Ulrik Horn

160Joined Apr 2021

Bio

​​I am currently working on an initiative to build a refuge (a.k.a. bunker, bioweapons shelter, etc.). I have so far been working on this refuge alongside my full-time job and with two small kids on top but look forward to making this my full-time job in April 2023.

My EA journey started in 2007 as I considered switching from a Wall Street career to instead help tackle climate change by making wind energy cheaper – unfortunately, the University of Pennsylvania did not have an EA chapter back then! A few years later, I started having doubts about my decision that climate change was the best use of my time. After reading a few books on philosophy and psychology, I decided that moral circle expansion was neglected but important and donated a few thousand sterling pounds of my modest income to a somewhat evidence-based organisation. Serendipitously, my boss stumbled upon EA in a thread on Stack Exchange around 2014 and sent me a link. After reading up on EA, I then pursued E2G with my modest income, donating ~USD20k to AMF (another ~USD15k to be donated this year). I have also done some limited volunteering for building the EA community here in Stockholm, Sweden.

How others can help me

Lately, and in consultation with 80k hours and some “EA veterans”, I have concluded that I should consider instead working directly on EA priority causes. Thus, I am determined to seek opportunities for entrepreneurship within EA, especially considering if I could contribute to launching new projects. Therefore, if you have a project where you think I could contribute, please do not hesitate to reach out (even if I am engaged in a current project - my time might be better used getting another project up and running and handing over the reins of my current project to a successor)!

How I can help others

I can share my experience working at the intersection of people and technology in deploying wind energy globally. I can also share my experience in coming from "industry" and doing entrepreneurship for direct work. Or anything else you think I can help with.

Comments
27

Might an idea (if you are not doing it already) be to go through last years' applicant lists and look for candidates that did pretty well but that you felt had room for improvement or where you might have made a misjudgment and reach out to them proactively? I see this group as potentially attractive to CE and also that might have been discouraged to apply again given their rejection. Maybe you have data on how often people who get rejected apply again and if you have not done so already, this data might help decide if what I am proposing seems worthwhile (if the percentage of people applying twice is low, I think the above suggestion looks more attractive).

Hi Jeff, thanks for taking the time to give a more expert view on this and helping me update my view on this topic. 

To your question: I guess my subjective perspective of silent is perhaps different than the criteria used in the microCOVID calculations.  I guess I might also have suffered some confirmation bias in choosing parameters "favorably". 

I do want to emphasize the use of words/phrases such as "perhaps",  "if I understand correctly" and "naïve understanding" in my original comment. I did not feel very confident in my original suggestion (perhaps I should not have posted? I am still new to the EAF and gladly accept advice on how to use it). I now think that perhaps (I am still not 100% convinced as the data on confirmed cases on flights seems scarce) flights, especially if they are on average in fact "silent", are substantially less risky than visiting a crowded, loud and poorly ventilated bar. Before you had the patience to walk me through the evidence, I had perhaps erroneously believed that taking a flight was on par with such an activity.

(one more reason for my suggestion is that I very often get sick when travelling by air no matter how much hand sanitizer I use. However, I very seldom get sick when going to bars and the like, perhaps except for the occasional hangover - haha!)

Yeah sorry for not including that. I simply went by memory and had read articles such as this one, but not spent time digging into the details. I just consulted microCOVID (still not sure if this is super reliable though!) and indeed it seems going to a bar/nightclub is more than twice as risky (I got 2800 microCOVIDs for 6-hour flight where people talked at normal volume while a 2 hour visit to a bar resulted in 8900 microCOVIDs). Thanks for encouraging me to look it up although I am not sure it significantly changed my suggestion. But I would definitely recommend an expert to make a final recommendation on whether what I proposed is indeed an intervention with among the lowest cost/benefit ratios. I guess asking participants to not visit a bar before going to the event might be even more effective.

A small-cost (at least materially) and perhaps difficult intervention would be to get as many people flying in to wear a face mask on the airplane going to an event. 

If I understand correctly flights is one of the highest risk activity for getting sick via air-borne diseases. My perhaps naïve understanding is that if something like 90% of participants wore a mask during their flight to an event, it would very cheaply and drastically reduce the risk that anyone at the event gets sick. Hopefully people going to the event worried about the stares they would get at the airport (been there, done that!) could just think "I am doing this because this is a requirement for going to the conference so I do not feel to bad about people judging me."

Just a comment from me, the main driver of Fønix: I am still on the look-out for people interested in joining. 

I have received quite a bit of interest from both strong candidates and people with the requested skills. Things have changed slightly on my end and I am now focusing more on a co-founder and I think what the realistically ideal candidate looks like is something like a strong research (as in enjoying going through lots of scientific and technical literature and performing analysis) profile combined with entrepreneurial drive (not needing direction - able to structure one's own work and setting priorities) and being "EA" (at least subscribing to the main ideas but ideally also having contributed over perhaps more than a year in one way or another - not sure what "EA enough" is as this requirement is something I have deferred to others on).

On your point on not knowing what people want, I really like that EA in general seem pretty positive to just give direct cash transfers. When they even are unconditional, it seems at first look to me that it is quite unlikely to be judged harshly in the future.

I have not thought carefully about this, but would it be possible to use this work to also set up at least the building blocks for a "biological risk reduction assessment model" that could quantify the reduction in biological risk offered by different interventions? This would be helpful in both deciding which projects targeting bio risk reduction should move forward, but also in helping teams working on a project decide between design options. As an example, the recently held Shelter Weekend (where options for biological weapons shelters were explored) generated a rather wide range of options for shelter designs which it was not straight forward to compare against each other in terms of likely risk reduction provided.

Was not www.probablygood.org set up to address the large pool of talent that might have a hard time working on the cause areas identified by 80k hrs? Not sure if others mentioned this but ctrl+f did not show me any mentions of this org.

I like the way Charity Entrepreneurship is set up - in short time during their application process, they give hopeful entrepreneurs a strong indication on whether they think the candidate is likely to be a good fit for entrepreneurship. This is helpful in that if you get rejected from the process early on, you probably should not push yourself too hard trying to start something. 

I know a longtermist incubator was attempted at one point, but perhaps it would be helpful to have some sort of EA entrepreneur screening organization that would attract a large pool of applicants, have a streamlined and time-efficient process for evaluating entrepreneurial talent and letting people know if they should spend a lot of time trying to start something or whether they should make it less of a priority? It could also be tied in with something like unconditional funding for about a year to the top talent so they do not have to burn out in the process of trying to get something off the ground? I think the LTFF is somewhat like this already but it does require you to have a pretty good idea of what you want to do - the step before that is time consuming in looking across a large number of potential interventions and aligning with the wider EA community.

Perhaps also put up a LinkedIn group - it is perhaps a nice complement to facebook which at least for my generation is usually reserved for more non-work topics. There one can with premium accounts search within a group for specific expertise, geographical location etc. to quickly find the most relevant talent (I am a bit frustrated that I cannot without paying a high price tag search the large 80k hrs LinkedIn group for engineering talent!)

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