Sentience Politics is an anti-speciesist think tank. It strives towards a society that reflects the interests of all sentient beings, regardless of their species. To achieve this goal, Sentience Politics employs a variety of empirical approaches—both tried and novel—to identify and implement the most effective strategies for the reduction of suffering.
“Sentience” means the capacity to have conscious experience, especially the ability to feel pain.
This is the only ethical criterion that includes all people regardless of cognitive abilities, and rules out arbitrary discrimination. Many non-human animals share these characteristics with humans, as behavioral, neuro- and evolutionary biology have demonstrated. The activities of Sentience Politics include political initiatives and writing scientifically grounded policy papers. These in turn kickstart public debates on important topics and serve as a valuable and balanced information resource thereto. Sentience Politics also promotes the expansion of public knowledge through its research papers and network of academic and independent researchers.
Raising for Effective Giving (REG)
Raising for Effective Giving (REG) brings together high-earning professionals who want to maximize their positive impact on the world.
All REG members pledge to donate at least 2% of their profits to proven effective charities. Scientific charity evaluators have shown that the same sum can save many more human lives when donated to some projects compared to others. As “meta-charity”, REG spreads the idea of effective giving in the worlds of gambling, financial trading, and further afield. There are now REG branches in poker, stock trading, professional gaming, and daily fantasy sports.
Within its first year alone, REG generated over $500,000 in donations, with expenses of only $50,000. This multiplier effect establishes the project’s effectiveness. The Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger described REG as the “Robin Hood of poker”.
A larger EA movement means more direct help and a greater likelihood of reducing suffering worldwide. Our outreach program is designed to spread EA to a wider audience. We are currently working to popularize EA within the German-speaking world through local groups in several cities, with whom we host regular lectures, discussion events, networking meetups, workshops, and panel discussions. These events focus on central principles of EA such as ethical career choice and the importance of donations for building social movements in general. To helpspread these ideas more quickly, we are also working on introductory online and teaching materials, including a German-language landing page, blog posts, video clips, and a curriculum.
Foundational Research Institute (FRI)
The Foundational Research Institute (FRI) brings together scientists and philosophers from around the world, all of whom do empirical research on various EA strategies and seek to prioritize them. This research is of great practical importance, as some strategies may turn out to be vastly more impactful than others. Researchers for FRI are particularly concerned with avoiding the immense suffering that might arise in future dystopian scenarios, as the (distant) future probably contains several orders of magnitude more sentient beings than the present day. In other words, since all future generations comprise more individuals than just the present one, taking an EA perspective strongly suggests that we focus on the future.
FRI has a number of ongoing projects, such as its work on the game-theoretical problem of compromise between agents with different value systems and objectives. It is also researching the risk of a potential artificial intelligence arms race, and how this could be minimized through international cooperation. The interdisciplinary expertise of FRI informs the long-term strategic decisions of EAS, e.g. through advice on which new projects to initiate, as well as on general strategic prioritization. FRI collaborates closely with other research institutes focused on similar topics, such as the Machine Intelligence Research Institute.