I attended only 1 talk aside from the opening and closing session. I filled up most of my time with (a) meetings and office hours with specific goals, (b) conversations with random people, and (c) time to myself. This strategy worked well for me and I’ll probably make it a point to attend 0 talks next year.
Through the planned meetings I had, I learned more about (a) career decisions, specifically infosec careers in GCR (b) how to run EA Giving Tuesday better, and (c) prioritizing causes better.
They can now be found as “GiveWell” in San Francisco, CA. I think they changed their legal name at some point.
You can share one login and password among multiple people if you trust your team members enough.
You can do this for free with Rebrandly, though only the admin account can create links.
(I’m not arguing any particular position here. Just mentioning some considerations.)
I think tweeting to Jeff Bezos seems fine, though I’d hope that someone’s first response would be “I should make sure Effective Giving saw this” rather than “I should tweet my favorite EA charity at him”.
Maybe? Although I think there were some advantages to tweeting him directly:
He was asking for tweets, not for organizations to reach out to him via some other way.
I imagine it’s going to be very, very difficult for organizations to get a hold of Bezos, and I don’t think his tweet changed that.
A grassroots EA tweeting effort could generate maybe 100 tweets from different individuals which was 0.2% of the overall 47k tweets. That seems to have provided a nontrivial chance of getting his attention, which seems net positive if the tweeters are careful about content.
Still, it might be the case that the best course of action would have been to run it by Effective Giving, either beforehand or in addition.
I don’t read Ricky Gervais as being entirely unserious, so responding to him might be reasonable.
I think he was partially serious too, but he didn’t explicitly ask for suggestions like Bezos did.
Some considerations I’d make before tweeting at him:
* What’s his history in this area? Does he have a record of supporting animal charities? Does he Tweet about bacon all the time, making this an obvious joke?
He’s very pro-animals.
* Do the PR people at the animal charities I support know about this Tweet? Should they be the ones to send something, if anyone does?
I think they found out about it from my post, or possibly via some other method. There are a number of tweets there by Animal Charity Evaluators, The Humane League, Vegan Outreach, the Nonhuman Rights Project, etc, or from their employees.
* Are people already deluging him with charity suggestions? If so, how can I make my Tweet stand out, if I plan to send one at all?
As noted above, merely increasing the ratio of EA to non-EA tweet replies would likely increase the probability that it gets his attention. There is of course the possibility that the attention is counterproductive if looks like charity spam.
Thanks for sharing your views on this. I’m now updating towards the view of “don’t tweet wealthy people about EA unless they explicitly ask for donation suggestions.”
Here are some past examples of EAs tweeting wealthy people with donation advice:
Jeff Bezos: In this case he’s asking for advice, so tweets that are consistent with what he’s asking for seem appropriate. For instance, I think I suggested GiveDirectly to him. Do you share this view?
Ricky Gervais: This seems like the kind of tweet that EAs should not reply to in your view, since it’s a (half-joking?) mention of his intention to donate to help animals, without asking for suggestions. Does that capture your view on this? (Disclaimer: I crossposted this to the Facebook EAA group and may be indirectly responsible for most of the tweets from EAs here. Maybe that was a mistake.)
It’s Dustin and Cari’s money, so it’s their decision what to do with it.
The movie Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) caused me to reflect on how people—including myself—might rationalize their contributions to harm, or their lack of responsibility for preventing it.
I think it’s bad for Beyond Meat’s brand to sell low quality products though as they’ve done in the past.
Their approach seems like the right move to me:
I CAN’T FIND BEYOND CHICKEN STRIPS IN MY GROCERY STORE. ARE THEY DISCONTINUED?
At Beyond Meat, we’re constantly innovating and renovating our products based on consumer feedback. Unfortunately, our Chicken Strips weren’t delivering the same plant-based meat experience as some of our more popular products, like the Beyond Burger and Beyond Sausage. But, there’s good news. We have a team of chefs and scientists who are working on getting an even better, tastier version of Beyond Chicken Strips back on retail shelves and restaurant menus as soon as possible. Until then, we hope you enjoy the Beyond Burger, Beyond Sausage, and Beyond Beef Crumbles, and some new products we have in the works for 2019!
I believe sausages typically contain pork, so Beyond Sausages might make the numbers look a little better.
Beyond Meat also had a disappointing chicken product, but it looks like they’ve discontinued sales, and are working on a better chicken product.
The Charity Entrepreneurship report doesn’t seem to mention that beef cattle spend around half their lives on pasture. They are also including some dairy cattle considerations that don’t apply to beef cattle, e.g. tie stalls. I think this might be skewing their report to a more negative estimate than appropriate.
I think creating distinctions between directly causing harm vs allowing harm to be caused is likely to reduce a person’s effectiveness at doing good in the world. I think causing harm in an abstract way that doesn’t violate social norms is basically OK if it leads to something more good. For instance, if I advocate to a funder to cut funding to a less effective program and use that funding for a more effective program, I am causing harm to the recipients of the program that got cut. I think that’s fine and a good thing to do.
A knowledgable EA friend of mine has suggested using DAFs for the limited purpose of donating appreciated stock to organizations that do not routinely handle such requests. He said at Vanguard, you can open a DAF, donate your appreciated stock to the DAF, instruct the DAF to donate the appreciated stock to the organization(s), and then close the DAF.
You can find some more reliable information here, though not from an EA perspective.
Thanks for following up on this and posting a correction. I’d suggest updating your original post to include your updated fish consumption estimates. Or if that’s too much work, a correction on that post with a link to this new one would be helpful. As it stands now, it still says: “I also excluded fish because there is no significant correlation between income and fish consumption in African countries.” I think people are likely to find your original post when researching the meat eater problem, especially since the corresponding EA Concepts page cites it.
Since there are less than 1 million elephants alive today, even if each elephant has modestly more moral value than each human, elephant welfare is still very unlikely to meet the importance criteria.
Thanks for the feedback! Yes, I agree that many of the considerations for fishmeal and fish oil are similar. I originally wrote this post a long time ago which is why I did not reference your report in it, but I’ve now included it under “Some useful sources.”
A few comments on your report:
Your report says: “These days, any of the fish that are farmed more intensively around the world are carnivorous … ” This was confusing on a first read, but I assume that was a typo and you meant many? As far as I know, the vast majority of farmed fish are omnivorous or herbivorous.
I don’t think it’s correct to say that the fishmeal industry is on the decline. This World Bank report projects low growth through 2030. The current numbers are very high as well. Amongst vertebrates used by humans, feed fish are near the top in number of individuals.
You mention cultured meat as a possibility. A major obstacle to the competitiveness of cultured meat is the need for very low-cost culture media. See Open Phil’s report. To me it seems the approach of growing proteins and fatty acids in yeast, plants, etc. is likely to be relatively more feasible. As you note, companies are working on this already.
As of last month, fishmeal prices seem to be far more expensive than the number you mention, at $1470 per metric ton. Soybean meal prices have increased too though, at $353 per metric ton.
I’m surprised that “After one year of applying for EA jobs: It is really, really hard to get hired by an EA organisation” did not win, given that:
It started an important conversation, likely valuable for people seeking EA jobs, people providing EA career advice, and people hiring for EA jobs.
It generated 259 upvotes and 177 comments, which is more than I remember ever seeing.
It must have been unusually difficult for the author to write.
Perhaps a prompt to give optional anonymous, private, and/or brief constructive feedback after each upvote/downvote could help posters learn what was good/bad about the post while avoiding most of the costs of posting a lengthy comment.