will macaskill

will macaskill.png

intro’d to Will via his ted 2018


this is a peak opportune time for change

scientific and industrial revolutions transformed both our understanding of the world and our ability to alter it..what we need is an ethical revolution to match..t

mufleh humanity lawwe have seen advances in every aspect of our lives except our humanity – Luma Mufleh

past 10 yrs working on – how can we do the most good

you need to decide.. but we have 3 moral priorities:

1\ global health – solvable – saved more lives than if we’d obtained world peace

2\ factory farming – neglected – 3000 more in factor farms than pets yet 1/50 of philanthrop funding

3\ existential risks – ie: nuclear war or global pendemic

we hear all the time that things are getting worse.. but global perspective.. been getting radically better..  ie: life expectancy; not living in poverty; de criminalized homosexuality; become democratic

problems that face future generations are often hugely neglected


effective altruism site: https://www.effectivealtruism.org/

Effective altruism is changing the way we dogood.

Effective altruism is about answering one simple question: how can we use our resources to help others themost?

Rather than just doing what feels right, we use evidence and careful analysis to find the very best causes to workon.

But it’s no use answering the question unless you act on it. Effective altruism is about following through. It’s about being generous with your time and your money to do the most good youcan.

effective altruism forum: http://effective-altruism.com/


Effective altruism is a philosophy and social movement that uses evidence and reasoning to determine the most effective ways to benefit others. Effective altruism encourages individuals to consider all causes and actions and to act in the way that brings about the greatest positive impact, based upon their values. It is the broad, evidence-based approach that distinguishes effective altruism from traditional altruism or charity.

While a substantial proportion of effective altruists have focused on the nonprofit sector, the philosophy of effective altruism applies more broadly to prioritizing the scientific projects, companies, and policy initiatives which can be estimated to save lives, help people, or otherwise have the biggest benefit. People associated with the movement include philosopher Peter Singer, Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz, Cari Tuna, Oxford-based researchers William MacAskill and Toby Ord, and professional poker player Liv Boeree

dustin & cari

others speaking on effective altruism:

peter singer ted 2013: [https://www.ted.com/talks/peter_singer_the_why_and_how_of_effective_altruism]

beth barnes tedx 2015:



How should moral uncertainty affect how we try to build beneficial AI? I talk about this with Lucas Perry at the Future of Life Institute @FLIxrisk


Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/willmacaskill/status/1042276995877335040

what should we do given we’re uncertain..t

ai humanity needs.. augmenting interconnectedness

what we need most is the energy of 7bn alive people

little has been written concerning moral uncertainty.. ie: only one 18 yrs agos

don’t get too optimistic.. i’m almost certainly wrong.. what’s the chance any philosophers is right

18 min – if nothing matters.. it doesn’t matter.. might as well act as if things do..  reason for getting out of bed in morning..

imagine 7bn alive people.. getting out of bed everyday

21 min – we need to think more if we want to get to the ethical truths..t

imagine a global data reset: self-talk as data.. everyday

a story about people grokking what matters

ie: as it could be.. via 2 convers.. as infra

33 mi – what would idealized will want..t

getting to eudaimoniative surplus ness..  via cure ios city

in the city.. as the day..

39 min – what does it mean to idealize.. that’s going to be a very difficult question and where a lot of the work is here i think..t

idealize: regard or represent as perfect or better than in reality

instigating utopia everyday via 2 conversations as infra

40 min – where ought society to be going.. the key thing is to punt it .. to get us into a position where we can think about and reflect on this question..t

self-talk as data.. as the day.

various stages to get into that state: reflect as much as possible and keep options open as much as possible..t

or .. how we can do most good now: via a mech/means for 7bn people to leap to a nother way to live.. ie: a quiet revolution



42 min – i think best approach would be for ai to give us moral arguments.. and we judge.. and maybe over very long time period

we should get to where we can take as long as we need.. the sheer vastness of the future.. but want to get there (to good) as soon as we can

46 min – what goes into the set up of that long reflection..t

2 convers.. as infra

if there was some leap to ai.. scary.. t

unless ai is.. augmenting interconnectedness

48 min – bn’s doing something very coordinated is not going to happen..t

why not.. that’s tech as it could be

ie: listening to every voice everyday.. and facilitating that

49 min – on the importance of getting to that long reflection


find/follow Will:

link twitter

Associate Professor of Philosophy, Oxford University. Cofounder of the Centre for Effective Altruism. Author of Doing Good Better.


his site:


I’m Will MacAskill, Associate Professor in Philosophy and Research Fellow at the Global Priorities Institute, University of Oxford. My academic research focuses on the fundamentals of effective altruism – the use of evidence and reason to help others by as much as possible with our time and money, with a particular concentration on how to act given moral uncertainty.

I am the author of Doing Good Better – Effective Altruism and a Radical New Way to Make a Difference.

I am a co-founder and the President of the Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA)

Combining Empathy with Evidence

The Centre for Effective Altruism helps to grow and maintain the effective altruism movement.

Our vision is an optimal world. Our mission is to create a global community of people who have made helping others a core part of their lives, and who use evidence and scientific reasoning to figure out how to do so as effectively as possible.

What is effective altruism?

Effective altruism is about using evidence and reason to figure out how to benefit others as much as possible, and taking action on that basis.

and I helped to create the effective altruism movement. Through Giving What We Can, CEA encourages people to commit to donate at least 10% of their income to the most effective charities. (You can take the pledge here.) CEA also runs over 100 effective altruism local groups, hosts regular effective altruism conferences, and does research into high-impact policy and philanthropic opportunities.

imagining the best we can do .. is via a mech that would allow 7bn people to leap to a nother way to live.. ie: as it could be.. via 2 convers.. as infra

ie: hlb via 2 convers that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way

what we need most is the energy of 7bn alive people ..so that we can get back/to an undisturbed ecosystem

in the city.. as the day.. via gershenfeld something else law

I also co-founded 80,000 Hours, a YCombinator-backed non-profit that provides research and advice on how you can best make a difference through your career.

wikipedia small

MacAskill’s second research focus is on effective altruism. His book on the topic, Doing Good Better, was published in 2015, ..

In it, he argues that many of the ways people think about doing good achieve very little, but that by applying data and scientific reasoning to the normally sentimental world of doing good, opportunities to have a huge positive impact can be found.

a nother way – fastest way to get to the energy of 7bn alive people

In the book MacAskill makes controversial claims such as the fact that fair trade does very little to help the poorest farmers, that boycotting sweatshops might make things worse for the global poor and that people who pursue high-income careers such as plastic surgeons or wall street bankers could do more good than charity workers.

MacAskill’s argument that young idealists should work for Wall Street


has been the subject of a New York Times op-ed by David Brooks. Brooks argued that, while effective altruists may start earning to give in order to realize their deepest commitments, their values may erode over time, becoming progressively less altruistic. In addition, Brooks objected to the view on which altruists should turn themselves “into a machine for the redistribution of wealth.”