Khorton comments on [link] "20-year-old claims $451 million jackpot, hopes to 'do some good for humanity'" - Effective Altruism Forum

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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.