Enterprise Architects have a great deal of potential power and influence. How can the Effective Altruism movement help direct our efforts towards the best long-term futures?
An introduction to Effective Altruism
This TED Talk gives perspective and a sense of scale to the history of humans on planet Earth. We’ve only been around for a comparatively short time; and we have the potential to survive for much longer. But only if we change our attitude towards our future.
Of all the problems facing humanity, which should we focus on solving first? In a compelling talk about how to make the world better, moral philosopher Will MacAskill provides a framework for answering this question based on the philosophy of “effective altruism” — and shares ideas for taking on three pressing global issues.
Democracy is a paradigm that places short term greed ahead of long term survival! Is this right? Is there a more ethical way to imagine and plan our futures?
The Effective Altruism Movement
Will MacAskill is co-founder of the effective altruism movement. I believe this idea has tremendous value for the discipline of enterprise architecture. Curiously, effective altruism has the acronym EA.
I found the map of effective altruism concepts particularly useful.
The Long-Term Future
An article on the effective altruism website makes the case for why you might want to focus your altruistic efforts on the long-term future – and why you might not.
It argues that we can focus on:
- Understanding and preventing extinction risks – catastrophic events that have the potential to destroy all life on this planet
- The broader category of existential risks– events that could dramatically and irreversibly curtail humanity’s potential
- Increasing the chance that the lives of our descendants are positive in other ways: for example, improving democracy or the ability of institutions to make good decisions.
This last option is the one that I believe has the greatest potential for applying our skills as enterprise architects.
The article lists practical steps that we can work on today to influence our long-term future.
How to let altruism be your guide
Another TED talk. In this passionate and often very funny talk, Matthieu Ricard, a happiness researcher and a Buddhist monk explains “what is altruism?”
Put simply, it’s the wish that other people may be happy. Altruism is a great lens for making decisions, both for the short and long term, in work and in life.