March 2017: Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative (BERI)

Payout Date: March 21, 2017

Total grants: USD 14,838

Number of grantees: 1

The Long-Term Future Fund made one grant of $14,838.02 to the Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative (BERI).

  • How I got the idea: Andrew Critch, who created BERI, requested $50,000.
  • What it is: It is a new initiative providing various forms of support to researchers working on existential risk issues (administrative, expert consultations, technical support). It works as a non-profit entity, independent of any university, so that it can help multiple organizations and to operate more swiftly than would be possible within a university context. For more information, see their website.
  • Why I provided the funds: Key inputs to my decision include:
    • The basic idea makes sense to me. I believe that this vehicle could provide swifter, more agile support to researchers in this space and I think that could be helpful.
    • I know Critch and believe he can make this happen.
    • I believe I can check in on this a year or two from now and get a sense of how helpful it was. Supporting people to try out reasonable ideas when that seems true is appealing to me.
    • I see myself as a natural first funder to ask for new endeavors like this, and believe others who would support this would make relatively wise choices with their donations. I therefore did not check much whether someone else could have or would have funded it.
    • This seemed competitive with available alternatives.
  • I did not provide the full $50,000 from the Long-Term Future Fund because I didn't have enough funding yet. I provided all the funding I had at the time. The remainder of the funding was provided by the EA Giving Group and some funds held in a personal DAF.