Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative donations made

This is an online portal with information on donations that were announced publicly (or have been shared with permission) that were of interest to Vipul Naik. The git repository with the code for this portal, as well as all the underlying data, is available on GitHub. All payment amounts are in current United States dollars (USD). The repository of donations is being seeded with an initial collation by Issa Rice as well as continued contributions from him (see his commits and the contract work page listing all financially compensated contributions to the site) but all responsibility for errors and inaccuracies belongs to Vipul Naik. Current data is preliminary and has not been completely vetted and normalized; if sharing a link to this site or any page on this site, please include the caveat that the data is preliminary (if you want to share without including caveats, please check with Vipul Naik). We expect to have completed the first round of development by the end of December 2019. See the about page for more details. Also of interest: pageview data on analytics.vipulnaik.com, tutorial in README, request for feedback to EA Forum.

Table of contents

Basic donor information

ItemValue
Country United States
Facebook username Berkeley-Existential-Risk-Initiative-1875638366085846
Websitehttp://existence.org/
Data entry method on Donations List WebsiteManual (no scripts used)
Org Watch pagehttps://orgwatch.issarice.com/?organization=Berkeley+Existential+Risk+Initiative

This entity is also a donee.

Donor donation statistics

Cause areaCountMedianMeanMinimum10th percentile 20th percentile 30th percentile 40th percentile 50th percentile 60th percentile 70th percentile 80th percentile 90th percentile Maximum
Overall 45 50,000 107,599 1,900 10,000 20,400 25,000 25,200 50,000 51,000 100,000 100,000 300,000 800,000
AI safety 32 50,000 123,689 1,900 10,000 20,000 25,000 49,532 50,000 100,000 100,000 150,000 300,000 800,000
Existential risks 4 25,000 38,500 4,000 4,000 4,000 25,000 25,000 25,000 25,000 25,000 100,000 100,000 100,000
Rationality community 1 24,000 24,000 24,000 24,000 24,000 24,000 24,000 24,000 24,000 24,000 24,000 24,000 24,000
Existential risk 6 25,000 42,656 25,000 25,000 25,000 25,000 25,000 25,000 44,353 50,000 50,000 86,580 86,580
Rationality improvement 1 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000
Career planning 1 350,000 350,000 350,000 350,000 350,000 350,000 350,000 350,000 350,000 350,000 350,000 350,000 350,000

Donation amounts by cause area and year

If you hover over a cell for a given cause area and year, you will get a tooltip with the number of donees and the number of donations.

Note: Cause area classification used here may not match that used by donor for all cases.

Cause area Number of donations Number of donees Total 2019 2018 2017
AI safety (filter this donor) 32 22 3,958,032.00 650,000.00 2,838,032.00 470,000.00
Career planning (filter this donor) 1 1 350,000.00 350,000.00 0.00 0.00
Existential risk (filter this donor) 6 5 255,933.00 211,580.00 44,353.00 0.00
Existential risks (filter this donor) 4 4 154,000.00 0.00 129,000.00 25,000.00
Rationality improvement (filter this donor) 1 1 100,000.00 0.00 100,000.00 0.00
Rationality community (filter this donor) 1 1 24,000.00 0.00 24,000.00 0.00
Total 45 32 4,841,965.00 1,211,580.00 3,135,385.00 495,000.00

Graph of spending by cause area and year (incremental, not cumulative)

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Graph of spending by cause area and year (cumulative)

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Donation amounts by subcause area and year

If you hover over a cell for a given subcause area and year, you will get a tooltip with the number of donees and the number of donations.

For the meaning of “classified” and “unclassified”, see the page clarifying this.

Subcause area Number of donations Number of donees Total 2019 2018 2017
AI safety 32 22 3,958,032.00 650,000.00 2,838,032.00 470,000.00
Career planning 1 1 350,000.00 350,000.00 0.00 0.00
Existential risk 6 5 255,933.00 211,580.00 44,353.00 0.00
Existential risks 4 4 154,000.00 0.00 129,000.00 25,000.00
Rationality improvement 1 1 100,000.00 0.00 100,000.00 0.00
Rationality community 1 1 24,000.00 0.00 24,000.00 0.00
Classified total 45 32 4,841,965.00 1,211,580.00 3,135,385.00 495,000.00
Unclassified total 0 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Total 45 32 4,841,965.00 1,211,580.00 3,135,385.00 495,000.00

Graph of spending by subcause area and year (incremental, not cumulative)

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Graph of spending by subcause area and year (cumulative)

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Donation amounts by donee and year

Donee Cause area Metadata Total 2019 2018 2017
Center for Applied Rationality (filter this donor) Rationality FB Tw WP Site TW 1,200,000.00 0.00 1,100,000.00 100,000.00
Machine Intelligence Research Institute (filter this donor) AI safety FB Tw WP Site CN GS TW 800,000.00 600,000.00 0.00 200,000.00
Future of Life Institute (filter this donor) AI safety/other global catastrophic risks FB Tw WP Site 500,000.00 50,000.00 300,000.00 150,000.00
UC Berkeley Foundation (filter this donor) 400,000.00 0.00 400,000.00 0.00
80,000 Hours (filter this donor) Career coaching/life guidance FB Tw WP Site 350,000.00 350,000.00 0.00 0.00
LessWrong 2.0 (filter this donor) Rationality improvement FB WP Site 250,000.00 0.00 250,000.00 0.00
Cambridge in America (filter this donor) 210,000.00 0.00 210,000.00 0.00
Ben Goldhaber (filter this donor) 150,000.00 0.00 150,000.00 0.00
Justin Shovelain (filter this donor) 100,000.00 0.00 100,000.00 0.00
Stephanie Zolayvar (filter this donor) 100,000.00 0.00 100,000.00 0.00
Stefan Schubert (filter this donor) 86,580.00 86,580.00 0.00 0.00
Institute for Philosophical Research (filter this donor) 75,000.00 0.00 50,000.00 25,000.00
Leverage Research (filter this donor) 75,000.00 75,000.00 0.00 0.00
Baeo Maltinsky (filter this donor) 55,000.00 0.00 55,000.00 0.00
Colleen McKenzie (filter this donor) 51,000.00 0.00 51,000.00 0.00
Theiss Research (filter this donor) 50,000.00 0.00 50,000.00 0.00
Roxanne Heston (filter this donor) 49,532.00 0.00 49,532.00 0.00
Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (filter this donor) 45,000.00 0.00 25,000.00 20,000.00
Lucius Caviola (filter this donor) 44,353.00 0.00 44,353.00 0.00
Miles Brundage (filter this donor) 32,500.00 0.00 32,500.00 0.00
Zoe Cremer (filter this donor) 25,200.00 0.00 25,200.00 0.00
Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters (filter this donor) 25,000.00 25,000.00 0.00 0.00
Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs (filter this donor) 25,000.00 0.00 25,000.00 0.00
David Manheim (filter this donor) 25,000.00 0.00 25,000.00 0.00
Americans for Oxford (filter this donor) 25,000.00 25,000.00 0.00 0.00
Berkeley REACH (filter this donor) Rationality community FB Site 24,000.00 0.00 24,000.00 0.00
Bryce Hidysmith (filter this donor) 20,500.00 0.00 20,500.00 0.00
Luca Rade (filter this donor) 20,400.00 0.00 20,400.00 0.00
Sebastian Farquhar (filter this donor) 12,000.00 0.00 12,000.00 0.00
Jessica Taylor (filter this donor) 10,000.00 0.00 10,000.00 0.00
Effective Altruism Sweden (filter this donor) 4,000.00 0.00 4,000.00 0.00
Jordan Alexander (filter this donor) 1,900.00 0.00 1,900.00 0.00
Total -- -- 4,841,965.00 1,211,580.00 3,135,385.00 495,000.00

Graph of spending by donee and year (incremental, not cumulative)

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Graph of spending by donee and year (cumulative)

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Donation amounts by influencer and year

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Donation amounts by disclosures and year

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Donation amounts by country and year

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Full list of documents in reverse chronological order (8 documents)

Title (URL linked)Publication dateAuthorPublisherAffected donorsAffected doneesDocument scopeCause areaNotes
80,000 Hours Annual Review – December 20182019-05-07Benjamin Todd 80,000 HoursOpen Philanthropy Project Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative Effective Altruism Funds 80,0000 Hours Donee periodic updateEffective altruism/movement growth/career counselingThis blog post is the annual self-review by 80,000 Hours, originally written in December 2018. Publication was deferred because 80,000 Hours was waiting to hear back on the status of some large grants (in particular, one from the Open Philanthropy Project), but most of the content is still from the December 2018 draft. The post goes into detail about 80,000 Hours' progress in 2018, impact and plan changes, and future expansion plans. Funding gaps are discussed (the funding gap for 2019 is $400,000, and further money will be saved for 2020 and 2021). Grants from the Open Philanthropy Project, BERI, and the Effective Altruism Funds (EA Meta Fund) are mentioned
New grants from the Open Philanthropy Project and BERI2019-04-01Rob Bensinger Machine Intelligence Research InstituteOpen Philanthropy Project Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative Machine Intelligence Research Institute Donee periodic updateAI safetyMIRI announces two grants to it: a two-year grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/potential-risks-advanced-artificial-intelligence/machine-intelligence-research-institute-general-support-2019 totaling $2,112,500 from the Open Philanthropy Project, with half of it disbursed in 2019 and the other half disbursed in 2020. The amount disbursed in 2019 (of a little over $1.06 million) is on top of the $1.25 million already committed by the Open Philanthropy Project as part of the 3-year $3.75 million grant https://intelligence.org/2017/11/08/major-grant-open-phil/ The $1.06 million in 2020 may be supplemented by further grants from the Open Philanthropy Project. The grant size from the Open Philanthropy Project was determined by the Committee for Effective Altruism Support. The post also notes that the Open Philanthropy Project plans to determine future grant sizes using the Committee. MIRI expects the grant money to play an important role in decision-making as it executes on growing its research team as described in its 2018 strategy update post https://intelligence.org/2018/11/22/2018-update-our-new-research-directions/ and fundraiser post https://intelligence.org/2018/11/26/miris-2018-fundraiser/
Seeking Testimonials - IPR, Leverage, and Paradigm2018-11-15Andrew Critch Berkeley Existential Risk InitiativeBerkeley Existential Risk Initiative Leverage Research Institute for Philosophical Research Paradigm Academy Request for reviews of doneeRationality improvementIn the blog post, Andrew Critch of BERI talks about plans to make grants to Leverage Research and the Institute for Philosophical Research (IPR). Critch says that IPR, Leverage, and Paradigm Academy are three related organizations that BERI internally refers to as ILP. In light of communtiy skepticism about ILP, Critch announces that BERI is inviting feedback through a feedback form on these organizations till December 20. He also explains what sort of feedback will be taken more seriously by BERI. The post was also announced on the Effective Altruism Forum at https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/fvvRZMJJ7g4gzXjSH/seeking-information-on-three-potential-grantee-organizations on 2018-12-09
A model I use when making plans to reduce AI x-risk2018-01-18Ben Pace LessWrongBerkeley Existential Risk Initiative Review of current state of cause areaAI safetyThe author describes his implicit model of AI risk, with four parts: (1) Alignment is hard, (2) Getting alignment right accounts for most of the variance in whether an AGI system will be positive for humanity, (3) Our current epistemic state regarding AGI timelines will continue until we are close (<2 years from) to having AGI, and (4) Given timeline uncertainty, it is best to spend marginal effort on plans that assume / work in shorter timelines. There is a lot of discussion in the comments
Announcing BERI Computing Grants2017-12-01Andrew Critch Berkeley Existential Risk InitiativeBerkeley Existential Risk Initiative Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative Donee periodic updateAI safety/other global catastrophic risks
Forming an engineering team2017-10-25Andrew Critch Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative Donee periodic updateAI safety/other global catastrophic risks
What we’re thinking about as we grow - ethics, oversight, and getting things done2017-10-19Andrew Critch Berkeley Existential Risk InitiativeBerkeley Existential Risk Initiative Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative Donee periodic updateAI safety/other global catastrophic risksOutlines BERI's approach to growth and "ethics" (transparency, oversight, trust, etc.).
BERI's semi-annual report, August2017-09-12Rebecca Raible Berkeley Existential Risk InitiativeBerkeley Existential Risk Initiative Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative Donee periodic updateAI safety/other global catastrophic risksA blog post announcing BERI's semi-annual report.

Full list of donations in reverse chronological order (45 donations)

DoneeAmount (current USD)Amount rank (out of 45)Donation dateCause areaURLInfluencerNotes
80,000 Hours350,000.0042019-04-22Career planninghttp://web.archive.org/web/20190623203105/http://existence.org/grants/-- The grant is mentioned by the recipient, 80,000 Hours, in a blog post https://80000hours.org/2019/05/annual-review-dec-2018/ along with grants from the Open Philanthropy Project and the Effective Altruism Funds Meta Fund.
Future of Life Institute50,000.00202019-04-22AI safetyhttp://web.archive.org/web/20190623203105/http://existence.org/grants/--
Leverage Research50,000.00202019-04-09Existential riskhttp://web.archive.org/web/20190623203105/http://existence.org/grants/--
Americans for Oxford (Earmark: Yarin Gal)25,000.00292019-04-08Existential riskhttp://web.archive.org/web/20190623203105/http://existence.org/grants/--
Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters25,000.00292019-03-12Existential riskhttp://web.archive.org/web/20190623203105/http://existence.org/grants/--
Machine Intelligence Research Institute600,000.0022019-02-26AI safetyhttp://web.archive.org/web/20190623203105/http://existence.org/grants/-- This grant is also discussed by the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (the grant recipient) at https://intelligence.org/2017/11/08/major-grant-open-phil/ along with a grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/potential-risks-advanced-artificial-intelligence/machine-intelligence-research-institute-general-support-2019 from the Open Philanthropy Project.
Stefan Schubert86,580.00172019-01-24Existential riskhttp://web.archive.org/web/20190623203105/http://existence.org/grants/-- Research on the psychology of existential risk.
Leverage Research25,000.00292019-01-22Existential riskhttp://web.archive.org/web/20190623203105/http://existence.org/grants/-- The grant follows a solicitation of feedback on Leverage ond related orgs http://existence.org/testimonials-ipr-leverage-paradigm/.
Lucius Caviola44,353.00262018-12-27Existential riskhttp://web.archive.org/web/20190623203105/http://existence.org/grants/-- Research on the psychology of existential risk.
Sebastian Farquhar12,000.00402018-10-31AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20181107040049/http://existence.org/grants-list/-- “to attend conferences and purchase compute for experiments related to his PhD research on uncertainty modeling in neural networks”.
Justin Shovelain100,000.00102018-10-24Existential riskshttps://web.archive.org/web/20181107040049/http://existence.org/grants-list/-- “to lead and develop Convergence Analysis, a new group focused on x-risk strategy research”.
Berkeley REACH (Earmark: Sarah Spikes)24,000.00352018-10-23Rationality communityhttps://web.archive.org/web/20181107040049/http://existence.org/grants-list/-- Grant “to implement improvements in support of the Rationality and Effective Altruism Community Hub (REACH)” BERI support is mentioned on the REACH Patreon page: "In October 2018, BERI (Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative) awarded a grant of $24k toward REACH operations for 2018-2019. So far, $10k of that has been dispersed as salary for the REACH Manager, Sarah “Stardust” Spikes.".
Effective Altruism Sweden4,000.00442018-10-18Existential riskshttps://web.archive.org/web/20181107040049/http://existence.org/grants-list/-- “to support Markus Stoor’s project to coordinate two follow-up lunch-to-lunch meetings in Sweden for x-risk-focused individuals”.
Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence20,000.00382018-10-15AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20181019174535/http://existence.org/grants-list/-- “for the support of the 2019 conference on AI, Ethics, and Society”.
Jessica Taylor10,000.00412018-10-10AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20181019174535/http://existence.org/grants-list/-- “to work on her research in AI alignment and other areas”.
Ben Goldhaber150,000.0082018-10-10AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20181019174535/http://existence.org/grants-list/-- “to support his project (co-lead by Jacob Lagerros) to bring x-risk-relevant questions to popular prediction platforms”.
Stephanie Zolayvar100,000.00102018-10-09AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20181019174535/http://existence.org/grants-list/-- “to train herself in circling and host circles for people who are promising contributors to reducing x-risk”.
Roxanne Heston49,532.00252018-10-02AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20181019174535/http://existence.org/grants-list/-- “to work on a variety of AI policy projects in Washington, D.C.”.
Baeo Maltinsky55,000.00182018-10-02AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20181019174535/http://existence.org/grants-list/-- “to further his research on AI and technology trends”.
Zoe Cremer25,200.00282018-10-02AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20181019174535/http://existence.org/grants-list/-- “to support her as a visiting fellow at CFI, where she will research disagreements about the amount and kind of structure required for AGI”.
Colleen McKenzie51,000.00192018-10-02AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20181019174535/http://existence.org/grants-list/-- “to support her research on AI timelines and the processes that produce technical and scientific progress”.
Cambridge in America10,000.00412018-10-02AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20181019174535/http://existence.org/grants-list/-- “for the support of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intellgience”.
David Manheim25,000.00292018-09-26AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20181019174535/http://existence.org/grants-list/-- “to research aspects of Goodhart’s law, focusing on multi-agent dynamics”. Probably related to https://arxiv.org/pdf/1803.04585.pdf.
Luca Rade20,400.00372018-09-24AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20181019174535/http://existence.org/grants-list/-- “to research the implications of coarse-graining by an agent in a complex environment for AI alignment”.
Jordan Alexander1,900.00452018-09-24AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20181019174535/http://existence.org/grants-list/-- “to host several meetings at Stanford EA and the Stanford Transhumanist Association”.
Bryce Hidysmith20,500.00362018-09-24AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20181019174535/http://existence.org/grants-list/-- “to analyze global risks from technology through a geopolitical lens”.
Institute for Philosophical Research50,000.00202018-09-07AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20180921215949/http://existence.org/organization-grants/-- General support. Announced at http://existence.org/2018/09/18/activity-update-july-and-august-2018.html.
LessWrong 2.0150,000.0082018-09-04AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20180921215949/http://existence.org/organization-grants/-- Given via the Center for Applied Rationality. To support the development of LessWrong 2.0. Announced at http://existence.org/2018/09/18/activity-update-july-and-august-2018.html.
Center for Applied Rationality300,000.0052018-07-24AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20180921215949/http://existence.org/organization-grants/-- General support. Announced at http://existence.org/2018/09/18/activity-update-july-and-august-2018.html and at http://www.rationality.org/resources/updates/2018/august-newsletter (CFAR lists $600,000 over two years as the amount).
UC Berkeley Foundation400,000.0032018-07-24AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20180921215949/http://existence.org/organization-grants/-- Intended to support Andrew Critch’s work at the Center for Human-compatible AI. Announced at http://existence.org/2018/09/18/activity-update-july-and-august-2018.html.
Theiss Research50,000.00202018-07-12AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20180921215949/http://existence.org/organization-grants/-- Intended to support Carrick Flynn’s research with Allan DaFoe at the Future of Humanity Institute. Announced at http://existence.org/2018/09/18/activity-update-july-and-august-2018.html.
Future of Life Institute300,000.0052018-04-10AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20180905034853/http://existence.org/organization-grants/ https://web.archive.org/web/20180921215949/http://existence.org/organization-grants/-- General support.
Cambridge in America200,000.0072018-04-06AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20180921215949/http://existence.org/organization-grants/-- For the support of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk.
Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence5,000.00432018-03-30AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20180731180958/http://existence.org:80/grants https://web.archive.org/web/20180921215949/http://existence.org/organization-grants/-- Grant in support of the 2018 Spring Symposium on AI and Society: Ethics, Safety and Trustworthiness in Intelligent Agents. See announcement at http://existence.org/2018/04/07/activity-update-february-and-march-2018.html.
LessWrong 2.0100,000.00102018-02-08Rationality improvementhttps://web.archive.org/web/20180731180958/http://existence.org:80/grants-- Grant via the Center for Applied Rationality for the support of activities to develop and improve the website LessWrong 2.0. See announcement at http://existence.org/2018/04/07/activity-update-february-and-march-2018.html.
Center for Applied Rationality800,000.0012018-01-26AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20180731180958/http://existence.org:80/grants https://web.archive.org/web/20180921215949/http://existence.org/organization-grants/-- General support for the purpose of a permanent venue for CFAR workshops. See announcement at http://existence.org/2018/02/08/activity-update-january-2018.html.
Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs25,000.00292018-01-24Existential riskshttps://web.archive.org/web/20180731180958/http://existence.org:80/grants https://web.archive.org/web/20180921215949/http://existence.org/organization-grants/-- For general support of the Global Catastrophic Risk Institute.
Miles Brundage32,500.00272018-01-02AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20180731180958/http://existence.org:80/grants--
Machine Intelligence Research Institute100,000.00102017-12-28AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20180731180958/http://existence.org:80/grants https://web.archive.org/web/20180921215949/http://existence.org/organization-grants/-- See blog announcement at http://existence.org/2018/01/11/activity-update-december-2017.html.
Center for Applied Rationality100,000.00102017-12-27AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20180731180958/http://existence.org:80/grants https://web.archive.org/web/20180921215949/http://existence.org/organization-grants/-- See announcement at http://existence.org/2018/01/11/activity-update-december-2017.html.
Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence20,000.00382017-12-18AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20180731180958/http://existence.org:80/grants https://web.archive.org/web/20180921215949/http://existence.org/organization-grants/-- To support the conference on Artificial Intelligence, Ethics, and Society. See announcement at http://existence.org/2017/12/01/activity-update-november-2017.html.
Institute for Philosophical Research25,000.00292017-12-15Existential riskshttps://web.archive.org/web/20180731180958/http://existence.org:80/grants https://web.archive.org/web/20180921215949/http://existence.org/organization-grants/--
Future of Life Institute100,000.00102017-10-27AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20180731180958/http://existence.org:80/grants https://web.archive.org/web/20180921215949/http://existence.org/organization-grants/--
Future of Life Institute50,000.00202017-10-27AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20180731180958/http://existence.org:80/grants https://web.archive.org/web/20180921215949/http://existence.org/organization-grants/-- For general support. See announcement at http://existence.org/2017/11/03/activity-update-october-2017.html.
Machine Intelligence Research Institute100,000.00102017-09-13AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20180731180958/http://existence.org:80/grants https://web.archive.org/web/20180921215949/http://existence.org/organization-grants/--

Similarity to other donors

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