Fireside chat | Peter Singer

In this episode, Peter and Wanyi have a brief conversation about the direction of EA, movement building strategies, and how to feel about people who do not donate money.

Peter Singer has written, co-authored, edited or co-edited more than 40 books, including Animal Liberation, Practical Ethics, The Life You Can Save, and The Most Good You Can Do. His writings have inspired both the animal rights movement and effective altruism, and he is the founder of the charity The Life You Can Save.

This talk was taken from EA Global Asia and Pacific 2020. Click here to watch the talk on the Effective Altruism YouTube channel.

Using “Back of the Envelope Calculations” (BOTECs) to prioritize interventions | Zachary Robinson

Zach talks about why, when, and how to use “Back Of The Envelope Calculations” (BOTECs) to inform altruistic decision-making and walks through an example to demonstrate key concepts.

Zachary Robinson is a research fellow at open philanthropy. Open Philanthropy is an organization whose mission is to give as effectively as they can and share their findings openly so that anyone can build on their work. Through research and grantmaking, Open Philanthropy hopes to learn how to make philanthropy go especially far in terms of improving lives. They are passionate about maximizing the impact of our giving, and are excited to connect with other donors who share their passion.

This talk was taken from EA Global Student Summit 2020. Click here to watch the talk with the PowerPoint presentation.

Expansion of animal advocacy and concern for wild animal suffering in India | Aditya SK

Aditya examines ways to expand animal advocacy in India; especially concern and research about wild animal suffering which has great potential for reducing aggregate suffering. Given the historically positive attitude of the Indian cultural and legal systems towards non-human animals, strategic outreach to advocates, academics and policy-makers by organizations like Animal Ethics could potentially influence structural changes to reduce the suffering of sentient beings in the wild.

Aditya is a coordinator at Animal Ethics. Animal Ethics is an organization that was formed to provide information and promote discussion and debate about issues in animal ethics, and to provide resources for animal advocates and the general public. Their work deals with the way nonhuman animals are considered in everyday life, as well as how they are considered in fields that affect human attitudes and activities that are relevant to animals. These include academia, scientific fields, and the law. Animal Ethics looks at the way nonhuman animals are impacted by current human activities, and how they might be impacted by future planned or unplanned human activities. This involves not only the ways we might harm them, but also how we might help them even when the cause of their plight is not human action.

This talk was taken from EA Global Asia and Pacific 2020. Click here to watch the talk with the PowerPoint presentation.

Decoupling: a technique for reducing bias | David Manley

Overcoming confirmation bias in our thinking requires decoupling: evaluating the strength of new evidence independently from our prior views. David explains how to implement some easy cognitive techniques that have been shown to help us successfully decouple; and how even informal decoupling approximates Bayesian reasoning.

David Manley is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His research has been mainly about semantics, ontology, probability, and evidence. But lately He has been thinking about conditions for rationality and well-being—not just for individual people, but also for groups, animals, and other cognitive systems.

This talk was taken from EA Student Summit 2020. Click here to watch the talk with the PowerPoint presentation.

Outlook on the emerging field of wild animal welfare research | Michelle Graham and Oscar Horta

Michelle and Oscar discuss the wide variety of research areas relevant to wild animal welfare, the career and educational pathways to conducting such research, and how you can support the movement along the way.

Michelle Graham is the Executive Director of Wild Animal Initiative. Her projects have included work on prioritizing and categorizing different interventions. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Engineering Mechanics at Virginia Tech; her dissertation concerns the movement behaviors of jumping and gliding snakes. Michelle previously studied physics and philosophy at the University of Oxford, and has worked with animals in shelter, veterinary, farm, and zoo environments.

Oscar Horta has been involved in animal advocacy since the mid-’90s, and is a founding member of Animal Ethics. He is also a professor of philosophy at the University of Santiago de Compostela, and previously worked as a researcher at the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. He works mainly on speciesism and wild animal suffering.

This talk was taken from EA Student Summit 2020. Click here to watch the talk with the PowerPoint presentations.

Mitigating catastrophic biorisks | Kevin Esvelt

In a world now painfully aware of pandemics, with ever-increasing access to autonomous biological agents, how can we help channel society’s response to COVID-19 to minimize the risk of deliberate misuse? Using the challenge of securing DNA synthesis as an example, Kevin outlines the key norms and incentives governing biotechnology, lays out potential strategies for reform, and suggests ways in which thoughtful individuals might help safely and credibly discuss and mitigate biorisks without spreading information hazards.

Kevin Michael Esvelt is an American biologist. He is currently an assistant professor at the MIT Media Lab and leads the Sculpting Evolution group. After receiving a B.A. in chemistry and biology from Harvey Mudd College, he completed his PhD work at Harvard University as a Hertz Fellow. Esvelt developed phage assisted continuous evolution (PACE) during his PhD as a graduate student in David R. Liu’s laboratory. As a Wyss Technology Fellow, Esvelt was involved with the development of gene drive technology. He focuses on the bioethics and biosafety of gene drives. In 2016, Esvelt was named an Innovator Under 35 by MIT Technology Review.

This talk was taken from EA Global Asia and Pacific 2020. Click here to watch the talk with the PowerPoint presentation.

Cellular agriculture: futureproofing our food systems for humans, animals and our planet | Bianca Le

Bianca Le is the founder and director of Cellular Agriculture Australia. CAA is a nonprofit organization with the mission of improving human health and building resilient food systems in Australia. They do this by promoting and accelerating the development of healthy and sustainable animal proteins through research and development in cellular agriculture.

Cellular agriculture is an emerging research field dedicated to developing food for our growing population without sacrificing our planet. Modern biomedical technology can be applied to food science to farm meat, eggs and dairy directly from cells, not animals. Cellular agriculture has the potential to reduce the impact of food production on our environment, health, and animal welfare. As a nascent industry, the foundations of the ecosystem laid today will determine the potential impact of the field on our world.

This talk was taken from EA Global Asia and Pacific 2020. Click here to watch the talk with the PowerPoint presentation.

GiveWell’s current progress and priorities | Olivia Larsen

Olivia discusses GiveWell’s current work and forward priorities, including new areas of GiveWell’s research, as well as sharing some updates on some of GiveWell’s projects in Asia.

GiveWell is a nonprofit dedicated to finding outstanding giving opportunities and publishing the full details of their analysis to help donors decide where to give.

Unlike charity evaluators that focus solely on financials, assessing administrative or fundraising costs, GiveWell conducts in-depth research aiming to determine how much good a given program accomplishes (in terms of lives saved, lives improved, etc.) per dollar spent. Rather than try to rate as many charities as possible, GiveWell focuses on the few charities that stand out most (by their criteria) in order to find and confidently recommend high-impact giving opportunities (our list of top charities).

This talk was taken from EA Global Asia and Pacific 2020. Click here to watch the talk with the PowerPoint presentation.

Biosecurity Career Story | Dr Tara Kirk Sell

In this episode, Dr Sell talks about her history with Olympic swimming, how she came to work on biosecurity, and what she is working on now during the pandemic.

Dr. Sell is a Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. At the Center, she conducts, manages, and leads research projects to develop a greater understanding of potentially large-scale health events. She also serves as an Associate Editor of the peer-reviewed journal Health Security (formerly Biosecurity and Bioterrorism). Dr. Sell co-directs the Health Security PhD track within the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering.

This talk was taken from EA Student Summit 2020. Click here to watch the talk on the Center for Effective Altruism YouTube channel

Reducing global catastrophic biological risks | Jaime Yassif

Jaime discusses NTI’s new report, “Preventing Global Catastrophic Biological Risks”. In February 2020, during the Munich Security Conference, NTI convened senior leaders from around the world for a scenario-based tabletop exercise designed to identify gaps in global capabilities to prevent and respond to high-consequence biological events. The report summarizes the exercise and provides recommendations from the organizers.

Jaime Yassif is a senior fellow for global biological policy and programs at NTI. She is currently leading several major biosecurity projects, with a particular focus on reducing global catastrophic biological risks.

The Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization working to protect our lives, livelihoods, environment and quality of life now and for future generations from the growing risk of catastrophic attacks from weapons of mass destruction and disruption (WMDD)—nuclear, biological, radiological, chemical and cyber. Founded in 2001 by Sam Nunn and philanthropist Ted Turner, NTI is guided by a prestigious, international board of directors. Joan Rohlfing serves as president.

This talk was taken from EA Student Summit 2020. Click here to watch the talk with the PowerPoint presentation.