Comment author: inconvenient 13 December 2017 11:11:01PM *  -2 points [-]

The criteria I used for making these grants was as follows: (1) Have clear “room for more funding” ... (2) Have a clear risk of not meeting their funding goal... (3) Clear a bar of being “impactful enough”...represent outstanding opportunities that I think are better than the community average

I am very uninformed about organizations... working on existential risk and far future. My impression, however, is that OpenPhil has done a good job filling up the funding gaps in this area and that there are very few organizations that would meet the criteria I’m using for these recommendations.

I think this says about all that needs to be said about whether this kind of search procedure is likely to yield optimal donation targets!

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 14 December 2017 12:52:06AM *  2 points [-]

I can't tell if this comment is positive or negative toward my criteria. Would you mind elaborating?

Comment author: MichaelDickens  (EA Profile) 12 December 2017 05:21:19PM 9 points [-]

I haven't yet gotten around to writing up where I plan on donating in 2018 (I already maxed out my 2017 donations in February), but I've been thinking along the same lines. Recently I've been leaning toward donating to these smaller, riskier organizations because I see a lot of value in helping new orgs grow and learning what they can accomplish--especially because the established charities that I like best have gotten a lot of funding recently and have room to scale up before they start to hit the limits of their funding.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 12 December 2017 09:02:25PM 1 point [-]

Cool! I look forward to seeing your reasoning!

Comment author: avacyn 12 December 2017 06:27:00PM 6 points [-]

I think it’s valuable to research how we can improve the well-being of humans who suffer – perhaps even to the point of having net negative lives, but not necessarily

I agree with this. Just to expand a bit - wild elephants might generally have net positive lives, but there still might be worthwhile interventions, e.g. to ensures some number that would have been killed by predators instead die in their sleep. The most relevant question is not whether wild animals have net positive lives, but how much their welfare could be improved per dollar.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 12 December 2017 09:01:44PM 1 point [-]

That's a great way of putting it. Thanks for the clarity!

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 04 December 2017 03:02:43PM 0 points [-]

Note to self for next year: ACE tracks money moved.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 02 December 2017 03:38:09AM 4 points [-]
Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 27 November 2017 02:18:04AM 1 point [-]
Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 21 November 2017 09:57:50PM 0 points [-]

Do you know why StrongMinds chose the intervention that they did? Do you think there's a cost-effective way to administer CBT in the third-world?

Comment author: casebash 17 November 2017 07:12:44AM 3 points [-]

I'm not sure how useful this data is given that there are major distribution effects. ie. If I distribute the survey through Less Wrong, I'll find a lot of people who first heard of the movement through Less Wrong, ect.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 17 November 2017 03:59:58PM 2 points [-]

Yep, that is an issue. One idea might be to look at the data for each referral source (e.g., how everyone who heard about the survey through Facebook heard about EA, then how everyone who heard about the survey though SlateStarCodex heard about EA, etc.).

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 17 November 2017 05:34:03AM *  3 points [-]

Is it just me, or does the "excited altruism" frame sound perverse to anyone else? I can understand excitement about helping people, but it can easily sound like deriving excitement from other people being in unfortunate situations. Like if no one needed help, you'd be less excited?

...I find it hard to imagine people who just wish there was a building burning down somewhere nearby, so they could play the hero.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 07 November 2017 04:44:01AM *  0 points [-]

An interesting comment on this piece from Amon Elders, posted here with permission:

Basing myself mostly on Kauffman venture capital report of 2012: "we have met the enemy, and he is among us". The data in your report is mostly from venture funds raised between 1980-2001. This was the most profitable period of VC investing. Afterwards returns have taken a nosedive, see kauffman report. There seems one source in your report, Robinson and Sensoy(2011), that uses a database that includes up to 2010, and median PME figures are 0.82 and 2% net IRR. Which, given that it's an illiquid asset-class, is bad. The average seems to be around 1.0 PME, and 9% IRR. Note that this is 'up to', what really should be done is remove the period between 1980-2000, as the distribution of the data has shifted. Moreover, it wouldn't surprise me that the downwards trend in VC returns has continued over the past 7 years.

Either way, the median returns are quite bad, and my question was mostly why does OpenPhil believe they can find these right opportunities. Given that it seems almost impossible to predict if a new venture capital funds is going to be successful. Which makes sense, anything beyond >5 year horizon's seems almost impossible to predict for humans, basing myself on the book superforecasters here. And the data is highly noisy, highly limited, with high bias in venture capital investing and it might be the same for these high-impact high risk opportunities

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