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Jacy_Reese comments on How to get a new cause into EA - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Jacy_Reese 13 January 2018 03:14:15PM *  9 points [-]

I'd go farther here and say all three (global poverty, animal rights, and far future) are best thought of as target populations rather than cause areas. Moreover, the space not covered by these three is basically just wealthy modern humans, which seems to be much less of a treasure trove than the other three because WMHs have the most resources, far more than the other three populations. (Potentially there's also medium-term future beings as a distinct population, depending on where we draw the lines.)

I think EA would probably be discovering more things if we were focused on looking not for new cause areas but for new specific intervention areas, comparable to individual health support for the global poor (e.g. antimalarial nets, deworming pills), individual financial help for the global poor (e.g. unconditional cash transfers), individual advocacy of plant-based eating (e.g. leafleting, online ads), institutional farmed animal welfare reforms (e.g. cage-free eating), technical AI safety research, and general extinction risk policy work.

If we think of the EA cause area landscape in "intervention area" terms, there seems to be a lot more change happening.

Comment author: Daniel_Dewey 16 January 2018 03:58:12PM 3 points [-]

I think this is a good point; you may also be interested in Michelle's post about beneficiary groups, my comment about beneficiary subgroups, and Michelle's follow-up about finding more effective causes.

Comment author: davidc 13 January 2018 06:22:09PM 2 points [-]

are best thought of as target populations than cause areas ... the space not covered by these three is basically just wealthy modern humans

I guess this thought is probably implicit in a lot of EA, but I'd never quite heard it stated that way. It should be more often!

That said, I think it's not quite precise. There's a population missing: humans in the not-quite-far-future (e.g. 100 years from now, which I think is not usually included when people say "far future").