Ulrik Horn

761 karmaJoined Apr 2021Working (6-15 years)

Bio

Participation
4

​​I am currently working on an initiative to build a refuge (a.k.a. bunker, bioweapons shelter, etc.). 

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 ~USD35k to AMF. I have done some limited volunteering for building the EA community here in Stockholm, Sweden. Additionally, I set up and was an admin of the ~1k member EA system change Facebook group (apologies for not having time to make more of it!). Lastly, (and I am leaving out a lot of smaller stuff like giving career guidance, etc.) I have coordinated with other people interested in doing EA community building in UWC high schools and have even run a couple of EA events at these schools.

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 keep seeking 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 infrastructure/a new technology/wind energy globally. I can also share my experience in coming from "industry" and doing EA entrepreneurship/direct work. Or anything else you think I can help with.

I am also concerned about the "Diversity and Inclusion" aspects of EA and would be keen to contribute to make EA a place where even more people from all walks of life feel safe and at home. Please DM me if you think there is any way I can help. Currently, I expect to have ~5 hrs/month to contribute to this (a number that will grow as my kids become older and more independent).

Comments
195

Excellent post Jessica, and intriguing! On the point about jobs outside the West, I would be curious to learn more if anyone has looked into it:
-A lot of outbreaks of disease happens in poorer countries - could there be opportunities to deliver engineered disease management tools in these locations? Might even overlap a bit with AIM/CE work.
-What about engineering work on semiconductors and/or chips? I am super naive about this but would guess Taiwan and the Netherlands would also be potential locations to have lots of impact as an engineer?

I also have a question which is more personal:
-As a mech eng myself I am curious about the mapping of engineering disciplines to cause areas? I would naively think that mech eng maps onto CC and nuclear, while bio eng maps more onto biosec and alt proteins.

Probably lots of motivated reasoning here as I am doing something quite entrepreneurial myself: A positive about doing something in the early stages is that if we get lots of additional EA funding in a few years (there are indications chances of this are significant), we will likely again be scrambling for people to start new projects, just like in the "FTX days". It would be good both for:

  • Candidates to build career capital, knowledge and skills in starting something new, and
  • For these candidates to have a track record from doing so to demonstrate to grantmakers

I think these skills are somewhat uniquely built in doing something as close as possible to EA entrepreneurship.

Yes I think this is a weakness of this diet too. I asked GPT to list the veggies most commonly seen in blue zones, and if I recollect correctly one might want to consider adding garlic, onions and perhaps sweet potatoes and tomatoes too (I think there were a couple of others). Also, kale and brussels sprouts have a similar nutritional profile to broccoli and could work well in this diet too. For me it is not possible due to time constraints (unless my kids suddenly one day go "dad I want to live healthily and long, please make me veggies!") but I am likely to diversify once I get a bit more time back. But I think as it stands it is a vast improvement over Huel, I am guessing like 80% of improvement with 20% of effort type of situation. Also, I do advise to opportunistically eat fruits (or different vegetables) whenever the opportunity presents itself. 

Not sure where it's best to leave this comment, but I might want to caution a bit against leaning too heavily on "what do you like best in high school" as a guide to what to study/work on. I read your excellent engineering profile on your website and recognized myself having used my passion and abilities in high school physics to guide me to mechanical engineering. However, I really enjoy both software engineering as well as data analysis, and have some evidence I do well in these, if not better than in mechanical engineering.

The problem was that I was never exposed to software engineering or data analysis/science in high school so I did not know my passion or skill level in these disciplines. I do not know how to solve this problem of not getting exposed to all fields in high school, or even university. I love the US liberal arts education where you are forced to try other disciplines and worry that students in Europe/non-liberal-arts-institutions might only at a very late stage in their life, or not at all, realize there was something they love even more and do better in, but that they were never exposed to. I did see that you mentioned in your profile that certain universities have "discipline agnostic" first years in engineering - but I think perhaps there is a case to be made that those that do not naturally get exposed to all fields, have a hard think about whether they might actually be a better fit for something they have not yet tried.

Such a good piece! It baffles me too that Marxists, socialists, labor-focused academics, etc. is not pouring over the issues around AI - if ever there was a threat to the proletariat (and especially the Western, bourgeois, left-leaning section), this is it! The trajectory seems clearly to be replacing human labor with machines, and in so doing concentrating wealth and power in a way and at a speed I think we have never seen before.

Edit/addition: The Hollywood writers' strike is actually a promising example that some labor-focused people and organizations are on top of this.

Yeah I might definitely be using some motivated reasoning here. Happy to take feedback here especially backed up by evidence.

It's not super well thought through but my understanding is that you need lots of carbs to bulk up, not just protein. And I'm the skinny type so that seems extra fitting in my circumstances. I then thought what is a high carb food that would further diversify my diet and raisins seemed easy and cheap.

Thanks Lincoln that's a good point - I had not considered that. I'm so used to thinking EV super big deal. Let's hope there is good diversity in the leadership in the various spun out organisations.

Thanks! I am quite concerned about DEI in EA and comment frequently about it (these comments, like here, often get ~30 votes and end up +/- 0). My guess is that some people perceive me to be on some sort of culture war mission. And I do think the dialogue I am inspiring with my comments can at times be uncomfortable and "detract" people from our super important work on animal welfare, global health, existential risk, etc. I think there is some truth to this but I think other factors are at play too, especially for me personally.

I also think many people reading posts like this have similar thoughts as I do (there was 2 disagree votes on the post before I commented - maybe they had the same concern?). But I think many people with these thoughts are concerned about commenting as it might put them at a disadvantage when applying for grants or jobs. If that is true, I feel even more compelled to use my privilege to make comments so that people can anonymously and easily just hit the upvote or agree button. Maybe we could have AI write different takes on posts in the future, in the same way you can have GPT pretend to be certain political characters - we already have the summary bot!

I am thinking about maybe writing a post about why I care about DEI so much, although I would not expect a lot of people to change their voting patterns.

Thanks for everyone's hard work on board assignments - I know they often go by uncompensated.

I could not help but notice that 3 women are stepping down, being replaced by 2 men and one woman. I know it is impossible to draw statistical conclusions from this in terms of gender trends, but still, my precursory understanding is that diversity in leadership, including board seats, help drive diversity "further down". I am thus concerned that the shifting gender balances here might make other DEI work more of an uphill battle. I am also sure you have reflected on this but would be curious if you could share any of your thinking on the topic? I also realize that since board seats are uncompensated, it places undue burdens on women in such positions who might also bear disproportionate caretaking responsibilities at home (one solution could be for board members' employers to see their work on the boards of other orgs ar part of their job - or maybe this is something EA orgs already do).

I do not mean to come across as too critical in this comment but have to make the comment in a bit of a haste so please forgive any lack of nuance I have not included. And I know EA orgs in general are super good at best practices in hiring - I love the way for example RP really tries to prevent biases from affecting their hiring decisions.

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