Daniel_Eth comments on Concrete project lists - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Daniel_Eth 26 March 2017 01:56:12AM 9 points [-]

This makes me wish we had basic income - I feel like the need for some income to fulfill basic needs stops people from "taking risks" and pursuing these sorts of projects.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 26 March 2017 04:07:24AM 9 points [-]

I think it could be possible to set up a general sort of EA Fund for this sort of thing, sort of like how there is one for political activism. That could be a missing step on our quest to turn money into talent.

How long do you think someone would have basic income for before they could either "prove" their project and get actual donations / fundraising based on merit or they could go back to a day job? How much funding do you think this would take?

Comment author: Daniel_Eth 26 March 2017 05:28:45AM 3 points [-]

Hmm, actually I like this idea. I'd assume that if someone's been working for 6 months, then they should have something to show for it. And maybe 2 years to actually get a project to the point that it's either succeeding/ failing on its own. Since most EAs live in expensive cities, that could be around $2k per month minimum.

So that would be around $12k for someone to "try a project out," and then if the project is doing well then around $50k per capita to see if the project can be "successful" or not. That's plausibly worth it.

So I guess we should add [EA fund for people to start new projects] to the list of projects that EAs maybe should start. One thing we'd have to consider is how do we make sure we don't just get people conning us for free money?

Comment author: RyanCarey 26 March 2017 06:33:01AM 4 points [-]

You could do unconditional basic income but why would you start with that when we haven't even created a facility for people to fund credible proposals yet? Seems better to reboot EA Ventures or Impact Certificates first (given that the EA community is a bit bigger, and that some of the reasons for previous failure were related to circumstance).

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 26 March 2017 02:48:03PM 16 points [-]

I guess another important next step would be learning from why similar things like EA Ventures, Impact Certificates, and the Pareto Fellowship didn't get more traction and were shut down.

Comment author: Zeke_Sherman 28 March 2017 02:36:30AM 2 points [-]

Pareto Fellowship was shut down? When? What happened?

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 28 March 2017 02:52:21AM 6 points [-]

We do not plan to continue the Pareto Fellowship in its current form this year. While we thought that it was a valuable experiment, the cost per participant was too high relative to the magnitude of plan changes made by the fellows. We might consider running a much shorter version of the program, without the project period, in the future. The Pareto Fellowship did, however, make us more excited about doing other high-touch mentoring and training with promising members of the effective altruism community.

From CEA's 2017 Fundraising Report.

Comment author: AGB 26 March 2017 10:04:11AM 12 points [-]

I'm sympathetic to this view, though I think the EA funds have some EA-Ventures-like properties; charities in each of the fund areas presumably can pitch themselves to the people running the funds if they so choose.

One difference that has been pointed out to me in the past is that for (e.g.) EA Ventures you have to put a lot of up-front work into your actual proposal. That's time-consuming and costly if you don't get anything out of it. That's somewhat different to handing some trustworthy EA an unconditional income and saying 'I trust your commitment and your judgment, go and do whatever seems most worthwhile for 6/12/24 months'. It's plausible to me that the latter involves less work on both donor and recipient side for some (small) set of potential recipients.

With that all said, better communication of credible proposals still feels like the relatively higher priority to me.

Comment author: RyanCarey 26 March 2017 06:38:52PM 0 points [-]


Comment author: Michael_PJ 26 March 2017 06:35:05PM 2 points [-]

One important thing to remember is that important projects may not look very credible initially. Any early-stage EA funding body needs to ask itself "would we fund an early-stage 80k?".

Comment author: Ben_Todd 26 March 2017 09:12:25PM 4 points [-]

Bear in mind that before we spent any money we had: been involved in 10-20 important plan changes that would already justify significant funding; built a website with thousands of views per month; and received top level press coverage.

Comment author: Michael_PJ 27 March 2017 04:37:46AM 3 points [-]


I think I'm thinking of funding even earlier than 80k got money, though. 80k had presumably had very many hours of volunteer labour before it got to that point - we might want to fund things earlier than that.

Comment author: rochelleh  (EA Profile) 26 March 2017 07:07:52PM 0 points [-]

Some EA projects may fall within the scope of that existing political activist funding opportunity as well.

Comment author: Daniel_Eth 27 March 2017 02:42:58AM 1 point [-]

Any ideas of which projects in particular?

Comment author: Greg_Colbourn 04 June 2018 09:10:05PM 2 points [-]
Comment author: remmelt  (EA Profile) 06 April 2017 07:22:01PM *  2 points [-]

My approach here is to look for ways to help people in the EA community save money on basic needs. A pattern I'm noticing is that they often seem to be good for community building too.

Examples of this:

1) The EA Safety net project, which I've just started working on with dedicated others.

2) Shared housing for people involved with EA & rationality. An especially promising example is the Accelerator Project, I think. I've also found 19 rationality/EA houses around the world so far (I'm slowly working on getting one going in the Netherlands).

3) Even simpler: couchsurfing

I think that scaling cost-saving solutions like these are a more promising area to explore than funding basic incomes (depending on how many people take part for the time put into kickstarting the project). Whether spending time on starting a cost-saving project yourself is worth it does depend on your skills and opportunities.

For me, funding movement building/far future orgs generally makes more sense than a basic income (most of which goes to giving a coordinated group of people incomes so they can take risks) unless a basic income would target high-potential people only. Or perhaps you could fund someone to start a cost-savings project. :-)

Comment author: Greg_Colbourn 07 April 2017 01:04:47PM 2 points [-]

There is also the Kernel Project (Manchester, UK) - rationalist & rationalist-adjacent low cost living and community building. I would be happy to see more EAs involved.