Comment author: RomeoStevens 19 June 2018 01:55:40AM 2 points [-]

In addition to cataloging sources of data and analysis for current and potential EA causes, it might also be nice if there was a repository of info on why some common cause areas are not generally recommended by EA. I'm unsure how one would incentivize such info being added though.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 19 June 2018 02:46:10AM 1 point [-]

it might also be nice if there was a repository of info on why some common cause areas are not generally recommended by EA

Good idea. I had been experimenting by adding summaries at the top of some articles (for example this one on aging) and was trying to figure out how opinionated the Wiki should be. Right now I was trying to err on the side of being less opinionated. If you have any thoughts on this issue, I'd definitely be curious to hear them.

I'm unsure how one would incentivize such info being added though.

We're hoping to eventually and slowly create a volunteer pool to do this kind of work. This seems like the kind of tasks volunteers have done well on in my past experience. Furthermore, given funding, we'd even be able to pay for the assistance.

Comment author: RyanCarey 19 June 2018 12:20:36AM 1 point [-]

Do you have a plan for managing information hazards?

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 19 June 2018 12:41:12AM 0 points [-]

We control the site, so we can revert the addition of any information hazards if they come up. I imagine the site has the same risk of spreading infohazards as, say, this forum.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 15 June 2018 09:48:21PM 0 points [-]

I think you have a typo in your post title.

Comment author: byanyothername 11 June 2018 04:38:18PM *  0 points [-]

Despite this, we are faced with a genuine choice here and need some way to navigate that choice, even if we may do that with different values and philosophical backgrounds in mind.

Of course. But we're comparing two such different things here that I wouldn't claim things like, ". . . an estimate of $310 per pig year saved . . . which is worse than human-focused interventions even from a species neutral perspective" - to me, that's much worse than saying things like, "it costs $300 to provide biweekly CBT for a depressed Kenyan for a month and $50 to provide a daily hot meal for a homeless American for a month, so the former is worse than the latter even from a nationality neutral perspective", which you wouldn't say.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 11 June 2018 05:56:20PM 0 points [-]

I disagree with your analogy. I do think it's meaningful to say that I would prefer human-focused interventions at that price tradeoff and that it isn't because of speciesist attitudes. So they're at least comparable enough for people to know what I'm talking about.

Comment author: EricHerboso  (EA Profile) 08 June 2018 12:43:46AM 3 points [-]

Human DALYs deal with positive productive years added to a human life. Pig years saved deal with reducing suffering via fewer animals being born. I'm not sure that these are analogous enough to directly compare them in this way.

For example, if you follow negative average preference utilitarianism, the additional frustrated preferences averted through pig-years-saved would presumably be more valuable than an equivalent number of human-disability-adjusted-life-years, which would only slightly decrease the average frustrated preferences.

Different meta-ethical theories will deal with the difference between DALYs and pig-years-saved differently. This may affect how you view the comparison between them.

(With that said, I find these results sobering. Especially the part where video outperforms VR possibly due to a negative multiplier on VR.)

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 08 June 2018 05:18:50AM 0 points [-]

I'm not sure that these are analogous enough to directly compare them in this way.

Every time we do cost-effectiveness analysis we need to make philosophical judgment calls about what we value. I agree that these "$ per thing" measures can be crude and are meant more for illustrative purposes than as a rigorous, binding, rationally compelling comparison. People could feel free to disagree and think that pig years saved are far more important (perhaps due to preference utilitarianism, or thinking the suffering averted is far more intense, etc.).

Despite this, we are faced with a genuine choice here and need some way to navigate that choice, even if we may do that with different values and philosophical backgrounds in mind.

Especially the part where video outperforms VR possibly due to a negative multiplier on VR.

I'm not sure how seriously I would take that proposition -- it appears to largely be guesswork. This study did not find any statistically significant difference in either direction between 360 VR and 2D video and both Faunalytics and Animal Equality leave open the possibility that novelty effects not captured in this study may still make 360 VR more compelling. Given my assessment that they're roughly equal in cost per person reached, I would not try to make a case for 2D video over 360 VR.

Comment author: MaxRa 07 June 2018 10:28:17AM 2 points [-]

Thank you for this!

I wonder if EAAs might think that the main effect of their animal advocacy is not necessarily the immediate meat consumption change, but more the longer term moral circle expansion. For example Jacy Reese from the Sentience Institute recently argued in this direction. If so, it might be more interesting to test for the level of speciesism or level of empathy towards animals before and after those interventions. I'd guess that decreasing speciesism is easier than causing a change in consumption habits, so for moral circle expansion purposes those results could be encouraging, correct?

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 07 June 2018 02:34:27PM 2 points [-]

Perhaps the impact on changing the Suffering Attitude could be important here. It's not clear yet to me how enduring this attitude change is, especially extended into the far future, but you probably could put some sort of value on it? I'd be interested in further testing on this.

10

Animal Equality showed that advocating for diet change works. But is it cost-effective?

This essay was jointly written by Peter Hurford and Marcus A. Davis. All code for analyses contained is available on GitHub . Summary: Animal Equality and Faunalytics put together a field study testing individual video outreach on belief and diet change. They found statistically significant results on both. Together with... Read More
Comment author: Denise_Melchin 06 June 2018 10:38:18PM *  11 points [-]

I’m really curious which description of EA you used in your study, could you post that here? What kind of attitudes towards EA did you ask about?

I can imagine there might be very different results depending on the framing.

My take on this is that while many more people than now might agree with EA ideas, fewer of them will find the lived practice and community to be a good fit. I think that’s a pretty unfortunate historical lock in.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 06 June 2018 11:41:17PM 9 points [-]

I’m really curious which description of EA you used in your study, could you post that here? What kind of attitudes towards EA did you ask about?

+1. There's a big gap, I'd guess, between "your dollar goes further overseas" and "we must reduce risk from runaway AI".

while many more people than now might agree with EA ideas, fewer of them will find the lived practice and community to be a good fit. I think that’s a pretty unfortunate historical lock in

Serious question: Could we start a new one?

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 05 June 2018 12:39:11AM 1 point [-]

Yew Kwang-Ng on how he invented EA decades ago

He's got nothing on John Wesley.

Comment author: Gregory_Lewis 28 May 2018 07:41:42PM 6 points [-]

I'd be hesitant to recommend direct efforts for the purpose of membership retention, and I don't think considerations on these lines should play a role in whether a group should 'do' direct work projects. My understanding is many charities use unskilled volunteering opportunities principally as a means to secure subsequent donations, rather than the object level value of the work being done. If so, this strikes me as unpleasantly disingenuous.

I think similar sentiments would apply if groups offered 'direct work opportunities' to their membership in the knowledge they are ineffective but for their impact on recruitment and retention (or at least, if they are going to do so, they should be transparent about the motivation). If (say) it just is the case the prototypical EA undergraduate is better served reallocating their time from (e.g.) birthday fundraisers to 'inward looking' efforts to improve their human capital, we should be candid about this. I don't think we should regret cases where able and morally laudable people are 'put off' EA because they resiliently disagree with things we think are actually true - if anything, this seems better for both parties.

Whether the 'standard view' expressed in the introduction is true (i.e. "undergrads generally are cash- and expertise- poor compared to professionals, and so their main focus should be on self-development rather than direct work") is open to question. There are definitely exceptions for individuals: I can think of a few undergraduates in my 'field' who are making extremely helpful contributions.

Yet this depends on a particular background or skill set which would not be in common among a local group. Perhaps the forthcoming post will persuade me otherwise, but it seems to me that the 'bar' for making useful direct contributions is almost always higher than the 'bar' for joining an EA student group, and thus opportunities for corporate direct work which are better than standard view 'indirect' (e.g. recruitment) and 'bide your time' (e.g. train up in particular skills important to your comparative advantage) will be necessarily rare.

Directly: if a group like EA Oxford could fund-raise together to produce $100 000 for effective charities (double the donations reported across all groups in the LEAN survey), or they could work independently on their own development such that one of their members becomes a research analyst at a place at Open Phil in the future, I'd emphatically prefer they take the latter approach.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 29 May 2018 01:15:51AM 8 points [-]

the 'bar' for making useful direct contributions is almost always higher than the 'bar' for joining an EA student group

I agree with this in principle, but to me it excludes something important. I'd suggest that a good path to making useful direct contributions is to start off by trying to make useful direct contributions and failing. I'd think a good amount of undergrads would be suited for this and would learn something important from the process (even if they learn that they're not suited for it). I'd love to see local groups encourage this more.

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