Elie Hassenfeld Q&A: ‘$5,000 to Save a Life Is a Bargain’ | EUROtoday

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Sometimes donors anticipate that they will save a life for a lot lower than $5,000, they usually’re shocked to come across our estimate. But most come to share my perception that $5,000 to avoid wasting a life is a cut price. We purpose to be absolutely clear about what goes into our cost-effectiveness estimates—together with the counterarguments, caveats, assumptions, greatest guesses, and ethical judgments. This transparency provides them the boldness to offer extra.

It’s true that within the US we focus so intently on high quality of life that we might not respect that now we have lives within the first place, that comparatively few of our youngsters die as infants. But aren’t a few of the folks saved by, say, malaria nets, going to have actually laborious lives?

This is a tragic actuality about issues, that we don’t even take into consideration how fortunate we’re. And in case you reverse the query you requested, it may sound such as you’re mainly questioning if one could be very rich and have nice bodily well being and nonetheless be sad. Clearly you may be.

Why have so many EAs turned their consideration from stopping illness to cooking up Book-of-Revelation situations involving AI?

Many EAs proceed to work on world well being. But the fast development in highly effective AI programs ought to elevate actual considerations for everybody. Myself included.

When I began getting within the philosophy of EA, there was some freaky stuff.

You imply these scary questions, like, “Would you let your mom die to save 100 strangers?”

Exactly. But I feel there are sufficient challenges on this planet that we’d like each individual centered on the world the place they assume they will have the most important influence. I’m glad there are loads of nice minds centered on AI and the broader questions in EA. Me, personally, I can deliver one thing to serving to people who find themselves struggling proper now.

So you constructed the nonprofit GiveWell after working at Bridgewater, an funding fund that’s [checks notes] for-profit, sure?

Yes. And to start with there have been loads of tales about Holden and me, how “hedge fund veterans” have been turning to philanthropy. But we have been solely 26, and we’d been on the fund for only some years. Very quickly Holden and I have been speaking with associates about easy methods to give cash away.

I selected the reason for clear water in Africa. I don’t know the way or why I selected it. I most likely thought one thing like, Water is a primary human want. Giving cash to supply entry to wash water appeared like a superb factor to do. In the early days of GiveWell, we seen that diarrhea and dehydration are among the many main causes of dying. Why? How? I simply obtained completely obsessive about this: We dwell in a world the place folks with out clear water die of diarrhea. But clear water has not been a superb we are able to ship but. To be trustworthy, I nonetheless want we may do extra to supply folks with water that gained’t trigger illness.

Why is that tough?