111 episodes

A show about the world's most pressing problems and how you can use your career to solve them.
Subscribe by searching for '80,000 Hours' wherever you get podcasts.
Hosted by Rob Wiblin, Director of Research at 80,000 Hours.

80,000 Hours Podcast with Rob Wiblin The 80000 Hours team

    • Education
    • 4.9 • 148 Ratings

A show about the world's most pressing problems and how you can use your career to solve them.
Subscribe by searching for '80,000 Hours' wherever you get podcasts.
Hosted by Rob Wiblin, Director of Research at 80,000 Hours.

    #86 – Hilary Greaves on Pascal's mugging, strong longtermism, and whether existing can be good for us

    #86 – Hilary Greaves on Pascal's mugging, strong longtermism, and whether existing can be good for us

    Had World War 1 never happened, you might never have existed. It’s very unlikely that the exact chain of events that led to your conception would have happened otherwise — so perhaps you wouldn't have been born. Would that mean that it's better for you that World War 1 happened (regardless of whether it was better for the world overall)? On the one hand, if you're living a pretty good life, you might think the answer is yes – you get to live rather than not. On the other hand, it sounds strange to say that it's better for you to be alive, because if you'd never existed there'd be no you to be worse off. But if you wouldn't be worse off if you hadn't existed, can you be better off because you do? In this episode, philosophy professor Hilary Greaves – Director of Oxford University’s Global Priorities Institute – helps untangle this puzzle for us and walks me and Rob through the space of possible answers. She argues that philosophers have been too quick to conclude what she calls existence non-comparativism – i.e, that it can't be better for someone to exist vs. not. Links to learn more, summary and full transcript. Where we come down on this issue matters. If people are not made better off by existing and having good lives, you might conclude that bringing more people into existence isn't better for them, and thus, perhaps, that it's not better at all. This would imply that bringing about a world in which more people live happy lives might not actually be a good thing (if the people wouldn't otherwise have existed) — which would affect how we try to make the world a better place. Those wanting to have children in order to give them the pleasure of a good life would in some sense be mistaken. And if humanity stopped bothering to have kids and just gradually died out we would have no particular reason to be concerned. Furthermore it might mean we should deprioritise issues that primarily affect future generations, like climate change or the risk of humanity accidentally wiping itself out. This is our second episode with Professor Greaves. The first one was a big hit, so we thought we'd come back and dive into even more complex ethical issues. We discuss: • The case for different types of ‘strong longtermism’ — the idea that we ought morally to try to make the very long run future go as well as possible • What it means for us to be 'clueless' about the consequences of our actions • Moral uncertainty -- what we should do when we don't know which moral theory is correct • Whether we should take a bet on a really small probability of a really great outcome • The field of global priorities research at the Global Priorities Institute and beyond 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.

    • 2 hr 24 min
    Benjamin Todd on the core of effective altruism and how to argue for it (80k team chat #3)

    Benjamin Todd on the core of effective altruism and how to argue for it (80k team chat #3)

    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 podcast@80000hours.org, 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.

    • 1 hr 24 min
    Ideas for high impact careers beyond our priority paths (Article)

    Ideas for high impact careers beyond our priority paths (Article)

    Today’s release is the latest in our series of audio versions of our articles. In this one, we go through some more career options beyond our priority paths that seem promising to us for positively influencing the long-term future. Some of these are likely to be written up as priority paths in the future, or wrapped into existing ones, but we haven’t written full profiles for them yet—for example policy careers outside AI and biosecurity policy that seem promising from a longtermist perspective. Others, like information security, we think might be as promising for many people as our priority paths, but because we haven’t investigated them much we’re still unsure. Still others seem like they’ll typically be less impactful than our priority paths for people who can succeed equally in either, but still seem high-impact to us and like they could be top options for a substantial number of people, depending on personal fit—for example research management. Finally some—like becoming a public intellectual—clearly have the potential for a lot of impact, but we can’t recommend them widely because they don’t have the capacity to absorb a large number of people, are particularly risky, or both. If you want to check out the links in today’s article, you can find those here. Our annual user survey is also now open for submissions. Once a year for two weeks we ask all of you, our podcast listeners, article readers, advice receivers, and so on, so let us know how we've helped or hurt you. 80,000 Hours now offers many different services, and your feedback helps us figure out which programs to keep, which to cut, and which to expand. This year we have a new section covering the podcast, asking what kinds of episodes you liked the most and want to see more of, what extra resources you use, and some other questions too. We're always especially interested to hear ways that our work has influenced what you plan to do with your life or career, whether that impact was positive, neutral, or negative. That might be a different focus in your existing job, or a decision to study something different or look for a new job. Alternatively, maybe you're now planning to volunteer somewhere, or donate more, or donate to a different organisation. Your responses to the survey will be carefully read as part of our upcoming annual review, and we'll use them to help decide what 80,000 Hours should do differently next year. So please do take a moment to fill out the user survey before it closes on Sunday (13th of September). You can find it at 80000hours.org/survey 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.

    • 27 min
    Benjamin Todd on varieties of longtermism and things 80,000 Hours might be getting wrong (80k team chat #2)

    Benjamin Todd on varieties of longtermism and things 80,000 Hours might be getting wrong (80k team chat #2)

    Today’s bonus episode is a conversation between Arden Koehler, and our CEO, Ben Todd. Ben’s been doing a bunch of research recently, and we thought it’d be interesting to hear about how he’s currently thinking about a couple of different topics – including different types of longtermism, and things 80,000 Hours might be getting wrong. Links to learn more, summary and full transcript. This is very off-the-cut compared to our regular episodes, and just 54 minutes long. In the first half, Arden and Ben talk about varieties of longtermism: • Patient longtermism • Broad urgent longtermism • Targeted urgent longtermism focused on existential risks • Targeted urgent longtermism focused on other trajectory changes • And their distinctive implications for people trying to do good with their careers. In the second half, they move on to: • How to trade-off transferable versus specialist career capital • How much weight to put on personal fit • Whether we might be highlighting the wrong problems and career paths. 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 podcast@80000hours.org, and we might make them a more regular feature. Our annual user survey is also now open for submissions. Once a year for two weeks we ask all of you, our podcast listeners, article readers, advice receivers, and so on, so let us know how we've helped or hurt you. 80,000 Hours now offers many different services, and your feedback helps us figure out which programs to keep, which to cut, and which to expand. This year we have a new section covering the podcast, asking what kinds of episodes you liked the most and want to see more of, what extra resources you use, and some other questions too. We're always especially interested to hear ways that our work has influenced what you plan to do with your life or career, whether that impact was positive, neutral, or negative. That might be a different focus in your existing job, or a decision to study something different or look for a new job. Alternatively, maybe you're now planning to volunteer somewhere, or donate more, or donate to a different organisation. Your responses to the survey will be carefully read as part of our upcoming annual review, and we'll use them to help decide what 80,000 Hours should do differently next year. So please do take a moment to fill out the user survey. You can find it at 80000hours.org/survey 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.

    • 57 min
    Global issues beyond 80,000 Hours’ current priorities (Article)

    Global issues beyond 80,000 Hours’ current priorities (Article)

    Today’s release is the latest in our series of audio versions of our articles. In this one, we go through 30 global issues beyond the ones we usually prioritize most highly in our work, and that you might consider focusing your career on tackling. Although we spend the majority of our time at 80,000 Hours on our highest priority problem areas, and we recommend working on them to many of our readers, these are just the most promising issues among those we’ve spent time investigating. There are many other global issues that we haven’t properly investigated, and which might be very promising for more people to work on. In fact, we think working on some of the issues in this article could be as high-impact for some people as working on our priority problem areas — though we haven’t looked into them enough to be confident. If you want to check out the links in today’s article, you can find those here. Our annual user survey is also now open for submissions. Once a year for two weeks we ask all of you, our podcast listeners, article readers, advice receivers, and so on, so let us know how we've helped or hurt you. 80,000 Hours now offers many different services, and your feedback helps us figure out which programs to keep, which to cut, and which to expand. This year we have a new section covering the podcast, asking what kinds of episodes you liked the most and want to see more of, what extra resources you use, and some other questions too. We're always especially interested to hear ways that our work has influenced what you plan to do with your life or career, whether that impact was positive, neutral, or negative. That might be a different focus in your existing job, or a decision to study something different or look for a new job. Alternatively, maybe you're now planning to volunteer somewhere, or donate more, or donate to a different organisation. Your responses to the survey will be carefully read as part of our upcoming annual review, and we'll use them to help decide what 80,000 Hours should do differently next year. So please do take a moment to fill out the user survey. You can find it at 80000hours.org/survey 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.

    • 32 min
    #85 - Mark Lynas on climate change, societal collapse & nuclear energy

    #85 - Mark Lynas on climate change, societal collapse & nuclear energy

    A golf-ball sized lump of uranium can deliver more than enough power to cover all of your lifetime energy use. To get the same energy from coal, you’d need 3,200 tonnes of black rock — a mass equivalent to 800 adult elephants, which would produce more than 11,000 tonnes of CO2. That’s about 11,000 tonnes more than the uranium. Many people aren’t comfortable with the danger posed by nuclear power. But given the climatic stakes, it’s worth asking: Just how much more dangerous is it compared to fossil fuels? According to today’s guest, Mark Lynas — author of Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet (winner of the prestigious Royal Society Prizes for Science Books) and Nuclear 2.0 — it’s actually much, much safer. Links to learn more, summary and full transcript. Climatologists James Hansen and Pushker Kharecha calculated that the use of nuclear power between 1971 and 2009 avoided the premature deaths of 1.84 million people by avoiding air pollution from burning coal. What about radiation or nuclear disasters? According to Our World In Data, in generating a given amount of electricity, nuclear, wind, and solar all cause about the same number of deaths — and it's a tiny number. So what’s going on? Why isn’t everyone demanding a massive scale-up of nuclear energy to save lives and stop climate change? Mark and many other activists believe that unchecked climate change will result in the collapse of human civilization, so the stakes could not be higher. Mark says that many environmentalists — including him — simply grew up with anti-nuclear attitudes all around them (possibly stemming from a conflation of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy) and haven't thought to question them. But he thinks that once you believe in the climate emergency, you have to rethink your opposition to nuclear energy. At 80,000 Hours we haven’t analysed the merits and flaws of the case for nuclear energy — especially compared to wind and solar paired with gas, hydro, or battery power to handle intermittency — but Mark is convinced. He says it comes down to physics: Nuclear power is just so much denser. We need to find an energy source that provides carbon-free power to ~10 billion people, and we need to do it while humanity is doubling or tripling (or more) its energy demand. How do you do that without destroying the world's ecology? Mark thinks that nuclear is the only way. Read a more in-depth version of the case for nuclear energy in the full blog post. For Mark, the only argument against nuclear power is a political one -- that people won't want or accept it. He says that he knows people in all kinds of mainstream environmental groups — such as Greenpeace — who agree that nuclear must be a vital part of any plan to solve climate change. But, because they think they'll be ostracized if they speak up, they keep their mouths shut. Mark thinks this willingness to indulge beliefs that contradict scientific evidence stands in the way of actually fully addressing climate change, and so he’s helping to build a movement of folks who are out and proud about their support for nuclear energy. This is only one topic of many in today’s interview. Arden, Rob, and Mark also discuss: • At what degrees of warming does societal collapse become likely • Whether climate change could lead to human extinction • What environmentalists are getting wrong about climate change • And much more. 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.

    • 2 hr 8 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
148 Ratings

148 Ratings

Mike_Bishop ,

Caring and very smart!

I’m a podcast addict, but this is my absolute favourite. Incredibly high quality guests and interviews. Offers insight into the world, and just might make you a better person!

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80,000 Hours

Expected impact and unexpected opportunities

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Awesome Podcast!!!

Rob, host of the 80,000 Hours Podcast, highlights all aspects of world problems, education and more in this can’t miss podcast! The host and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!

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