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”.
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.
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.
I earned around $34,000. 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).
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:
- $500 to Machine Intelligence Research Institute. This was mostly intended as a retrospective donation, as thanks for producing useful content and ideas, and for doing work that I consider useful in the AI safety space. As of late 2018, for prospective funding, I do share concerns about MIRI’s new nondisclosure-by-default policy and also think that its “room for more funding” may not be as great as in the past (the latter is sort of hard to assess due to the former).
- $500 to the $500k block donor lottery, hosted by Centre for Effective Altruism. After watching the donor lottery for the first two years, I felt comfortable about giving to it. The donor lottery seemed like a good choice given my general uncertainties about the world.
Some other things I considered but didn’t end up choosing:
- EA Funds (especially the Long-Term Future Fund). Since the fund managers changed only recently, I decided I want to continue watching their activity.
- Donating to certain “woke individuals”. There are maybe around four individuals at the intersection of (1) people I consider especially smart/“woke”/“have good world models”, and (2) people who don’t seem to have access to a bunch of resources with which to implement their “vision” (sorry if this language is too vague). I decided to skip this and continue thinking about it for the following reasons: (1) These people don’t generally advertise a need for funding; and (2) I don’t want to make my future interactions with them awkward by offering them money.
- Upcoming AI safety people. In principle I would like to fund some early-stage AI safety people, but in practice I found that (1) I don’t know any of them well; (2) some of them are pseudonymous; (3) they are generally not anywhere near as transparent as I would like them to be. These factors made assessment difficult, so I decided to skip this and keep watching the space.
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.