Friday, December 22, 2023

Effective Altruism Lost Its Way

A Quillete essay explains Effective Altruism as a name chosen for fund-raising purposes:
[Philosher Peter] Singer’s essay presented a now-famous thought experiment: “If I am walking past a shallow pond and see a child drowning in it, I ought to wade in and pull the child out. This will mean getting my clothes muddy, but this is insignificant, while the death of the child would presumably be a very bad thing.” Singer says this scenario isn’t all that different from the situation that confronts us every day—we’re well aware of the immense suffering in the world that could be improved without “sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance,” yet we fail to act. While there’s a clear psychological difference between allowing a child to drown right in front of you and failing to donate a lifesaving amount to an effective global nonprofit, the end result of each choice is the same.
No, the results are not the same. One is being a decent human being. The other is foolishing pursuing a stupid socialist utopia.
Two of the biggest stories in tech this year took place just weeks apart: the conviction of disgraced crypto magnate Sam Bankman-Fried on charges of fraud and money laundering and the firing of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. Altman was later reinstated as the head of OpenAI after most of the company threatened to resign over his firing, but Bankman-Fried may face decades in prison. Beyond the two CEOs named Sam at the center of these stories, there’s another connection—many people believe EA is to blame in both cases.
The article explains how some of these do-gooders have some very strange ideas about saving the world. In Bankman-Fried's case, it was stealing investor money and donating to the Democrat Party. I would suggest against giving money to any of these creeps. They are making the world worse.

The article suggests that maybe some people could be more successful EAs if they were more pragmatic. I think the whole concept is evil.


CFT said...

Strange how so many on the left confuse 'making the world better' with 'controlling people without their consent'. I notice it's a repeating theme throughout all Marxist philosophies like communism (which openly and overtly controls people) and socialism (which covertly and dishonestly controls people).

I notice the key component of leftest thinking is deception, as they know no one will buy their ideas if they are fully informed of what they intend, so they say one thing and do an entirely different thing. The left sees themselves as the responsible adult, and everyone else as their immature children, to be guided with or without their consent, and then told whatever is necessary to get them to comply like a mother lying to her children to get them to behave.

The left always says 'it would have worked, if only we had used different messaging' and then always seems to leave out the whole part of what the 'it' actually was.

MikeAdamson said...

I don't see any philosophical difference between Effective Altruism and the Prosperity Gospel. They are both self-evidently weird.