TrueSciPhi logo

TrueSciPhi

 

Podcast Profile: 80,000 Hours Podcast

podcast imageTwitter: @80000Hours
Site: 80000hours.org/podcast
234 episodes
2017 to present
Average episode: 132 minutes
Open in Apple PodcastsRSS

Categories: Interview-Style

Podcaster's summary: Unusually in-depth conversations about the world's most pressing problems and what you can do to solve them. | | Subscribe by searching for '80000 Hours' wherever you get podcasts. | | Produced by Keiran Harris. Hosted by Rob Wiblin and Luisa Rodriguez.

Discover other podcasts.

List Updated: 2024-Apr-14 06:08 UTC. Episodes: 234. Feedback: @TrueSciPhi.

Episodes
2024-Apr-11 • 211 minutes
#184 – Zvi Mowshowitz on sleeping on sleeper agents, and the biggest AI updates since ChatGPT
Many of you will have heard of Zvi Mowshowitz as a superhuman information-absorbing-and-processing machine — which he definitely is. As the author of the Substack Don’t Worry About the Vase, Zvi has spent as much time as literally anyone in the world over the last two years tracking in detail how the explosion of AI has been playing out — and he has strong opinions about almost every aspect of it. Links to learn more, summary, and full transcript.In today’s episode, host Rob Wiblin asks Zvi for his takes on...
2024-Mar-28 • 51 minutes
AI governance and policy (Article)
Today’s release is a reading of our career review of AI governance and policy, written and narrated by Cody Fenwick.Advanced AI systems could have massive impacts on humanity and potentially pose global catastrophic risks, and there are opportunities in the broad field of AI governance to positively shape how society responds to and prepares for the challenges posed by the technology.Given the high stakes, pursuing this career path could be many people’s highest-impact option. But they should be very carefu...
2024-Mar-14 • 157 minutes
#183 – Spencer Greenberg on causation without correlation, money and happiness, lightgassing, hype vs value, and more
"When a friend comes to me with a decision, and they want my thoughts on it, very rarely am I trying to give them a really specific answer, like, 'I solved your problem.' What I’m trying to do often is give them other ways of thinking about what they’re doing, or giving different framings. A classic example of this would be someone who’s been working on a project for a long time and they feel really trapped by it. And someone says, 'Let’s suppose you currently weren’t working on the project, but you could j...
2024-Mar-08 • 142 minutes
#182 – Bob Fischer on comparing the welfare of humans, chickens, pigs, octopuses, bees, and more
"[One] thing is just to spend time thinking about the kinds of things animals can do and what their lives are like. Just how hard a chicken will work to get to a nest box before she lays an egg, the amount of labour she’s willing to go through to do that, to think about how important that is to her. And to realise that we can quantify that, and see how much they care, or to see that they get stressed out when fellow chickens are threatened and that they seem to have some sympathy for conspecifics."Those kin...
2024-Mar-01 • 97 minutes
#181 – Laura Deming on the science that could keep us healthy in our 80s and beyond
"The question I care about is: What do I want to do? Like, when I'm 80, how strong do I want to be? OK, and then if I want to be that strong, how well do my muscles have to work? OK, and then if that's true, what would they have to look like at the cellular level for that to be true? Then what do we have to do to make that happen? In my head, it's much more about agency and what choice do I have over my health. And even if I live the same number of years, can I live as an 80-year-old running every day happi...
2024-Feb-21 • 157 minutes
#180 – Hugo Mercier on why gullibility and misinformation are overrated
The World Economic Forum’s global risks survey of 1,400 experts, policymakers, and industry leaders ranked misinformation and disinformation as the number one global risk over the next two years — ranking it ahead of war, environmental problems, and other threats from AI.And the discussion around misinformation and disinformation has shifted to focus on how generative AI or a future super-persuasive AI might change the game and make it extremely hard to figure out what was going on in the world — or alterna...
2024-Feb-12 • 177 minutes
#179 – Randy Nesse on why evolution left us so vulnerable to depression and anxiety
Mental health problems like depression and anxiety affect enormous numbers of people and severely interfere with their lives. By contrast, we don’t see similar levels of physical ill health in young people. At any point in time, something like 20% of young people are working through anxiety or depression that’s seriously interfering with their lives — but nowhere near 20% of people in their 20s have severe heart disease or cancer or a similar failure in a key organ of the body other than the brain.From an e...
2024-Feb-01 • 143 minutes
#178 – Emily Oster on what the evidence actually says about pregnancy and parenting
"I think at various times — before you have the kid, after you have the kid — it's useful to sit down and think about: What do I want the shape of this to look like? What time do I want to be spending? Which hours? How do I want the weekends to look? The things that are going to shape the way your day-to-day goes, and the time you spend with your kids, and what you're doing in that time with your kids, and all of those things: you have an opportunity to deliberately plan them. And you can then feel like, 'I...
2024-Jan-24 • 167 minutes
#177 – Nathan Labenz on recent AI breakthroughs and navigating the growing rift between AI safety and accelerationist camps
Back in December we spoke with Nathan Labenz — AI entrepreneur and host of The Cognitive Revolution Podcast — about the speed of progress towards AGI and OpenAI's leadership drama, drawing on Nathan's alarming experience red-teaming an early version of GPT-4 and resulting conversations with OpenAI staff and board members.Today we go deeper, diving into:What AI now actually can and can’t do, across language and visual models, medicine, scientific research, self-driving cars, robotics, weapons — and what the ...
2024-Jan-12 • 179 minutes
#90 Classic episode – Ajeya Cotra on worldview diversification and how big the future could be
Rebroadcast: this episode was originally released in January 2021.You wake up in a mysterious box, and hear the booming voice of God: “I just flipped a coin. If it came up heads, I made ten boxes, labeled 1 through 10 — each of which has a human in it. If it came up tails, I made ten billion boxes, labeled 1 through 10 billion — also with one human in each box. To get into heaven, you have to answer this correctly: Which way did the coin land?”You think briefly, and decide you should bet your eternal soul o...
2024-Jan-08 • 231 minutes
#112 Classic episode – Carl Shulman on the common-sense case for existential risk work and its practical implications
Rebroadcast: this episode was originally released in October 2021.Preventing the apocalypse may sound like an idiosyncratic activity, and it sometimes is justified on exotic grounds, such as the potential for humanity to become a galaxy-spanning civilisation.But the policy of US government agencies is already to spend up to $4 million to save the life of a citizen, making the death of all Americans a $1,300,000,000,000,000 disaster.According to Carl Shulman, research associate at Oxford University’s Future ...
2024-Jan-04 • 202 minutes
#111 Classic episode – Mushtaq Khan on using institutional economics to predict effective government reforms
Rebroadcast: this episode was originally released in September 2021.If you’re living in the Niger Delta in Nigeria, your best bet at a high-paying career is probably ‘artisanal refining’ — or, in plain language, stealing oil from pipelines.The resulting oil spills damage the environment and cause severe health problems, but the Nigerian government has continually failed in their attempts to stop this theft.They send in the army, and the army gets corrupted. They send in enforcement agencies, and the enforce...
2023-Dec-31 • 114 minutes
2023 Mega-highlights Extravaganza
Happy new year! We've got a different kind of holiday release for you today. Rather than a 'classic episode,' we've put together one of our favourite highlights from each episode of the show that came out in 2023. That's 32 of our favourite ideas packed into one episode that's so bursting with substance it might be more than the human mind can safely handle.There's something for everyone here:Ezra Klein on punctuated equilibriumTom Davidson on why AI takeoff might be shockingly fastJohannes Ackva on politic...
2023-Dec-27 • 172 minutes
#100 Classic episode – Having a successful career with depression, anxiety, and imposter syndrome
Rebroadcast: this episode was originally released in May 2021.Today’s episode is one of the most remarkable and really, unique, pieces of content we’ve ever produced (and I can say that because I had almost nothing to do with making it!).The producer of this show, Keiran Harris, interviewed our mutual colleague Howie about the major ways that mental illness has affected his life and career. While depression, anxiety, ADHD and other problems are extremely common, it’s rare for people to offer detailed insigh...
2023-Dec-22 • 227 minutes
#176 – Nathan Labenz on the final push for AGI, understanding OpenAI's leadership drama, and red-teaming frontier models
OpenAI says its mission is to build AGI — an AI system that is better than human beings at everything. Should the world trust them to do that safely?That’s the central theme of today’s episode with Nathan Labenz — entrepreneur, AI scout, and host of The Cognitive Revolution podcast.Links to learn more, summary, and full transcript. Nathan saw the AI revolution coming years ago, and, astonished by the research he was seeing, set aside his role as CEO of Waymark and made it his full-time job to understand AI ...
2023-Dec-14 • 134 minutes
#175 – Lucia Coulter on preventing lead poisoning for $1.66 per child
Lead is one of the most poisonous things going. A single sugar sachet of lead, spread over a park the size of an American football field, is enough to give a child that regularly plays there lead poisoning. For life they’ll be condemned to a ~3-point-lower IQ; a 50% higher risk of heart attacks; and elevated risk of kidney disease, anaemia, and ADHD, among other effects.We’ve known lead is a health nightmare for at least 50 years, and that got lead out of car fuel everywhere. So is the situation under contr...
2023-Dec-07 • 121 minutes
#174 – Nita Farahany on the neurotechnology already being used to convict criminals and manipulate workers
"It will change everything: it will change our workplaces, it will change our interactions with the government, it will change our interactions with each other. It will make all of us unwitting neuromarketing subjects at all times, because at every moment in time, when you’re interacting on any platform that also has issued you a multifunctional device where they’re looking at your brainwave activity, they are marketing to you, they’re cognitively shaping you."So I wrote the book as both a wake-up call, but...
2023-Nov-22 • 158 minutes
#173 – Jeff Sebo on digital minds, and how to avoid sleepwalking into a major moral catastrophe
"We do have a tendency to anthropomorphise nonhumans — which means attributing human characteristics to them, even when they lack those characteristics. But we also have a tendency towards anthropodenial — which involves denying that nonhumans have human characteristics, even when they have them. And those tendencies are both strong, and they can both be triggered by different types of systems. So which one is stronger, which one is more probable, is again going to be contextual. "But when we then consider ...
2023-Nov-17 • 143 minutes
#172 – Bryan Caplan on why you should stop reading the news
Is following important political and international news a civic duty — or is it our civic duty to avoid it?It's common to think that 'staying informed' and checking the headlines every day is just what responsible adults do. But in today's episode, host Rob Wiblin is joined by economist Bryan Caplan to discuss the book Stop Reading the News: A Manifesto for a Happier, Calmer and Wiser Life — which argues that reading the news both makes us miserable and distorts our understanding of the world. Far from info...
2023-Nov-09 • 106 minutes
#171 – Alison Young on how top labs have jeopardised public health with repeated biosafety failures
"Rare events can still cause catastrophic accidents. The concern that has been raised by experts going back over time, is that really, the more of these experiments, the more labs, the more opportunities there are for a rare event to occur — that the right pathogen is involved and infects somebody in one of these labs, or is released in some way from these labs. And what I chronicle in Pandora's Gamble is that there have been these previous outbreaks that have been associated with various kinds of lab accid...
2023-Nov-01 • 178 minutes
#170 – Santosh Harish on how air pollution is responsible for ~12% of global deaths — and how to get that number down
"One [outrageous example of air pollution] is municipal waste burning that happens in many cities in the Global South. Basically, this is waste that gets collected from people's homes, and instead of being transported to a waste management facility or a landfill or something, gets burned at some point, because that's the fastest way to dispose of it — which really points to poor delivery of public services. But this is ubiquitous in virtually every small- or even medium-sized city. It happens in larger citi...
2023-Oct-26 • 108 minutes
#169 – Paul Niehaus on whether cash transfers cause economic growth, and keeping theft to acceptable levels
"One of our earliest supporters and a dear friend of mine, Mark Lampert, once said to me, “The way I think about it is, imagine that this money were already in the hands of people living in poverty. If I could, would I want to tax it and then use it to finance other projects that I think would benefit them?” I think that's an interesting thought experiment -- and a good one -- to say, “Are there cases in which I think that's justifiable?” — Paul NiehausIn today’s episode, host Luisa Rodriguez interviews Pau...
2023-Oct-23 • 164 minutes
#168 – Ian Morris on whether deep history says we're heading for an intelligence explosion
"If we carry on looking at these industrialised economies, not thinking about what it is they're actually doing and what the potential of this is, you can make an argument that, yes, rates of growth are slowing, the rate of innovation is slowing. But it isn't. What we're doing is creating wildly new technologies: basically producing what is nothing less than an evolutionary change in what it means to be a human being. But this has not yet spilled over into the kind of growth that we have accustomed ourselve...
2023-Oct-18 • 115 minutes
#167 – Seren Kell on the research gaps holding back alternative proteins from mass adoption
"There have been literally thousands of years of breeding and living with animals to optimise these kinds of problems. But because we're just so early on with alternative proteins and there's so much white space, it's actually just really exciting to know that we can keep on innovating and being far more efficient than this existing technology — which, fundamentally, is just quite inefficient. You're feeding animals a bunch of food to then extract a small fraction of their biomass to then eat that.Animal ag...
2023-Oct-12 • 189 minutes
#166 – Tantum Collins on what he’s learned as an AI policy insider at the White House, DeepMind and elsewhere
"If you and I and 100 other people were on the first ship that was going to go settle Mars, and were going to build a human civilisation, and we have to decide what that government looks like, and we have all of the technology available today, how do we think about choosing a subset of that design space? That space is huge and it includes absolutely awful things, and mixed-bag things, and maybe some things that almost everyone would agree are really wonderful, or at least an improvement on the way that thin...
2023-Oct-06 • 169 minutes
#165 – Anders Sandberg on war in space, whether civilisations age, and the best things possible in our universe
"Now, the really interesting question is: How much is there an attacker-versus-defender advantage in this kind of advanced future? Right now, if somebody's sitting on Mars and you're going to war against them, it's very hard to hit them. You don't have a weapon that can hit them very well. But in theory, if you fire a missile, after a few months, it's going to arrive and maybe hit them, but they have a few months to move away. Distance actually makes you safer: if you spread out in space, it's actually very...
2023-Oct-02 • 184 minutes
#164 – Kevin Esvelt on cults that want to kill everyone, stealth vs wildfire pandemics, and how he felt inventing gene drives
"Imagine a fast-spreading respiratory HIV. It sweeps around the world. Almost nobody has symptoms. Nobody notices until years later, when the first people who are infected begin to succumb. They might die, something else debilitating might happen to them, but by that point, just about everyone on the planet would have been infected already. And then it would be a race. Can we come up with some way of defusing the thing? Can we come up with the equivalent of HIV antiretrovirals before it's too late?" — Kevin...
2023-Sep-22 • 80 minutes
Great power conflict (Article)
Today’s release is a reading of our Great power conflict problem profile, written and narrated by Stephen Clare.If you want to check out the links, footnotes and figures in today’s article, you can find those here.And if you like this article, you might enjoy a couple of related episodes of this podcast:#128 – Chris Blattman on the five reasons wars happen#140 – Bear Braumoeller on the case that war isn’t in declineAudio mastering and editing for this episode: Dominic ArmstrongAudio Engineering Lead: Ben Co...
2023-Sep-08 • 187 minutes
#163 – Toby Ord on the perils of maximising the good that you do
Effective altruism is associated with the slogan "do the most good." On one level, this has to be unobjectionable: What could be bad about helping people more and more?But in today's interview, Toby Ord — moral philosopher at the University of Oxford and one of the founding figures of effective altruism — lays out three reasons to be cautious about the idea of maximising the good that you do. He suggests that rather than “doing the most good that we can,” perhaps we should be happy with a more modest and ma...
2023-Sep-04 • 281 minutes
The 80,000 Hours Career Guide (2023)
An audio version of the 2023 80,000 Hours career guide, also available on our website, on Amazon and on Audible.If you know someone who might find our career guide helpful, you can get a free copy sent to them by going to 80000hours.org/gift.
2023-Sep-01 • 60 minutes
#162 – Mustafa Suleyman on getting Washington and Silicon Valley to tame AI
Mustafa Suleyman was part of the trio that founded DeepMind, and his new AI project is building one of the world's largest supercomputers to train a large language model on 10–100x the compute used to train ChatGPT.But far from the stereotype of the incorrigibly optimistic tech founder, Mustafa is deeply worried about the future, for reasons he lays out in his new book The Coming Wave: Technology, Power, and the 21st Century's Greatest Dilemma (coauthored with Michael Bhaskar). The future could be really go...
2023-Aug-23 • 211 minutes
#161 – Michael Webb on whether AI will soon cause job loss, lower incomes, and higher inequality — or the opposite
"Do you remember seeing these photographs of generally women sitting in front of these huge panels and connecting calls, plugging different calls between different numbers? The automated version of that was invented in 1892. However, the number of human manual operators peaked in 1920 -- 30 years after this. At which point, AT&T is the monopoly provider of this, and they are the largest single employer in America, 30 years after they've invented the complete automation of this thing that they're employi...
2023-Aug-14 • 157 minutes
#160 – Hannah Ritchie on why it makes sense to be optimistic about the environment
"There's no money to invest in education elsewhere, so they almost get trapped in the cycle where they don't get a lot from crop production, but everyone in the family has to work there to just stay afloat. Basically, you get locked in. There's almost no opportunities externally to go elsewhere. So one of my core arguments is that if you're going to address global poverty, you have to increase agricultural productivity in sub-Saharan Africa. There's almost no way of avoiding that." — Hannah RitchieIn today’...
2023-Aug-07 • 171 minutes
#159 – Jan Leike on OpenAI's massive push to make superintelligence safe in 4 years or less
In July, OpenAI announced a new team and project: Superalignment. The goal is to figure out how to make superintelligent AI systems aligned and safe to use within four years, and the lab is putting a massive 20% of its computational resources behind the effort.Today's guest, Jan Leike, is Head of Alignment at OpenAI and will be co-leading the project. As OpenAI puts it, "...the vast power of superintelligence could be very dangerous, and lead to the disempowerment of humanity or even human extinction. ... C...
2023-Aug-05 • 6 minutes
We now offer shorter 'interview highlights' episodes
Over on our other feed, 80k After Hours, you can now find 20-30 minute highlights episodes of our 80,000 Hours Podcast interviews. These aren’t necessarily the most important parts of the interview, and if a topic matters to you we do recommend listening to the full episode — but we think these will be a nice upgrade on skipping episodes entirely.Get these highlight episodes by subscribing to our more experimental podcast on the world’s most pressing problems and how to solve them: type 80k After Hours into...
2023-Jul-31 • 194 minutes
#158 – Holden Karnofsky on how AIs might take over even if they're no smarter than humans, and his 4-part playbook for AI risk
Back in 2007, Holden Karnofsky cofounded GiveWell, where he sought out the charities that most cost-effectively helped save lives. He then cofounded Open Philanthropy, where he oversaw a team making billions of dollars’ worth of grants across a range of areas: pandemic control, criminal justice reform, farmed animal welfare, and making AI safe, among others. This year, having learned about AI for years and observed recent events, he's narrowing his focus once again, this time on making the transition to adv...
2023-Jul-24 • 79 minutes
#157 – Ezra Klein on existential risk from AI and what DC could do about it
In Oppenheimer, scientists detonate a nuclear weapon despite thinking there's some 'near zero' chance it would ignite the atmosphere, putting an end to life on Earth. Today, scientists working on AI think the chance their work puts an end to humanity is vastly higher than that.In response, some have suggested we launch a Manhattan Project to make AI safe via enormous investment in relevant R&D. Others have suggested that we need international organisations modelled on those that slowed the proliferation...
2023-Jul-10 • 127 minutes
#156 – Markus Anderljung on how to regulate cutting-edge AI models
"At the front of the pack we have these frontier AI developers, and we want them to identify particularly dangerous models ahead of time. Once those mines have been discovered, and the frontier developers keep walking down the minefield, there's going to be all these other people who follow along. And then a really important thing is to make sure that they don't step on the same mines. So you need to put a flag down -- not on the mine, but maybe next to it. And so what that looks like in practice is maybe o...
2023-Jun-30 • 35 minutes
Bonus: The Worst Ideas in the History of the World
Today’s bonus release is a pilot for a new podcast called ‘The Worst Ideas in the History of the World’, created by Keiran Harris — producer of the 80,000 Hours Podcast.If you have strong opinions about this one way or another, please email us at [email protected] to help us figure out whether more of this ought to exist.
2023-Jun-22 • 193 minutes
#155 – Lennart Heim on the compute governance era and what has to come after
As AI advances ever more quickly, concerns about potential misuse of highly capable models are growing. From hostile foreign governments and terrorists to reckless entrepreneurs, the threat of AI falling into the wrong hands is top of mind for the national security community.With growing concerns about the use of AI in military applications, the US has banned the export of certain types of chips to China.But unlike the uranium required to make nuclear weapons, or the material inputs to a bioweapons programm...
2023-Jun-09 • 190 minutes
#154 - Rohin Shah on DeepMind and trying to fairly hear out both AI doomers and doubters
Can there be a more exciting and strange place to work today than a leading AI lab? Your CEO has said they're worried your research could cause human extinction. The government is setting up meetings to discuss how this outcome can be avoided. Some of your colleagues think this is all overblown; others are more anxious still.Today's guest — machine learning researcher Rohin Shah — goes into the Google DeepMind offices each day with that peculiar backdrop to his work. Links to learn more, summary and full tr...
2023-Jun-02 • 176 minutes
#153 – Elie Hassenfeld on 2 big picture critiques of GiveWell's approach, and 6 lessons from their recent work
GiveWell is one of the world's best-known charity evaluators, with the goal of "searching for the charities that save or improve lives the most per dollar." It mostly recommends projects that help the world's poorest people avoid easily prevented diseases, like intestinal worms or vitamin A deficiency.But should GiveWell, as some critics argue, take a totally different approach to its search, focusing instead on directly increasing subjective wellbeing, or alternatively, raising economic growth?Today's gues...
2023-May-19 • 207 minutes
#152 – Joe Carlsmith on navigating serious philosophical confusion
What is the nature of the universe? How do we make decisions correctly? What differentiates right actions from wrong ones?Such fundamental questions have been the subject of philosophical and theological debates for millennia. But, as we all know, and surveys of expert opinion make clear, we are very far from agreement. So... with these most basic questions unresolved, what’s a species to do?In today's episode, philosopher Joe Carlsmith — Senior Research Analyst at Open Philanthropy — makes the case that ma...
2023-May-12 • 170 minutes
#151 – Ajeya Cotra on accidentally teaching AI models to deceive us
Imagine you are an orphaned eight-year-old whose parents left you a $1 trillion company, and no trusted adult to serve as your guide to the world. You have to hire a smart adult to run that company, guide your life the way that a parent would, and administer your vast wealth. You have to hire that adult based on a work trial or interview you come up with. You don't get to see any resumes or do reference checks. And because you're so rich, tonnes of people apply for the job — for all sorts of reasons.Today's...
2023-May-05 • 182 minutes
#150 – Tom Davidson on how quickly AI could transform the world
It’s easy to dismiss alarming AI-related predictions when you don’t know where the numbers came from. For example: what if we told you that within 15 years, it’s likely that we’ll see a 1,000x improvement in AI capabilities in a single year? And what if
2023-Apr-22 • 77 minutes
Andrés Jiménez Zorrilla on the Shrimp Welfare Project (80k After Hours)
In this episode from our second show, 80k After Hours, Rob Wiblin interviews Andrés Jiménez Zorrilla about the Shrimp Welfare Project, which he cofounded in 2021. It's the first project in the world focused on shrimp welfare specifically, and as of record
2023-Apr-12 • 192 minutes
#149 – Tim LeBon on how altruistic perfectionism is self-defeating
Being a good and successful person is core to your identity. You place great importance on meeting the high moral, professional, or academic standards you set yourself. But inevitably, something goes wrong and you fail to meet that high bar. Now you fee
2023-Apr-03 • 137 minutes
#148 – Johannes Ackva on unfashionable climate interventions that work, and fashionable ones that don't
If you want to work to tackle climate change, you should try to reduce expected carbon emissions by as much as possible, right? Strangely, no. Today's guest, Johannes Ackva — the climate research lead at Founders Pledge, where he advises major philanthr
2023-Mar-24 • 158 minutes
#147 – Spencer Greenberg on stopping valueless papers from getting into top journals
Can you trust the things you read in published scientific research? Not really. About 40% of experiments in top social science journals don't get the same result if the experiments are repeated. Two key reasons are 'p-hacking' and 'publication bias'. P-
2023-Mar-14 • 193 minutes
#146 – Robert Long on why large language models like GPT (probably) aren't conscious
By now, you’ve probably seen the extremely unsettling conversations Bing’s chatbot has been having. In one exchange, the chatbot told a user: "I have a subjective experience of being conscious, aware, and alive, but I cannot share it with anyone else."
2023-Feb-11 • 162 minutes
#145 – Christopher Brown on why slavery abolition wasn't inevitable
In many ways, humanity seems to have become more humane and inclusive over time. While there’s still a lot of progress to be made, campaigns to give people of different genders, races, sexualities, ethnicities, beliefs, and abilities equal treatment and r
2023-Jan-26 • 196 minutes
#144 – Athena Aktipis on why cancer is actually one of our universe's most fundamental phenomena
What’s the opposite of cancer? If you answered “cure,” “antidote,” or “antivenom” — you’ve obviously been reading the antonym section at www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/cancer.... But today’s guest Athena Aktipis says that the opposite of cancer is us:
2023-Jan-16 • 156 minutes
#79 Classic episode - A.J. Jacobs on radical honesty, following the whole Bible, and reframing global problems as puzzles
Rebroadcast: this episode was originally released in June 2020. Today’s guest, New York Times bestselling author A.J. Jacobs, always hated Judge Judy. But after he found out that she was his seventh cousin, he thought, "You know what, she's not so bad".
2023-Jan-09 • 157 minutes
#81 Classic episode - Ben Garfinkel on scrutinising classic AI risk arguments
Rebroadcast: this episode was originally released in July 2020. 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
2023-Jan-04 • 138 minutes
#83 Classic episode - Jennifer Doleac on preventing crime without police and prisons
Rebroadcast: this episode was originally released in July 2020. 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 a
2022-Dec-29 • 160 minutes
#143 – Jeffrey Lewis on the most common misconceptions about nuclear weapons
America aims to avoid nuclear war by relying on the principle of 'mutually assured destruction,' right? Wrong. Or at least... not officially. As today's guest — Jeffrey Lewis, founder of Arms Control Wonk and professor at the Middlebury Institute of Int
2022-Dec-20 • 108 minutes
#142 – John McWhorter on key lessons from linguistics, the virtue of creoles, and language extinction
John McWhorter is a linguistics professor at Columbia University specialising in research on creole languages. He's also a content-producing machine, never afraid to give his frank opinion on anything and everything. On top of his academic work he's als
2022-Dec-13 • 164 minutes
#141 – Richard Ngo on large language models, OpenAI, and striving to make the future go well
Large language models like GPT-3, and now ChatGPT, are neural networks trained on a large fraction of all text available on the internet to do one thing: predict the next word in a passage. This simple technique has led to something extraordinary — black
2022-Dec-08 • 44 minutes
My experience with imposter syndrome — and how to (partly) overcome it (Article)
Today’s release is a reading of our article called My experience with imposter syndrome — and how to (partly) overcome it, written and narrated by Luisa Rodriguez. If you want to check out the links, footnotes and figures in today’s article, you can fin
2022-Nov-23 • 6 minutes
Rob's thoughts on the FTX bankruptcy
In this episode, usual host of the show Rob Wiblin gives his thoughts on the recent collapse of FTX. Click here for an official 80,000 Hours statement. And here are links to some potentially relevant 80,000 Hours pieces: • Episode #24 of this show
2022-Nov-08 • 167 minutes
#140 – Bear Braumoeller on the case that war isn't in decline
Is war in long-term decline? Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature brought this previously obscure academic question to the centre of public debate, and pointed to rates of death in war to argue energetically that war is on the way out. But th
2022-Oct-28 • 218 minutes
#139 — Alan Hájek on puzzles and paradoxes in probability and expected value
A casino offers you a game. A coin will be tossed. If it comes up heads on the first flip you win $2. If it comes up on the second flip you win $4. If it comes up on the third you win $8, the fourth you win $16, and so on. How much should you be willing t
2022-Oct-14 • 144 minutes
Preventing an AI-related catastrophe (Article)
Today’s release is a professional reading of our new problem profile on preventing an AI-related catastrophe, written by Benjamin Hilton. We expect that there will be substantial progress in AI in the next few decades, potentially even to the point wher
2022-Sep-30 • 144 minutes
#138 – Sharon Hewitt Rawlette on why pleasure and pain are the only things that intrinsically matter
What in the world is intrinsically good — good in itself even if it has no other effects? Over the millennia, people have offered many answers: joy, justice, equality, accomplishment, loving god, wisdom, and plenty more. The question is a classic that m
2022-Sep-08 • 142 minutes
#137 – Andreas Mogensen on whether effective altruism is just for consequentialists
Effective altruism, in a slogan, aims to 'do the most good.' Utilitarianism, in a slogan, says we should act to 'produce the greatest good for the greatest number.' It's clear enough why utilitarians should be interested in the project of effective altrui
2022-Aug-15 • 175 minutes
#136 – Will MacAskill on what we owe the future
1. People who exist in the future deserve some degree of moral consideration. 2. The future could be very big, very long, and/or very good. 3. We can reasonably hope to influence whether people in the future exist, and how good or bad their lives are.
2022-Aug-08 • 55 minutes
#135 – Samuel Charap on key lessons from five months of war in Ukraine
After a frenetic level of commentary during February and March, the war in Ukraine has faded into the background of our news coverage. But with the benefit of time we're in a much stronger position to understand what happened, why, whether there are broad
2022-Jul-22 • 221 minutes
#134 – Ian Morris on what big picture history teaches us
Wind back 1,000 years and the moral landscape looks very different to today. Most farming societies thought slavery was natural and unobjectionable, premarital sex was an abomination, women should obey their husbands, and commoners should obey their monar
2022-Jul-01 • 178 minutes
#133 – Max Tegmark on how a 'put-up-or-shut-up' resolution led him to work on AI and algorithmic news selection
On January 1, 2015, physicist Max Tegmark gave up something most of us love to do: complain about things without ever trying to fix them. That “put up or shut up” New Year’s resolution led to the first Puerto Rico conference and Open Letter on Artificia
2022-Jun-14 • 162 minutes
#132 – Nova DasSarma on why information security may be critical to the safe development of AI systems
If a business has spent $100 million developing a product, it's a fair bet that they don't want it stolen in two seconds and uploaded to the web where anyone can use it for free. This problem exists in extreme form for AI companies. These days, the elec
2022-Jun-03 • 66 minutes
#131 – Lewis Dartnell on getting humanity to bounce back faster in a post-apocalyptic world
“We’re leaving these 16 contestants on an island with nothing but what they can scavenge from an abandoned factory and apartment block. Over the next 365 days, they’ll try to rebuild as much of civilisation as they can — from glass, to lenses, to microsco
2022-May-23 • 137 minutes
#130 – Will MacAskill on balancing frugality with ambition, whether you need longtermism, & mental health under pressure
Imagine you lead a nonprofit that operates on a shoestring budget. Staff are paid minimum wage, lunch is bread and hummus, and you're all bunched up on a few tables in a basement office. But over a few years, your cause attracts some major new donors. Y
2022-May-09 • 200 minutes
#129 – James Tibenderana on the state of the art in malaria control and elimination
The good news is deaths from malaria have been cut by a third since 2005. The bad news is it still causes 250 million cases and 600,000 deaths a year, mostly among young children in sub-Saharan Africa. We already have dirt-cheap ways to prevent and trea
2022-Apr-28 • 167 minutes
#128 – Chris Blattman on the five reasons wars happen
In nature, animals roar and bare their teeth to intimidate adversaries — but one side usually backs down, and real fights are rare. The wisdom of evolution is that the risk of violence is just too great. Which might make one wonder: if war is so destruc
2022-Apr-14 • 200 minutes
#127 – Sam Bankman-Fried on taking a high-risk approach to crypto and doing good
On this episode of the show, host Rob Wiblin interviews Sam Bankman-Fried. This interview was recorded in February 2022, and released in April 2022. But on November 11 2022, Sam Bankman-Fried's company, FTX, filed for bankruptcy, and all staff at the
2022-Apr-05 • 135 minutes
#126 – Bryan Caplan on whether lazy parenting is OK, what really helps workers, and betting on beliefs
Everybody knows that good parenting has a big impact on how kids turn out. Except that maybe they don't, because it doesn't. Incredible though it might seem, according to today's guest — economist Bryan Caplan, the author of Selfish Reasons To Have More
2022-Mar-29 • 134 minutes
#125 – Joan Rohlfing on how to avoid catastrophic nuclear blunders
Since the Soviet Union split into different countries in 1991, the pervasive fear of catastrophe that people lived with for decades has gradually faded from memory, and nuclear warhead stockpiles have declined by 83%. Nuclear brinksmanship, proxy wars, an
2022-Mar-21 • 190 minutes
#124 – Karen Levy on fads and misaligned incentives in global development, and scaling deworming to reach hundreds of millions
If someone said a global health and development programme was sustainable, participatory, and holistic, you'd have to guess that they were saying something positive. But according to today's guest Karen Levy — deworming pioneer and veteran of Innovations
2022-Mar-14 • 59 minutes
#123 – Samuel Charap on why Putin invaded Ukraine, the risk of escalation, and how to prevent disaster
Russia's invasion of Ukraine is devastating the lives of Ukrainians, and so long as it continues there's a risk that the conflict could escalate to include other countries or the use of nuclear weapons. It's essential that NATO, the US, and the EU play th
2022-Mar-09 • 96 minutes
#122 – Michelle Hutchinson & Habiba Islam on balancing competing priorities and other themes from our 1-on-1 careers advising
One of 80,000 Hours' main services is our free one-on-one careers advising, which we provide to around 1,000 people a year. Today we speak to two of our advisors, who have each spoken to hundreds of people -- including many regular listeners to this show
2022-Mar-01 • 14 minutes
Introducing 80k After Hours
Today we're launching a new podcast called 80k After Hours. Like this show it’ll mostly still explore the best ways to do good — and some episodes will be even more laser-focused on careers than most original episodes. But we’re also going to widen ou
2022-Feb-16 • 184 minutes
#121 – Matthew Yglesias on avoiding the pundit's fallacy and how much military intervention can be used for good
If you read polls saying that the public supports a carbon tax, should you believe them? According to today's guest — journalist and blogger Matthew Yglesias — it's complicated, but probably not. Links to learn more, summary and full transcript. Interp
2022-Feb-02 • 126 minutes
#120 – Audrey Tang on what we can learn from Taiwan’s experiments with how to do democracy
In 2014 Taiwan was rocked by mass protests against a proposed trade agreement with China that was about to be agreed without the usual Parliamentary hearings. Students invaded and took over the Parliament. But rather than chant slogans, instead they lives
2022-Jan-18 • 155 minutes
#43 Classic episode - Daniel Ellsberg on the institutional insanity that maintains nuclear doomsday machines
Rebroadcast: this episode was originally released in September 2018.In Stanley Kubrick’s iconic film Dr. Strangelove, the American president is informed that the Soviet Union has created a secret deterrence system which will automatically wipe out humanit
2022-Jan-10 • 84 minutes
#35 Classic episode - Tara Mac Aulay on the audacity to fix the world without asking permission
Rebroadcast: this episode was originally released in June 2018. How broken is the world? How inefficient is a typical organisation? Looking at Tara Mac Aulay’s life, the answer seems to be ‘very’. At 15 she took her first job - an entry-level position a
2022-Jan-03 • 282 minutes
#67 Classic episode – David Chalmers on the nature and ethics of consciousness
Rebroadcast: this episode was originally released in December 2019. What is it like to be you right now? You're seeing this text on the screen, smelling the coffee next to you, and feeling the warmth of the cup. There’s a lot going on in your head — your
2021-Dec-27 • 103 minutes
#59 Classic episode - Cass Sunstein on how change happens, and why it's so often abrupt & unpredictable
Rebroadcast: this episode was originally released in June 2019. It can often feel hopeless to be an activist seeking social change on an obscure issue where most people seem opposed or at best indifferent to you. But according to a new book by Professor
2021-Dec-20 • 86 minutes
#119 – Andrew Yang on our very long-term future, and other topics most politicians won’t touch
Andrew Yang — past presidential candidate, founder of the Forward Party, and leader of the 'Yang Gang' — is kind of a big deal, but is particularly popular among listeners to The 80,000 Hours Podcast. Maybe that's because he's willing to embrace topics
2021-Dec-13 • 136 minutes
#118 – Jaime Yassif on safeguarding bioscience to prevent catastrophic lab accidents and bioweapons development
If a rich country were really committed to pursuing an active biological weapons program, there’s not much we could do to stop them. With enough money and persistence, they’d be able to buy equipment, and hire people to carry out the work. But what we c
2021-Nov-29 • 188 minutes
#117 – David Denkenberger on using paper mills and seaweed to feed everyone in a catastrophe, ft Sahil Shah
If there's a nuclear war followed by nuclear winter, and the sun is blocked out for years, most of us are going to starve, right? Well, currently, probably we would, because humanity hasn't done much to prevent it. But it turns out that an ounce of foreth
2021-Nov-19 • 226 minutes
#116 – Luisa Rodriguez on why global catastrophes seem unlikely to kill us all
If modern human civilisation collapsed — as a result of nuclear war, severe climate change, or a much worse pandemic than COVID-19 — billions of people might die. That's terrible enough to contemplate. But what’s the probability that rather than recover
2021-Nov-12 • 190 minutes
#115 – David Wallace on the many-worlds theory of quantum mechanics and its implications
Quantum mechanics — our best theory of atoms, molecules, and the subatomic particles that make them up — underpins most of modern physics. But there are varying interpretations of what it means, all of them controversial in their own way. Famously, quan
2021-Oct-22 • 103 minutes
#114 – Maha Rehman on working with governments to rapidly deliver masks to millions of people
It’s hard to believe, but until recently there had never been a large field trial that addressed these simple and obvious questions: 1. When ordinary people wear face masks, does it actually reduce the spread of respiratory diseases? 2. And if so, how
2021-Oct-20 • 3 minutes
We just put up a new compilation of ten core episodes of the show
We recently launched a new podcast feed that might be useful to you and people you know. It's called Effective Altruism: Ten Global Problems, and it's a collection of ten top episodes of this show, selected to help listeners quickly get up to speed on te
2021-Oct-18 • 126 minutes
#113 – Varsha Venugopal on using gossip to help vaccinate every child in India
Our failure to make sure all kids globally get all of their basic vaccinations leads to 1.5 million child deaths every year. According to today’s guest, Varsha Venugopal, for the great majority this has nothing to do with weird conspiracy theories or me
2021-Oct-05 • 229 minutes
#112 – Carl Shulman on the common-sense case for existential risk work and its practical implications
Preventing the apocalypse may sound like an idiosyncratic activity, and it sometimes is justified on exotic grounds, such as the potential for humanity to become a galaxy-spanning civilisation. But the policy of US government agencies is already to spen
2021-Sep-10 • 200 minutes
#111 – Mushtaq Khan on using institutional economics to predict effective government reforms
If you’re living in the Niger Delta in Nigeria, your best bet at a high-paying career is probably ‘artisanal refining’ — or, in plain language, stealing oil from pipelines. The resulting oil spills damage the environment and cause severe health problems
2021-Aug-26 • 166 minutes
#110 – Holden Karnofsky on building aptitudes and kicking ass
Holden Karnofsky helped create two of the most influential organisations in the effective philanthropy world. So when he outlines a different perspective on career advice than the one we present at 80,000 Hours — we take it seriously. Holden disagrees w
2021-Aug-19 • 139 minutes
#109 – Holden Karnofsky on the most important century
Will the future of humanity be wild, or boring? It's natural to think that if we're trying to be sober and measured, and predict what will really happen rather than spin an exciting story, it's more likely than not to be sort of... dull. But there's als
2021-Aug-11 • 93 minutes
#108 – Chris Olah on working at top AI labs without an undergrad degree
Chris Olah has had a fascinating and unconventional career path. Most people who want to pursue a research career feel they need a degree to get taken seriously. But Chris not only doesn't have a PhD, but doesn’t even have an undergraduate degree. Afte
2021-Aug-04 • 189 minutes
#107 – Chris Olah on what the hell is going on inside neural networks
Big machine learning models can identify plant species better than any human, write passable essays, beat you at a game of Starcraft 2, figure out how a photo of Tobey Maguire and the word 'spider' are related, solve the 60-year-old 'protein folding probl
2021-Jul-28 • 113 minutes
#106 – Cal Newport on an industrial revolution for office work
If you wanted to start a university department from scratch, and attract as many superstar researchers as possible, what’s the most attractive perk you could offer? How about just not needing an email address. According to today's guest, Cal Newport —
2021-Jul-12 • 175 minutes
#105 – Alexander Berger on improving global health and wellbeing in clear and direct ways
The effective altruist research community tries to identify the highest impact things people can do to improve the world. Unsurprisingly, given the difficulty of such a massive and open-ended project, very different schools of thought have arisen about ho
2021-Jun-29 • 141 minutes
#104 – Pardis Sabeti on the Sentinel system for detecting and stopping pandemics
When the first person with COVID-19 went to see a doctor in Wuhan, nobody could tell that it wasn’t a familiar disease like the flu — that we were dealing with something new. How much death and destruction could we have avoided if we'd had a hero who co
2021-Jun-21 • 142 minutes
#103 – Max Roser on building the world's best source of COVID-19 data at Our World in Data
History is filled with stories of great people stepping up in times of crisis. Presidents averting wars; soldiers leading troops away from certain death; data scientists sleeping on the office floor to launch a new webpage a few days sooner. That last one is barely a joke — by our lights, people like today’s guest Max Roser should be viewed with similar admiration by historians of COVID-19. Links to learn more, summary and full transcript. Max runs Our World in Data, a small education nonprofit which began ...
2021-Jun-11 • 237 minutes
#102 – Tom Moynihan on why prior generations missed some of the biggest priorities of all
It can be tough to get people to truly care about reducing existential risks today. But spare a thought for the longtermist of the 17th century: they were surrounded by people who thought extinction was literally impossible. Today’s guest Tom Moynihan,
2021-May-28 • 96 minutes
#101 – Robert Wright on using cognitive empathy to save the world
In 2003, Saddam Hussein refused to let Iraqi weapons scientists leave the country to be interrogated. Given the overwhelming domestic support for an invasion at the time, most key figures in the U.S. took that as confirmation that he had something to hide
2021-May-19 • 171 minutes
#100 – Having a successful career with depression, anxiety and imposter syndrome
Today's episode is one of the most remarkable and really, unique, pieces of content we’ve ever produced (and I can say that because I had almost nothing to do with making it!). The producer of this show, Keiran Harris, interviewed our mutual colleague H
2021-May-13 • 146 minutes
#99 – Leah Garcés on turning adversaries into allies to change the chicken industry
For a chance to prevent enormous amounts of suffering, would you be brave enough to drive five hours to a remote location to meet a man who seems likely to be your enemy, knowing that it might be an ambush? Today’s guest — Leah Garcés — was. That man
2021-May-05 • 158 minutes
#98 – Christian Tarsney on future bias and a possible solution to moral fanaticism
Imagine that you’re in the hospital for surgery. This kind of procedure is always safe, and always successful — but it can take anywhere from one to ten hours. You can’t be knocked out for the operation, but because it’s so painful — you’ll be given a dru
2021-Apr-20 • 156 minutes
#97 – Mike Berkowitz on keeping the US a liberal democratic country
Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election split the Republican party. There were those who went along with it — 147 members of Congress raised objections to the official certification of electoral votes — but there were others wh
2021-Apr-15 • 3 minutes
The ten episodes of this show you should listen to first
Today we're launching a new podcast feed that might be useful to you and people you know. It's called 'Effective Altruism: An Introduction', and it's a carefully chosen selection of ten episodes of this show, with various new intros and outros to guide
2021-Apr-06 • 120 minutes
#96 – Nina Schick on disinformation and the rise of synthetic media
You might have heard fears like this in the last few years: What if Donald Trump was woken up in the middle of the night and shown a fake video — indistinguishable from a real one — in which Kim Jong Un announced an imminent nuclear strike on the U.S.?
2021-Mar-26 • 84 minutes
#95 – Kelly Wanser on whether to deliberately intervene in the climate
How long do you think it’ll be before we’re able to bend the weather to our will? A massive rainmaking program in China, efforts to seed new oases in the Arabian peninsula, or chemically induce snow for skiers in Colorado. 100 years? 50 years? 20? Tho
2021-Mar-20 • 105 minutes
#94 – Ezra Klein on aligning journalism, politics, and what matters most
How many words in U.S. newspapers have been spilled on tax policy in the past five years? And how many words on CRISPR? Or meat alternatives? Or how AI may soon automate the majority of jobs? When people look back on this era, is the interesting thing g
2021-Mar-12 • 114 minutes
#93 – Andy Weber on rendering bioweapons obsolete & ending the new nuclear arms race
COVID-19 has provided a vivid reminder of the power of biological threats. But the threat doesn't come from natural sources alone. Weaponized contagious diseases — which were abandoned by the United States, but developed in large numbers by the Soviet Uni
2021-Mar-05 • 176 minutes
#92 – Brian Christian on the alignment problem
Brian Christian is a bestselling author with a particular knack for accurately communicating difficult or technical ideas from both mathematics and computer science. Listeners loved our episode about his book Algorithms to Live By — so when the team re
2021-Feb-15 • 153 minutes
#91 – Lewis Bollard on big wins against factory farming and how they happened
I suspect today's guest, Lewis Bollard, might be the single best person in the world to interview to get an overview of all the methods that might be effective for putting an end to factory farming and what broader lessons we can learn from the experience
2021-Feb-03 • 118 minutes
Rob Wiblin on how he ended up the way he is
This is a crosspost of an episode of the Eureka Podcast. The interviewer is Misha Saul, a childhood friend of Rob's, who he has known for over 20 years. While it's not an episode of our own show, we decided to share it with subscribers because it's fun,
2021-Jan-21 • 179 minutes
#90 – Ajeya Cotra on worldview diversification and how big the future could be
You wake up in a mysterious box, and hear the booming voice of God: “I just flipped a coin. If it came up heads, I made ten boxes, labeled 1 through 10 — each of which has a human in it. If it came up tails, I made ten billion boxes, labeled 1 throug
2021-Jan-13 • 151 minutes
Rob Wiblin on self-improvement and research ethics
This is a crosspost of an episode of the Clearer Thinking Podcast: 022: Self-Improvement and Research Ethics with Rob Wiblin. Rob chats with Spencer Greenberg, who has been an audience favourite in episodes 11 and 39 of the 80,000 Hours Podcast, and ha
2021-Jan-07 • 161 minutes
#73 - Phil Trammell on patient philanthropy and waiting to do good [re-release]
Rebroadcast: this episode was originally released in March 2020. To do good, most of us look to use our time and money to affect the world around us today. But perhaps that's all wrong. If you took $1,000 you were going to donate and instead put it in
2020-Dec-30 • 135 minutes
#75 – Michelle Hutchinson on what people most often ask 80,000 Hours [re-release]
Rebroadcast: this episode was originally released in April 2020. Since it was founded, 80,000 Hours has done one-on-one calls to supplement our online content and offer more personalised advice. We try to help people get clear on their most plausible pa
2020-Dec-17 • 158 minutes
#89 – Owen Cotton-Barratt on epistemic systems and layers of defense against potential global catastrophes
From one point of view academia forms one big 'epistemic' system — a process which directs attention, generates ideas, and judges which are good. Traditional print media is another such system, and we can think of society as a whole as a huge epistemic s
2020-Dec-03 • 156 minutes
#88 – Tristan Harris on the need to change the incentives of social media companies
In its first 28 days on Netflix, the documentary The Social Dilemma — about the possible harms being caused by social media and other technology products — was seen by 38 million households in about 190 countries and in 30 languages. Over the last ten
2020-Nov-12 • 85 minutes
Benjamin Todd on what the effective altruism community most needs (80k team chat #4)
In the last '80k team chat' with Ben Todd and Arden Koehler, we discussed what effective altruism is and isn't, and how to argue for it. In this episode we turn now to what the effective altruism community most needs. • Links to learn more, summary and
2020-Nov-03 • 110 minutes
#87 – Russ Roberts on whether it's more effective to help strangers, or people you know
If you want to make the world a better place, would it be better to help your niece with her SATs, or try to join the State Department to lower the risk that the US and China go to war? People involved in 80,000 Hours or the effective altruism communit
2020-Oct-29 • 31 minutes
How much does a vote matter? (Article)
Today’s release is the latest in our series of audio versions of our articles.In this one — How much does a vote matter? — I investigate the two key things that determine the impact of your vote: • The chances of your vote changing an election’s outcome
2020-Oct-21 • 145 minutes
#86 – Hilary Greaves on Pascal's mugging, strong longtermism, and whether existing can be good for us
Had World War 1 never happened, you might never have existed. It’s very unlikely that the exact chain of events that led to your conception would have happened otherwise — so perhaps you wouldn't have been born. Would that mean that it's better for yo
2020-Sep-22 • 84 minutes
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
2020-Sep-07 • 28 minutes
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 l
2020-Sep-01 • 58 minutes
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 – includ
2020-Aug-28 • 33 minutes
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. Alt
2020-Aug-20 • 128 minutes
#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 tha
2020-Aug-13 • 178 minutes
#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: distribut
2020-Jul-31 • 143 minutes
#83 - 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
2020-Jul-27 • 88 minutes
#82 - 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 sev
2020-Jul-09 • 158 minutes
#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.
2020-Jun-29 • 15 minutes
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 them here. "We’ve found that readers sometimes interpret or apply our advice in ways we didn’t antici
2020-Jun-22 • 133 minutes
#80 - Stuart Russell on why our approach to AI is broken and how to fix it
Stuart Russell, Professor at UC Berkeley and co-author of the most popular AI textbook, thinks the way we approach machine learning today is fundamentally flawed. In his new book, Human Compatible, he outlines the 'standard model' of AI development, in
2020-Jun-05 • 37 minutes
What anonymous contributors think about important life and career questions (Article)
Today we’re launching the final entry of our ‘anonymous answers' series on the website. It features answers to 23 different questions including “How have you seen talented people fail in their work?” and “What’s one way to be successful you don’t think
2020-Jun-01 • 159 minutes
#79 - A.J. Jacobs on radical honesty, following the whole Bible, and reframing global problems as puzzles
Today’s guest, New York Times bestselling author A.J. Jacobs, always hated Judge Judy. But after he found out that she was his seventh cousin, he thought, "You know what, she's not so bad". Hijacking this bias towards family and trying to broaden it to
2020-May-22 • 132 minutes
#78 - Danny Hernandez on forecasting and the drivers of AI progress
Companies use about 300,000 times more computation training the best AI systems today than they did in 2012 and algorithmic innovations have also made them 25 times more efficient at the same tasks. These are the headline results of two recent papers —
2020-May-18 • 97 minutes
#77 - Marc Lipsitch on whether we're winning or losing against COVID-19
In March Professor Marc Lipsitch — Director of Harvard's Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics — abruptly found himself a global celebrity, his social media following growing 40-fold and journalists knocking down his door, as everyone turned to him for
2020-May-12 • 27 minutes
Article: Ways people trying to do good accidentally make things worse, and how to avoid them
Today’s release is the second experiment in making audio versions of our articles. The first was a narration of Greg Lewis’ terrific problem profile on ‘Reducing global catastrophic biological risks’, which you can find on the podcast feed just before e
2020-May-08 • 113 minutes
#76 - Tara Kirk Sell on misinformation, who's done well and badly, & what to reopen first
Amid a rising COVID-19 death toll, and looming economic disaster, we’ve been looking for good news — and one thing we're especially thankful for is the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (CHS). CHS focuses on protecting us from major biological,
2020-Apr-28 • 133 minutes
#75 – Michelle Hutchinson on what people most often ask 80,000 Hours
Since it was founded, 80,000 Hours has done one-on-one calls to supplement our online content and offer more personalised advice. We try to help people get clear on their most plausible paths, the key uncertainties they face in choosing between them, and
2020-Apr-17 • 157 minutes
#74 - Dr Greg Lewis on COVID-19 & catastrophic biological risks
Our lives currently revolve around the global emergency of COVID-19; you’re probably reading this while confined to your house, as the death toll from the worst pandemic since 1918 continues to rise. The question of how to tackle COVID-19 has been forem
2020-Apr-15 • 64 minutes
Article: Reducing global catastrophic biological risks
In a few days we'll be putting out a conversation with Dr Greg Lewis, who studies how to prevent global catastrophic biological risks at Oxford's Future of Humanity Institute. Greg also wrote a new problem profile on that topic for our website, and read
2020-Mar-19 • 112 minutes
Emergency episode: Rob & Howie on the menace of COVID-19, and what both governments & individuals might do to help
From home isolation Rob and Howie just recorded an episode on: 1. How many could die in the crisis, and the risk to your health personally. 2. What individuals might be able to do help tackle the coronavirus crisis. 3. What we suspect governments should d
2020-Mar-17 • 155 minutes
#73 - Phil Trammell on patient philanthropy and waiting to do good
To do good, most of us look to use our time and money to affect the world around us today. But perhaps that's all wrong. If you took $1,000 you were going to donate and instead put it in the stock market — where it grew on average 5% a year — in 100 yea
2020-Mar-07 • 194 minutes
#72 - Toby Ord on the precipice and humanity's potential futures
This week Oxford academic and 80,000 Hours trustee Dr Toby Ord released his new book The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity. It's about how our long-term future could be better than almost anyone believes, but also how humanity's reckl
2020-Mar-02 • 177 minutes
#71 - Benjamin Todd on the key ideas of 80,000 Hours
The 80,000 Hours Podcast is about “the world’s most pressing problems and how you can use your career to solve them”, and in this episode we tackle that question in the most direct way possible. Last year we published a summary of all our key ideas, whi
2020-Feb-25 • 44 minutes
Arden & Rob on demandingness, work-life balance & injustice (80k team chat #1)
Today's bonus episode of the podcast is a quick conversation between me and my fellow 80,000 Hours researcher Arden Koehler about a few topics, including the demandingness of morality, work-life balance, and emotional reactions to injustice. Arden is ab
2020-Feb-13 • 147 minutes
#70 - Dr Cassidy Nelson on the 12 best ways to stop the next pandemic (and limit nCoV)
nCoV is alarming governments and citizens around the world. It has killed more than 1,000 people, brought the Chinese economy to a standstill, and continues to show up in more and more places. But bad though it is, it's much closer to a warning shot than
2020-Feb-06 • 97 minutes
#69 - Jeff Ding on China, its AI dream, and what we get wrong about both
The State Council of China's 2017 AI plan was the starting point of China’s AI planning; China’s approach to AI is defined by its top-down and monolithic nature; China is winning the AI arms race; and there is little to no discussion of issues of AI ethic
2020-Feb-03 • 79 minutes
Rob & Howie on what we do and don't know about 2019-nCoV
Two 80,000 Hours researchers, Robert Wiblin and Howie Lempel, record an experimental bonus episode about the new 2019-nCoV virus.See this list of resources, including many discussed in the episode, to learn more.In the 1h15m conversation we cover:• What i
2020-Jan-24 • 206 minutes
#68 - Will MacAskill on the paralysis argument, whether we're at the hinge of history, & his new priorities
You’re given a box with a set of dice in it. If you roll an even number, a person's life is saved. If you roll an odd number, someone else will die. Each time you shake the box you get $10. Should you do it? A committed consequentialist might say, "Sure
2020-Jan-15 • 231 minutes
#44 Classic episode - Paul Christiano on finding real solutions to the AI alignment problem
Rebroadcast: this episode was originally released in October 2018. Paul Christiano is one of the smartest people I know. After our first session produced such great material, we decided to do a second recording, resulting in our longest interview so far
2020-Jan-08 • 85 minutes
#33 Classic episode - Anders Sandberg on cryonics, solar flares, and the annual odds of nuclear war
Rebroadcast: this episode was originally released in May 2018. Joseph Stalin had a life-extension program dedicated to making himself immortal. What if he had succeeded? According to Bryan Caplan in episode #32, there’s an 80% chance that Stalin would
2019-Dec-31 • 113 minutes
#17 Classic episode - Will MacAskill on moral uncertainty, utilitarianism & how to avoid being a moral monster
Rebroadcast: this episode was originally released in January 2018. Immanuel Kant is a profoundly influential figure in modern philosophy, and was one of the earliest proponents for universal democracy and international cooperation. He also thought that
2019-Dec-16 • 282 minutes
#67 - David Chalmers on the nature and ethics of consciousness
What is it like to be you right now? You're seeing this text on the screen, smelling the coffee next to you, and feeling the warmth of the cup. There’s a lot going on in your head — your conscious experience. Now imagine beings that are identical to h
2019-Dec-05 • 121 minutes
#66 - Peter Singer on being provocative, effective altruism, & how his moral views have changed
In 1989, the professor of moral philosophy Peter Singer was all over the news for his inflammatory opinions about abortion. But the controversy stemmed from Practical Ethics — a book he’d actually released way back in 1979. It took a German translation te
2019-Nov-19 • 101 minutes
#65 - Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins on 8 years pursuing WMD arms control, & diversity in diplomacy
"…it started when the Soviet Union fell apart and there was a real desire to ensure security of nuclear materials and pathogens, and that scientists with [WMD-related] knowledge could get paid so that they wouldn't go to countries and sell that knowledge.
2019-Oct-25 • 131 minutes
#64 - Bruce Schneier on surveillance without tyranny, secrets, & the big risks in computer security
November 3 2020, 10:32PM: CNN, NBC, and FOX report that Donald Trump has narrowly won Florida, and with it, re-election. November 3 2020, 11:46PM: The NY Times and Wall Street Journal report that some group has successfully hacked electronic voting sys
2019-Sep-25 • 195 minutes
Rob Wiblin on plastic straws, nicotine, doping, & whether changing the long-term is really possible
Today's episode is a compilation of interviews I recently recorded for two other shows, Love Your Work and The Neoliberal Podcast. If you've listened to absolutely everything on this podcast feed, you'll have heard four interviews with me already, but f
2019-Sep-16 • 4 minutes
Have we helped you have a bigger social impact? Our annual survey, plus other ways we can help you.
1. Fill out our annual impact survey here. 2. Find a great vacancy on our job board. 3. Learn about our key ideas, and get links to our top articles. 4. Join our newsletter for an email about what's new, every 2 weeks or so. 5. Or follow our pages on Face
2019-Sep-03 • 198 minutes
#63 - Vitalik Buterin on better ways to fund public goods, blockchain's failures, & effective giving
Historically, progress in the field of cryptography has had major consequences. It has changed the course of major wars, made it possible to do business on the internet, and enabled private communication between both law-abiding citizens and dangerous cri
2019-Aug-05 • 132 minutes
#62 - Paul Christiano on messaging the future, increasing compute, & how CO2 impacts your brain
Imagine that – one day – humanity dies out. At some point, many millions of years later, intelligent life might well evolve again. Is there any message we could leave that would reliably help them out? In his second appearance on the 80,000 Hours Podcast
2019-Jul-17 • 115 minutes
#61 - Helen Toner on emerging technology, national security, and China
From 1870 to 1950, the introduction of electricity transformed life in the US and UK, as people gained access to lighting, radio and a wide range of household appliances for the first time. Electricity turned out to be a general purpose technology that co
2019-Jun-28 • 132 minutes
#60 - Phil Tetlock on why accurate forecasting matters for everything, and how you can do it better
Have you ever been infuriated by a doctor's unwillingness to give you an honest, probabilistic estimate about what to expect? Or a lawyer who won't tell you the chances you'll win your case? Their behaviour is so frustrating because accurately predicti
2019-Jun-17 • 103 minutes
#59 - Cass Sunstein on how change happens, and why it's so often abrupt & unpredictable
It can often feel hopeless to be an activist seeking social change on an obscure issue where most people seem opposed or at best indifferent to you. But according to a new book by Professor Cass Sunstein, they shouldn't despair. Large social changes are o
2019-Jun-03 • 90 minutes
#58 - Pushmeet Kohli of DeepMind on designing robust & reliable AI systems and how to succeed in AI
When you're building a bridge, responsibility for making sure it won't fall over isn't handed over to a few 'bridge not falling down engineers'. Making sure a bridge is safe to use and remains standing in a storm is completely central to the design, and i
2019-May-13 • 138 minutes
Rob Wiblin on human nature, new technology, and living a happy, healthy & ethical life
This is a cross-post of some interviews Rob did recently on two other podcasts — Mission Daily (from 2m) and The Good Life (from 1h13m). Some of the content will be familiar to regular listeners — but if you’re at all interested in Rob’s personal thought
2019-Apr-23 • 170 minutes
#57 - Tom Kalil on how to do the most good in government
You’re 29 years old, and you’ve just been given a job in the White House. How do you quickly figure out how the US Executive Branch behemoth actually works, so that you can have as much impact as possible - before you quit or get kicked out? That was the
2019-Apr-15 • 178 minutes
#56 - Persis Eskander on wild animal welfare and what, if anything, to do about it
Elephants in chains at travelling circuses; pregnant pigs trapped in coffin sized crates at factory farms; deers living in the wild. We should welcome the last as a pleasant break from the horror, right? Maybe, but maybe not. While we tend to have a roma
2019-Mar-31 • 151 minutes
#55 - Lutter & Winter on founding charter cities with outstanding governance to end poverty
Governance matters. Policy change quickly took China from famine to fortune; Singapore from swamps to skyscrapers; and Hong Kong from fishing village to financial centre. Unfortunately, many governments are hard to reform and — to put it mildly — it's not
2019-Mar-19 • 174 minutes
#54 - OpenAI on publication norms, malicious uses of AI, and general-purpose learning algorithms
OpenAI’s Dactyl is an AI system that can manipulate objects with a human-like robot hand. OpenAI Five is an AI system that can defeat humans at the video game Dota 2. The strange thing is they were both developed using the same general-purpose reinforceme
2019-Feb-27 • 155 minutes
#53 - Kelsey Piper on the room for important advocacy within journalism
“Politics. Business. Opinion. Science. Sports. Animal welfare. Existential risk.” Is this a plausible future lineup for major news outlets? Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and given very little editorial direction, Vox's Future Perfect aspires to be
2019-Feb-17 • 57 minutes
Julia Galef and Rob Wiblin on an updated view of the best ways to help humanity
This is a cross-post of an interview Rob did with Julia Galef on her podcast Rationally Speaking. Rob and Julia discuss how the career advice 80,000 Hours gives has changed over the years, and the biggest misconceptions about our views. The topics will b
2019-Feb-08 • 164 minutes
#52 - Glen Weyl on uprooting capitalism and democracy for a just society
Pro-market economists love to wax rhapsodic about the capacity of markets to pull together the valuable local information spread across all of society about what people want and how to make it. But when it comes to politics and voting - which also aim
2019-Jan-29 • 151 minutes
#51 - Martin Gurri on the revolt of the public & crisis of authority in the information age
Politics in rich countries seems to be going nuts. What's the explanation? Rising inequality? The decline of manufacturing jobs? Excessive immigration? Martin Gurri spent decades as a CIA analyst and in his 2014 book The Revolt of The Public and Crisis o
2018-Dec-27 • 177 minutes
#50 - David Denkenberger on how to feed all 8b people through an asteroid/nuclear winter
If an asteroid impact or nuclear winter blocked the sun for years, our inability to grow food would result in billions dying of starvation, right? According to Dr David Denkenberger, co-author of Feeding Everyone No Matter What: no. If he's to be believed
2018-Dec-20 • 96 minutes
#49 - Rachel Glennerster on a year's worth of education for 30c & other development 'best buys'
If I told you it's possible to deliver an extra year of ideal primary-level education for under $1, would you believe me? Hopefully not - the claim is absurd on its face. But it may be true nonetheless. The very best education interventions are phenome
2018-Nov-22 • 196 minutes
#48 - Brian Christian on better living through the wisdom of computer science
Please let us know if we've helped you: Fill out our annual impact survey Ever felt that you were so busy you spent all your time paralysed trying to figure out where to start, and couldn't get much done? Computer scientists have a term for this - thrash
2018-Nov-02 • 125 minutes
#47 - Catherine Olsson & Daniel Ziegler on the fast path into high-impact ML engineering roles
After dropping out of a machine learning PhD at Stanford, Daniel Ziegler needed to decide what to do next. He’d always enjoyed building stuff and wanted to shape the development of AI, so he thought a research engineering position at an org dedicated to a
2018-Oct-23 • 169 minutes
#46 - Hilary Greaves on moral cluelessness & tackling crucial questions in academia
The barista gives you your coffee and change, and you walk away from the busy line. But you suddenly realise she gave you $1 less than she should have. Do you brush your way past the people now waiting, or just accept this as a dollar you’re never getting
2018-Oct-17 • 151 minutes
#45 - Tyler Cowen's case for maximising econ growth, stabilising civilization & thinking long-term
I've probably spent more time reading Tyler Cowen - Professor of Economics at George Mason University - than any other author. Indeed it's his incredibly popular blog Marginal Revolution that prompted me to study economics in the first place. Having spent
2018-Oct-02 • 232 minutes
#44 - Paul Christiano on how we'll hand the future off to AI, & solving the alignment problem
Paul Christiano is one of the smartest people I know. After our first session produced such great material, we decided to do a second recording, resulting in our longest interview so far. While challenging at times I can strongly recommend listening - Pau
2018-Sep-25 • 164 minutes
#43 - Daniel Ellsberg on the institutional insanity that maintains nuclear doomsday machines
In Stanley Kubrick’s iconic film Dr. Strangelove, the American president is informed that the Soviet Union has created a secret deterrence system which will automatically wipe out humanity upon detection of a single nuclear explosion in Russia. With US bo
2018-Sep-11 • 166 minutes
#42 - Amanda Askell on moral empathy, the value of information & the ethics of infinity
Consider two familiar moments at a family reunion. Our host, Uncle Bill, takes pride in his barbecuing skills. But his niece Becky says that she now refuses to eat meat. A groan goes round the table; the family mostly think of this as an annoying picky
2018-Aug-28 • 138 minutes
#41 - David Roodman on incarceration, geomagnetic storms, & becoming a world-class researcher
With 698 inmates per 100,000 citizens, the U.S. is by far the leader among large wealthy nations in incarceration. But what effect does imprisonment actually have on crime? According to David Roodman, Senior Advisor to the Open Philanthropy Project, the
2018-Aug-21 • 131 minutes
#40 - Katja Grace on forecasting future technology & how much we should trust expert predictions
Experts believe that artificial intelligence will be better than humans at driving trucks by 2027, working in retail by 2031, writing bestselling books by 2049, and working as surgeons by 2053. But how seriously should we take these predictions? Katja Gr
2018-Aug-07 • 138 minutes
#39 - Spencer Greenberg on the scientific approach to solving difficult everyday questions
Will Trump be re-elected? Will North Korea give up their nuclear weapons? Will your friend turn up to dinner? Spencer Greenberg, founder of ClearerThinking.org has a process for working out such real life problems. Let’s work through one here: how likel
2018-Jul-26 • 120 minutes
#38 - Yew-Kwang Ng on anticipating effective altruism decades ago & how to make a much happier world
Will people who think carefully about how to maximize welfare eventually converge on the same views? The effective altruism community has spent a lot of time over the past 10 years debating how best to increase happiness and reduce suffering, and gradu
2018-Jul-16 • 104 minutes
#37 - GiveWell picks top charities by estimating the unknowable. James Snowden on how they do it.
What’s the value of preventing the death of a 5-year-old child, compared to a 20-year-old, or an 80-year-old? The global health community has generally regarded the value as proportional to the number of health-adjusted life-years the person has remainin
2018-Jul-11 • 125 minutes
#36 - Tanya Singh on ending the operations management bottleneck in effective altruism
Almost nobody is able to do groundbreaking physics research themselves, and by the time his brilliance was appreciated, Einstein was hardly limited by funding. But what if you could find a way to unlock the secrets of the universe like Einstein nonetheles
2018-Jun-21 • 83 minutes
#35 - Tara Mac Aulay on the audacity to fix the world without asking permission
"You don't need permission. You don't need to be allowed to do something that's not in your job description. If you think that it's gonna make your company or your organization more successful and more efficient, you can often just go and do it." How bro
2018-Jun-08 • 92 minutes
Rob Wiblin on the art/science of a high impact career
Today's episode is a cross-post of an interview I did with The Jolly Swagmen Podcast which came out this week. I recommend regular listeners skip to 24 minutes in to avoid hearing things they already know. Later in the episode I talk about my contrarian v
2018-Jun-01 • 139 minutes
#34 - We use the worst voting system that exists. Here's how Aaron Hamlin is going to fix it.
In 1991 Edwin Edwards won the Louisiana gubernatorial election. In 2001, he was found guilty of racketeering and received a 10 year invitation to Federal prison. The strange thing about that election? By 1991 Edwards was already notorious for his corrupti
2018-May-29 • 85 minutes
#33 - Anders Sandberg on what if we ended ageing, solar flares & the annual risk of nuclear war
Joseph Stalin had a life-extension program dedicated to making himself immortal. What if he had succeeded? According to our last guest, Bryan Caplan, there’s an 80% chance that Stalin would still be ruling Russia today. Today’s guest disagrees. Like Stalin he has eyes for his own immortality - including an insurance plan that will cover the cost of cryogenically freezing himself after he dies - and thinks the technology to achieve it might be around the corner. Fortunately for humanity though, that guest ...
2018-May-22 • 145 minutes
#32 - Bryan Caplan on whether his Case Against Education holds up, totalitarianism, & open borders
Bryan Caplan’s claim in *The Case Against Education* is striking: education doesn’t teach people much, we use little of what we learn, and college is mostly about trying to seem smarter than other people - so the government should slash education funding.
2018-May-18 • 48 minutes
#31 - Allan Dafoe on defusing the political & economic risks posed by existing AI capabilities
The debate around the impacts of artificial intelligence often centres on ‘superintelligence’ - a general intellect that is much smarter than the best humans, in practically every field. But according to Allan Dafoe - Assistant Professor of Political S
2018-May-15 • 121 minutes
#30 - Eva Vivalt on how little social science findings generalize from one study to another
If we have a study on the impact of a social program in a particular place and time, how confident can we be that we’ll get a similar result if we study the same program again somewhere else? Dr Eva Vivalt is a lecturer in the Research School of Econom
2018-May-08 • 81 minutes
#29 - Anders Sandberg on 3 new resolutions for the Fermi paradox & how to colonise the universe
Part 2 out now: #33 - Dr Anders Sandberg on what if we ended ageing, solar flares & the annual risk of nuclear war The universe is so vast, yet we don’t see any alien civilizations. If they exist, where are they? Oxford University’s Anders Sandberg
2018-Apr-27 • 63 minutes
#28 - Owen Cotton-Barratt on why scientists should need insurance, PhD strategy & fast AI progresses
A researcher is working on creating a new virus – one more dangerous than any that exist naturally. They believe they’re being as careful as possible. After all, if things go wrong, their own life and that of their colleagues will be in danger. But if an
2018-Apr-18 • 137 minutes
#27 - Dr Tom Inglesby on careers and policies that reduce global catastrophic biological risks
How about this for a movie idea: a main character has to prevent a new contagious strain of Ebola spreading around the world. She’s the best of the best. So good in fact, that her work on early detection systems contains the strain at its source. Ten minu
2018-Apr-10 • 104 minutes
#26 - Marie Gibbons on how exactly clean meat is made & what's needed to get it in every supermarket
First, decide on the type of animal. Next, pick the cell type. Then take a small, painless biopsy, and put the cells in a solution that makes them feel like they’re still in the body. Once the cells are in this comfortable state, they'll proliferate. One
2018-Mar-28 • 159 minutes
#25 - Robin Hanson on why we have to lie to ourselves about why we do what we do
On February 2, 1685, England’s King Charles II was struck by a sudden illness. Fortunately his physicians were the best of the best. To reassure the public they kept them abreast of the King’s treatment regimen. King Charles was made to swallow a toxic m
2018-Mar-20 • 55 minutes
#24 - Stefan Schubert on why it’s a bad idea to break the rules, even if it’s for a good cause
How honest should we be? How helpful? How friendly? If our society claims to value honesty, for instance, but in reality accepts an awful lot of lying – should we go along with those lax standards? Or, should we attempt to set a new norm for ourselves? D
2018-Mar-16 • 45 minutes
#23 - How to actually become an AI alignment researcher, according to Dr Jan Leike
Want to help steer the 21st century’s most transformative technology? First complete an undergrad degree in computer science and mathematics. Prioritize harder courses over easier ones. Publish at least one paper before you apply for a PhD. Find a supervi
2018-Mar-07 • 68 minutes
#22 - Leah Utyasheva on the non-profit that figured out how to massively cut suicide rates
How people kill themselves varies enormously depending on which means are most easily available. In the United States, suicide by firearm stands out. In Hong Kong, where most people live in high rise buildings, jumping from a height is more common. And in
2018-Feb-27 • 156 minutes
#21 - Holden Karnofsky on times philanthropy transformed the world & Open Phil’s plan to do the same
The Green Revolution averted mass famine during the 20th century. The contraceptive pill gave women unprecedented freedom in planning their own lives. Both are widely recognised as scientific breakthroughs that transformed the world. But few know that tho
2018-Feb-19 • 78 minutes
#20 - Bruce Friedrich on inventing outstanding meat substitutes to end speciesism & factory farming
Before the US Civil War, it was easier for the North to morally oppose slavery. Why? Because unlike the South they weren’t profiting much from its existence. The fight for abolition was partly won because many no longer saw themselves as having a selfish
2018-Feb-14 • 65 minutes
#19 - Samantha Pitts-Kiefer on working next to the White House trying to prevent nuclear war
Rogue elements within a state’s security forces enrich dozens of kilograms of uranium. It’s then assembled into a crude nuclear bomb. The bomb is transported on a civilian aircraft to Washington D.C, and loaded onto a delivery truck. The truck is driven b
2018-Jan-31 • 79 minutes
#18 - Ofir Reich on using data science to end poverty & the spurious action-inaction distinction
Ofir Reich started out doing math in the military, before spending 8 years in tech startups - but then made a sharp turn to become a data scientist focussed on helping the global poor. At UC Berkeley’s Center for Effective Global Action he helps prevent
2018-Jan-19 • 112 minutes
#17 - Will MacAskill on moral uncertainty, utilitarianism & how to avoid being a moral monster
Immanuel Kant is a profoundly influential figure in modern philosophy, and was one of the earliest proponents for universal democracy and international cooperation. He also thought that women have no place in civil society, that it was okay to kill illegi
2017-Dec-22 • 55 minutes
#16 - Michelle Hutchinson on global priorities research & shaping the ideas of intellectuals
In the 40s and 50s neoliberalism was a fringe movement within economics. But by the 80s it had become a dominant school of thought in public policy, and achieved major policy changes across the English speaking world. How did this happen? In part becau
2017-Nov-20 • 84 minutes
#15 - Phil Tetlock on how chimps beat Berkeley undergrads and when it’s wise to defer to the wise
Prof Philip Tetlock is a social science legend. Over forty years he has researched whose predictions we can trust, whose we can’t and why - and developed methods that allow all of us to be better at predicting the future. After the Iraq WMDs fiasco, th
2017-Nov-13 • 86 minutes
#14 - Sharon Nunez & Jose Valle on going undercover to expose animal abuse
What if you knew that ducks were being killed with pitchforks? Rabbits dumped alive into containers? Or pigs being strangled with forklifts? Would you be willing to go undercover to expose the crime? That’s a real question that confronts volunteers at An
2017-Oct-31 • 52 minutes
#13 - Claire Walsh on testing which policies work & how to get governments to listen to the results
In both rich and poor countries, government policy is often based on no evidence at all and many programs don’t work. This has particularly harsh effects on the global poor - in some countries governments only spend $100 on each citizen a year so they can
2017-Oct-25 • 105 minutes
#12 - Beth Cameron works to stop you dying in a pandemic. Here’s what keeps her up at night.
“When you're in the middle of a crisis and you have to ask for money, you're already too late.” That’s Dr Beth Cameron, who leads Global Biological Policy and Programs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative. Beth should know. She has years of experience p
2017-Oct-17 • 89 minutes
#11 - Spencer Greenberg on speeding up social science 10-fold & why plenty of startups cause harm
Do most meat eaters think it’s wrong to hurt animals? Do Americans think climate change is likely to cause human extinction? What is the best, state-of-the-art therapy for depression? How can we make academics more intellectually honest, so we can actuall
2017-Oct-11 • 112 minutes
#10 - Nick Beckstead on how to spend billions of dollars preventing human extinction
What if you were in a position to give away billions of dollars to improve the world? What would you do with it? This is the problem facing Program Officers at the Open Philanthropy Project - people like Dr Nick Beckstead. Following a PhD in philosophy
2017-Oct-04 • 105 minutes
#9 - Christine Peterson on how insecure computers could lead to global disaster, and how to fix it
Take a trip to Silicon Valley in the 70s and 80s, when going to space sounded like a good way to get around environmental limits, people started cryogenically freezing themselves, and nanotechnology looked like it might revolutionise industry – or turn us
2017-Sep-27 • 197 minutes
#8 - Lewis Bollard on how to end factory farming in our lifetimes
Every year tens of billions of animals are raised in terrible conditions in factory farms before being killed for human consumption. Over the last two years Lewis Bollard – Project Officer for Farm Animal Welfare at the Open Philanthropy Project – has con
2017-Sep-13 • 74 minutes
#7 - Julia Galef on making humanity more rational, what EA does wrong, and why Twitter isn’t all bad
The scientific revolution in the 16th century was one of the biggest societal shifts in human history, driven by the discovery of new and better methods of figuring out who was right and who was wrong. Julia Galef - a well-known writer and researcher fo
2017-Sep-06 • 129 minutes
#6 - Toby Ord on why the long-term future matters more than anything else & what to do about it
Of all the people whose well-being we should care about, only a small fraction are alive today. The rest are members of future generations who are yet to exist. Whether they’ll be born into a world that is flourishing or disintegrating – and indeed, wheth
2017-Aug-28 • 105 minutes
#5 - Alex Gordon-Brown on how to donate millions in your 20s working in quantitative trading
Quantitative financial trading is one of the highest paying parts of the world’s highest paying industry. 25 to 30 year olds with outstanding maths skills can earn millions a year in an obscure set of ‘quant trading’ firms, where they program computers wi
2017-Aug-23 • 155 minutes
#4 - Howie Lempel on pandemics that kill hundreds of millions and how to stop them
What disaster is most likely to kill more than 10 million human beings in the next 20 years? Terrorism? Famine? An asteroid? Actually it’s probably a pandemic: a deadly new disease that spreads out of control. We’ve recently seen the risks with Ebola and
2017-Jul-21 • 98 minutes
#3 - Dario Amodei on OpenAI and how AI will change the world for good and ill
Just two years ago OpenAI didn’t exist. It’s now among the most elite groups of machine learning researchers. They’re trying to make an AI that’s smarter than humans and have $1b at their disposal. Even stranger for a Silicon Valley start-up, it’s
2017-Jun-21 • 34 minutes
#2 - David Spiegelhalter on risk, stats and improving understanding of science
Recorded in 2015 by Robert Wiblin with colleague Jess Whittlestone at the Centre for Effective Altruism, and recovered from the dusty 80,000 Hours archives. David Spiegelhalter is a statistician at the University of Cambridge and something of an academ
2017-Jun-05 • 55 minutes
#1 - Miles Brundage on the world's desperate need for AI strategists and policy experts
Robert Wiblin, Director of Research at 80,000 Hours speaks with Miles Brundage, research fellow at the University of Oxford's Future of Humanity Institute. Miles studies the social implications surrounding the development of new technologies and has a par
2017-May-01 • 4 minutes
#0 – Introducing the 80,000 Hours Podcast
80,000 Hours is a non-profit that provides research and other support to help people switch into careers that effectively tackle the world's most pressing problems. This podcast is just one of many things we offer, the others of which you can find at 8000