Today, The Guardian published an article titled " ‘Eugenics on steroids’: the toxic and contested legacy of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute ". I thought I should flag this article here, since it's such a major news organization presenting a rather scathing picture of EA and longtermism. 

Personally, I see much of this article as unfair, but I imagine it will be successful in steering some readers away from engaging with the ideas of EA and longtermism.

I have a lot of thoughts about this article, but I don't want to turn this into an opinion piece. I'll just say that I like this quote from the recent conversation between Sam Harris and Will MacAskill: "ideas about existential risk and actually becoming rational around the real effects of efforts to do good, rather than the imagined effects or the hoped-for effects... all of that still stands. I mean, none of that was wrong, and none of that is shown to be wrong, by the example of Sam Bankman Fried, and so I do mourne any loss that those ideas have suffered in public perception because of this." -Sam Harris, ~1:01:52, episode #361 of the Making Sense podcast.




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Seems like a rather vague collection of barely connected anecdotes haphazardly strung together.

I am not particularly concerned as I don't see this persuading anybody.

Gonna roll the dice and not click the link, but will guess that Torres and/or Gebru gets cited extensively! - such a shame this excellent piece doesn't get more circulation

I found this very concerning. I posted it but then a helpful admin showed me where it was already posted, I need to be better at searching :D 

When we consider the impact of this, we need to forget for a moment everything we know about EA and imagine the impact this will have on someone who has never heard of EA, or who has just a vague idea about it. 

I do not agree at all with the content of the article, and especially not with the tone of the article, which frankly surprised me from the Guardian. But even this shows how marginal EA is, even in the UK - that one columnist can write a pretty ill-informed and unresearched article, and apparently nobody challenged it. 

BUT: I also see an opportunity. If someone credible from the UK EA community were to write an even, balanced rebuttal of this piece, that might turn this into a positive. Focusing on the way that people like Tony Ord choose to live frugally and donate most of their salary to good causes as being far more reflective of EA than the constant reference to SBF (who of course is one of the very few EA's mentioned in the article). 

I'm not sure the editors at the Guardian realise how closely EA's philosophy aligns with many of the values they promote, and maybe this is a chance to change that and get some positive publicity.

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