This cube approach is interesting, but my instinctive response is to agree with MichaelA, if someone doesn’t think influencing the long-run future is tractable then they will probably just want to entirely filter out longtermist cause areas from the very start and focus on shorttermist areas. I’m not sure comparing areas/volumes between shorttermist and longtermist areas will be something they will be that interested in doing. My feeling is the cube approach may be over complicating things.
If I were doing this myself, or starting an ’exploratory altruism’ organisation similar to the one Charity Entrepreneurship is thinking about starting, I would probably take one of the following two approaches:
Similar to 80,000 Hours, just decide what the most important class of cause areas is to focus on at the current margin and ignore everything else. 80K has decided to focus on longtermist cause areas and has outlined clearly why they are doing this (key ideas page has a decent overview). So people know what they are getting from 80K and 80K can freely assume totalism, vastness of the future etc. when they are carrying out their research. The drawback of this approach is it alienates a lot of people, as evidenced by the founding of a new careers org, ‘Probably Good’.
Try to please everyone by carrying out multiple distinct funnelling exercises, one for each class of cause area (say near-term human welfare, near-term animal welfare, x-risk, non-x-risk longtermist areas). Each funnelling exercise would make different foundational assumptions according to that cause area. People could then just choose which funnelling exercise to pay attention to and, in theory, everybody wins. The drawback to this approach that 80K would state is that it probably means spending a lot of time focusing on cause areas that you don’t think are actually that high value, which may just be very inefficient.
I think this decision is tough, but on balance I would probably go for option 1 and would focus on longtermist cause areas, in part because shorttermist areas have historically been given much more thought so there is probably less meaningful progress that can be made there.