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80,000 Hours Podcast with Rob Wiblin

The 80000 Hours team

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80,000 Hours Podcast with Rob Wiblin

80,000 Hours Podcast with Rob Wiblin

The 80000 Hours team

80
Followers
285
Plays
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About Us

The world's most pressing problems & how to use your career to solve them.

Latest Episodes

Benjamin Todd on the core of effective altruism and how to argue for it (80k team chat #3)

Today’s episode is the latest conversation between Arden Koehler, and our CEO, Ben Todd. Ben’s been thinking a lot about effective altruism recently, including what it really is, how it's framed, and how people misunderstand it. We recently released an article on misconceptions about effective altruism – based on Will MacAskill’s recent paper The Definition of Effective Altruism – and this episode can act as a companion piece. Links to learn more, summary and full transcript. Arden and Ben cover a bunch of topics related to effective altruism: • How it isn’t just about donating money to fight poverty • Whether it includes a moral obligation to give • The rigorous argument for its importance • Objections to that argument • How to talk about effective altruism for people who aren't already familiar with it Given that we’re in the same office, it’s relatively easy to record conversations between two 80k team members — so if you enjoy these types of bonus episodes, let us ...

84 min3 d ago
Comments
Benjamin Todd on the core of effective altruism and how to argue for it (80k team chat #3)

Ideas for high impact careers beyond our priority paths (Article)

Today’s release is the latest in our series of audio versions of our articles. In this one, we go through some more career options beyond our priority paths that seem promising to us for positively influencing the long-term future. Some of these are likely to be written up as priority paths in the future, or wrapped into existing ones, but we haven’t written full profiles for them yet—for example policy careers outside AI and biosecurity policy that seem promising from a longtermist perspective. Others, like information security, we think might be as promising for many people as our priority paths, but because we haven’t investigated them much we’re still unsure. Still others seem like they’ll typically be less impactful than our priority paths for people who can succeed equally in either, but still seem high-impact to us and like they could be top options for a substantial number of people, depending on personal fit—for example research management. Finally some—like becomin...

27 min2 w ago
Comments
Ideas for high impact careers beyond our priority paths (Article)

Benjamin Todd on varieties of longtermism and things 80,000 Hours might be getting wrong (80k team chat #2)

Today’s bonus episode is a conversation between Arden Koehler, and our CEO, Ben Todd. Ben’s been doing a bunch of research recently, and we thought it’d be interesting to hear about how he’s currently thinking about a couple of different topics – including different types of longtermism, and things 80,000 Hours might be getting wrong. Links to learn more, summary and full transcript. This is very off-the-cut compared to our regular episodes, and just 54 minutes long. In the first half, Arden and Ben talk about varieties of longtermism: • Patient longtermism • Broad urgent longtermism • Targeted urgent longtermism focused on existential risks • Targeted urgent longtermism focused on other trajectory changes • And their distinctive implications for people trying to do good with their careers. In the second half, they move on to: • How to trade-off transferable versus specialist career capital • How much weight to put on personal fit • Whether we might be highlighting the ...

57 min3 w ago
Comments
Benjamin Todd on varieties of longtermism and things 80,000 Hours might be getting wrong (80k team chat #2)

Global issues beyond 80,000 Hours’ current priorities (Article)

Today’s release is the latest in our series of audio versions of our articles. In this one, we go through 30 global issues beyond the ones we usually prioritize most highly in our work, and that you might consider focusing your career on tackling. Although we spend the majority of our time at 80,000 Hours on our highest priority problem areas, and we recommend working on them to many of our readers, these are just the most promising issues among those we’ve spent time investigating. There are many other global issues that we haven’t properly investigated, and which might be very promising for more people to work on. In fact, we think working on some of the issues in this article could be as high-impact for some people as working on our priority problem areas — though we haven’t looked into them enough to be confident. If you want to check out the links in today’s article, you can find those here. Our annual user survey is also now open for submissions. Once a year for two week...

32 minAUG 29
Comments
Global issues beyond 80,000 Hours’ current priorities (Article)

#85 - Mark Lynas on climate change, societal collapse & nuclear energy

A golf-ball sized lump of uranium can deliver more than enough power to cover all of your lifetime energy use. To get the same energy from coal, you’d need 3,200 tonnes of black rock — a mass equivalent to 800 adult elephants, which would produce more than 11,000 tonnes of CO2. That’s about 11,000 tonnes more than the uranium. Many people aren’t comfortable with the danger posed by nuclear power. But given the climatic stakes, it’s worth asking: Just how much more dangerous is it compared to fossil fuels? According to today’s guest, Mark Lynas — author of Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet (winner of the prestigious Royal Society Prizes for Science Books) and Nuclear 2.0— it’s actually much, much safer. Links to learn more, summary and full transcript. Climatologists James Hansen and Pushker Kharecha calculated that the use of nuclear power between 1971 and 2009 avoided the premature deaths of 1.84 million people by avoiding air pollution from burning coal. What abo...

128 minAUG 21
Comments
#85 - Mark Lynas on climate change, societal collapse & nuclear energy

#84 - Shruti Rajagopalan on what India did to stop COVID-19 and how well it worked

When COVID-19 struck the US, everyone was told that hand sanitizer needed to be saved for healthcare professionals, so they should just wash their hands instead. But in India, many homes lack reliable piped water, so they had to do the opposite: distribute hand sanitizer as widely as possible. American advocates for banning single-use plastic straws might be outraged at the widespread adoption of single-use hand sanitizer sachets in India. But the US and India are very different places, and it might be the only way out when you're facing a pandemic without running water. According to today’s guest, Shruti Rajagopalan, Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, that's typical and context is key to policy-making. This prompted Shruti to propose a set of policy responses designed for India specifically back in April. Unfortunately she thinks it's surprisingly hard to know what one should and shouldn't imitate from overseas. Links to learn more, summary a...

178 minAUG 14
Comments
#84 - Shruti Rajagopalan on what India did to stop COVID-19 and how well it worked

#83 - Prof Jennifer Doleac on preventing crime without police and prisons

The killing of George Floyd has prompted a great deal of debate over whether the US should reduce the size of its police departments. The research literature suggests that the presence of police officers does reduce crime, though they're expensive and as is increasingly recognised, impose substantial harms on the populations they are meant to be protecting, especially communities of colour. So maybe we ought to shift our focus to effective but unconventional approaches to crime prevention, approaches that don't require police or prisons and the human toll they bring with them. Today’s guest, Jennifer Doleac — Associate Professor of Economics at Texas A&M University, and Director of the Justice Tech Lab — is an expert on empirical research into policing, law and incarceration. In this extensive interview, she highlights three alternative ways to effectively prevent crime: better street lighting, cognitive behavioral therapy, and lead reduction. One of Jennifer’s papers used switc...

143 minAUG 1
Comments
#83 - Prof Jennifer Doleac on preventing crime without police and prisons

#82 - Prof James Forman Jr on reducing the cruelty of the US criminal legal system

No democracy has ever incarcerated as many people as the United States. To get its incarceration rate down to the global average, the US would have to release 3 in 4 people in its prisons today. The effects on Black Americans have been especially severe — Black people make up 12% of the US population but 33% of its prison population. In the early 2000's when incarceration reached its peak, the US government estimated that 32% of Black boys would go to prison at some point in their lives, 5.5 times the figure for whites. Contrary to popular understanding, nonviolent drug offenders make up less than a fifth of the incarcerated population. The only way to get its incarceration rate near the global average will be to shorten prison sentences for so-called 'violent criminals' — a politically toxic idea. But could we change that? According to today’s guest, Professor James Forman Jr — a former public defender in Washington DC, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Locking Up Our Own: Crime...

88 minJUL 28
Comments
#82 - Prof James Forman Jr on reducing the cruelty of the US criminal legal system

#81 - Ben Garfinkel on scrutinising classic AI risk arguments

80,000 Hours, along with many other members of the effective altruism movement, has argued that helping to positively shape the development of artificial intelligence may be one of the best ways to have a lasting, positive impact on the long-term future. Millions of dollars in philanthropic spending, as well as lots of career changes, have been motivated by these arguments. Today’s guest, Ben Garfinkel, Research Fellow at Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, supports the continued expansion of AI safety as a field and believes working on AI is among the very best ways to have a positive impact on the long-term future. But he also believes the classic AI risk arguments have been subject to insufficient scrutiny given this level of investment. In particular, the case for working on AI if you care about the long-term future has often been made on the basis of concern about AI accidents; it’s actually quite difficult to design systems that you can feel confident will behave the way...

158 minJUL 10
Comments
#81 - Ben Garfinkel on scrutinising classic AI risk arguments

Advice on how to read our advice (Article)

This is the fourth release in our new series of audio articles.If you want to read the original article or check out the links within it, you can find themhere. "We’ve found that readers sometimes interpret or apply our advice in ways we didn’t anticipate and wouldn’t exactly recommend. That’s hard to avoid when you’re writing for a range of people with different personalities and initial views. To help get on the same page, here’s some advice about our advice, for those about to launch into reading our site. We want our writing to inform people’s views, but only in proportion to the likelihood that we’re actually right. So we need to make sure you have a balanced perspective on how compelling the evidence is for the different claims we make on the site, and how much weight to put on our advice in your situation. This piece includes a list of points to bear in mind when reading our site, and some thoughts on how to avoid the communication problems we face..." As the title su...

15 minJUN 30
Comments
Advice on how to read our advice (Article)

Latest Episodes

Benjamin Todd on the core of effective altruism and how to argue for it (80k team chat #3)

Today’s episode is the latest conversation between Arden Koehler, and our CEO, Ben Todd. Ben’s been thinking a lot about effective altruism recently, including what it really is, how it's framed, and how people misunderstand it. We recently released an article on misconceptions about effective altruism – based on Will MacAskill’s recent paper The Definition of Effective Altruism – and this episode can act as a companion piece. Links to learn more, summary and full transcript. Arden and Ben cover a bunch of topics related to effective altruism: • How it isn’t just about donating money to fight poverty • Whether it includes a moral obligation to give • The rigorous argument for its importance • Objections to that argument • How to talk about effective altruism for people who aren't already familiar with it Given that we’re in the same office, it’s relatively easy to record conversations between two 80k team members — so if you enjoy these types of bonus episodes, let us ...

84 min3 d ago
Comments
Benjamin Todd on the core of effective altruism and how to argue for it (80k team chat #3)

Ideas for high impact careers beyond our priority paths (Article)

Today’s release is the latest in our series of audio versions of our articles. In this one, we go through some more career options beyond our priority paths that seem promising to us for positively influencing the long-term future. Some of these are likely to be written up as priority paths in the future, or wrapped into existing ones, but we haven’t written full profiles for them yet—for example policy careers outside AI and biosecurity policy that seem promising from a longtermist perspective. Others, like information security, we think might be as promising for many people as our priority paths, but because we haven’t investigated them much we’re still unsure. Still others seem like they’ll typically be less impactful than our priority paths for people who can succeed equally in either, but still seem high-impact to us and like they could be top options for a substantial number of people, depending on personal fit—for example research management. Finally some—like becomin...

27 min2 w ago
Comments
Ideas for high impact careers beyond our priority paths (Article)

Benjamin Todd on varieties of longtermism and things 80,000 Hours might be getting wrong (80k team chat #2)

Today’s bonus episode is a conversation between Arden Koehler, and our CEO, Ben Todd. Ben’s been doing a bunch of research recently, and we thought it’d be interesting to hear about how he’s currently thinking about a couple of different topics – including different types of longtermism, and things 80,000 Hours might be getting wrong. Links to learn more, summary and full transcript. This is very off-the-cut compared to our regular episodes, and just 54 minutes long. In the first half, Arden and Ben talk about varieties of longtermism: • Patient longtermism • Broad urgent longtermism • Targeted urgent longtermism focused on existential risks • Targeted urgent longtermism focused on other trajectory changes • And their distinctive implications for people trying to do good with their careers. In the second half, they move on to: • How to trade-off transferable versus specialist career capital • How much weight to put on personal fit • Whether we might be highlighting the ...

57 min3 w ago
Comments
Benjamin Todd on varieties of longtermism and things 80,000 Hours might be getting wrong (80k team chat #2)

Global issues beyond 80,000 Hours’ current priorities (Article)

Today’s release is the latest in our series of audio versions of our articles. In this one, we go through 30 global issues beyond the ones we usually prioritize most highly in our work, and that you might consider focusing your career on tackling. Although we spend the majority of our time at 80,000 Hours on our highest priority problem areas, and we recommend working on them to many of our readers, these are just the most promising issues among those we’ve spent time investigating. There are many other global issues that we haven’t properly investigated, and which might be very promising for more people to work on. In fact, we think working on some of the issues in this article could be as high-impact for some people as working on our priority problem areas — though we haven’t looked into them enough to be confident. If you want to check out the links in today’s article, you can find those here. Our annual user survey is also now open for submissions. Once a year for two week...

32 minAUG 29
Comments
Global issues beyond 80,000 Hours’ current priorities (Article)

#85 - Mark Lynas on climate change, societal collapse & nuclear energy

A golf-ball sized lump of uranium can deliver more than enough power to cover all of your lifetime energy use. To get the same energy from coal, you’d need 3,200 tonnes of black rock — a mass equivalent to 800 adult elephants, which would produce more than 11,000 tonnes of CO2. That’s about 11,000 tonnes more than the uranium. Many people aren’t comfortable with the danger posed by nuclear power. But given the climatic stakes, it’s worth asking: Just how much more dangerous is it compared to fossil fuels? According to today’s guest, Mark Lynas — author of Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet (winner of the prestigious Royal Society Prizes for Science Books) and Nuclear 2.0— it’s actually much, much safer. Links to learn more, summary and full transcript. Climatologists James Hansen and Pushker Kharecha calculated that the use of nuclear power between 1971 and 2009 avoided the premature deaths of 1.84 million people by avoiding air pollution from burning coal. What abo...

128 minAUG 21
Comments
#85 - Mark Lynas on climate change, societal collapse & nuclear energy

#84 - Shruti Rajagopalan on what India did to stop COVID-19 and how well it worked

When COVID-19 struck the US, everyone was told that hand sanitizer needed to be saved for healthcare professionals, so they should just wash their hands instead. But in India, many homes lack reliable piped water, so they had to do the opposite: distribute hand sanitizer as widely as possible. American advocates for banning single-use plastic straws might be outraged at the widespread adoption of single-use hand sanitizer sachets in India. But the US and India are very different places, and it might be the only way out when you're facing a pandemic without running water. According to today’s guest, Shruti Rajagopalan, Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, that's typical and context is key to policy-making. This prompted Shruti to propose a set of policy responses designed for India specifically back in April. Unfortunately she thinks it's surprisingly hard to know what one should and shouldn't imitate from overseas. Links to learn more, summary a...

178 minAUG 14
Comments
#84 - Shruti Rajagopalan on what India did to stop COVID-19 and how well it worked

#83 - Prof Jennifer Doleac on preventing crime without police and prisons

The killing of George Floyd has prompted a great deal of debate over whether the US should reduce the size of its police departments. The research literature suggests that the presence of police officers does reduce crime, though they're expensive and as is increasingly recognised, impose substantial harms on the populations they are meant to be protecting, especially communities of colour. So maybe we ought to shift our focus to effective but unconventional approaches to crime prevention, approaches that don't require police or prisons and the human toll they bring with them. Today’s guest, Jennifer Doleac — Associate Professor of Economics at Texas A&M University, and Director of the Justice Tech Lab — is an expert on empirical research into policing, law and incarceration. In this extensive interview, she highlights three alternative ways to effectively prevent crime: better street lighting, cognitive behavioral therapy, and lead reduction. One of Jennifer’s papers used switc...

143 minAUG 1
Comments
#83 - Prof Jennifer Doleac on preventing crime without police and prisons

#82 - Prof James Forman Jr on reducing the cruelty of the US criminal legal system

No democracy has ever incarcerated as many people as the United States. To get its incarceration rate down to the global average, the US would have to release 3 in 4 people in its prisons today. The effects on Black Americans have been especially severe — Black people make up 12% of the US population but 33% of its prison population. In the early 2000's when incarceration reached its peak, the US government estimated that 32% of Black boys would go to prison at some point in their lives, 5.5 times the figure for whites. Contrary to popular understanding, nonviolent drug offenders make up less than a fifth of the incarcerated population. The only way to get its incarceration rate near the global average will be to shorten prison sentences for so-called 'violent criminals' — a politically toxic idea. But could we change that? According to today’s guest, Professor James Forman Jr — a former public defender in Washington DC, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Locking Up Our Own: Crime...

88 minJUL 28
Comments
#82 - Prof James Forman Jr on reducing the cruelty of the US criminal legal system

#81 - Ben Garfinkel on scrutinising classic AI risk arguments

80,000 Hours, along with many other members of the effective altruism movement, has argued that helping to positively shape the development of artificial intelligence may be one of the best ways to have a lasting, positive impact on the long-term future. Millions of dollars in philanthropic spending, as well as lots of career changes, have been motivated by these arguments. Today’s guest, Ben Garfinkel, Research Fellow at Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, supports the continued expansion of AI safety as a field and believes working on AI is among the very best ways to have a positive impact on the long-term future. But he also believes the classic AI risk arguments have been subject to insufficient scrutiny given this level of investment. In particular, the case for working on AI if you care about the long-term future has often been made on the basis of concern about AI accidents; it’s actually quite difficult to design systems that you can feel confident will behave the way...

158 minJUL 10
Comments
#81 - Ben Garfinkel on scrutinising classic AI risk arguments

Advice on how to read our advice (Article)

This is the fourth release in our new series of audio articles.If you want to read the original article or check out the links within it, you can find themhere. "We’ve found that readers sometimes interpret or apply our advice in ways we didn’t anticipate and wouldn’t exactly recommend. That’s hard to avoid when you’re writing for a range of people with different personalities and initial views. To help get on the same page, here’s some advice about our advice, for those about to launch into reading our site. We want our writing to inform people’s views, but only in proportion to the likelihood that we’re actually right. So we need to make sure you have a balanced perspective on how compelling the evidence is for the different claims we make on the site, and how much weight to put on our advice in your situation. This piece includes a list of points to bear in mind when reading our site, and some thoughts on how to avoid the communication problems we face..." As the title su...

15 minJUN 30
Comments
Advice on how to read our advice (Article)

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