Liv Boeree: Effective Altruism Global Summit “The Line Up Blew Me Away”

Liv Boeree: Effective Altruism Global Summit “The Line Up Blew Me Away”

Lee Davy sits down with PokerStars Team and Raising For Effective Giving co-founder, Liv Boeree, to talk about her recent iPoker promotional trip to California and preparation for her upcoming speech at the Effective Altruism Global Summit in San Francisco.

Can you give me an update on the PokerStars Californian iPoker tour?

Liv Boeree: Effective Altruism Global Summit “The Line Up Blew Me Away”“It’s brilliant. I have only done one stop. We did the Palomar Card Club in San Diego, which is the first stop in the coalition’s fight to get online poker back in California.

“It was great to meet the locals and there is a huge amount of interest across the state to get online poker regulated. There are still millions of Americans playing online but they are doing so on unregulated sites. Their safety is dubious to say the least, and it’s time there was solid regulated sites that had the power of the state behind them, so people can start playing poker again safely online.”

What has the feedback from the people been like?

‘It’s been overwhelmingly positive. They are super excited to be a part of it. Everyone is like: ‘Yeah I live in California and will sign the coalition and support the process.’”

Moving on to your upcoming speech at the Effective Altruism Global Summit talk about your own personal EA journey

“In a nutshell, I have had some altruistic tendencies from an early age. I was always innately drawn more to environmental activism, charities and animal welfare. Those were the things that got my emotions fired up.

“Then 18-months ago, Igor {Kurganov} and I were introduced to a group of altruists in Switzerland by Philipp Gruissem and Stefan Huber. They explained the concept of Effective Altruism and it made so much sense. When there are finite funds that can be raised, and donated, you want them to go wherever they have the biggest impact.

“Generally speaking our goals are to reduce the most amount of suffering that we can. There is a shit ton of suffering going on as we speak: humans and animals. The wider implications of that is future suffering, population growth and things like that. So it’s extremely important to be focused on the biggest issues and make sure the money donated is used in the most effective ways.”

What does doing the most good mean to you personally?

“I have finite resources: money, time and energy. In terms of the most good I can do, if I am seeing the most optimal version of myself I would use these three things to alleviate the maximum amount of suffering as I can. You can get into the philosophical argument about whether you want to maximize happiness or reduce suffering and in my opinion the worse suffering is much worse than the best happiness someone can have. One would much rather not to experience the very best happiness to avoid the worse case of torture.

“As we speak there will be an atrocity happening not to mention the animal holocaust that is going on in our factory farms every minute of every day. There is so much suffering that can be reduced so the most good I can do is to use my money, time and energy to reduce it much as I can.”

I also believe we are in the midst of an animal holocaust and was roundly criticized for suggested such in an article a few weeks ago.

“There are so many improvements that can be made in that area. If we are going to eat as much meat as we do, then lets not put profits over welfare as a blind strategy. We can improve our animal’s welfare a lot. Also intensive factory farming has tremendous environmental issues: greenhouse gases emitted by the animals, the run off into the water supply, the nitrates, the ugly use of antibiotics and the resistance to those antibiotics that could lead to a high chance of an awful plague that could cause huge suffering to both animals and humans. That’s why anti-factory farming charities are incredibly effective and there are three of them recommended via REG. There are billions of animals suffering and being killed through factory farming.”

There is a lack of awareness and education in this area.

“They haven’t been given the opportunity to have a different perspective on something. I was a meat eater for the vast majority of my life. When someone highlighted to me that I was being very speciest to care compassionately about a dog being mistreated but not give a shit for a pig crammed into a cage that can’t turn around to see daylight, then it’s a very irrational thing to just pick out some species that suffer at the hands of humans and not others.”

How do you feel about the chance to meet Elon Musk and talk at the EA Global Summit?

“Terror-excited. I am simultaneously terrified and overwhelmingly excited. It’s such an opportunity and an honor. It will be a peak experience of my life so far. The line up of the people speaking on the day I am speaking blew me away. There is Elon Musk who I have always been a fan of, then there is Nick Bostrom the author of Superintelligence and the leading mind behind Oxford Future Humanity Institute. If you read his works he is clearly one of the most intelligent human beings around. They are on before me.

“Then afterwards there is one of my favorite bloggers: Tim Urban of Wait But Why and he is talking about how to communicate EA topics effectively. There is a plethora of these intellectual superstars and people who make shit happen. Igor and I will be complete fan boys.”

If you were given the opportunity to talk with like-minded individuals on poker, EA or science which would you choose?

“I can definitely rule out science because although I love it and have a background in it I am no means a specialist in any one thing. Poker would be my easiest one to choose. I love the challenge of all three. It’s tough to choose between EA and science. I would be terrified to do both but I would love to take the challenge up and do both. Actually, give me all three.”

How are you preparing for your speech?

“In the last few days I have been writing it out long form and wrote a first draft. I am super lucky that I have Igor as my partner, sounding board and resident genius, so we talk through it. I am also fortunate enough to have the guys at REG at my disposal. They are old hats at giving speeches on EA topics so they are a great resource.

“On top of that Igor got me the best holiday present ever. He found the perfect public speaking coach called Richard Greene who has worked with Elon Musk and some of the biggest stars in a wide range of fields and industries. I have spent 8-hrs with him today. The three of us were talking for hours on the Fermi Paradox, spirituality…you name it. He is a fascinating guy and I hope to continue a friendship with him moving forward.

“He has helped with content, delivery and how to connect with the audience. It’s about emoting and getting your passion across and being your true authentic self as much as possible. I am super excited to be working with him.”

What books, references, and documentaries do you think people should watch to learn more about EA?

“Check out Peter Singer’s book: The Most Good You Can Do. He mentions Phil Gruissem and REG in that book. Essays on Reducing Suffering is an extensive list of different topics relating to the nature of suffering and ways to avoid it. It’s written by Brian Tomasik one of the greatest writers of our times.”

Name three important catalysts for change in your life?

“There are a few things that catalyzed into me be being less self serving. I went through a shitty period in my life where I had an unpleasant break up and a combination of things fell in line at that time that made it a very difficult time. It resulted in a shit ton of self-reflection and analysis of humans and the way our minds and ego works. That made me grow up a bunch and detach from things I can’t control, and focus on the things that I can. Learn to filter out the negative influences in your life.

‘A year later I was fortunate enough to find amazing love which motivated me further. It’s easier to be altruistic and generous when you feel like you have unconditional love and I have had a lot more of that since Igor has been in my life. That’s given me extra confidence to discover higher purpose things in my life.

“Also life experience: when you are younger you are figuring out what makes us tick and all the time we are still unsure about what we want to do in the world and what it should be like. I was fearful. Fear of change and my political leanings were more conservative and I feel like I have gone a complete 180 in terms of that sort of thing. That comes with time and life experience. It’s a combination of growing up, going through some hard times, and going through some really good times to give you the opportunity to experience things from different perspectives.”