We’re interested in helping people to choose between different focus areas for helping the world. A complication is that people can have very different background assumptions, which makes it hard to give uniform recommendations. On the other hand, discussing the assumptions directly may not help if it’s unclear how they are decision-relevant.
To address this, we’ve been working on a flowchart which maps out how different ethical and empirical assumptions can lead us to support different areas. We hope this can serve as a tool to help people clarify their own thinking, understand where others may be coming from, or identify which questions most need further thought.
The flowchart can’t represent the full complexity of the question, and shouldn’t be followed blindly. It is mapping out how different answers to the question nodes will tend to lead to supporting different causes. The question nodes represent matters on which we think there may be a reasonable level of disagreement; we have tried to be neutral on these questions, although we may present the case for one side or another in future work. The chart is also not intended for individual career decisions – what you do with your own work will depend a great deal on your interests and skills, which the flowchart cannot capture. For that, we recommend 80,000 Hours.
This isn’t a final version, and we are still actively looking for input and disagreements – you can send them to email@example.com. In future versions we hope to make the chart easier to interact with, and allow readers to access more information for each node, as well as polishing the current recommendations.
Owen Cotton-Barratt & Daniel Kokotajlo
There’s an embedded Prezi version below, although you will need to be logged into a Prezi account to browse it properly. Alternatively you can find it as an image here (6MB), or a low resolution version here (1.5MB). If you want a high-resolution version for printing please contact us.
Instructions for the Prezi version: Drag the screen to move around. Scroll wheel or arrow keys to zoom. Click on something to zoom to it.