Copy
Hello!

Our favorite links this month include: There are also plenty of job listings, some of which close very soon!

— The EA Newsletter Team
 

Articles


GiveWell has more cost-effective opportunities than funding
 

GiveWell recently shared the news that they are more funding-constrained than they expected to be. This is partly because they discovered more funding opportunities that meet their bar for cost-effectiveness, and partly because they will probably receive less money than projected due to recent market declines. 

GiveWell’s funding gap is disappointing, but the new opportunities are very exciting. GiveWell identified them by:
  • Finding ways to expand core interventions, such as malaria nets and deworming, into new locations
  • Researching new interventions in areas like water quality
GiveWell is increasing their cost-effectiveness bar — the level of cost-effectiveness at which they’re willing to fund interventions — to 10x that of cash transfers in the near future. They’ll also increase their fundraising efforts. 

There is an ongoing conversation about how to understand the increases and decreases in funding available for effective altruism. Benjamin Todd recently published a post arguing that it’s more useful to talk about “the funding bar going up or down” than to discuss whether or not effective altruism has a “funding overhang,” to which Owen Cotton-Barratt pushed back.


A Kurzgesagt animation on the potential of humanity

 
The animation studio Kurzgesagt has posted a new video titled “The Last Human,” which estimates how many people there could ever be and discusses what this means for our actions today. 

If humans survive for about as long as the average mammalian species, for instance, we should expect to survive for another 800,000 years. The video explains that in that case, assuming a stable birthrate of 125 million humans every year, we should expect about 100 trillion people to be born in the future. That’s 850 times as many people as have ever lived. (You can check the sources.) More optimistic scenarios, in which humanity lasts even longer or leaves the Earth, yield even more spectacular outcomes. All of this reinforces the video’s central point: 

"If we don't kill ourselves in the next few centuries or millennia, almost all humans that will ever exist will live in the future."

To read about these ideas in more depth, see this article on longtermism.
 

What does the track record of science fiction mean for the development of AI?

 
Some people predict that the development of artificial general intelligence (AGI) will be transformative for humanity — and that it’s coming soon. Others are skeptical about this, in part because it sounds like science fiction, and it’s easy to think of doom-sayers and long-range forecasters who’ve been proven wrong throughout history. 

But is it true that science fiction writers are bad at predicting future technological progress? 

A recent investigation finds that Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Robert Heinlein — authors known as “the Big Three” in science fiction — have surprisingly decent track records when it comes to predicting the coming decades. Clarke, for instance, predicted in 1964 that in 2000, “we [will be able to] contact our friends anywhere on Earth, even if we don’t know their actual physical location.”

The Big Three weren’t cherry-picked for this investigation; they were selected for being famous writers. This suggests that attempts to forecast the future aren’t doomed. Moreover, modern-day AI forecasters almost certainly use better methods than science fiction writers, and forecasts are aggregated and checked more rigorously, which should improve their accuracy.
 


In other news

For more stories, try these email newsletters and podcasts
 

Resources

Links we share every time — they're just that good!

Jobs

The 80,000 Hours Job Board features more than 800 positions. We can’t fit them all in the newsletter, so check out the others on their website! You can also see more positions in the EA Job Postings group on Facebook.

If you’re interested in policy or global development, you may also want to check Tom Wein’s list of social purpose job boards.


Applications due soon


Centre for Effective Altruism: Centre for the Governance of AI (GovAI)
  • Research scholar — general and policy tracks (Preferred Oxford / remote, apply by 7 August)
  • Survey analyst (Remote, apply by 10 August)
Centre for the Study of Existential Risk is hiring for a director (Cambridge, apply by 31 July)

EA Germany: Fish Welfare Initiative: GiveWell: Rethink Priorities:
 

Other positions


Longview Philanthropy is hiring for a Longtermist Grantmaker (London).
 
Metaculus is hiring for 
experienced leaders, researchers & operators.

Announcements

 


 

Applications are open for EAGxSingapore


EAGxSingapore will take place on 2-3 September — apply here by 19 August.

You can also see the tentative schedule of other conferences here.

 

Magnify Mentoring is accepting applications


Magnify Mentoring offers mentorship to people from under-represented groups who are enthusiastic about pursuing a high-impact career — apply here by 5 August. You can also apply to be a mentor.

 

Scholarship for international students planning to study at top US and UK universities

 
Open Philanthropy are running a scholarship for promising, altruistic undergraduates who plan to study internationally at top universities in the US and UK. The primary application deadline is 15 August.

They are also running a contest for proposals for new focus areas, with a $120,000 prize pool and a deadline: 4 August.


The University Group Accelerator Program is accepting applications


The University Group Accelerator Program (UGAP) helps interested organizers form and grow new EA groups at their universities. It offers stipends for the main organizers, mentorship, training, and other resources. Applications for next semester are open and due by 25 July.


Apply for GovAI’s Winter Fellowship


The Centre for the Governance of AI (GovAI) is running a 3-month fellowship for early-career individuals who are considering working in AI safety or AI governance. Fellows will work at GovAI’s Oxford office full-time for up to 3 months between January and April 2023 and conduct independent research on a topic of their choice.

Fellows will receive a salary of £3,300 per month, plus a £2,000 accommodation stipend. Apply here by 1 August.

 

Organizational Updates

You can see updates from a wide range of organizations on the EA Forum.
 

A timeless classic on global inequality

A classic article from Our World in Data explains that “what matters most for your living conditions is not who you are, but where you are.” Two thirds of variation in income between all the people in the world can be explained by merely looking at the countries they live in. 

The differences are stark; almost everyone in Ethiopia is poorer than almost everyone in Denmark, and in the poorer half of the world, people live on less than $6.70 a day. Given that you’re reading this, the people who need help the most are probably not in your country. 

Is there anything we can do? 

Direct cash transfers and other interventions can make a huge difference to the extremely poor. And economic growth, which has brought about many of the greatest improvements in human wellbeing, will also be necessary to bring most people out of poverty.
We hope you found this edition useful!

If you’ve taken action because of the Newsletter and haven’t taken our impact survey, please do — it helps us improve future editions.

Finally, if you have feedback for us, positive or negative, let us know!

– The Effective Altruism Newsletter Team
Click here to access the full EA Newsletter archive
A community project of the Centre for Effective Altruism, a registered charity in England and Wales (Charity Number 1149828) – Centre for Effective Altruism, Trajan House, Mill Street, Oxford OX2 0DJ, United Kingdom
Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.