Punchline: Be transparant about your worldview, especially the cultural, and always demand others in the EA community to be so too. Otherwise, we'll forever be guilty by association by our own fault of not keeping the alt-right sufficiently at bay.
Many a times has my unconditional love for EA been given a heavy blow by the obscure, occult, implicit proximity of the futurishts (-ish because this is not at all a critique on futurology, I also love that stuff). Were it for a presentation on digital minds and the heat-death of the universe or a conversation about Musk, Grimes or Peter Thiel at an EA event or the seclusionary attitudes of a LW enthousiast.
I really, really, really don’t want to tie my name to anything that has to do with Musk, Grimes, Thiel, The Alt-Right, Transhumanism, Accelerationism, etc. Not fundamentally because they are evil or bad, but because they are obscure, foggy and unaccountable. I really hope people think twice before engaging with such obscurity under the banner of Effective Altruism (I'm looking at you here, US folks).
The future is important, tech is important, the future of tech is important. We all grasp this. Also, the future of tech might very well make the future grand, unrecognisable, unrecognisably grand. We need to take these ideas seriously.
However, I want to remind you that we are united by a desire to ‘help others’, and that ‘openness’ and ‘integrity’ are some of our core values. EA is a place where you can’t hide behind either dogma or an obscure ideology, one you either kept obscure in order not to stand for anything, or one you kept explicitly obscure because you like obscurity.
In the future, please shape EA culture to stay:
- Open and honest
- Explicit in its values
Please be less tolerant to:
- The grandiose
- The obscure
- The speculative
- The intellectualist
- The elitist
- The Musk-o-verse and silicon valley culture
- People who say: ‘I don’t really consider myself an altruïst, I just find x-risk/AI really cool’
Wherever there is the obscure and the futurisht, the alt-right is not far away. I'm not saying that we should avoid all contact with Big Tech, but I do think we can do something about this ever-returning sentence: 'The movement has also remarkably attracted support from tech-billionaires such as...'. Perhaps we should just be a bit more demanding on the virtue-side of things and keep relations a bit more cold and mutually understanding.
Be transparant about your worldview, especially the cultural, and demand others to be too. Otherwise, we'll forever be guilty by association by our own fault of not keeping the alt-right sufficiently at bay.