Last update: November 2017
The Effective Altruism Foundation (EAF) has four ongoing projects which operate very differently, and our activities generally have an indirect and multiplicative impact (“meta”). One example is our work on spreading the ideas of Effective Altruism and supporting EA local groups, many of which in turn inspire many new people with EA ideas. We are always looking for new ways to improve both our impact assessment criteria and methodology, and will continue to update this page with fresh results. In the meantime, we have provided an outline of our activities below so that you can personally assess our impact. Detailed information on our work can also be found on our transparency site.
Effective Altruism Foundation
- EAF and its predecessor organizations have collected €5,182,478 in donations for effective charities since January 2014.* This money financed the work of organizations in the fields of poverty reduction (€3,463,823), animal activism (€724,815), climate change (€31,032), and the growth of the effective altruism movement and research into the safety of future technologies (€586,334). Raising for Effective Giving (REG), one of EAF’s projects, distributed another share (€376,474) among the cause areas mentioned (see REG transpary reports).
- EAF offers tax-free donation to numerous international EA organizations. We choose to offer this service for free despite its administrative cost.
*Donations to EAF projects are not included. Includes total donations up until 23.11.2017.
EA content work
Policy papers and other content
- EAF is the first and only organization in the German-speaking world to raise awareness on the risks of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Our policy paper on this topic was supported by numerous professors and AI experts.
- EAF has written extensive introductory material on Effective Altruism, including an FAQ.
- Over 100 articles were published on rationality, ethics and science on the blog of EAF’s predecessor, GBS Switzerland.
- The EAF projects Foundational Research Institute and Sentience Politics have published additional policy papers and academic articles (see below).
- Through a popular initiative, EAF requested the city of Zurich to set aside one percent of its budget for effective development projects. If adopted, the initiative would result in an allocated 80 million euros per year. The signatures for this initiative have already been gathered and the referendum will be held in 2018.
- Numerous further initiatives were started by the (former) EAF project Sentience Politics (see below).
Careers and donation advice
- EAF has already coached over 160 people through individual career and donation advice.
Outreach and Communications
- Under the umbrella of EA Global X, EAF has already organized three international events: one in Basel (2015) and two in Berlin (2016 and 2017). The conferences in Berlin, each of which brought together over 300 people, were the largest conferences so far on Effective Altruism in continental Europe.
- From 2012 to 2014, EAF organized a total of five well-attended EA camps.
- The EAF project Sentience Politics organized the Sentience conference in 2016 (see below).
Media and publicity work
- EAF has published reports on Effective Altruism in numerous influential media outlets (3sat, Beobachter, Deutschlandradio Kultur, NZZ, FAZ, Spektrum der Wissenschaft, SRF, Tages-Anzeiger, Spiegel Online, BBC, and many more).
- Adriano Mannino has talked about humanism and related ethical questions on the renowned Swiss television program Sternstunde Philosophie in 2016. That same year, Jan Dirk Capelle also gave an inspiring and incisive introduction to Effective Altruism at TEDxDresden.
- To expand the EA movement, EAF has supported or initiated the formation of over 20 EA local groups in the German-speaking world.
- In collaboration with EA local groups, EAF organizes around 30 large public events annually on EA topics, including lectures, panel discussions, and workshops.
- To promote networking and the exchange of best practices between groups, EAF has organized three local group meetups.
Raising for Effective Giving
- The EAF project Raising for Effective Giving (REG) promotes Effective Altruism within the world of poker and currently has over 300 professional poker player members.
- Since 2014 REG has moved over 3 million euros to particularly cost-effective charities.
- REG was supported by at least one poker player at the world championships in all of the three years since its inception: Martin Jacobson and Jorryt van Hoof (2014), Max Steinberg (2015), Griffin Benger (2016), and Benjamin Pollak (2017).
- The idea of effective giving has been taken up by many notable poker players. Alongside the co-founders Liv Boeree, Igor Kurganov, and Philipp Gruissem, this includes international poker stars like Jason Somerville, Erik Seidel, Dan Shak, Dan Smith, Justin Bonomo, Cat Hall, Andrew Barber, Luciana Manolea, Tony Gregg, and Dan Colman.
Foundational Research Institute
- The Foundational Research Institute (FRI), another EAF project, has pioneered the field of suffering-focused ethics, including publishing introductory material on the topic:
- The Case for Suffering-Focused Ethics
- Reducing Risks of Astronomical Suffering: A Neglected Global Priority
- Altruists Should Prioritize Artificial Intelligence
- The talk S-risks: Why they are the worst existential risks, and how to prevent them (EAG Boston 2017) was discussed on LessWrong and Reddit.
- S-risk, a concept developed by FRI, has been mentioned several times by other researchers (see here and here (Swedish)).
- Despite having limited resources since its inception in 2013, FRI has published several high-quality academic articles:
- Backup utility functions as a fail-safe AI technique
- How Feasible Is the Rapid Development of Artificial Superintelligence? (accepted as an invited comment in the journal Physica Scripta and named its paper of the week)
- How the Simulation Argument Dampens Future Fanaticism
- Measuring Happiness and Suffering
- Suffering-Focused AI safety
- What Is the Difference Between Weak Negative and Non-Negative Ethical Views?
- FRI has published articles on two new promising concepts:
- Blogs and blog posts
- One FRI researcher attended a two-month workshop on existential risk at the Gothenburg Centre for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology, delivering several presentations on s-risk and other topics.
- At the Workshop on Reliable Artificial Intelligence at ETH Zurich, which was co-funded by EAF and MIRI, we presented “An Overview of the AI Safety Landscape”.
- We debated Robin Hanson on AI risk at a panel discussion on “Should we create machines that outsmart us?” in Zurich.
- FRI researchers gave several talks at EAG Boston, EAG London, and EAGxBerlin.
Wild-Animal Suffering Research
- Wild-Animal Suffering Research (WASR) launched as a project supported by EAF in June 2017. The team conducts multidisciplinary research across ecology, biology, and economics. Through this they hope to identify policies to improve the wellbeing of all types of wild animals.
- Research: WASR published 5 papers:
- An Analysis of Lethal Methods of Wild Animal Population Control: Vertebrates
- An Analysis of Lethal Methods of Wild Animal Population Control: Invertebrates
- Euthanizing Elderly Elephants: An Impact Analysis
- “Fit and Happy”: How Do We Measure Wild-Animal Suffering?
- Parasite Load and Disease in Wild Animals
- Blog: WASR also launched a blog in 2017. The blog communicates project updates and also contains short, concise posts on important concepts:
- We Have No Idea If There Are Cost-Effective Interventions Into Wild-Animal Suffering
- Infant Mortality and the Argument from Life History
- Creating Welfare Biology: A Research Proposal
- Persis Eskander gave talks on the importance of building a movement around efforts to reduce wild-animal suffering at EA Global London and EAGxBerlin.
- Persis Eskander presented her paper “Assessing Humanity’s Impact on Wild-Animal Suffering (WAS) through Human Appropriation of Net Primary Productivity (HANPP)” at EA Global London.
- Ozy Brennan participated in the 2017 Research Workshop on Effective Animal Advocacy organised by ACE and developed a research proposal on “Creating Welfare Biology.”
- The EAF project Sentience Politics has organized numerous public events. In addition to lectures by Melanie Joy and Professor Steven Wise, the first Sentience Conference was held in 2016, attended by more than 300 people with backgrounds in politics, academia, and activism.
- One way in which Sentience Politics exerts influence is through direct democracy. The following political initiatives have already taken place and are now awaiting referenda:
- Initiative on sustainable food (Basel, Luzern, Zurich)
- Initiative on fundamental rights for primates (Basel)
- Research on anti-speciesist topics was another essential component of Sentience Politics’ work. The results were summarized in well-founded academic policy papers:
- Sentience Politics has attracted a lot of media attention, especially in Switzerland, where it was featured in a national television documentary viewed by over half a million people.
Note: Since June 2017, Sentience Politics has been an independent entity. Moreover, as of June 2017, the newly formed Sentience Institute conducts research on effective animal advocacy previously conducted by Sentience Politcs. For more information see our blog post.
Do you think we are doing a good job? If so, please consider donating! We are financed exclusively through the donations of people interested in EA, and every little bit goes a long way.