Comment author: Joey 01 January 2018 06:32:52PM *  2 points [-]

Congrats on first post.

You can see our most detailed current plans for the RCT in this concept note or this spreadsheet. We are still nailing down the partners we are working with and the end line budget we will have, so they are subject to some change. We have considered the existing evidence base fairly carefully and you can see our summary of other studies here.

We have estimates at different sample sizes, but generally we are looking in the 5k-20k range of participants dependent on funding and exact study design.

Indeed our code is open source and we would love help on it. We are about to put up a volunteering/internship opportunity to help us with it. You can see the code here.

Sadly clinics would not provide funding for our program, at least not the low income clinics in our target areas. It might be different with private clinics, but they generally target demographics that are less productive to send reminders to (due to having higher baseline vaccination rates)

Comment author: VinceB 04 January 2018 02:55:20AM 0 points [-]

That Code link is broken, check it. Would love to star it and take a look :) Im crazy buzy (arent we all?) but it might be worth a look for sure.

GL on those RCTs! heres to getting 20k samples!

In response to Open Thread #39
Comment author: VinceB 31 December 2017 09:00:59PM *  0 points [-]

Stats, or Software?


Hey guys, I might make this a full post later but I realllly need advice.

I am a software developer with a BA in Ecomonics and Int'l Studies. I became a dev cause I needed a job terribly and didnt have any connections to orgs I was really passionate about. Ive been thrilled to learn programming can really help people! But im starting to get the vibe that data science and statistics might do a bit more damage.

What do ya'll think? How do I approach my developing my skillset without getting too distracted? I love stat and I love programming, want to help the most people. Im specifically interested in economic empowerment.

Ive read chunks of the fantastic material on 80k but would love to hear some arguments and stories that pit the two options against each other more closely.

Im Denver based if anyone want to chat about this over a beer or food ;)

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: VinceB 31 December 2017 08:41:28PM 0 points [-]

I am very uninformed about organizations...

OP wasnt refering to the orgs he was donating to but a seperate problem domain he doesnt have expertise in.

Comment author: Katja_Grace 13 December 2017 08:51:41PM 5 points [-]

Do you have quantitative views on the effectiveness of donating these organizations, that could be compared to other actions? (Or could you point me to any of the links go to something like that?) Sorry if I missed them.

Comment author: VinceB 31 December 2017 08:39:57PM 0 points [-]

Charity Science Health also featured really good RCTs in their proposal that you can see in their proposal or just google. LMK if I should link them.

There is also the promise of future data in this arena. JPAL, WHO, and a few other orgs are setting their sails to investigate this as well, so the decent data will be getting much better. If WHO and JPAL are interested theres at the least something big to investigate for sure, and to get that data you need programs to be active.

Comment author: Gregory_Lewis 19 December 2017 12:38:18AM 3 points [-]

[Note: I work on existential risk reduction]

Although I laud posts like the OP, I'm not sure I understand this approach to uncertainty.

I think a lot turns on what you mean by the AI cause area being "Plausibly better" than global poverty or animal welfare on EV. The Gretchenfrage seems to be this conditional forecast: "If I spent (lets say) 6 months looking at the AI cause area, would I expect to identify better uses of marginal funding in this cause area than those I find in animal welfare and global poverty?"

If the answer is "plausibly so, but probably not" (either due to a lower 'prima facie' central estimate, or after pricing in regression to the mean etc.), then I understand the work uncertainty is doing here (modulo the usual points about VoI): one can't carefully look at everything, and one has to make some judgments on what cause areas look most promising to investigate on current margins.

Yet if the answer is "Probably, yes", then offering these recommendations simpliciter (i.e. "EA should fully fund this") seems premature to me. The evaluation is valuable, but should be presented with caveats like, "Conditional on thinking global poverty is the best cause area, fund X; conditional on thinking animal welfare is the best cause area, fund Y (but, FWIW, I believe AI is the best cause area, but I don't know what to fund within it)." It would also lean against making ones own donations to X, Y etc., rather than spending time thinking about it/following the recommendations of someone one trusts to make good picks in the AI cause area.

Comment author: VinceB 31 December 2017 08:34:21PM *  0 points [-]

To attempt to complement what Peter already said,

: one can't carefully look at everything, and one has to make some judgments on what cause areas look most promising to investigate on current margins.

This is why EA rarely falls into what can accurately be described as a "streetlight effect". We aren't looking for one set of keys, we're looking for a bunch of keys (threats to human welfare) and theres a bunch of us drunkards, all with differing abilities and expertise. So I'd argue if its dark somewhere, those with the expertise need to start building streetlights, but if the lights getting brighter in certain areas (RCTs in health) then we need people there too.

Comment author: Telofy  (EA Profile) 12 December 2017 12:16:32PM *  11 points [-]

That’s an awesome selection! I’m also planning to support WASR in 2018 and perhaps longer, and I’m about to donate CHF 5k from my 2018 budget (for tax reasons) to their fundraiser.

I’m particularly optimistic about the field of welfare biology because it can draw on enormous resources in terms of institutions, biology and ecology research, and scientific methodology to generate break-throughs in an area that has been greatly neglected so far. The situation may be similar to that of medicine in the early days (1800s or so) when the foundations for systematic inquiry into health had finally been laid and then just needed to be applied to generate invaluable new insights.

Surely many animals in the wild have net positive lives, but so do many humans around the world. 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 – and so I value the same even more for wild animals who are so much more numerous and still live under worse conditions at much higher rates.

There’s also a Sentience Politics initiative going on in Switzerland (automatic translation) that has a shot at banning factory farming in the whole country via a popular vote. I see this in the same reference class as, for example, the ban on battery cages in California, though on a smaller scale because of the lower population size. Import of factory-farmed products may be more difficult than in the case of California, though, which is a big plus for the initiative. And they’re also far short of their fundraising goals.

Comment author: VinceB 31 December 2017 08:24:13PM 0 points [-]

a shot at banning factory farming

What would this entail? should we start a new thread for this? sounds great but small-medium farmers could get their butts whipped if its implemented too broadly no?

Comment author: VinceB 31 December 2017 08:19:58PM 2 points [-]

Ahoy all, first post here super excited!

Charity Science Health - Do they detail the plans for their RCT? Have the looked at the current research for contexts in which the intervention is more or less effective?

The RCTs are promising but I would think the cash they are asking for would get them something north of 2k participants (correct me if thats naive).

Also, is their code open source/do they need some one to code for em? Have they looked at charging clinics a small fee for the repeat customers or would that burn them most likely?