[link] "20-year-old claims $451 million jackpot, hopes to 'do some good for humanity'"


"Missler plans on plunking down some of the lottery loot for a new home in Tampa and then pursuing a 'variety of passions,' according to the Florida Lottery, as well as helping others.

'I intend to take care of my family, have some fun along the way, and cement a path for financial success so that I can leave a legacy far into the future,' Missler said in a statement. 'I have always been one to encourage the idea of chasing dreams and I believe life is about the pursuit of passion. I am 20 years old and my journey has only just begun.'

The win didn't come as a shock for Missler, whose attorney set up a private limited company called 'Secret 007, LLC,' officials said."

ETA: I'm posting this here because this may be an unusual opportunity to cause some proportion of jackpot winnings to go to effective organizations.  My first thought was for something along the lines of a change.org petition to be sent to his LLC suggesting that he consider donating to GiveDirectly as a means of using his winnings to benefit humanity, with a case for the particular value of GiveDirectly from multiple ethical perspectives (ETA: WITHOUT going out of the way to connect GD to EA, just focusing on GD itself).  Others here are welcome to use this as a starting point and refine it, offer other ideas, or argue that this entire line of thought is misguided.  Inaction should be the default, but with potentially tens of millions of dollars that the winner wants to use altruistically but has no specific plans for, I think an attempt at outreach should at least be seriously considered.

Comments (11)

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 13 January 2018 12:47:49AM 3 points [-]

Far be it for me to rain on the parade of someone who wants to do good with their windfall -- I do admire that -- but I downvoted this post because it does not have any direct EA relevance.

Comment author: Gondolinian 13 January 2018 01:23:12AM 3 points [-]

See edit.

Comment author: Milan_Griffes 13 January 2018 12:57:52AM 2 points [-]

Seems relevant if someone wants to reach out & see if Missler is aware of / interested in EA.

Comment author: Khorton 13 January 2018 01:09:31AM 3 points [-]

That's what I expected to see when I clicked on the title: an actionable item. This would have been relevant if the be millionaire expressed interest in being contacted by strangers. However, it does not seem like that's the case, so it's not useful for many EAs to spend their time reading it.

Comment author: Milan_Griffes 17 January 2018 03:45:53PM *  3 points [-]

A more proactive stance seems appropriate here. Missler didn't say "please don't contact me," and has been open about his win on social media, so inquiries to see if he's aware of EA seem worth it. (It takes about 3 minutes to find & message them on facebook; payoff is a small chance of creating another value-aligned multimillionaire funder.)

Comment author: MetricSulfateFive 19 January 2018 06:35:27PM 2 points [-]

Isn't this an example of the unilateralist's curse? If every EA independently decides whether to slide into his DMs, the people who decide to do so will be those who are overconfident in their persuasion abilities.

The risk here is that someone will give him a negative first impression of EA. People don't change their minds nearly as much as they should, so first impressions matter a lot. Any below-99th-percentile attempt to reach out to multimillionaires could have very negative expected utility.

That said, I'm not sure this argument is correct, so I'd appreciate criticism.

Comment author: Gondolinian 19 January 2018 07:55:37PM 0 points [-]

I share this concern. See my comment here: http://effective-altruism.com/ea/1jk/link_20yearold_claims_451_million_jackpot_hopes/d4t

I've edited the OP again to clarify.

Comment author: Lila 17 January 2018 05:51:44PM 1 point [-]

You might as well randomly go through the list of multimillionaires/billionaires and cold-call them. Maybe not the worst idea, but there's nothing in particular to suggest this guy would be special.

Comment author: Milan_Griffes 17 January 2018 07:10:44PM *  4 points [-]

That seems like not a bad idea, though probably not very tractable.

A couple things stand out here as special:

  • Missler suddenly came into a windfall, so probably is under a house money effect.
  • He's very young, so probably doesn't yet have a calcified theory about how to do good.
  • He's easy to contact (you can just shoot him a DM on facebook), which isn't true for most ultra-high-net-worth individuals.
Comment author: Gondolinian 18 January 2018 03:04:11PM 1 point [-]

Yes, the first two points in combination with his publicly stated desire to benefit humanity are a large part of why I considered this an unusual opportunity.

Comment author: Gondolinian 18 January 2018 03:01:56PM 0 points [-]

I think there's a case to be made for only positively recommending highly robust organizations like GiveDirectly to start with in situations like this if doing anything at all. EA reasoning can be implicitly included in the case for such organizations' value, but just trying to get very powerful and poorly understood agents "aware of EA" seems unnecessarily risky both for PR and delicate cause areas like AI.

If someone seems "on the same wavelength" (roughly, "an analytical thinker with altruistic motivations" as it is often put), then they could of course be introduced to EA theory and community. But I think EAs tend to typical-mind and overestimate how many people are inclined to think analytically, which is especially relevant in this case, as lottery winners are much less filtered than e.g. successful business leaders.