#120: Will MacAskill on Effective Altruism, Y Combinator, and Artificial Intelligence

11/22/2015, 11:34:11 PM , duration(0:0:8)
Business Health Education
Will MacAskill (@willmacaskill) is an Associate Professor in Philosophy at Lincoln College, Oxford. Just 28 years old, he is likely the youngest associate (i.e. tenured) professor of philosophy in the world. Will is the author of Doing Good Better and a co-founder of the "effective altruism" movement. He has pledged to donate everything he earns over ~$36,000 per year to whatever charities he believes will be most effective. He has also cofounded two well-known non-profits: 80,000 Hours, which provides research and advice on how you can best make a difference through your career, and Giving What We Can, which encourages people to commit to give at least 10% of their income to the most effective charities. Between them, they have raised more than $450 million in lifetime pledged donations, and are in the top 1% of non-profits in terms of growth. He is one of the few non-profit founders who have gone through Y Combinator; for-profit companies get $120,000 for 7% of equity; as a non-profit, 80,000 Hours got $100,000 for 0% of equity. In this episode, we discuss his story and a ton of actionable tips, including: Why "following your passion" in a career is often a mistake. Thought experiments: Pascal's Wager versus Pascal's Mugging Why working for a non-profit straight out of college is also a mistake. How it's possible to "hack" doing good in the same way you would a business. Implications of artificial intelligence. The best ways to really evaluate if you (or charities) are going good in the world. The reasons donating to disaster relief typically isn't the best use of your money. Why ethical consumerism typically isn't a great way to do good. Running a non-profit in the Harvard/Navy SEALs of startup incubators: Y Combinator This podcast is brought to you by Wealthfront. Wealthfront is a massively disruptive (in a good way) set-it-and-forget-it investing service, led by technologists from places like Apple and world-famous investors. It has exploded in popularity in the last 2 years and now has more than $2.5B under management. In fact, some of my good investor friends in Silicon Valley have millions of their own money in Wealthfront. Why? Because you can get services previously limited to the ultra-wealthy and only pay pennies on the dollar for them, and it’s all through smarter software instead of retail locations and bloated sales teams. Check out wealthfront.com/tim, take their risk assessment quiz, which only takes 2-5 minutes, and they’ll show you—for free–exactly the portfolio they’d put you in. If you want to just take their advice and do it yourself, you can. Or, as I would, you can set it and forget it.  Well worth a few minutes: wealthfront.com/tim. Mandatory disclaimer: Wealthfront Inc. is an SEC registered Investment Advisor. Investing in securities involves risks, and there is the possibility of losing money. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Please visit Wealthfront dot com to read their full disclosure. This podcast is also brought to you by Mizzen + Main. These are the only "dress" shirts I now travel with -- fancy enough for important dinners but made from athletic, sweat-wicking material. No more ironing, no more steaming, no more hassle. Click here for the exact shirts I wear most often. Don't forget to use the code "TIM" at checkout. Show notes and links for this episode can be found at www.fourhourworkweek.com/podcast.