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adamaero comments on Announcing the Effective Altruism Handbook, 2nd edition - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: RandomEA 03 May 2018 06:30:24AM *  9 points [-]

The shift from Doing Good Better to this handbook reinforces my sense that there are two types of EA:

Type 1:

  1. Causes: global health, farm animal welfare

  2. Moral patienthood is hard to seriously dispute

  3. Evidence is more direct (RCTs, corporate pledges)

  4. Charity evaluators exist (because evidence is more direct)

  5. Earning to give is a way to contribute

  6. Direct work can be done by people with general competence

  7. Economic reasoning is more important (partly due to donations being more important)

  8. More emotionally appealing (partly due to being more able to feel your impact)

  9. Some public knowledge about the problem

  10. More private funding and a larger preexisting community

Type 2:

  1. Causes: AI alignment, biosecurity

  2. Moral patienthood can be plausibly disputed (if you're relying on the benefits to the long term future; however, these causes are arguably important even without considering the long term future)

  3. Evidence is more speculative (making prediction more important)

  4. Charity evaluation is more difficult (because impact is harder to measure)

  5. Direct work is the way to contribute

  6. Direct work seems to benefit greatly from specific skills/graduate education

  7. Game theory reasoning is more important (of course, game theory is technically part of economics)

  8. Less emotionally appealing (partly due to being less able to feel your impact)

  9. Little public knowledge about the problem

  10. Less private funding and a smaller preexisting community

Comment author: adamaero  (EA Profile) 03 May 2018 06:34:33PM *  0 points [-]

I also believe there are two broad types of EAs today. So this is interesting. Although, I am a little confused on some of your meaning. Can you make some of those into complete sentences?

2) How are these different between Type 1 and Type 2?

4) "Evidence is more direct" in what regard or context??

Lastly, the list seems skewed, favoring Type 2.

Comment author: RandomEA 04 May 2018 04:44:18AM *  0 points [-]

2) How are these different between Type 1 and Type 2?

To me, it cannot be seriously disputed that improving the lives of currently alive humans is good, that improving the welfare of current and future animals is good, and that preventing the existence of farm animals who would live overall negative lives is good.

By contrast, I think that you can make a plausible argument that there is no moral value to ensuring that a person who would live a happy life comes into existence (though as noted above, you can make the case for reducing global catastrophic risks without relying on that benefit).

4) "Evidence is more direct" in what regard or context??

It's easier to measure the effectiveness of the program being implemented by a global health charity, the effectiveness of that charity at implementing the program, and the effectiveness of an animal charity at securing corporate pledges than it is to measure the impact of biosecurity and AI alignment organizations.