The Growing Influence of Effective Altruism

Within effective altruism, choosing a career is just as important as choosing where to donate. EA defines professional “fit” by whether a candidate has comparative advantage as an exceptional intellect or entrepreneurial drive, and if an efficient altruist is suited to a high-paying path, the ethos encourages “earn to give”, or by devoting your life to amassing wealth to give to EA’s goals. Bankman-Fried said that he earns to give, even founding the FTX crypto platform with express purpose wealth creation to redirect 99% of it. Now one of the richest crypto managers in the world, Bankman-Fried. plans to give away up to $1 billion by the end of 2022.

“The appeal of effective altruism is that it is a ready-made methodology for a very complex, results-driven, data-driven sponsor,” says David Callahan, founder and editor of Inside Philanthropy and author of the 2017 book. about charitable tendencies, Donors. Not only does EA offer a clear and concise structure, but the community also offers a set of resources for potential EA backers, including GiveWell, a nonprofit that uses an EA-based evaluation rubric to recommend charities; EA Funds, which allows individuals to donate to curatorial funds for charities; 80,000 Hours, career coaching organization; and a lively discussion forum at, where leaders such as MacAskill and Ord regularly participate.

The initial laser focus of effective altruism on measurements contributed to rigor in a field that has historically lacked the responsibility of major donors with names like Rockefeller and Sackler. “It was a belated, much-needed counterpoint to the typical elite philanthropy practice that has proven to be very ineffective,” Callahan says.

But where exactly do effective altruists direct their earnings? Who benefits? As with all charitable giving – at EA or otherwise – there are no set rules for what constitutes “philanthropy” and charities benefit from a tax code that incentivizes the super-rich to create and control their own. charity through state tax revenues, local government, or public accountability. EA organizations can leverage traditional philanthropy while enjoying the brilliance of effective destructive approach to the dacha. The movement formalized the commitment of its community to donate Giving what we can promise– a mirror image of another old school charity practice, but there is no requirement for a dacha to be publicly registered as a pledger. Tracking the full impact of EA’s philosophy isn’t easy, but “80,000 Hours” rated that $46 billion has been committed to EA’s goals between 2015 and 2021, with donations growing by about 20% each year. GiveWell calculated that in 2021 alone, the company channeled more than $187 million into anti-malaria nets and drugs; the organization estimates that this is more than 36,000 lives saved.

Accountability becomes much more complicated in the case of long-term goals such as biosecurity or “AI alignment” – a set of efforts to ensure that the power of AI is used to achieve goals commonly understood as “good”. Such reasons for a growing number of effective altruists now take precedence over mosquito nets and vitamin A medications. interview Earlier this year. “There are trillions of people who have not yet been born.” Bankman-Fried’s views are influenced by the utilitarian calculations of longtermism, which reduce lives to single units of value. According to this math, the trillions of people who are yet to be born represent a greater moral obligation than the billions alive today. Any threats that could prevent future generations from reaching their full potential – be it extinction or technological stagnation, which MacAskill finds just as horrific in his new book, What do we owe to the future?are the number one priority.

In his book, MacAskill discusses his own journey from long-lived skeptic to true believer and encourages others to follow the same path. The existential risks he lays out are specific: “The future could be dire, falling on authoritarian regimes that use surveillance and AI to permanently fix their ideology, or even on AI systems that seek to gain power rather than promote the prosperity of society. Or maybe there will be no future at all: we can kill ourselves with biological weapons or start a full-scale nuclear war, as a result of which civilization will collapse and never recover.”

Precisely in order to defend against these precise possibilities, Bankman-Fried created the FTX Future Fund this year as a project as part of his charitable foundation. Its focus areas include “space management”, “artificial intelligence” and “empowerment of exceptional people”. The fund’s website acknowledges that many of its bets “will not succeed.” (His main goal for 2022 is to test new funding models, but the fund’s website does not specify what “success” might look like.) As of June 2022, the FTX Future Fund 262 grants and investments madewith recipients including Brown University academic study long-term economic growthCornell University academic AI Alignment Research, and an organization working on legal research on AI and biosecurity (which has been born from Harvard Law’s EA group).

Sam Bankman-Fried, one of the richest crypto executives in the world, is also one of the country’s biggest political donors. It plans to give away up to $1 billion by the end of 2022.


Bankman-Fried is hardly the only tech billionaire pushing long-term goals. Open Philanthropy, an EA charity funded primarily by Moskowitz and Tuna, has committed $260 million since its founding to address “potential risks associated with advanced AI.” Together FTX Future Fund and Open Philanthropy supported Longview Philanthropy with over $15 million this year before the organization announced its new Long-Term Cooperation Fund. Vitalik Buterin, one of the founders of the Ethereum blockchain platform, is second largest recent donor in MIRI, whose mission is to “ensure [that] artificial intelligence smarter than humans has a positive impact.” MIRI The list of donors also includes Thiel Foundation; Ben Delo, co-founder of the BitMEX crypto exchange; and Jaan Tallinn, one of the founding engineers of Skype, who is also a co-founder of the Cambridge Center for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER). Elon Musk is another tech mogul dedicated to fighting longevity existential risks; he even claimed that his commercial operations, including the SpaceX mission to Mars, philanthropic efforts support for the progress and survival of mankind. (Makaskill has recently expressed concern that his philosophy is mixed with Musk’s “worldview”. However, EA is targeting a wider audience, and it seems unreasonable to expect rigid adherence to its creators’ precise belief system.)

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