Q & A with Peter Singer (University of Melbourne Effective Altruism)

This is a recording of a video-chat Q&A session with Peter Singer, hosted by the Effective Altruism University of Melbourne club. Topics covered include animal welfare, extreme poverty, and Effective Altruism and its critics, mostly at an introductory to intermediate level.

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Virtual EAG 2020: Closing remarks (Will MacAskill)

William MacAskill is an Associate Professor in Philosophy at Oxford University. He was educated at Cambridge, Princeton, and Oxford and is one of the progenitors of the effective altruism movement. His book on the topic, Doing Good Better, was published by Penguin Random House in 2015.

He is the cofounder of three non-profits based on effective altruist principles: Giving What We Can, 80,000 Hours, and the Centre for Effective Altruism. He is also a research fellow at the Global Priorities Institute.

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Virtual EAG 2020: Q&A with Leah Edgerton, executive director at Animal Charity Evaluators

Animal suffering is a global problem that requires action on a global level. How can we think about effectiveness across geographical and cultural contexts? How can North American and European advocates support advocacy in other parts of the world in responsible and impactful ways? In this talk, Leah explores the pros and cons of different approaches to international advocacy.

Leah has been involved in the effective altruism community since 2011 and has been an animal advocate her whole life. From 2015 to 2017, she was an integral part of ACE’s communications team, building up their social media channels, growing the reach of their email list, and helping to plan and launch their website redesign.

From 2017 to 2019, she worked at ProVeg International, one of ACE’s Standout Charities. In her role as ProVeg’s Strategy and Internationalization Manager, she conceptualized and grew the China Programme from scratch and coordinated with external academics to conduct experimental research on meat reduction interventions.

Leah returned to ACE’s team as Executive Director in February 2019.

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Virtual EAG 2020: Q&A with Elie Hassenfeld, co-founder and CEO at GiveWell

Elie, the CEO and co-founder of GiveWell, discusses his organization’s latest research, his views on economic growth, and what he’s changed his mind on lately (among other topics).

Elie co-founded GiveWell in 2007 alongside Holden Karnofsky. He also helps to set the strategy and oversee the work of Open Philanthropy, and chairs EA Funds’ Global Health and Development Fund.

Before launching GiveWell, Elie graduated from Columbia University with a degree in religion and spent several years in the hedge fund industry.

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Virtual EAG 2020: Fireside chat—AI governance (Markus Anderljung and Ben Garfinkel)

Markus Anderljung and Ben Garfinkel discuss how they got into the field of AI governance and how the field has developed over the past few years. They discuss the question, “How sure are we about this AI stuff?”, and finish with an update on GovAI’s latest research and how to pursue a career in AI governance.

Markus is a Project Manager at the Centre for the Governance of AI (“GovAI”). He is focused on growing GovAI and making their research relevant to important stakeholders. He has a background in history and philosophy of science, with a focus on evidence-based policy and philosophy of economics. Before joining GovAI, Markus was the Executive Director of Effective Altruism Sweden.

Ben is a Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute and a DPhil student at Oxford’s Department of Politics and International Relations. Ben’s research interests include the security and privacy implications of artificial intelligence, the causes of interstate war, and the methodological challenge of forecasting and reducing technological risks. He previously earned degrees in Physics and in Mathematics and Philosophy from Yale University.

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Virtual EAG 2020: Identifying opportunities for farmed animals (Garcés, Leah)

What if a single tool could utilize animal numbers as well as economic, political, and cultural data from a multitude of countries to help effective altruists identify where and how they can make the greatest impact for animals? Learn about the new Farmed Animal Opportunities Index, an open-source tool that offers a research-backed formula for evaluating high-impact opportunities to help animals.

Leah is an animal advocate who has partnered with some of the largest food companies in the world with a mission to end factory farming. She is the President of Mercy for Animals and established, and was the first executive director of, Compassion in World Farming USA. She also serves on the advisory boards of Encompass and Seattle Food Tech.

Leah’s work has been featured in many national and international media outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Buzzfeed, Vice Magazine, and the Chicago Tribune. She is a contributing author to the Huffington Post and Food Safety News. She is also the author of “Grilled: Turning Adversaries Into Allies to Change the Chicken Industry’.

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Virtual EAG 2020: Facing the risk of nuclear war in the 21st Century (Carl Robichaud)

Nuclear weapons pose a grave threat to civilization. Public awareness of this threat has faded, but the weapons have not gone away. In fact, recent technological and geopolitical trends make nuclear war more likely than it has been in decades. Carl Robichaud discusses these developments and assesses the options for effective altruists seeking to contribute to nuclear risk reduction.

As program officer in International Peace and Security at the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Carl manages a portfolio of grants to strengthen nuclear security. In this capacity, he heads the Corporation’s work on strengthening nuclear governance and investing in the next generation of nuclear experts.

View Carl’s slides here:

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Virtual EAG 2020: Taking good food global (Richard Parr)

Richard discusses the international expansion of The Good Food Institute, and some of the special considerations that alternative proteins face in non-US regions.

Richard leads GFI’s work in Europe. He worked as Special Adviser to the UK Prime Minister between 2012 and 2016, and as Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for International Development from 2010-12 and 2016-18. In government, his main focus was on international development policy, and he worked closely on the formation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Richard holds an MA in Modern History from Oxford University.

View Richard’s slides here:

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Virtual EAG 2020: Finding equilibrium in a difficult time (Julia Wise)

Thoughts on handling anxiety and loneliness during the coronavirus quarantine.

Read Julia’s full post on the EA Forum.

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Virtual EAG 2020: What’s been happening in AI alignment? (Rohin Shah)

While we haven’t yet built aligned AI, the field of alignment has been chugging along for a few years now, producing many useful outputs. In this talk, Rohin will survey conceptual progress in AI alignment over the last two years. While the talk will assume basic knowledge of the arguments for AI risk, technical knowledge is not necessary.

Rohin is a 6th year PhD student in Computer Science working at the Center for Human-Compatible AI (CHAI) at UC Berkeley. While he started his PhD working on program synthesis, he became convinced that it was important for us to build safe, aligned AI, and so moved to CHAI at the start of his fourth year. He now thinks about how to provide specifications of good behavior in ways other than reward functions, especially ones that do not require much human effort. He is best known for the Alignment Newsletter, a weekly publication with recent content relevant to AI alignment that has over 1700 subscribers.

View Rohin’s slides here:

Subscribe to the Alignment Newsletter:

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