Scott Alexander on the Effective Altruism Movement

Scott Alexander has a wonderful piece on the Effective Altruism Movement based on his attendance at the 2017 EA conference. Though he starts the piece with a quote from Hunter S. Thompson it reads much more like David Foster Wallace (especially this and this).

The EA movement has a surprisingly strange set of research agendas that are best summed up in Scott’s comment about the salad he ate for lunch, “Born too late to eat meat guilt-free, born too early to get the technology that hacks directly into my brain and adds artificial positive valence to unpleasant experiences.”

I was also happy to see there was an organization responding to the arguments in this Journal of Practical Ethics article, “Consistent Vegetarianism and the Suffering of Wild Animals.”

WASR [Wild Animal Suffering Research] researches ways we can alleviate wild animal suffering, from euthanizing elderly elephants (probably not high-impact) to using more humane insecticides (recommended as an ‘interim solution’) to neutralizing predator species in order to relieve the suffering of prey (still has some thorny issues that need to be resolved).


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