Cause Area: Human Rights in North Korea

The suffering that the North Korean regime inflicts on its citizens is a lesser source of suffering than malaria worldwide (but not compared to individual highly malarial countries of similar population as North Korea) or industrial agriculture in US states of similar population. However, it may be on par or even exceed that inflicted on the US American prison population, a cause prioritized by the Open Philanthropy Project. There are risky but promising interventions, which could be scaled up if more funding were available. The cause area seems well suited for hits-based giving by major donors looking for funding gaps. The government change in South Korea of May 9, 2017, may further increase the marginal utility of funding.

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The Bulk of the Impact Iceberg

A year or two ago, I first noticed that the way I thought about impact, who causes it, and what replaceability meant did not quite make sense. These concerns lead first to my article “The Attribution Moloch” and now to this one, an addendum of sorts. Here, I will introduce several considerations that should lead us to value preparatory work – in particular research – higher or even higher than we already do.

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Direct Suffering Caused by Various Animal Foods

I converted Brian Tomasik’s How Much Direct Suffering Is Caused by Various Animal Foods? to Guesstimate. We now have ranges, distributions, and the sensitivity analysis to draw on to refine the estimates. I also added two columns to determine the suffering of the average per capita consumption, which seems to me like the more intuitive figure; refined the estimates with additional research; and added organic eggs for comparison.

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Fandom Fundraising III: Recommendations

From 2011 to 2015, I’ve been involved in charity fundraising efforts that raised over $300,000 for several charities. I hope others can draw on some of the experiences documented here to repeat this success. This is the third of three articles and contains my recommendations for anyone who might want to replicate our efforts.

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Anthropic Capture, Intelligence, and Trees

I present a rather speculative argument whose most likely implication is that if we’re in a simulation, then the root is occupied by a superintelligence, and probably not a value-aligned one. If you’re new to the topic, this is probably not a good introduction, since I mostly wrote it for myself so not to forget it all. I recommend Nick Bostrom’s Superintelligence instead.

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The Attribution Moloch

I argue that sufficient resource scarcity can exacerbate the effects of tiny differences in value alignment to the point where charities with almost identical goals will compete rather than cooperate. Further, a skewed perception of how impact is created as well as mere ignorance can cause prioritization to aggravate failures of coordination.

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Dissociation for Altruists

Some people do not lack in altruism and are well aware of effectiveness considerations too, but the sheer magnitude of suffering that effective interventions would force them to face is too unbearable for them to acknowledge. I give tips on how they can use dissociation to put altruism on a more scalable basis.

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