Ben managed 80,000 Hours while it grew from a lecture, to a student society, to the organisation it is today. Before 80,000 Hours, he was the first undergraduate to intern as an analyst at a top investment fund. He has a 1st from Oxford in Physics and Philosophy, has published in Climate Physics, once kick-boxed for Oxford, and speaks Chinese, badly.
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 full transcript • The 2020 Effective Altruism Survey just opened. If you're involved with the effective altruism community, or sympathetic to its ideas, it's would be wonderful if you could fill it out: According to Ben, we can think of the effective altruism movement as having gone through several stages, categorised by what kind of resource has been most able to unlock more progress on important issues (i.e. by what's the 'bottleneck'). Plausibly, these stages are common for other social movements as well. • Needing money: In the first stage, when effective altruism was just getting going, more money (to do things like pay staff and put on events) was the main bottleneck to making progress. • Needing talent: In the second stage, we especially needed more talented people being willing to work on whatever seemed most pressing. • Needing specific skills and capacity: In the third stage, which Ben thinks we're in now, the main bottlenecks are organizational capacity, infrastructure, and management to help train people up, as well as specialist skills that people can put to work now. What's next? Perhaps needing coordination -- the ability to make sure people keep working efficiently and effectively together as the community grows. Ben and I also cover the career implications of those stages, as well as the ability to save money and the possibility that someone else would do your job in your absence. If you’d like to learn more about these topics, you should check out a couple of articles on our site: • Think twice before talking about ‘talent gaps’ – clarifying nine misconceptions • How replaceable are the top candidates in large hiring rounds? Why the answer flips depending on the distribution of applicant abilityGet this episode by subscribing: type 80,000 Hours into your podcasting app. Or read the linked transcript.Producer: Keiran Harris. Audio mastering: Ben Cordell. Transcriptions: Zakee Ulhaq.
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 an article on misconceptions about effective altruism – based on Will MacAskill’s recent paper The Definition of Effective Altruism – and this episode can act as a companion piece.Links to learn more, summary and full transcript. Arden and Ben cover a bunch of topics related to effective altruism: • How it isn’t just about donating money to fight poverty • Whether it includes a moral obligation to give • The rigorous argument for its importance • Objections to that argument • How to talk about effective altruism for people who aren't already familiar with it Given that we’re in the same office, it’s relatively easy to record conversations between two 80k team members — so if you enjoy these types of bonus episodes, let us know at, and we might make them a more regular feature.Get this episode by subscribing: type 80,000 Hours into your podcasting app. Or read the linked transcript.Producer: Keiran Harris. Audio mastering: Ben Cordell. Transcriptions: Zakee Ulhaq.
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, which links to many of our other articles, and which we are aiming to keep updated as our opinions shift. All of us added something to it, but the single biggest contributor was our CEO and today's guest, Ben Todd, who founded 80,000 Hours along with Will MacAskill back in 2012. This key ideas page is the most read on the site. By itself it can teach you a large fraction of the most important things we've discovered since we started investigating high impact careers. • Links to learn more, summary and full transcript. But it's perhaps more accurate to think of it as a mini-book, as it weighs in at over 20,000 words. Fortunately it's designed to be highly modular and it's easy to work through it over multiple sessions, scanning over the articles it links to on each topic. Perhaps though, you'd prefer to absorb our most essential ideas in conversation form, in which case this episode is for you. If you want to have a big impact with your career, and you say you're only going to read one article from us, we recommend you read our key ideas page. And likewise, if you're only going to listen to one of our podcast episodes, it should be this one. We have fun and set a strong pace, running through: • Common misunderstandings of our advice • A high level overview of what 80,000 Hours generally recommends • Our key moral positions • What are the most pressing problems to work on and why? • Which careers effectively contribute to solving those problems? • Central aspects of career strategy like how to weigh up career capital, personal fit, and exploration • As well as plenty more. One benefit of this podcast over the article is that we can more easily communicate uncertainty, and dive into the things we're least sure about, or didn’t yet cover within the article. Note though that our what’s in the article is more precisely stated, our advice is going to keep shifting, and we're aiming to keep the key ideas page current as our thinking evolves over time. This episode was recorded in November 2019, so if you notice a conflict between the page and this episode in the future, go with the page! Get the episode by subscribing: type 80,000 Hours into your podcasting app. Producer: Keiran Harris. Audio mastering: Ben Cordell. Transcriptions: Zakee Ulhaq.
If you want to choose a career that helps other people effectively, which should you pick? Medicine? Research? Non-profit? The answers may not be as straightforward as you think. This episode of Rationally Speaking features special guest Benjamin Todd, the co-founder and executive director of 80,000 Hours, an organization devoted to helping people choose career paths to do good better. Ben, Massimo and Julia debate the heuristics that should go into career choice, utilitarianism vs. virtue ethics, and what exactly we mean by "doing good."
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Creator Details

Feb 2nd, 1989
Oxford, England, United Kingdom
Episode Count
Podcast Count
Total Airtime
6 hours, 37 minutes
Podchaser Creator ID logo 065238