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Most important unfulfilled role in the EA ecosystem?

by casebash1 min read5th Apr 20195 comments

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I've written before that EA can be viewed as a system. There are certain roles that, if filled well, cause the system as a whole to be more successful. For example, 80,000 hours ensures that EAs end up in jobs where they can have an impact and university EA groups ensure a fresh supply of top graduates. What role, which is currently unfulfilled or not fulfilled well is the greatest bottleneck on the capacity of EA to succeed?

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A larger number of formidable people, in Paul Graham's sense of the word.

Here's some related recent discussion on LessWrong.

This is a great answer. I would have said something like "leadership" in that EA has leaders but few of them are people you would march into battle and die for. I feel like there's almost no one in EA proper and only a couple people on the edges (mostly because their cause area was taken up by EA, and they didn't come from within EA) who has demonstrated something like the 10x skill of leadership and motivation.

Put more colloquially, EA needs a Steve Jobs, an FDR, a Winston Churchill, an Oda Nobunaga.

I have a pretty averse reaction to all the people you named, expect I would feel similarly about someone in that mold in EA, and expect many other people in EA would feel similarly. I don't think charismatic leadership fits all that well with the other elements of EA in ways both important and incidental.

To what extent do you think people are born that way and to what extent do you think they become it? If they are more born that way, how do we get such people involved? And if they become it, how do we make that happen?

2Milan_Griffes3yI have a bunch of thoughts about this that'd be easier to convey elsewhere. Shoot me an email? (here [https://flightfromperfection.com/pages/about.html])