Lucy Lynch

9 karmaJoined Aug 2022


Thank you for raising this issue. You are in your 30s, I am in my 50s and I am part way through the Intro to EA program. If you can feel an outsider at 30 something, imagine how it might be for a 50 something.  

These are briefly my thoughts 

  1. There is such a predominance of youth, there is a sense that much of this has not been thought about before and therefore my lived experience has not much merit.  Yet I have lived the life of an EA even if it had no name. 
  2. There is a a certain complacency in the idea that EA is using science for decision making   (I noted Toby Ord's  reference to that in a talk ) without perhaps remembering that scientists are simply biased humans too. Galton was a much lauded academic statistician but perfected eugenics.  
  3. I have a bias here as someone whose neurodiversity means I have significant issues with mathematical concepts but yet managed to understand the excess risk taken in the City in 2006. I left my legal role as I was exhausted defending the spread of the much praised skills of hedge funders etc. I remain convinced that there is a substantial failure to admit that pure human behaviours are very strong over-rulers. Dominant men had new toys and they would be used - something that I felt comes through strongly in that excellent Forum post on the race for the nuclear bomb and had already begun to come through to me around AI (I had created a short cut explanation in my head 'oh it's the usual race thing and some overpowerful man will just one day set something going because he can').   
  4. It is hard to find answers to what feels like some very basic questions; such as the choice of charities on Give Well.  It seems to me that some hard questions don't even get asked, for eg why should charitable donations make good what a Nigerian government is failing to do in its own program to distribute Vitamin A? I have searched for criteria that might address the choice of charity but cannot find them. I do not understand why  there is no prioritising vaccine for Malaria over reducing risk of catching.  This is of particular interest to me as I was the founding trustee of a charity in the UK that has its parent in the US. My scout mindset has still found no reason to doubt my support of it.  I wonder about the potential for Give Well acting as a funnel that might adversely affect other charities - creating its own neglectedness criteria.  I raise these in the Intro discussions but there is no traction or explanation.

I hope that somehow I will find my place within the EA world - maybe I can set up "EA for Oldies; your contribution is relevant too"? I understand that I have only been looking at the Forum for a month or so; if someone can point to any area that does consider how  those of us towards the end of our careers can contribute, I would be very grateful.