Survival and Flourishing
.Fund

SFF-2019-Q4 S-process Recommendations Announcement

This quarter (2019-Q4), six people participated as “Recommenders” in a single round of a grant-recommendation process for funders Jaan Tallinn (independent) and the Survival and Flourishing Fund (SFF; http://survivalandflourishing.fund/). The following Recommenders in this round agreed to have their identities made public:

How final grant amounts were determined: The “S-process”

We call the recommendation process used in this grant round the “S-process”, for “Simulation Process”, because it involves allowing the Recommenders and funders to simulate a large number of counterfactual delegation scenarios using a spreadsheet of marginal utility functions. Funders were free to assign different weights to different Recommenders in the process; the weights were determined by marginal utility functions specified by the funders (Jaan Tallinn and SFF). In this round, the process also allowed the funders to make some final adjustments to decide on their final intended grant amounts.

The S-process spreadsheet system is still being developed for broader use.

Final recommendations

Most of the final endorsed recommendations of this round of the S-process are listed below. These numbers have resulted from numerical inputs from both funders and Recommenders, which represented estimates of the marginal utility of granting to each organization. Note that:

  1. Some of the grants below might not happen if they are logistically difficult or time-consuming for the funders (SFF and Jaan Tallinn) to finalize for some reason.
  2. Some additional grants might also appear on this list later as more details about them become clear.
  3. Some grants might be made as a result of the information shared in this S-process round that will not be counted as fully endorsed by the round, because each Recommender in the round had the unilateral ability to veto the group’s official endorsement of any particular grant. Grants not officially endorsed in this way will not appear on the list below.
Source Organization Amount Receiving Charity Purpose
SFF 80,000 Hours

$40,000

Centre for Effective Altruism, USA General Support of 80,000 Hours
SFF AI Impacts

$70,000

Machine Intelligence Research Institute General Support of AI Impacts
SFF AAAI/ACM conference on AI, Ethics and Society (AIES 2020)

$20,000

Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence General Support of AIES
SFF Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters (ALLFED)

$10,000

Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs (SEE) General Support of ALLFED
SFF Center For Applied Rationality

$150,000

Center For Applied Rationality General Support
SFF Charter Cities Institute

$60,000

Center for Innovative Governance Research General Support of the Charter Cities Institute
SFF Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, University of Cambridge

$50,000

Cambridge in America General Support of Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, University of Cambridge
SFF Earth Law Center

$30,000

Earth Law Center General Support
SFF Global Catastrophic Risk Institute

$30,000

Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs General Support of GCRI
SFF Longevity Research Institute

$160,000

Longevity Research Institute General Support
SFF Median Group

$50,000

Median Group General Support
SFF Modeling Cooperation

$50,000

Convergence Analysis General Support of Modeling Cooperation
SFF OAK (Optimizing Awakening and Kindness)

$100,000

Center for Mindful Learning General Support of OAK (Optimizing Awakening and Kindness)
SFF Ought Inc.

$100,000

Ought Inc. General Support
Jaan Tallinn 80,000 Hours

$70,000

Centre for Effective Altruism, USA General Support of 80,000 Hours
Jaan Tallinn AI Impacts

$30,000

Machine Intelligence Research Institute General Support of AI Impacts
Jaan Tallinn AAAI/ACM conference on AI, Ethics and Society (AIES 2020)

$10,000

Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence General Support of AIES
Jaan Tallinn Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters (ALLFED)

$130,000

Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs (SEE) General Support of ALLFED
Jaan Tallinn APPG for Future Generations (supported through: Project on Longtermism in Policy Making LTD)

$80,000

Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA) General Support of APPG for Future Generations
Jaan Tallinn Center For Applied Rationality

$50,000

Center For Applied Rationality General Support
Jaan Tallinn Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, University of Cambridge

$20,000

Cambridge in America General Support of Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, University of Cambridge
Jaan Tallinn The Future Society, Inc.

$50,000

The Future Society, Inc. General Support
Jaan Tallinn Longevity Research Institute

$140,000

Longevity Research Institute General Support
Jaan Tallinn Laboratory for Social Minds

$20,000

Carnegie Mellon University General Support of Laboratory for Social Minds
Jaan Tallinn Median Group

$120,000

Median Group General Support
Jaan Tallinn Ought Inc.

$150,000

Ought Inc. General Support
Jaan Tallinn Berkeley Rationality and Effective Altruism Community Hub Incorporated

$50,000

Berkeley Rationality and Effective Altruism Community Hub Incorporated General Support
Jaan Tallinn Topos Institute

$150,000

Topos Institute General Support
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Note that the S-process system is designed to generally favor funding things that at least one recommender is excited to fund, rather than things that every recommender is excited to fund. As such, the grant recommendations above do not especially represent the “average” opinion of the group in any sense. On the other hand, as described above, each Recommender participating in this round of the S-process had the unilateral ability to veto any organization from appearing in the final endorsed outputs of the process appearing here. As such, there in principle could be organizations that one or more Recommenders were excited to fund, and that one or more funders decided to fund as a result of this round, but that do not appear on this list because public endorsement of the grant by the S-process was vetoed.

SFF specifically will still continue making all of the grants it makes eventually publicly visible on its homepage (http://survivalandflourishing.fund/), but if some of those grants are not endorsed by an S-process round, they will not be listed as an S-process grant.

Freedoms compatible with the S-process

The S-process is designed to allow a lot of freedom and autonomy for the Recommenders and the funders. Funders retain the right and freedom to make and/or recommend grants that the S-process, as a whole, did not endorse, based on information the funders learn from the S-process. As well, the Recommenders and funders are free to communicate with each other as much as they want outside of the S-process structure. As such, while the S-process might be useful in helping the funders to learn about grant-making opportunities and opinions, the funders need not be limited by the outputs of the S-process in order for it to function.

Private sharing of input documents

Each Recommender’s own input documents (both initial and final versions) are free for that Recommender to share privately or publicly in any form and for any use-case, as long as they anonymize any other Recommenders who have requested anonymity, and respect the privacy of the organizations who applied to the round. In particular, the S-process does not require Recommenders to avoid sharing their own (appropriately anonymized) input documents, even when sharing some documents might make it somewhat easier in principle for an adversary to reverse-engineer the inputs of other Recommenders. The spirit of the S-process is, however, to discourage this sort of intentionally adversarial de-anonymization, as it is disrespectful of the Recommenders who volunteered their time and effort under the conditions of anonymity.