The Association For Long Term Existence And Resilience (ALTER)

We investigate, demonstrate, and foster useful ways to improve the future in the short term, and to safeguard and improve the long-term trajectory of humanity

ALTER

ALTER, the Association for Long Term Existence and Resilience, is an academic research and advocacy organization, based in Israel, which hopes to investigate, demonstrate, and foster useful ways to improve the future in the short term, and to safeguard and improve the long-term trajectory of humanity. The Hebrew name, הארגון למען העתיד הרחוק, translates roughly to Organization for Long-Termism, with an acronym, אלתר, which is both a transliteration of the English acronym, and has a connotation related to acting immediately, and improvising.

Fostering ways to alter

the long-term trajectory of humanity

Using the framing of future generations and human flourishing to focus on immediate actions, we hope to demonstrate and foster useful ways to alter the long-term trajectory of humanity in the short term, keeping in mind the risks of hasty action and unilateralism, without being paralyzed by uncertainty

Pandemics

The risks of natural pandemics may be increasing due to environmental encroachment, population growth, and failures of international coordination. At the same time, the risks are decreasing due to improved biosurveillance, better medical technology, and faster vaccines. Preventing or at least reducing the impact of pandemics is critical for human wellbeing both now, and in the future.

Artificial Intelligence

Research on decreasing risks from self-driving cars and algorithmic bias are important, but may be ignoring longer term concerns. What failure modes exist for a society increasingly dependent on complex systems? What is the trajectory of artificial intelligence as it reaches or surpasses human levels of ability in a growing number of specific tasks, and possibly human general intelligence as well?

Health Security

Public health is a critical part of preserving global security, but anthropogenic risks from bioengineering, accidents, and biological warfare pose unclear new threats. Governments must proactively address this threat via both promotion of new technologies like metagenomic sequencing biosurveillance and new indoor air safety technologies, and regulation of technologies like DNA synthesis, which can be abused by bad actors.

Progress Studies

How can we ensure that technological progress continues to improve lives? What are the critical ways in which technology improves human lives, and how can we ensure that future technologies continue the long-term trend of making humanity safer, healthier, and happier? Which institutions can ensure that occurs, and how can we ensure that they last in the long term?

Recent Academic Research

Alter Author(s) are Bolded. Sponsored external research is italicized.
  • Rachum, Ram, Yonatan Nakar, Bill Tomlinson, Nitay Alon, and Reuth Mirsky. “Emergent Dominance Hierarchies in Reinforcement Learning Agents.” The International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (2024) Link
  • Rachum, Ram, Yonatan Nakar, and Reuth Mirsky. “Stubborn: An Environment for Evaluating Stubbornness between Agents with Aligned Incentives.” Workshop on Rebellion and Disobedience in AI at The International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (2023) Link
  • Winter, Christoph, Nicholas Hollman, and David Manheim. “Value alignment for advanced artificial judicial intelligence.” American Philosophical Quarterly 60.2 (2023): 187-203. Link
  • Adams-Phipps, Jupiter, et al., and David Manheim “A systematic review of human challenge trials, designs, and safety.” Clinical Infectious Diseases 76.4 (2023): 609-619. Link
  • Liang, Chelsea, et al. and David Manheim “Managing the Transition to Widespread Metagenomic Monitoring: Policy Considerations for Future Biosurveillance.” Health security (2023). Link
  • Endevelt, Ronit, et al. “Challenges and obstacles implementing evidence-based food fortification policy in a high-income country.” Frontiers in Public Health 11 (2023). Link

Our People

David Manheim
Director of Research and Policy
Naham Shapiro
Operations
Asher Brass
Standards Fellow

Our Supporters

The Survival and Flourishing Fund has graciously provided funding for our operations, planned conferences, and grantmaking for the coming 2 years. Prior to this, the Effective Altruism Infrastructure Fund provided initial startup costs for ALTER, as well as suggestions for the organization, and we received for support from the Long Term Futures Fund for supporting the ongoing research of David Manheim, and his time spent on administrative overhead in starting the organization.

We previously received funding from the FTX Foundation. We strongly condemn the fraudulent actions of FTX, and have returned most of the money, per an agreement with the FTX Debtors.

Founders Pledge
EA Infrastructure Fund
Long Term Futures Fund

Survival and Flourishing .Fund (SFF)

(Requires Cross-origin Resource Sharing)

Alumni

Ram Rachum
AI Safety Fellow
Rona Tobolsky
Policy Fellow