · EA · GW

All donations are processed and forwarded by every.org. They are a platform to connect donors and nonprofits and have an option that allows for fee-free donations to any US charity. They have been incredibly helpful in setting up our donation infrastructure!

This mention of every.org caused me to sign up for their newsletter, then write this Make a $10 donation into $35 EA Forum post a month later upon learning from the newsletter that Every.org had decided to give away up to $250,000 to nonprofits of their users' choices! Already EAs have directed about $5,000 of the matching funds to EA-aligned nonprofits through this opportunity!

Comment by williamkiely on EA Forum feature suggestion thread · 2020-12-03T21:44:08.626Z · EA · GW

Feature Request: Allow users to make their comments display as collapsed-past-a-certain-point by default.

Why? Sometimes I want to post a long comment, but feel that it's not one that everyone needs to see/read. I'd happily post the comment if I could write a summary of what it's about at the top and have the rest hidden/collapsed-by-default, but without this ability I'm often reluctant to post the comment. This is especially true when there are many comments on a post (or when I expect there will be), since I don't want the experience of other users who are scrolling through the comment section to scan it to have to see the large body of a comment that is just taking up space. It'd be much easier to navigate the comments if long-comments were mostly collapsed, and I think giving users the ability to decide exactly when their long comments collapse would be even better.

Comment by williamkiely on Make a $10 donation into $35 · 2020-12-01T21:44:10.313Z · EA · GW

Tina (co-founder of Every.org) just replied to your comment with:

It's credited to the account that makes the donation, so that you can direct it elsewhere if you want. You can see it in your Payments tab: https://www.every.org/my-giving/payment

Unfortunately since she is a new user I think her comment is being hidden until she gets above the 10-karma threshold (if I'm not mistaken... I have a vague recollection of there being a 10-karma threshold that caused me trouble once). Upvote her comment here so it's visible. EDIT: Okay, it's now over 10-karma and still hidden; I don't know what the issue is.

Comment by williamkiely on Make a $10 donation into $35 · 2020-12-01T19:56:31.161Z · EA · GW

Note: I think it's unlikely the $250,000 will be used up (by 10,000 new users) by the December 25th end date. Why? The most popular user on the site is Tim Ferriss with 462 followers, followed by the founder of Uber and two co-founders of Every.org. They're trying to get traction, but that's hard.

Comment by williamkiely on Make a $10 donation into $35 · 2020-12-01T19:54:51.024Z · EA · GW

Not sure where to donate? Just amplify where other EAs donated on Facebook this morning rather than take time to think about it now. E.g. Against Malaria Foundation or Machine Intelligence Research Institute.

Comment by williamkiely on Opportunity to increase EA org funding by ~$200K/year if a couple hundred EAs take 1 minute on Giving Tuesday · 2020-12-01T19:35:30.963Z · EA · GW

Done, thanks!

Comment by williamkiely on Is Giving Tuesday only for the US and Canada? Are they tax-deductible? · 2020-11-30T14:34:18.536Z · EA · GW

Per our written instructions on the EA Giving Tuesday website Other countries, donating €5 EUR to €250 EUR, while donors from many countries are eligible to participate in Giving Tuesday:

We believe most eligible countries have a donation amount limit of €250 (or the equivalent in your currency) over a 31-day period. It's important that your Giving Tuesday donation does not push you over this limit -- not even €1 over -- or Facebook will probably decline your entire donation.

Others on the team have been doing the testing this year, but my understanding is that we have not performed tests in every country, so it may be possible that in the Netherlands you can donate up to the €500 amount you are seeing on the Facebook donation form. If you are committed to donating even without the match, my recommendation in this case would be that you attempt two €249 donations (or however much less than this with your first donation necessary to stay within the €250 per 31-day period limit), submitting them 1-2 seconds before the match start time when an exact clock says :58 and :59. In this way, the first donation will hopefully go through even if the second donation is declined for exceeding the limit in your country.

So in general it's true that Facebook's Giving Tuesday match is more attractive to US and Canada donors than donors from other countries, because they are eligible to have larger amounts of money get matched. Yet we expect that donors from many other countries are probably eligible to get up to €250 matched, and possibly more in some cases, though we aren't explicitly aware of any exceptions to the €250 limit.

Comment by williamkiely on Opportunity to increase EA org funding by ~$200K/year if a couple hundred EAs take 1 minute on Giving Tuesday · 2020-11-30T03:47:50.680Z · EA · GW

Thanks for the reply! Sharing a couple other relevant thoughts just because I took the time to think them, but no reply is necessary.

(This is probably the sort of scenario where I should just spend the minute to tweet at VISA rather than spend several minutes trying to more precisely estimate the expected impact, but I only consciously thought of this after already spending a few more minutes thinking about the expected impact and writing out the following so I'm posting my thoughts anyway.)

Re:

(a) Naively I'd estimate that the counterfactual effect of 200 additional marginal EAs retweeting/sharing the relevant posts on Tuesday on the probability that VISA eliminates fees for nonprofits in the next year is roughly ~5% (and possibly much lower if I thought about it longer). I'd be shocked if this one push increased the probability by 40%, even though I do agree that sometimes (often?) large companies make changes because of a small number of people posting on social media.

(b) Adjusting your estimate with different more conservative assumptions -- a 2% average credit card fee, only donors <$10,000/year (rather than <$100,000/year) use credit cards to donate (i.e. $15.4% of the $16.1M/year rather than 43%), and assuming only the impact from VISA changing their fees -- then the direct impact would be closer to $24,800/year = (Your $207,690 estimate)(2%/3%)(15.4%/43%)*(0.5). The main direct impact this ignores is the fact that presumably many people who do not respond to the EA Survey donate to EA charities using VISA credit cards. The EA Survey VISA donors may represent a minority of VISA donors to EA charities.

Comment by williamkiely on Opportunity to increase EA org funding by ~$200K/year if a couple hundred EAs take 1 minute on Giving Tuesday · 2020-11-29T22:56:09.077Z · EA · GW

I'm happy to do this, but I want to note that it seems to me like you may be overselling the opportunity with your post title ("Opportunity to increase EA org funding by ~$200K/year if a couple hundred EAs take 1 minute on Giving Tuesday") since:

(a) VISA may very well not eliminate fees for payments to charity even if 200+ EAs do what you ask on Giving Tuesday, and

(b) The fraction of donations (made by EAs who filled out the EA survey) made using VISA credit cards may be substantially less than necessary to make the total fees amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. ("EAs in the survey reported total donations of $16.1M USD in 2018." However, not all of this is donated by credit cards, and VISA has 50% of the credit card market by purchase transactions.)

So my questions for you are:

  • How likely do you think it is that VISA will do this conditional on 200 EAs fulfilling your request on Giving Tuesday?

  • What fraction of donations reported on the EA Survey do you estimate are made by VISA credit card donation? (Or what's the total amount donated to EA nonprofits using VISA credit cards each year?)

Comment by williamkiely on If Causes Differ Astronomically in Cost-Effectiveness, Then Personal Fit In Career Choice Is Unimportant · 2020-11-24T16:56:40.209Z · EA · GW

I thought Michael meant for the tag to mean that the premise P is unlikely by itself, not "if P, then Q" or Q by itself.

Comment by williamkiely on If Causes Differ Astronomically in Cost-Effectiveness, Then Personal Fit In Career Choice Is Unimportant · 2020-11-24T00:13:57.947Z · EA · GW

If you replace all four instances of "cost-effectiveness" in this post (including the title) with "expected cost-effectiveness" then I agree with it.

But if you literally mean the objective cost-effectiveness, then I think I disagree with the claim made in the post's title.

(Note: The rest of this long comment is merely explaining why I think I disagree in that case.)

I think in that case I disagree with the claim because it seems like enough subjective uncertainty about which cause (A or B) is the one that is astronomically more cost-effective than the other could reduce the expected cost-effectiveness to a small enough number that personal career fit may matter again. For example, in the extreme case in which you are exactly 50% confident that cause A is astronomically more cost-effective than cause B, and 50% confident that cause B is astronomically more cost-effective than A, then cause A and cause B have the same expected cost-effectiveness (assuming that the "astronomical" is the same magnitude for both). In this scenario, you should probably work on the cause where you have better personal fit, and only opt for the earning-to-give path if you can make enough money to employ people to do more work on some combination of the two causes than you'd be able to do yourself.

Even if your subjective uncertainty is not that uncertain (such that the expected value calculation says that one cause is still astronomically more cost-effective than the other in expectation), I think there may still be reasons to take personal fit into account when deciding on where to work or give. For example, suppose that you are 55% confident that cause A is one million times as cost-effective as cause B and 45% confident that cause B is a million times as cost-effective as cause A, such that your average expectation is that cause A is 100,000 times as cost-effective as cause B. In this case, if your 55% credence is not robust or is unstable in some sense, then rather than make an all-in bet on that 55% by ignoring your strong personal fit for a career in cause B and opting instead to donate a small amount to cause A, it may instead be more rational to take the job in cause B. If we imagine that you're part of a community where there are other people who are strongly suited to working on cause A who are 55% confident that cause B is astronomically-more-cost-effective, then surely we'd want the two of you to cooperate and engage in a trade where you both do direct-work for the other person's preferred cause (where you both have strong personal fit), rather than have both of you earn-to-give small amounts of money for the cause that you each think is more cost-effective. By coordinating so each of you work on the other person's preferred cause, you'll both think the world will be better off than if you both earned-to-give instead. Now in practice I think trying to coordinate these career trades may often be too impractical. But in the absence of being able to identify someone who takes the other view that we do and has the other skill-set, I think we should still consider that these complementary people may exist (I'd argue they probably exist in many cases) and that we should therefore perhaps cooperate in this hypothetical prisoner's dilemma by working on the cause where we have strong personal fit rather than defect by earning to give just a small amount in favor of the cause that we slightly prefer.

Okay, so I just realized that above I said "if your 55% credence is not robust or is unstable in some sense" and then made a completely different argument (a moral trade argument) for why personal fit in career choice may still be important even if one expects that causes differ astronomically in cost-effectiveness. I think there may be another argument that one could make for the same conclusion if one's estimate is unstable or not robust, though I'm not sure what that argument is--I just have an intuition.

Comment by williamkiely on Why you should give to a donor lottery this Giving Season · 2020-11-18T22:57:23.691Z · EA · GW

Given these reasons (and others) it seems there may be value in letting people enter with their name attached, but not revealing that person as the winner if they win.

Comment by williamkiely on Why you should give to a donor lottery this Giving Season · 2020-11-18T03:54:13.794Z · EA · GW

Straw Poll: Is it better to enter a donor lottery anonymously or with one's name attached?

Comment by williamkiely on How we can make it easier to change your mind about cause areas · 2020-10-10T21:22:06.705Z · EA · GW

I've found the advice of this post useful.

In particular, the suggestion to "1) Give a small donation ($20) to a charity in each major cause area, especially  the ones you've never donated to before."

I just acted on this advice by giving $20 to a group of Democrat senate campaigns which David Shor considers "the races where I think the marginal *small dollar donation* will go the furthest." This was my first political donation (besides a $1 donation in February to Yang's campaign that allegedly helped bring him to the debates.)

Previously, I followed the advice by donating small dollar amounts to a couple other organizations working to help animals (the Good Food Institute and the Wild Animal Initiative). While these acts haven't (yet) caused me to change which cause area I make the bulk of my donations to, I've noticed that they  seem to have had some effect on me psychologically, making me more open to seriously considering making substantial donations to these organizations/cause areas.

Comment by williamkiely on 5,000 people have pledged to give at least 10% of their lifetime incomes to effective charities · 2020-09-30T03:36:11.325Z · EA · GW

You all are inspiring! Thank you for making the world a better place. Let's reach 10,000 members soon. When is a realistic target?

Comment by williamkiely on Donating effectively does not necessarily imply donating tax-deductibly · 2020-08-19T16:43:45.693Z · EA · GW

That said, it does seem to me that once one had decided on an organization to give to, one should separately optimize how to make that donation (considering donation matching opportunities, whether the donation is or can be tax deductible (which may mean investigating whether a donation swap with another EA makes sense and whether practicing donation bunching makes sense), fees, etc.)

Comment by williamkiely on Donating effectively does not necessarily imply donating tax-deductibly · 2020-08-19T16:36:22.009Z · EA · GW

A similar point to be made is that "Donating effectively does not necessarily imply making a donation with low or zero fees."

E.g. If you would donate $X to an organization if there were zero fees, the fact that there is actually a credit card fee of a few percent probably should not cause you to donate to a different organization entirely (or cause you to give substantially less for that matter).

Comment by williamkiely on Donating effectively does not necessarily imply donating tax-deductibly · 2020-08-19T16:13:21.130Z · EA · GW

Plenty of caveats to this of course, like if you have employer matching

Also worth mentioning: Whether you have employer matching or not, all US donors can take advantage of Facebook's Giving Tuesday donation match (see EAs Should Invest All Year, then Give only on Giving Tuesday and the EA Giving Tuesday website).

TL;DR: Even though Facebook has only provided $7 million USD in matching funds, EAs have been able to get more than half their donations matched in the last two years and I don't expect the opportunity to become saturated (by EAs or the general public) this year either. That is, I expect EA donors who take an hour or two to prepare (by reading the EA Giving Tuesday team's instructions and making a few small practice donations) will still have a 30-70% probability of getting matched (up to $20,000 per donor) this Giving Tuesday, December 3, 2020. (E.g. I'm currently willing to make an unconditional bet at even odds that I will make a donation that is matched by Facebook for Giving Tuesday this year.)

Comment by williamkiely on My Cause Selection: Michael Dickens · 2020-07-26T23:34:40.631Z · EA · GW

Some other related links I found helpful:

Vipul Naik's "My 2018 donations": https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/dznyZNkAQMNq6HtXf/my-2018-donations

Adam Gleave's "2017 Donor Lotter Report": https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/SYeJnv9vYzq9oQMbQ/2017-donor-lottery-report

Brian Tomasik's "My Donation Recommendations": https://reducing-suffering.org/donation-recommendations/

https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/Z6FoocxsPfQdyNX3P/where-some-people-donated-in-2017

Comment by williamkiely on My Cause Selection: Michael Dickens · 2020-07-26T23:34:10.304Z · EA · GW

I read this post today after first reading a significant portion of it on ~December 2nd, 2019. I'm not sure my main takeaways are from reading it, but wanted to comment to say that it's the best example I currently am aware of someone explaining their cause prioritization reasoning when deciding where to donate. Can anyone point me to more or better examples of people explaining their cause prioritization reasoning?

Comment by williamkiely on I'm Linch Zhang, an amateur COVID-19 forecaster and generalist EA. AMA · 2020-06-30T23:59:25.149Z · EA · GW

I vaguely recall hearing something like 'the skill of developing the right questions to pose in forecasting tournaments is more important than the skill of making accurate forecasts on those questions.' What are your thoughts on this and the value of developing questions to pose to forecasters?

Comment by williamkiely on I'm Linch Zhang, an amateur COVID-19 forecaster and generalist EA. AMA · 2020-06-30T23:55:31.997Z · EA · GW

Is forecasting plausibly a high-value use of one's time if one is a top-5% or top-1% forecaster?

What are the most important/valuable questions or forecasting tournaments for top forecasters to forecast or participate in? Are they likely questions/tournaments that will happen at a later time (e.g. during a future pandemic)? If so, how valuable is it to become a top forecaster and establish a track record of being a top forecaster ahead of time?

Comment by williamkiely on I'm Linch Zhang, an amateur COVID-19 forecaster and generalist EA. AMA · 2020-06-30T23:53:58.282Z · EA · GW

What were your reasons for getting more involved in forecasting?

Comment by williamkiely on Study results: The most convincing argument for effective donations · 2020-06-30T21:25:31.097Z · EA · GW

My entry (475 words):

Morally it is a very good thing to donate to highly-effective charities such as Against Malaria Foundation because the money will go very far to do a lot of good.

To elaborate:

Consider that in relatively-rich developed countries, many governments and people are willing to spend large amounts of money, in the range of $1,000,000-$10,000,000, to avert (prevent) a death. For example, the United States Department of Transportation put the value of a life at $9.2 million in 2014.

In comparison, according to estimates of researchers at the nonprofit GiveWell, which is dedicated to finding outstanding giving opportunities and publishing the full details of their analysis to help donors decide where to give, it only costs about $2,300 to save a life if that money is given to Against Malaria Foundation, one of GiveWell's top charities.

Specifically, consider these four cost-effectiveness estimate results:

GiveWell's 2019 median staff estimate of the "Cost per under-5 death averted" for Against Malaria Foundation is $3,710.

GiveWell's 2019 median staff estimate of the "Cost per age 5+ death averted" for Against Malaria Foundation is $6,269.

GiveWell's 2019 median staff estimate of the "Cost per death averted at any age" for Against Malaria Foundation is $2,331.

GiveWell's 2019 median staff estimate of the "Cost per outcome as good as: averting the death of an individual under 5" for Against Malaria Foundation is $1,690.

These are bargain prices enabling people like you to make your money go very far to do a lot of good, regardless of how much money you give.

If these sound like unbelievably low prices to you given the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars that it can cost to save a life in developed countries such as the United States, consider that the reality is that millions of people die of preventable diseases every year in very poor countries in Africa and elsewhere. As such, these very inexpensive ways of saving lives very cost-effectively do in fact exist.

Since money you give to Against Malaria Foundation will go very far to do a lot of good to save lives, you should strongly consider donating to Against Malaria Foundation or another highly-effective charity if given the opportunity. Even a donation of just $10 to Against Malaria Foundation or another highly-effective charity will do a lot of good.

Based on GiveWell's cost-effectiveness estimates above, and assuming that averting a death saves about 30 years of life on average, your decision to donate even just $10 to the Against Malaria Foundation will prevent approximately 47 days of life from being lost in expectation.

In summary, it is a very morally good and morally praiseworthy thing to donate to highly-effective charities such as Against Malaria Foundation because the money will go very far to do a lot of good.

My entry is different than all five of the Top 5 entries in that my entry is the only one to not engage with the objection "but what about the value of $10 for myself?"

The primary reason why people don't give presumably is because they'd rather have the money for their own uses.

All five of the Top 5 arguments engage with this idea by implying in one way or another that taking the money for your own use would make you a selfish or bad person.

My entry seems mediocre (in part) because it only highlights the benefits of effective giving to others. It does not attempt to make the reader feel guilty about turning down these bargain opportunities and taking the $10 for oneself.

Comment by williamkiely on Study results: The most convincing argument for effective donations · 2020-06-30T21:15:35.635Z · EA · GW

I'm impressed by the top 5 entries, approximately in the order of the mean donation amount they caused.

I submitted an entry to this contest which I thought was decent when I wrote it, but now seems really mediocre upon re-reading it (see my reply to this comment for my entry).

One thing I noticed about all five of the Top 5 arguments (though not my entry) is that they all can be interpreted as guilting the reader into donating. That is, there is an unstated implication the reader could draw that the reader would be a bad person if they chose not to donate:

  • Argument #9: After reading this winning argument, the reader might think: "Now if I don't donate the $10 I'd be admitting that I don't value the suffering of children in poor countries even one-thousandth as much as my own child (or someone I know's child). What a terrible person I'd be. I don't want to feel like a bad person so I'll donate."

  • Argument #3: Someone might think: "Practically everyone agrees that giving to charity is good, so if I don't donate the $10 that would make me bad. I don't want to feel like a bad person so I'll donate."

  • Argument #5: "If I take the $10 rather than donate it, I'd be putting my own interest in receiving $10 above the interests of four children who don't want malaria, which would make me a bad person. I don't want to feel like a bad person so I'll donate."

  • Argument $12: "I just read that I should feel good about whether I decide to 'take' or 'give' the $10. And also that I should prioritize helping a large number of people over the value of $10 for myself. So now I'm not sure that I could feel good about 'taking' the money for myself. I don't want to feel guilty over $10 so I'll donate."

  • Argument #14: "'Every single day you have the opportunity to spare a small amount of money to provide a fellow human with the same basic access to food or drinking water – how often have you done this?' Clearly I'd be a bad person if I decided to take $10 that is offered to me rather than give the $10 to provide a fellow human with basic access to food or drinking water. I don't want to feel like a bad person, so I'll donate.

Comment by williamkiely on Can the EA community copy Teach for America? (Looking for Task Y) · 2020-06-13T15:53:07.823Z · EA · GW

Helpful post for thinking about how to scale the EA community to make productive use of more people.

Comment by williamkiely on New article from Oren Etzioni · 2020-02-26T05:59:35.372Z · EA · GW

It feels like Etzioni is misunderstanding Bostrom in this article, but I'm not sure. His point about Pascal's Wager confuses me:

Some theorists, like Bostrom, argue that we must nonetheless plan for very low-probability but high-consequence events as though they were inevitable

Etzioni seems to be saying that Bostrom argues that we must prepare for short AI timelines even though developing HLMI on a short timeline is (in Etzioni's view) a very low-probability event?

I don't know whether Bostrom thinks this or not, but isn't Bostrom's main point that even if AI systems sufficiently-powerful to cause an existential catastrophe are not coming for at least a few decades (or even a century or longer), we should still think about and see what we can do today to prepare for the eventual development of such AI systems if we believe that there are good reasons to think that they may cause an x-catastrophe when they eventually are developed and deployed?

It doesn't seem that Etzioni addresses this, except to imply that he disagrees with the view by saying it's unreasonable to worry about AI risk now and by saying that we'll (definitely?) have time to adequately address any existential risk that future AI systems may pose if we wait to start addressing those risks until after the canaries start collapsing.

Comment by williamkiely on New article from Oren Etzioni · 2020-02-26T05:18:25.481Z · EA · GW

Etzioni's implicit argument against AI posing a nontrivial existential risk seems to be the following:

(a) The probability of human-level AI being developed on a short timeline (less than a couple decades) is trivial.

(b) Before human-level AI is developed, there will be 'canaries collapsing' warning us that human-level AI is potentially coming soon or at least is no longer a "very low probability" on the timescale of a couple decades.

(c) "If and when a canary “collapses,” we will have ample time before the emergence of human-level AI to design robust “off-switches” and to identify red lines we don’t want AI to cross"

(d) Therefore, AI does not pose a nontrivial existential risk.

It seems to me that if there is a nontrivial probability that he is wrong about 'c' then in fact it is meaningful to say that AI does pose a nontrivial existential risk that we should start preparing for before the canaries he mentions start collapsing.

Comment by williamkiely on New article from Oren Etzioni · 2020-02-26T04:58:09.045Z · EA · GW

Etzioni also appears to agree that once canaries start collapsing it is reasonable to worry about AI threatening the existence of all of humanity.

As Andrew Ng, one of the world’s most prominent AI experts, has said, “Worrying about AI turning evil is a little bit like worrying about overpopulation on Mars.” Until the canaries start dying, he is entirely correct.

Comment by williamkiely on Concerning the Recent 2019-Novel Coronavirus Outbreak · 2020-02-05T22:40:11.743Z · EA · GW

I accepted a bet on January 30th with a friend with the above terms. Nobody else offered to bet me. Since then, I have updated my view. I now give a ~60% probability that there will be over 10,000 deaths. https://predictionbook.com/predictions/198256

My update is mostly based on (a) Metaculus's estimate of the median number of deaths updating from ~3.5k to now slightly over ~10K (https://www.metaculus.com/questions/3530/how-many-people-will-die-as-a-result-of-the-2019-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-before-2021/) and also (b) some naive extrapolation of the possible total number of deaths based on the Feb 4th death data here: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-death-toll/

Comment by williamkiely on Concerning the Recent 2019-Novel Coronavirus Outbreak · 2020-01-30T12:00:57.620Z · EA · GW

I'm willing to bet up to $100 at even odds that by the end of 2020, the confirmed death toll by the Wuhan Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) will not be over 10,000. Is anyone willing to take the bet?

Comment by williamkiely on EA Giving Tuesday, Dec 3, 2019: Instructions for Donors · 2019-12-02T23:00:46.856Z · EA · GW

We updated it again with different language, hopefully incorporating the spirit of your feedback. We didn't want to discourage people who were willing to put in more time (say an hour or more) from putting in that much time by mentioning "10-20 minutes". Many donors would benefit from much more time spent preparing and practicing.

Comment by williamkiely on EA Giving Tuesday, Dec 3, 2019: Instructions for Donors · 2019-12-02T22:56:07.725Z · EA · GW

Thanks, done. Updated it to:

  • Speed. Per our instructions, fill out your donation early so you can calmly finalize your donation with one click by clicking the green "Donate" button within the first second of the start of the match.
    • In 2017, the match lasted 86 seconds; in 2018, it lasted 15 seconds; this year we expect it to run out much faster, plausibly in one second (personal median estimate: ~4 seconds).
Comment by williamkiely on EA Giving Tuesday, Dec 3, 2019: Instructions for Donors · 2019-11-30T19:36:32.095Z · EA · GW

Thanks Brian, I updated the 'US, $500 or more' instructions page with a note that "Someone who follows these instructions, which should take only 10-20 minutes of pre-work, should be able to donate within 1-3 seconds."