Ineffective altruism: Some doubts about effective altruism
I’m a research fellow at the Global Priorities Institute, Oxford. There are many things I like about effective altruism. The purpose of this blog is to discuss what I don’t like about effective altruism in order to drive positive change within and outside of the movement. Discussions are long-form, structured into series, and informed by academic research.
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Belonging (Part 4: TIME’s up?)
A TIME magazine investigation alleges a “toxic culture of sexual harassment and abuse” within effective altruism. I look at the original article and the community’s subsequent reaction. Content warning: sexual harassment and abuse; racism; sexism.
The good it promises, the harm it does (Part 1: Introduction)
A new collection of essays edited by Carol J Adams, Alice Crary, and Lori Gruen brings together activists and scholars from a wide range of perspectives to critically reflect on effective altruism.
Academics review What we owe the future (Part 3: Rini on demandingness, cluelessness and inscrutability)
Regina Rini’s review of What We Owe the Future raises questions about the demandingness of longtermism, cluelessness, and the inscrutability of existential risk.
Billionaire philanthropy (Part 3: Patient philanthropy)
Through patient philanthropy, effective altruists strive to create wealthy foundations that will accumulate an increasing fraction of societal assets over time. Patient philanthropy promises strong returns on investment, but also raises important challenges.
Existential risk pessimism and the time of perils (Part 7: An application)
I apply lessons learned about the value of existential risk mitigation to assess the cost-effectiveness of biosecurity. Leading cost-effectiveness estimates turn out to be overstated by several orders of magnitude because they do not appropriately model background risk.
Belonging (Part 3: Reform)
Nick Bostrom’s email and subsequent apology have sparked fresh discussions about inclusion and belonging in effective altruism. Who is or can be an effective altruist? Whose voices will be heard? I discuss recent calls for reform and suggest tangible avenues for evidentially-supported improvement.
Belonging (Part 2: The tide may be turning)
How has the effective altruist community reacted to Bostrom’s email and apology? Initially, many reactions were not good, but there are signs of improvement. What might we hope for the future to bring, and how can we get there?