Impact Island is the hip new reality TV show that all of your cool, chic, and longtermist impact-oriented friends would love to binge watch. Think "Survivor" meets "Shark Tank" meets "Open Philanthropy."


The premise is simple: 36 young humble aspiring effective altruists are invited to a private Caribbean Island. Each aspiring EA is expected to do high-impact projects during their stay here. They will also gossip and continuously publicly rate each other's projects, impact, and likability. Every week, an anonymous team of grantmakers rank all participants, and whoever accomplished the least morally impactful work that week will be kicked off the island. 

At the end of the season (36 episodes), the single remaining most impactful participant will be given 10 million dollars of seed funding for their new org.

How will you select participants?

Participants will be chosen via a formal selection process combining past track records, good looks, EA promisingness, movie chemistry, reference letters, and the coherent extrapolated gut feels of leading EA grantmakers. Of course, all participants are expected to be polyamorous.

How much is this project? Do you need more funding?

Our current budget is $25 million dollars. We have already secured funding from reputable EA sources, such as the FTX Future Fund, Open Philanthropy, Longview Philanthropy's Media Engagement arm, actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and real estate mogul with political and reality TV experience Donald Trump.

However, 25 million is only enough money to tide us over for season 1 (36 episodes). As we (the producers) believe strongly in patient longtermism, we would ideally like to run for 3 quadrillion seasons. Thus, we have extremely large room for more funding, which we do not expect to fill any time soon, making us the premier community building EA megaproject.

Do you plan to seek additional sources of funding?

Yes, we believe in being self-financing as quickly as possible, so we plan to mint an NFT of every episode.

What is the expected impact of this project?

We think the expected impact of the project is so high it is literally incalculable. If we're forced to put numbers on this, we think we can get at least 10 million viewers, and conservatively 1% of those people (1 billion viewers) will counterfactually become EAs. This will be the largest and most successful community building megaproject EA has ever seen, and even if our impact calculation is substantially off (say by 25%), 750 million highly engaged EAs is still an impressive number.

In addition to the community building aspect, we also think that the direct impact of having 36 EAs do highly impactful projects can be quite high, and having them all continuously rate each other can help solve the vetting bottleneck in EA.

Further, we think the NFTs funding schema should quickly become self-financing, meaning that this project will pay for itself in no time (less than 3 geological eons in our techno-economic analysis).

How does this project fair in terms of importance, neglectedness, and tractability?


In addition to becoming a future cultural milestone (incalculable value), we also think this project has very high community building benefits, as well as direct impact.


To the best of our knowledge, no other impact-oriented reality TV show in the Carribean exists, suggesting high neglectedness.


We're very sure of the tractability of this project, having read skimmed multiple blog posts on how to run reality TV shows.

How will you make sure the TV show is fun to watch?

We think watching people doing high-impact altruistic activities in front of their computers is high utility (and thus fun) enough! 

But for discerning reality TV viewers, we intend to inject drama by a) selecting highly neurotic and extremely disagreeable people with very different cause areas in the initial program, and b) having them rate each other aggressively.

Furthermore, all participants will live and work in the same hotel with spotty WiFi (which is critical to their impact), and there will only be a small number of MiFi mobile internet hotspots for participants to fight over.

Finally, we will encourage vicious fights and disagreements among participants about whether counterfactual or Shapley values are the best ways to measure impact, which our specialty consultants from QURI have assured us is among the most fun things to watch ever.

Special events and celebrity judges

We intend to have a visitor program where EA visitors can interact with our participants, increasing drama, tension, and the viewers' knowledge of the current EA landscape.

We've invited Will MacAskill, Elon Musk, Grimes, and Eliezer Yudkowsky to be our celebrity judges.

In addition to impact, special events will have celebrity judges rate participants on other desirable features, such as intellectual engagement, ambition, likeability, and ability to die with dignity. 

How robust is your theory of change?

In addition to general judgement and our cost-effectiveness analyses (see above) in the community-building space, we also believe this project performs robustly well along a wide range of cause areas:

Global Health and Poverty

The TV show will be set in a pretty poor island nation, and many expenditures will be used to power the local economy. According to our impact consultant, the estimated impact of those purchases will be "within 3 orders of magnitude of GiveDirectly", which is pretty close to being an optimal global poverty intervention!

Animal Welfare

At least one participant is working on animal welfare. In addition, we're committed to catering cruelty-free meat on Mondays at Impact Island, and at least one participant is flexitarian, helping to raise awareness of this very important cause area.

AI Safety

At least one participant is working on AI Safety. Impact Island is very strongly committed to AI safety. We will only use safe AIs (AIs with adversarial debiasing for fairness) in our postproduction processing of this show.


Being on an island, Impact Island is naturally a safer location in case of a large scale pandemic. In addition, as part of the program, we plan to host talks and discussions about the most creative and deadly potential bioweapons and biological information hazards on live TV, helping to raise awareness of this very important cause area.

Nuclear security

Being on an island, Impact Island is naturally a safer location in case of a large scale nuclear war.  In addition, one of the producers read a study at some point that found that watching reality TV helps reduce probability of great power conflict and thus nuclear war. She's too busy to reread the study, but we think that the case is now sufficiently strong to start a pilot experiment to test this hypothesis. 

Climate Change

Impact Island NFT is built using EcoCoin, a highly environmentally friendly blockchain system, helping to raise awareness of this very important cause area.

Do you have reservations about this program?

Yes, we have reserved many TV studio spaces and parking spots in anticipation of this project.

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14 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 2:36 AM

Wait, was THIS how that swanky Bahamas retreat was paid for last month? I never even noticed the cameras...

That was for the pilot program! The final show will have substantially more luxurious accommodations, as well as more exciting drama. 

I hope you got a good shot of us all running naked into the ocean that one night...

This is presumably an April Fools joke but is there any reason this wouldn't be a good idea? Get a bunch of EA's to network, advertise the hell out of it, and get more funding on top of that..

Because the space of possible things one could do is vast, and optimal actions are far in between

Making people aggressively argue why other peoples work is should be dropped / stopped could create scisms between groups that the participants are pooled from. Animal Welfarist drops first with unanimous vote. Guess how many EAs express animal welfare as their area of interest when meeting new folks? Its partly a scissor statement factory.

[Out of character] Because, among other issues, watching people do high-impact research on their computers does not typically make for good reality TV, and good reality TV personalities do not typically make for good collaborators or managers.

Mostly the “trashiness” (fun though it may be) potentially tarnishing the outside reputation of, like, literally everyone involved.

I'm bullish on radical transparency at this point. Whoever is the most unrelentingly brash will seize the next moral aesthetics cycle.


  • The premise is simple:36 young humble aspiring -> simple: 36
  • If we're forced to put numbers on this, we think we can get at least 10 million viewers, and conservatively 1% of those people (1 billion viewers)... and even if our impact calculation is substantially off (say by 25%), 750 million highly engaged EAs -> [Apparently the impact here was so incalculable that all of the numbers in this paragraph got mixed up.]
  • but we think now that the case is sufficiently strong -> but we think that the case is now

There might be some minor math errors, but as explained in the post, we're confident that this is a highly impactful intervention even if our impact calculations are substantially (say by 25%) off.

Thanks for the other grammar corrections! Edited.

Please tell me you're not saying that (to paraphrase) "1% of 10 million is 1 billion" is an intentional math error. That would be too much even for April Fool's.

[Out of character] It was intentional yeah.

For shame!

(Also, your Facebook link doesn't work for me with the following error: "This content isn't available at the moment: When this happens, it's usually because the owner only shared it with a small group of people or changed who can see it, or it's been deleted.")