Donation history

View source | View history

My donation history begins in 2015 because that is the year during which I first started working/earning money that could be considered “my own”.

2015

I earned around $2,000 doing mostly content creation work under Vipul Naik. I did not donate in 2015 because I am still building a financial buffer.

2016

I earned around $9,700 (not counting deferred payments) working under Vipul Naik. I did not donate in 2016 because I am still building a financial buffer.

2017

I earned around $34,000 [ETA: this ended up being more like $37,000 due to tasks from 2017 being added to Vipul’s Contract Work website in January–March 2018]. This amount includes the $9,360 deferred payment from last year. My main source of income was contract work for Vipul Naik. I also did some contract work for Peter Hurford (recorded on Vipul Naik’s contract work site) and sold leftover bitcoin that I had (worth around $250).

In addition, Vipul Naik offered me $500 to donate to a charity of my choice (kind of a bonus for working for him all year).

I decided not to donate in 2017 (both with my own money and Vipul’s offer, which I deferred to a later time) due to a combination of (1) uncertainty about my understanding of the world; and (2) continuing to build a financial buffer (which is a smaller priority now that I’ve crossed the $30k threshold).

2018

I earned around $18,000. Like last year, my main source of income was contract work for Vipul Naik. I also wrote a timeline of the Future of Humanity Institute, which was funded by Alex Flint.

In addition, like last year, Vipul Naik offered me an additional $500 to donate to a charity of my choice.

I decided to take up Vipul’s offer this year, using both last year’s and this year’s amount (so a total of $1,000). I chose the following allocation:

Some other things I considered but didn’t end up choosing:

I decided to not donate any of my own money as I am now reducing my contract work hours in order to do something about AI safety (so I might actually need to use some of my savings for something).

Besides the donations listed above, Vipul also gave another donation on the same day (that he chose himself); you can read about that donation in the post he wrote about his 2018 donations.

2019

I earned around $5,000. Like the previous years, my main source of income was contract work for Vipul Naik. I also did some contract work for BERI. (There were also some smaller sources of income, but I won’t bother to list them all.)

I decided not to donate in 2019. This is mainly for two reasons:

Personal finances
I worked very little this year, so my income is small. My future income is also uncertain at this point, so I might need to use my savings in the future.
Low value of small marginal donations to targets I am most interested in funding
I am currently most excited about funding independent AI safety researchers and small projects (in AI safety and some other areas). My best guess is that funding these individuals or projects to a point where there are significant counterfactual differences requires at least around $50,000 (amount calculated based on paying one researcher who doesn’t require a lot of money for one year). As far as I know, there isn’t a simple way to coordinate with other people interested in funding independent researchers, so I can’t just say something like “I pledge to give $1,000 to person X if enough other people also pledge to do the same” and have all the logistics taken care of. The best alternatives to do this sort of coordination to fund independent researchers at the moment seem to be EA Funds’ Long-Term Future Fund and the EA Hotel; I think these are decent options but I prefer having more control over what gets funded.

2020

Otherwise I did not donate, for basically the same reasons as 2019 (though the details have changed slightly).