Our fund helps you give more effectively with minimal time investment. It works similarly to a mutual fund, but the fund managers aim to maximize the impact of your donations instead of your investment returns. They use the pooled donations to make grants to promising projects and individuals whose work will contribute most to the mission of the fund.
Note: This fund is administered by the Effective Altruism Foundation, our parent organization.
The fund’s mission is to support research and policy efforts to prevent the worst technological risks facing our civilization. The potentially transformative nature of artificial intelligence poses a particular challenge that we want to address. We want to prevent a situation similar to the advent of nuclear weapons, in which careful reflection on the serious implications of this technology took a back seat during the wartime arms race. As our technological power grows, future inventions may cause harm on an even larger scale—unless we act early and deliberately.
Priority areas: decision theory and bargaining, specific AI alignment approaches, fail-safe architectures, macrostrategy research, AI governance, as well as social science research on conflicts and moral circle expansion.
If you would like to learn more about the fund’s mission:
- Launching the EAF Fund
- S-risks: Why they are the worst existential risks, and how to prevent them (EAG Boston 2017)
- Cause prioritization for downside-focused value systems
Why donate to this fund
Giving through a fund can increase the impact of your donation in several ways:
- Unique opportunities. Some funding opportunities, such as academic grants, are simply not open to most individual donors, unless they pool their contributions in a fund or donor lottery.
- Economies of scale. Finding the best funding opportunities is difficult and time consuming, since there are a lot of different considerations and relevant research. A fund allows many donors with limited time to delegate the relevant work to the fund managers. They in turn can invest significant amounts of time in order to identify the best recipients for many people at once, making the process far more efficient.
- Expert judgment. The fund managers have built up knowledge in the relevant domains and consult with technical experts where appropriate. They have thought about the long-term effects of different philanthropic interventions for years. Using expert judgment might be particularly important in this domain since unlike for other cause areas, no charity evaluator such as GiveWell exists yet for selecting organizations dedicated to improving the long-term future.1
You should give to this fund in particular if:
- you value future lives as much as current ones, and you expect most individuals to exist in the long-term future;
- you think there is a significant chance that advanced artificial intelligence will shape the future in profound ways and cause harm on an unprecedented scale;
- you believe there are actions we can take right now to mitigate these risks;
- you are particularly concerned about worst-case scenarios and s-risks.
Lukas Gloor is responsible for prioritization at the Effective Altruism Foundation, and coordinates our research with other organizations. He conceptualized worst-case AI safety, and helped coin and establish the term s-risks. Currently, his main research focus is on better understanding how different AI alignment approaches affect worst-case outcomes. He also helped found REG in 2014 and is a recreational poker player.
Brian Tomasik has written prolifically and comprehensively about ethics, animal welfare, artificial intelligence, and the long-term future from a suffering-focused perspective. His ideas have been very influential in the effective altruism movement, and he helped found the Foundational Research Institute, a project of the Effective Altruism Foundation, which he still advises. He graduated from Swarthmore College in 2009, where he studied computer science, mathematics, statistics, and economics.
Jonas Vollmer is the Co-Executive Director of the Effective Altruism Foundation where he is responsible for setting the strategic direction, management, as well as communications with the effective altruism community. He holds degrees in medicine and economics with a focus on health economics and development economics. He previously served on the boards of several charities, is an advisor to the EA Long-term Future Fund, and played a key part in establishing the effective altruism movement in continental Europe.
- Grant decisions are made by a simple majority of the fund managers.
- Recipients may be charitable organizations, academic institutions, or individuals.2
- Grants are made every six to twelve months. We invest funds that we are not going to allocate soon.3