Interim Update on our Work on EA Cause Area Candidates

Interim Update on our Work on EA Cause Area Candidates

The story so far:

  • I constructed the original Big List of Cause Candidates in December 2020.
  • I spent some time thinking about the pipeline for new cause area ideas, not all of which is posted.
  • I tried to use a bounty system to update the list for next year but didn't succeed.
  • I found a researcher, Leo, to update the list in March 2022.
  • In addition to the EA forum post, there is also an Airtable sheet, with filters for promisingness and other characteristics. This hasn't been updated since the original iteration in 2020. Initially, it was an experiment that could have been built upon, but it ended up being messier and thus abandoned.

As of now:

  • I think the list is a fine resource as it is, and I intend to make sure that it continues to be updated.

  • It is now more apparent to me that integrating this list into structures that could use it is probably as important as producing and updating the list in the first place.

  • Some stakeholders known to me are:

    • Charity Entrepreneurship. Finding out whether they are in fact using it in their deliberations for deciding where to, and if it can be modified in order to be more useful to them, is probably a valuable step.

    • Various "longtermist incubators". These have generally completely failed to get off the ground, with the notable exception of Nonlinear, which e.g., has this well populated page with bounties.

    • The Center for Effective Altruism uses the original post as part of its Effective Altruism Handbook. As the list becomes longer, it’s possible that a lighter version might be more suitable as introductory material.

    • Possibly Open Philanthropy, though I doubt it.

  • The Quantified Uncertainty Research Institute might not be an ideal institution for this, because the connection to forecasting and epistemics is a bit tenuous. But I think it will suffice for now.

  • There is also a Cause Prioritization Wiki, with partially overlapping content and aims. It might be a good move to either:

    1. Move the Big List of Cause Candidates to that Wiki

    2. Combine contents of both sources into a different system, e.g., an Airtable

      The first step to decide this would be to create a list of options, with pros and cons for each one.

  • Super linear is a new bounty portal that could be used to update this list and do related work in the upcoming year.

This concludes my thoughts for now.