Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 08 August 2018 05:08:20PM *  1 point [-]

The S&P500 has returned an average of >9% per year for the last 90 years.

How can you say "past returns are no guarantee of future returns" in response to this fact, then turn around and estimate future returns based on a snapshot of what yield and buyback are "right now"? The latter is much less reliable.

It takes about a minute to put money into a fund and another minute to sell it. Seems pretty simple to me.

Comment author: Robert_Wiblin 08 August 2018 09:29:35PM 10 points [-]

The effort required to set up a non-profit trading account, go through KYC, make it secure, teach everyone in the org how it works, and do the necessary legal, budgetary and accounting compliance each year make this much more than a few minute job. Things that are easy for individuals are often less straightforward for organisations.

Comment author: BastiS 12 July 2018 05:36:50PM *  4 points [-]

Borderline offtopic, but it would be great if you could provide a version of your research that is readable on a smartphone (aka no PDF).

Comment author: Robert_Wiblin 13 July 2018 08:00:47PM 3 points [-]

I can second this. I prefer to download long pieces of text to my phone to read on Pocket/Instapaper. In addition, putting this report up as a web page will make it much more likely to be passed around on social media, Reddit, Hacker News, and so on.

Comment author: Robert_Wiblin 13 July 2018 07:16:47PM 6 points [-]

The unifying insight behind many of the examples is that what many people including me really enjoy is spending time with friends. A lot of expensive activities - like going out for drinks and food or weekends away - are 80% about getting to socialise, which can be done at much lower cost if you want.

Comment author: devon_fritz 12 July 2018 11:12:50AM 0 points [-]

I was going to say the same thing. I found the majority of the advice to be good, but don't agree with pirating things to save money.

Comment author: Robert_Wiblin 13 July 2018 07:13:41PM 5 points [-]

Interestingly, the folks at Netflix and HBO don't seem to mind people sharing accounts:

""We love people sharing Netflix," CEO Reed Hastings said Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Show here in Las Vegas. "That's a positive thing, not a negative thing.""

Presumably because i) it makes more people subscribe because they get more value for money by sharing, and ii) eventually people get their own accounts if they like it.

More comments on what the various services think about password sharing here:

Comment author: RandomEA 21 May 2018 07:26:51PM 2 points [-]

First you need to look for what activities you think are most impactful, and then see what your money can generate vs your time.

This statement could be interpreted as suggesting that people should use a two-step process: first, choose a problem based on how pressing it is and then second, decide how to contribute to solving that problem.* That two-step approach would be a bad idea because some people may be able to make a greater impact working on a less pressing problem if they are especially effective at addressing that problem. Because of this, information about how pressing different problems are relative to each other should not be used to choose a single problem; instead, it should be used as background information when comparing careers across problems.

*I doubt that's what you actually meant since you wrote the linked article that discusses personal fit. But I figured some people might be unfamiliar with that article, so I thought it'd be worthwhile to note the issue.

Comment author: Robert_Wiblin 21 May 2018 10:46:46PM 1 point [-]

Yes - the reason you need to look at a bunch of activities rather than just one activity, is that your personal fit, both in general, and between earning vs direct work, could materially reorder them.


Do Prof Eva Vivalt's results show 'evidence-based' development isn't all it's cut out to be?

I recently interviewed a member of the EA community - Prof Eva Vivalt - at length about her research into the value of using trials in medical and social science to inform development work. The benefits of 'evidence-based giving' has been a core message of both GiveWell and Giving What We Can since they... Read More
Comment author: Denise_Melchin 20 May 2018 11:42:00PM *  25 points [-]

Thanks for trying to get a clearer handle on this issue by splitting it up by cause area.

One gripe I have with this debate is the focus on EA orgs. Effective Altruism is or should be about doing the most good. Organisations which are explicitly labelled Effective Altruist are only a small part of that. Claiming that EA is now more talent constrained than funding constrained implicitly refers to Effective Altruist orgs being more talent than funding constrained.

Whether 'doing the most good' in the world is more talent than funding constrained is much harder to prove but is the actually important question.

If we focus the debate on EA orgs and our general vision as a movement on orgs that are labelled EA, the EA Community runs the risk of overlooking efforts and opportunities which aren't branded EA.

Of course fixing global poverty takes more than ten people working on the problem. Filling the funding gap for GiveWell recommended charities won't be enough to fix it either. Using EA branded framing isn't special to you - but it can make us lose track of the bigger picture of all the problems that still need to be solved, and all the funding that is still needed for that.

If you want to focus on fixing global poverty, just because EA focuses on GW recommended charities doesn't mean EtG is the best approach - how about training to be a development economist instead? The world still needs more than ten additional ones of that. (Edit: But it is not obvious to me whether global poverty as a whole is more talent or funding constrained - you'd need to poll leading people who actually work in the field, e.g. leading development economists or development professors.)

Comment author: Robert_Wiblin 21 May 2018 03:01:54PM 2 points [-]

"Claiming that EA is now more talent constrained than funding constrained implicitly refers to Effective Altruist orgs being more talent than funding constrained."

It would be true if that were what was meant, but the speaker might also mean that 'anything which existing EA donors like Open Phil can be convinced to fund' will also be(come) talent constrained.

Inasmuch as there are lots of big EA donors willing to change where they give, activities that aren't branded as EA may still be latently talent constrained, if they can be identified.

The speaker might also think activities branded as EA are more effective than the alternatives, in which case the money/talent balance within those activities will be particularly important.

Comment author: Robert_Wiblin 21 May 2018 02:55:42PM 2 points [-]

Like you, at 80,000 Hours we view the relative impact of money vs talent to be specific to particular problems and potentially particular approaches too.

First you need to look for what activities you think are most impactful, and then see what your money can generate vs your time.

Comment author: Robert_Wiblin 24 April 2018 11:47:12PM 11 points [-]

This is a useful analysis, I expect it will be incorporated into our discussion of discount rates in the career guide.

Perhaps I missed it but how many of the 7 who left the 50% category went into the 10% category rather than dropping out entirely?

Comment author: Robert_Wiblin 20 April 2018 06:39:13PM 4 points [-]

I made a similar observation about AI risk reduction work last year:

"Someone taking a hard 'inside view' about AI risk could reasonably view it as better than AMF for people alive now, or during the rest of their lives. I'm thinking something like:

1 in 10 risk of AI killing everyone within the next 50 years. Spending an extra $1 billion on safety research could reduce the size of this risk by 1%.

$1 billion / (0.1 risk * reduced by 1% * 8 billion lives) = $125 per life saved. Compares with $3,000-7,000+ for AMF.

This is before considering any upside from improved length or quality of life for the present generation as a result of a value-aligned AI.

I'm probably not quite as optimistic as this, but I still prefer AI as a cause over poverty reduction, for the purposes of helping the present generation (and those remaining to be born during my lifetime)."

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