November 19th • 3h 13m
Every new episode of No Agenda is accompanied by a comprehensive list of shownotes curated by Adam while preparing for the show. Clips played by the hosts during the show can also be found here.
Antisemitism - not phobia?
IBM Pulls Ads From X/Twitter After Ads Ran Next to Pro-Nazi Content
Media Matter's formal Form 990 mission:
DEDICATED TO COMPREHENSIVELY MONITORING, ANALYZING, AND CORRECTING CONSERVATIVE MISINFORMATION IN THE U.S. MEDIA
Jews vs Everyone
Antisemitism - not phobia?
OpenAI Altman Effective Altruism
Based on the board’s language and the way these giant tech companies work, this is the prevailing theory floating around right now. “Not consistently candid” is a very diplomatic way of saying Altman lied.
BOTG More than you ever wanted to know about Effective Altruism
EA falls out of a community called LessWrong. Lesswrong is (was, anyway; I haven't been involved in years) best described as "a male self improvement cult for autistic Jewish programmers". It was started by a fellow named Eliezer Yudkowsky, who drew inspiration from rabbinical teachings and combined it with, for lack of a better word, extremely autistic navel-gazing, in order to write a bunch of guides on cognitive biases, human failings, and how to overcome them.
The LessWrong community has a few foibles, and one of them is that they are way too naieve and trusting. So, over the past 5-10 years, they've been co-opted by the same trans marxist woke stuff that everyone else was. Now, "AI risk" has been co-opted from what it actually was, to "how do we make AI not right wing".
When EA started, the sales pitch was pretty simple: most charity is bullshit. You donate to some local charity, they spend 80% of the money on 'overhead' and the remaining 20% of the money on, say, a statue in the town square. If you really like statues and wasting money, that's cool. But if you're someone who really wants to do the utilitarian-best-thing with your money, that's not cool.
In any case, this sort of 'arguing over what the real utility function is' was the vector by which politicization came in. Then AI started becoming a big deal, and the powers that be noticed that this organization had spent the last 15 years basically declaring themselves the experts of AI. The powers that be did what they do, and co-opted everything. Most of the LW/EA people were too naieve and trusting to understand what happened, and got snowed. Then SBF happened, and that takes us to where we are.
I think I might have written in to you about them once before. This is the community that came up with 'bio-hacking', the idea that a bunch of sad lonely men who can't get dates could date each other if only they reverse-conversion-therapy'd themselves into being gay. (It didn't work).
Altman MIC and Jony Ive
Helen Toner : AI Expert - OECD.AI
Helen Toner is Director of Strategy and Foundational Research Grants at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET). She previously worked as a Senior Research Analyst at Open Philanthropy, where she advised policymakers and grantmakers on AI policy and strategy. Between working at Open Philanthropy and joining CSET, Helen lived in Beijing, studying the Chinese AI ecosystem as a Research Affiliate of Oxford University’s Center for the Governance of AI. Helen has written for Foreign Affairs and other outlets on the national security implications of AI and machine learning for China and the United States, as well as testifying before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. She is a member of the board of directors for OpenAI. Helen holds an MA in Security Studies from Georgetown, as well as a BSc in Chemical Engineering and a Diploma in Languages from the University of Melbourne.
Helen Toner – The National Security Futures Hub
Helen Toner is a member of the National Security College Futures Council and Director of Strategy at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET). She previously worked as a Senior Research Analyst at the Open Philanthropy Project, where she advised policymakers and grantmakers on AI policy and strategy. Between working at Open Philanthropy and joining CSET, Helen lived in Beijing, studying the Chinese AI ecosystem as a Research Affiliate of Oxford University’s Center for the Governance of AI. Helen has written for Foreign Affairs and other outlets on the national security implications of AI and machine learning for China and the United States, as well as testifying before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Helen holds a BSc in Chemical Engineering and a Diploma in Languages from the University of Melbourne.
Centre for Effective Altruism - Wikipedia
In 2015 and 2016, CEA incorporated several projects, including Effective Altruism Global and Giving What We Can, and began to function as a centralized organization, rather than merely as an umbrella. Sam Bankman-Fried joined CEA as director of development in late 2017, leaving shortly thereafter to fund Alameda Research. In 2018, CEA launched a new version of the Effective Altruism Forum, based on the LessWrong codebase.
Effective Altruism and the Cult of Rationality: Shaping the Political Future from FTX to AI — COLUMBIA POLITICAL REVIEW
The EA movement has become more prevalent in the current socio-political landscape due to its connection to Sam Bankman-Fried and the FTX cryptocurrency scandal. While the actual function of FTX is relatively unrelated to promoting an EA ideology, Backman-Fried himself was one of the most vocal advocates for the EA mission and provided substantial donations to the cause. His net worth, prior to congressional investigations, was estimated at $32 billion.
On November 11, 2022, Bankman-Fried’s company filed for bankruptcy. $8 billion in customer deposits were reported missing, and Bankman-Fried was shortly thereafter arrested in the Bahamas on December 13, 2022. The next day, the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs conducted a full committee hearing about the crypto crash.
This incident created several problems for the EA movement. Not only was the movement’s public image affected, but the millions of dollars Bankman-Fried planned to give to EA organizations and interest charities disappeared overnight. The movement has lost one of its wealthiest supporters. More importantly, however, the scandal prompted a reckoning on how an organization that prioritizes rationality, scrutiny, and assessing risk could miss this level of blatant unethical practices. Of course, Effective Altruists insist the FTX scandal has not impacted their mission.
Effective Altruism Has a Sexual Harassment Problem, Women Say | Time
Effective Altruism Promises to Do Good Better. These Women Say It Has a Toxic Culture Of Sexual Harassment and Abuse
But as Gopalakrishnan got further into the movement, she realized that “the advertised reality of EA is very different from the actual reality of EA,” she says. She noticed that EA members in the Bay Area seemed to work together, live together, and sleep together, often in polyamorous sexual relationships with complex professional dynamics. Three times in one year, she says, men at informal EA gatherings tried to convince her to join these so-called “polycules.” When Gopalakrishnan said she wasn’t interested, she recalls, they would “shame” her or try to pressure her, casting monogamy as a lifestyle governed by jealousy, and polyamory as a more enlightened and rational approach.
The Cults of Sam Bankman-Fried - The Atlantic
The second is the cult of effective altruism, a philosophy that seeks to do the most good for the most people, now and in the future. Despite its controversies, I find EA (as it’s often known) to be a compelling corrective for many modern activists and philanthropists. If you want to give away money, EA urges you to figure out how to make the most difference to the most lives. If you want to find a meaningful job, it offers clever (perhaps, sometimes, too clever) ideas for how to plow a career path that will create more value for the world than your likely replacement.
The good delusion: has effective altruism broken bad?
The collapse of FTX has been disastrous for crypto’s reputation. But it is also a massive blow to effective altruism. Bankman-Fried had pledged to give away most of this wealth, which at one point Forbes estimated at more than $26bn. (Bankman-Fried did not respond to interview requests for this article.) He had funnelled over $130m into the movement in 2022 alone via the FTX Future Fund, a charity that provides grants to projects aiming to secure humanity’s long-term future. Some of effective altruism’s leading figures, including MacAskill, were part of the team – they resigned en masse after FTX imploded, saying they were “shocked and immensely saddened”. “To the extent that the leadership of FTX may have engaged in deception or dishonesty, we condemn that behaviour in the strongest possible terms,” they wrote. But the fall of Bankman-Fried raises questions about whether his belief that he was doing the right thing justified some of his reckless professional actions.
Well before the recent fiasco, a number of effective altruists had begun to cast doubt on the direction of the movement and its tightly knit core of benefactors and leaders. Many, like Chugg and Cremer, felt drawn to the effective-altruism community at Oxford. Chugg told me that EAs were “the kindest, nerdiest people you’ll ever meet”. But over time both noticed that the movement’s focus was starting to shift. Of the research areas 80,000 Hours lists as having the most impact, ending factory farming and combating climate change had been downgraded, as had improving health care in poor countries.
NA1609: Suicide and power of suggestion BOTG
Very apt thing to point out, my daughter, who as far as I know was not suicidal gave a nurse what she felt was an honest answer that she was thinking about suicide. 8 hours later in the ER she gets sent home, then her life falls apart, she breaks up with her boyfriend, she quits her job, she actually does get suicidal. Tells her grandparents who take her to the hospital again and boom, now she's got a week in the psych ward and upped antidepressants and a huge bill.
I'm glad she's alive of course, but I certainly didn't need someone else to tell her that suicidal thoughts are a 'free' ticket to a week away from her parents and school.
Also, the youth psych ward had a 10 to 1 ratio of girls to boys.
Sameglutide Heart Health false advertising BOTG
You may recall I was a lab rat for semaglutide (and it almost indirectly killed me).
It was approved for diabetics. In diabetics with previous heart disease, taking the drug, they saw a reduced incidence of recurring heart attacks. That's why they trialed it with people like me, to see if it could reduce heart attacks in "obese" people with previous heart disease.
Swiss report on logistics and Verboten with regard to ozempic
Since you mentioned ozempic in previous shows here’s an update from the Swiss German public broadcaster website, although perhaps not very eyebrow raising:
Stock is tight in several European countries it reports.
Already Belgium and GB have prohibited prescription of ozempic for weight loss purposes.
Now Enea Martinelli of the Swiss Pharmacist Association warns that if also Germany is going to limit export to other countries keeping stocks up will become very difficult.
(Wenn nun auch Deutschland Ozempic nicht mehr ins Ausland liefern würde…….)
For Switzerland the official board responsible for medicine supply(BWL) said:
"If necessary, it would be conceivable – in consultation with the medical societies – to limit the indications to the vital indication of “diabetes”.”.
Based on the “also” in the report apparently several countries are restructuring exports of ozempic.
The eventual decision for applying actual restriction have to be made by medical doctors according to the Srf report.
Gen Z getting news from TikTok BOTG
I am a 21 year old listener of the show (not a douchebag) and avid TikTok user. As you and John have pointed out numerous times on the show, much of my generation get their news and information about current events from sources on TikTok. Although many media outlets such as Sky News, CBS, MSNBC, and all the usual suspects put out their coverage of current events on TikTok, in short and often dumbed-down clips, they don’t seem to gain much traction. Instead, certain people on TikTok have become what I like to call, “iPhone Journalists,” who put out rapid fire breakdowns of current events and developments that are catered to Gen-Z’s incredibly short attention spans. (I’ve included links to a couple examples) These individuals are essentially an influencer version of large news conglomerations, but since they are just one person, seem more trustworthy and honest than traditional media. (Kind of like your buddy who’s “in-the-know” and is just relaying information) All of this, in my opinion, has resulted in much of my generation developing a false sense of being informed, and many of them just having a surface level understanding of things.
In summary, TikTok is saturated with anecdotal information, in a very short and rapid fire format, that is presented as fact, while almost no real evidence is being cited as a source. And when “evidence” is being cited, it’s just an article from a big media outlet.
Leadership | Media Matters for America
Sun, 19 Nov 2023 14:15
Angelo Carusone (President & Chief Executive Officer) was named president & CEO of Media Matters in December 2016. Previously, he was the organization's executive vice president. He joined Media Matters in 2010. In 2016, he took a leave of absence to serve as the deputy CEO for finance & administration of the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Angelo is an expert on right-wing extremism and has become a go-to resource for journalists writing about disinformation. He is a recognized authority on brand safety in advertising as well as a prolific organizer who has led many high-profile corporate campaigns. Notably, Angelo launched the viral #DumpTrump campaign in 2012 that convinced Macy's to terminate its business partnership with Donald Trump. He was also instrumental in the advertiser pressure campaigns that resulted in Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly's terminations from Fox News as well as one of the key players that disrupted Rupert Murdoch's attempt to take over Sky News in the United Kingdom.
He holds a B.A. in American Studies from Fordham University and a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin.
Pilar Martinez (Chief Financial Officer) is a highly accomplished financial leader with more than 26 years of progressive experience in not-for-profit finance and accounting. Pilar has been with Media Matters since 2008. While working with the president and executive directors, Pilar concurrently manages all finance and accounting operations for Media Matters; the American Independent Foundation; and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, overseeing budgets ranging from $2 million to $24 million. In the past, Pilar also managed all finance and accounting operations for UltraViolet; American Bridge 21st Century; Correct the Record; and the Franklin Forum. Prior to Media Matters, Pilar worked as finance and administrative director at the Center for Clean Air Policy (CCAP), served as controller at the National Park Foundation, and was the revenue accountant at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Her accounting education background includes an M.A. from the George Washington University, a B.A. from Strayer University, and an A.A.S from Northern Virginia Community College.
Cynthia Padera (Chief Operating Officer) supports Media Matters' day-to-day operations and manages enterprise-level initiatives, technology, and administration. She has more than a decade of experience managing major projects and programs for national 501(c)(3) organizations, including the United Nations Foundation and the League of Women Voters of the United States. Cynthia holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.
Julie Millican (Vice President) has been with Media Matters since she first joined the organization as a researcher in 2005. As vice president, she helps implement Media Matters' strategic initiatives and is responsible for executing day-to-day mission activities in the media intelligence, research, and programs departments. Julie has previously held various positions within the organization including chief of staff, deputy research director, and senior researcher. She has a B.S. from Appalachian State University in sociology and an M.S. degree in clinical psychology
27 Senate Republicans Demand DOD Rescind Abortion Policy
Sun, 19 Nov 2023 14:05
FIRST ON THE DAILY SIGNAL'--Twenty-seven Senate Republicans sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin Monday, demanding that he rescind an abortion travel policy that they claim violates U.S. law by circumventing Congress. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., has vocally opposed this policy.
''You have broken your promise to the American people not to politicize the military, and your actions have harmed and threaten to further harm institutional norms within our democracy,'' the senators write in the letter, exclusively provided first to The Daily Signal.
''All legislative power is vested in Congress, and the Executive branch is responsible for implementing and enforcing the law,'' they explain. ''While the Department [of Defense] may issue regulations, it can only do so under the laws authorized and enacted by Congress. But, Congress never authorized the Department to expend funds to facilitate abortions and, until the Policy was issued, the military never facilitated abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or where the life of the mother would be endangered if the unborn child were carried to term.''
''Now taxpayers'--many of whom have deeply-held religious and moral objections to abortions'--are on the hook to facilitate the very abortions they fundamentally oppose,'' the senators add. ''Indeed, a Marist poll in January 2023 found that 60% of Americans strongly oppose the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for an abortion, consistent with polls taken throughout recent years.''
The senators faulted a June 28, 2022 memorandum Austin sent to senior leaders at the DOD in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the abortion precedent Roe v. Wade (1973) in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. In the memo, Austin directed DOD leaders to pay for official travel for active-duty personnel to receive abortions outside of the state in which they are stationed.
''Rather than respect the Supreme Court's decision, you decided to engage the Department, and our men and women in uniform, in a policy debate properly reserved for the legislature,'' the senators write.
Austin argued that Dobbs had ''readiness, recruiting, and retention implications for the Force,'' but the senators write that DOD officials noted that the department has no data to support the claim, and that only a few servicemembers or dependents have used the policy.
The Republicans also note that Tuberville placed holds on military appointees in protest over that policy.
''Our men and women in uniform deserve Senate-confirmed leadership but the current situation began with your original sin of promulgating the policy,'' they write.
The Republicans explained that legacy media outlets have presented Tuberville's holds, which merely prevent the Senate from confirming military appointees by unanimous voice vote and require the body to pass each nominee with a separate vote, as extreme. Yet much of the coverage has ignored the fact that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., could bring the nominees to the floor for a vote at any time.
Democrats in the Senate have sought to change the rules to block Tuberville's holds, rather than bring officers up for a separate vote.
''Much has been made in the press about one senator's decision to try and stop your egregious wrongs, without acknowledging the Senate majority leader's refusal to bring general and flag officer nominations to the floor until forced to by Republicans,'' they write. ''Seeking to circumvent the Senate prerogative of the informal 'hold' practice without addressing the underlying causes'--the novel policy and subsequent refusal of the majority to bring these nominees to the floor'--will not ultimately reconcile this matter.''
''It could create a toxic precedent with lasting negative effects on future military nominations,'' they warn.
Sen. Ted Budd, R-N.C., led the effort. Twenty-six other Republicans signed the letter: Katie Britt of Alabama, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Tom Cotton and John Boozman of Arkansas, Rick Scott of Florida, Mike Braun of Indiana, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst of Iowa, Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, Eric Schmitt of Missouri, Pete Ricketts and Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John Thune and Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah, and Cynthia Lummis and John Barrasso of Wyoming.
Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com, and we'll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular ''We Hear You'' feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.
Mira Murati: ChatGPT does not know CTO of OpenAI | Entertainment - Time News
Sun, 19 Nov 2023 02:25
Since its release at the end of November ChatGPT on everyone's lips '' language software based on artificial intelligence. The AI ''chatbot answers complex questions, creates texts in seconds, tailor-made and with impressive precision.
ChatGPT was developed by one of the leading AI companies in the USA, OpenAI. One of the bright minds behind it: Mira Murati. She is Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at OpenAI.
Murati leads the teams for ChatGPT and DALL-E, an AI program that creates images based on text descriptions. She is responsible for launching the fastest growing consumer application of the last 20 years. After just two months, ChatGPT had 100 million active users. For comparison: TikTok reached this mark after about nine months, Instagram needed two and a half years.
The San Francisco-based start-up (375 employees) is said to be valued at around $30 billion. At Google, the trend triggered a ''Code Red'' '' out of concern for business with its own search engine.
Who is the woman behind the hype?As informative as ChatGPT is '' if you ask the artificial intelligence about Mira Murati, the text robot suddenly acts pretty stupid:
''I'm sorry but I have no information on a person named Mira Murati.''
When asked if she is not CTO of OpenAI, ChatGPT can dodge:
''I apologize for the confusion in my previous reply. To the best of my knowledge, there is no CTO named Mira Murati at OpenAI. As an AI language model, I do not have access to the current personnel records of OpenAI or any other organization after the knowledge deadline of September 2021. However, at that time Greg Brockman was the CEO of OpenAI and the organization had a number of technical leads but Mira Murati was none of them.''
In fact, according to OpenAI, the AI ''was trained with millions of texts from the internet, social media, online forums, newspaper articles and books. However, only with data available up to 2021. Mira Murati has been working for OpenAI for almost five years, she only became CTO in May 2022.
Little and sometimes contradictory information can be found out about the woman. Times it is reported that she is the daughter of Albanian parents in San Francisco born. Others claim she's in Albania was born and graduated from there. Information on her year of birth is not clear, it ranges from 1986 bis 1988.
Her LinkedIn profile reveals thisThere are reports on the Internet about studying computer science in Tirana (Albania) and a master's degree in computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In your LinkedIn profile lists a 2012 bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.
There you can also read that Murati began her professional career in 2011 as an intern at Goldman Sachs. This was followed in 2012 by a position at the aviation group Zodiac Aerospace. In 2013, Murati changed for three years Elon Musk's Tesla as Senior Product Manager for the Model X.
Murati joined OpenAI in June 2018 after another two years as vice president of product and technology at the software company Leap Motion in San Francisco. Half a year before the launch of the chat AI, she became CTO there.
Tech journalist Paris Martineau (l) and Mira Murati (r) at an event for Diane von Furstenberg's InCharge Conversations podcast project March 6 in New York City
Foto: Getty Images for DVF
How does she see the hype surrounding ChatGPT?On the US talk show '' The Daily Show host Trevor Noah, Murati said shortly before the software was released: ''As with other revolutions we've seen, new jobs will be created and some jobs will be lost. '... But I'm optimistic.''
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But she also sees the dangers of this technology. So she said to the '' Time Magazine'': ''The challenges it presents are similar to those we see with the basic large language models: it can invent facts.''
'º Therefore, in the interview, Murati clearly advocates the supervision and regulation of the technology: ''AI can be misused, or it can be used by bad actors. So the question arises as to how the use of this technology can be regulated worldwide. How to regulate the use of AI in a way that is in line with human values?''
And what inspires a woman like Mira Murati? Her reply to the magazine: music by Radiohead, literature by Rilke and the Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
Sam Altman fired from OpenAI '-- EA Forum
Sat, 18 Nov 2023 17:45
The board of directors of OpenAI, Inc, the 501(c)(3) that acts as the overall governing body for all OpenAI activities, today announced that Sam Altman will depart as CEO and leave the board of directors. Mira Murati, the company's chief technology officer, will serve as interim CEO, effective immediately.
A member of OpenAI's leadership team for five years, Mira has played a critical role in OpenAI's evolution into a global AI leader. She brings a unique skill set, understanding of the company's values, operations, and business, and already leads the company's research, product, and safety functions. Given her long tenure and close engagement with all aspects of the company, including her experience in AI governance and policy, the board believes she is uniquely qualified for the role and anticipates a seamless transition while it conducts a formal search for a permanent CEO.
Mr. Altman's departure follows a deliberative review process by the board, which concluded that he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities. The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.
In a statement, the board of directors said: ''OpenAI was deliberately structured to advance our mission: to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all humanity. The board remains fully committed to serving this mission. We are grateful for Sam's many contributions to the founding and growth of OpenAI. At the same time, we believe new leadership is necessary as we move forward. As the leader of the company's research, product, and safety functions, Mira is exceptionally qualified to step into the role of interim CEO. We have the utmost confidence in her ability to lead OpenAI during this transition period.'' [emphasis added]
Effective Altruism Has a Sexual Harassment Problem, Women Say | Time
Sat, 18 Nov 2023 17:33
K eerthana Gopalakrishnan once considered herself an effective altruist. As a college student in India, she immersed herself in the social movement, reading its canonical texts like Doing Good Better, listening to its podcasts, and devouring effective altruism (EA) blogs in an attempt to figure out how to create a life of maximum moral impact. When the world started opening up from the COVID-19 pandemic, she moved to San Francisco and went to EA meetups, made friends with other EAs, and volunteered at EA conferences where they talked about how to use evidence and reason to do the most good in the world.
But as Gopalakrishnan got further into the movement, she realized that ''the advertised reality of EA is very different from the actual reality of EA,'' she says. She noticed that EA members in the Bay Area seemed to work together, live together, and sleep together, often in polyamorous sexual relationships with complex professional dynamics. Three times in one year, she says, men at informal EA gatherings tried to convince her to join these so-called ''polycules.'' When Gopalakrishnan said she wasn't interested, she recalls, they would ''shame'' her or try to pressure her, casting monogamy as a lifestyle governed by jealousy, and polyamory as a more enlightened and rational approach.
After a particularly troubling incident of sexual harassment, Gopalakrishnan wrote a post on an online forum for EAs in Nov. 2022. While she declined to publicly describe details of the incident, she argued that EA's culture was hostile toward women. ''It puts your safety at risk,'' she wrote, adding that most of the access to funding and opportunities within the movement was controlled by men. Gopalakrishnan was alarmed at some of the responses. One commenter wrote that her post was ''bigoted'' against polyamorous people. Another said it would ''pollute the epistemic environment,'' and argued it was ''net-negative for solving the problem.''
More from TIME Gopalakrishnan is one of seven women connected to effective altruism who tell TIME they experienced misconduct ranging from harassment and coercion to sexual assault within the community. The women allege EA itself is partly to blame. They say that effective altruism's overwhelming maleness, its professional incestuousness, its subculture of polyamory and its overlap with tech-bro dominated ''rationalist'' groups have combined to create an environment in which sexual misconduct can be tolerated, excused, or rationalized away. Several described EA as having a ''cult-like'' dynamic.
Julia Wise, the longest-serving employee of the Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA), an Oxford, England-based charity responsible for growing and maintaining the EA community, acknowledges that there have been reports of sexual harassment within the community. But she questions whether the movement itself is responsible. Sexual misconduct is a problem throughout society, after all, and EA leaders cannot control the behavior of everyone moving in and around it. ''Some of the concerns that have come up are maybe made by people in EA, but the perpetrator attended an event a couple years ago but they're not that involved,'' says Wise. ''How do you figure out what is a community problem versus what is a Bay Area problem or sex problem or something else?''
This story is based on interviews with more than 30 current and former effective altruists and people who live among them. Many of the women spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid personal or professional reprisals, citing the small number of people and organizations within EA that control plum jobs and opportunities. Much of the alleged abuse they detailed was concentrated in the Bay Area, but the women also described incidents that took place in three other states as well as overseas. Many of them asked that their alleged abusers not be named and that TIME shield their identities to avoid retaliation. Their accounts were corroborated by other parties to the incidents, by people to whom the women spoke shortly afterward, and by contemporaneous documents and screenshots. While a few women have raised these issues on online forums, many spoke to TIME about their experiences with sexual misconduct in EA communities for the first time.
One recalled being ''groomed'' by a powerful man nearly twice her age who argued that ''pedophilic relationships'' were both perfectly natural and highly educational. Another told TIME a much older EA recruited her to join his polyamorous relationship while she was still in college. A third described an unsettling experience with an influential figure in EA whose role included picking out promising students and funneling them towards highly coveted jobs. After that leader arranged for her to be flown to the U.K. for a job interview, she recalls being surprised to discover that she was expected to stay in his home, not a hotel. When she arrived, she says, ''he told me he needed to masturbate before seeing me.''
Several women say that the way their allegations were received by the broader EA community was as upsetting as the original misconduct itself. ''The playbook of these EAs is to discourage victims to seek any form of objective, third-party justice possible,'' says Rochelle Shen, who ran an EA-adjacent event space in the Bay Area and says she has firsthand experience of the ways the movement dismisses allegations. ''They want to keep it all in the family.''
In recent years, effective altruism morphed from a niche philanthropic community devoted to addressing worldwide poverty into a powerful global network of think tanks, nonprofit organizations and wealthy donors that dole out hundreds of millions of dollars in annual charitable donations. The movement has grown rapidly, with monthly active users on the EA forum growing fivefold since 2019, more than 6,000 attendees at EA global conferences in 2022, and at least 371 active EA chapters across more than 40 countries. Most of the movement's members'--who are overwhelmingly white, more than 70% male, and skew young, according to a recent survey of members of the community in 2020'--are idealists drawn to the promise of building a better world by applying rigorous logic to moral decisions. Thousands have signed a pledge to tithe at least 10% of their income to high-impact charities. From college campuses to Silicon Valley startups, adherents are drawn to the moral clarity of a philosophy dedicated to using data and reason to shape a better future for humanity. Effective altruism has become something of a secular religion for the young and elite.
But the fall of Sam Bankman-Fried, EA's billionaire patron and most famous acolyte, who is now facing federal fraud charges tied to the collapse of his cryptocurrency exchange FTX, has put effective altruism under increased scrutiny. Like other recent social movements spanning the political spectrum, EA is diffuse and deliberately amorphous; anybody who wants to can call themselves an EA. And even in a community of self-styled do-gooders, ''there certainly have been cases where people were treated badly, including sexual harassment,'' says Wise, of the Centre for Effective Altruism. ''This is an essential problem that all social groups face.''
Wise, whose role at CEA involves overseeing community well-being, tells TIME she has fielded roughly 20 complaints per year in her seven years on the job, ranging from uncomfortable comments to more serious allegations of harassment and more. But with no official leadership structure, no roster of who is and isn't in the movement, and no formal process for dealing with complaints, Wise argues, it's hard to gauge how common such issues are within EA compared to broader society.
The women who spoke to TIME counter that the problem is particularly acute in EA. The movement's high-minded goals can create a moral shield, they say, allowing members to present themselves as altruists committed to saving humanity regardless of how they treat the people around them. ''It's this white knight savior complex,'' says Sonia Joseph, a former EA who has since moved away from the movement partially because of its treatment of women. ''Like: we are better than others because we are more rational or more reasonable or more thoughtful.'' The movement ''has a veneer of very logical, rigorous do-gooderism,'' she continues. ''But it's misogyny encoded into math.''
In a fashionable neighborhood of San Francisco, there is a Victorian house where a group of self-identified EAs, AI researchers, rationalist tech bros, and young women founders all sheltered together from the blistering Bay Area rents. While it had no formal relationship with effective altruism, roughly a third of the residents were EAs, and the house regularly hosted EA events. The residence was run by two co-leaders, a man and a woman, who signed the lease, managed the rent money, and handled the logistics of moving people in and out of a community that resembled a tech-era version of the 1960s Bay Area communes.
In late 2021, the male co-leader of the house was accused of sexual misconduct by an ex-girlfriend who says she met him at an EA conference. She reported her allegation to the female co-leader of the house. The co-leader had also had a negative experience with the man, whom she says once climbed into her bed without her consent. She brought the ex-girlfriend's accusation to the attention of others in the house and recommended her male co-leader step down. At that point, the other residents of the house turned on her, according to both the female co-leader and the woman who made the original accusation. The co-leader ''seemed to face a lot of backlash and misogyny for being a female manager handling a sexual-assault claim,'' says the accuser, who like several others in this story asked to remain anonymous for professional and personal reasons. Both women said they filed reports with the San Francisco Police Department; the SFPD confirmed that the two police reports had been filed, but declined to provide them or detail any steps it had taken in response.
When the allegations arose, the other residents of the house started a Google Doc to collectively discuss how to handle them. The discussions reveal an attempt to filter disturbing, emotionally fraught allegations through the lens of math. ''How do you live with someone if you think there is an X% chance they have done something horrible?'' one resident wrote in the document, which was recently shared with TIME. ''Depending on the exact definition of sexual assault you use, something like 1-10% of people have committed it,'' another replied. ''This implies a probability between 27% and 96% that you are living with someone who has done something horrible.''
Those odds did not persuade the group to immediately expel the accused. Instead, an EA living in the house suggested bringing in a mediator named Aurora Quinn-Elmore, a product manager in tech who had become known in the community for her mediation work around allegations of sexual misconduct. It did not go well. The conversations were conducted over Facebook Messenger video, in two or three sessions, according to two people who participated. After one of the alleged victims told her story, ''Aurora immediately started telling us that the worst thing that could possibly happen is if the man's career was destroyed,'' recalls the female co-leader of the house, who was present for the discussion. ''She said, 'You should never go to the police.'''
The alleged victim came away with the impression that she was being strongly urged not to report the incident to authorities and remembers a general sense that the accused man's important career was a focus of the conversations. Both women recall that Quinn-Elmore cast doubt on the man's accuser as well as the female co-leader of the house who took the allegations seriously. Ultimately, Quinn-Elmore recommended that both the male and female leaders step down, even though only the man had been accused of sexual misconduct. (Quinn-Elmore said she recommended the woman step down as well because others had told her she was using the allegations to seize power in the house; ultimately, only the male co-leader resigned.)
Read More: Want to Do More Good? This Movement Might Have the Answer.
In an interview with TIME, the male co-leader denied both women's allegations. He said that his ex-girlfriend had never accused him of any sexual misconduct during their four-year relationship and that the accusations only came up months after what he described as a messy breakup. He said that he and the female co-leader ''cuddled a lot,'' and accused her of using sexual allegations against him to maintain control of the house. ''These are threats that are used to control my every action,'' he said.
The unusual handling of such allegations extends beyond this one case. In another instance, Quinn-Elmore was dating an alleged abuser at the time she was mediating a sexual coercion claim against him made by another woman in the EA community. ''We were involved before they started dating, we were involved while they were dating, we were involved after,'' Quinn-Elmore told TIME, adding that although she spoke to both parties and recommended a path forward, she didn't consider this to be an official mediation.
Quinn-Elmore ultimately recommended this man see a ''coach'' to help him learn how to navigate issues surrounding sexual consent, but recommended no further consequences for him. Soon after the episode, the accuser alleges, friends began to sever their relationships with her, often in similarly worded text messages, ''as if there was a template.'' It felt as if ''there's this immune reaction against you in your community,'' she says. ''It's such a deep betrayal when you need support the most.''
In an interview, Quinn-Elmore confirmed that she had been involved with these disputes but said her words had been misrepresented. Her methods of ''restorative justice'' often include advising against involving the police because it can be retraumatizing and unhelpful, she explained, adding that she often discusses the ''psychological profiles'' of the accused in order to anticipate what they'd do if they were desperate to preserve their careers. ''When there's sexual violence that happens, particularly in a tight-knit community, it's really common for it to turn into reputational warfare,'' she says. ''It blows up in a way that is really stressful for everyone involved and does a lot to fracture a beautiful community.''
Quinn-Elmore says she believes all of the women who say they experienced sexual misconduct and rejects any characterization that she acted as a defender of the men accused. Still, she says: ''I know I didn't handle any of these situations perfectly, that's for sure.''
The hard question for the Effective Altruism community is whether the case of the EA house in San Francisco is an isolated incident, with failures specific to the area and those involved, or whether it is an exemplar of a larger problem for the movement.
For her part, Wise is frank about the challenges inherent in dealing with such issues. In an Aug. 2022 post on the EA Forum, she described the ''tricky balance'' her community-health team has to strike when it's asked to take up claims of sexual misconduct made by someone associated with EA against another member of the broader community. Wise outlined a variety of considerations she takes into account. On the one side, ''take culture seriously'' and ''take action against bad behavior;'' on the other side, she wrote, ''don't unfairly harm someone's reputation,'' ''don't make men feel that a slip-up or distorted accusation will ruin their life, '' and ''give people a second or third chance.''
''I'm weighing the possible harm to the accused if the accusation is inaccurate against the possible harm to other people in the community if the concern is accurate,'' Wise wrote. ''Making these restrictions as privately as possible seems to avoid the worst harms to their reputation if the concerns are unfounded, while also avoiding the worst harms to the community if the concerns are valid.''
That balancing of interests is a starkly different approach than the one espoused by the #MeToo movement that rose up around the same time as Effective Altruism. #MeToo urged society to ''believe women;'' EAs tend to be a bit more skeptical. #MeToo aimed to take a trauma-informed approach to sexual violence; EAs stick to their ultra-rational ''epistemic standards.'' That means, the women say, that consequences for sexual misconduct within EA often look much different than in the world outside EA. ''I want there to be consequences when people do stuff that's bad for other people,'' Wise tells TIME. ''But I also want that to be proportionate.''
In an email following the publication of this article, Wise elaborated. ''We're horrified by the allegations made in this article. A core part of our work is addressing harmful behavior, because we think it's essential that this community has a good culture where people can do their best work without harassment or other mistreatment,'' Wise wrote to TIME. ''The incidents described in this article include cases where we already took action, like banning the accused from our spaces. For cases we were not aware of, we will investigate and take appropriate action to address the problem.''
Keerthana Gopalakrishnan in her home in San Francisco on Jan. 29.
Helynn Ospina for TIME
Sonia Joseph began reading effective altruist blogs when she was 12. The vigorous online debates about how to have the most impact in the world provided a sense of community that she was missing as an Indian-American girl growing up in suburban Boston. But when she became old enough to join in-person EA gatherings in the Cambridge area, she noticed that many of the men she met seemed enamored with ''pickup artistry,'' a supposedly systematic approach to convincing women to sleep with them.
In 2018, as she was starting her career in AI research, Joseph recalls being introduced to a prominent man in the field connected to EA. Joseph was 22 and still in college; he was nearly twice her age. As they talked at a Japanese restaurant in New York City, she recalled, the man turned the conversation in a bizarre direction, arguing ''that pedophilic relationships between very young women and older men was a good way to transfer knowledge,'' Joseph says. ''I had a sense that he was grooming me.'' (Joseph says she told her roommate about the alleged incident. The roommate confirmed that conversation to TIME.)
Another woman, who dated the same man several years earlier in a polyamorous relationship, alleges that he had once attempted to put his penis in her mouth while she was sleeping. (TIME is not naming the man, like others in this story, due to the request of one or more women who made accusations against them, and who wanted to shield themselves from possible retaliation.)
Read More: How to Do Well When You Do Good.
Several of the women who spoke to TIME said that the popularity of polyamory within EA fosters an environment in which men'--often men who control career opportunities''feel empowered to recruit younger women into uncomfortable sexual relationships. Many EAs embrace nontraditional living arrangements and question established taboos, and plenty of people, including many women, enthusiastically consent to sharing partners with others. There is no current data on the prevalence of polyamory in EA. One former EA data scientist says he estimates that about 30% of EA was polyamorous.
Prominent figures in EA have cast polyamory as a more ''rational'' romantic arrangement. The philosopher Peter Singer, whose writing is a touchstone for EA leaders, seemed to endorse polyamory in a July 2017 interview in which he argued that monogamy may be increasingly anachronistic in the age of birth control. Caroline Ellison, the CEO of the FTX-tied Alameda Research, who reportedly was romantically involved at times with Bankman-Fried, apparently posted on her blog that the ideal configuration for romantic relationships would resemble an ''imperial Chinese harem'' in which ''everyone should have a ranking of their partners.''
Several of the women who spoke to TIME said that EA's polyamorous subculture was a key reason why the community had become a hostile environment for women. One woman told TIME she began dating a man who had held significant roles at two EA-aligned organizations while she was still an undergraduate. They met when he was speaking at an EA-affiliated conference, and he invited her out to dinner after she was one of the only students to get his math and probability questions right. He asked how old she was, she recalls, then quickly suggested she join his polyamorous relationship. Shortly after agreeing to date him, ''He told me that 'I could sleep with you on Monday,' but on Tuesday I'm with this other girl,'' she says. ''It was this way of being a f'--boy but having the moral high ground,'' she added. ''It's not a hookup, it's a poly relationship.'' The woman began to feel ''like I was being sucked into a cult,'' she says.
Gopalakrishnan also described a cult-like dynamic that favored accused men over harassed women. After writing out her concerns about the sexual dynamics within the movement on the EA forum, Gopalakrishnan watched the responses pour in. Shaken, she removed her post. She felt exposed, she recalls, and didn't feel like being a punching bag. Most of all, Gopalakrishnan was disturbed at the way the rational frameworks to which she had devoted her life could be used to undermine her own experiences. ''You're used to overriding these gut feelings because they're not rational,'' she says. ''Under the guise of intellectuality, you can cover up a lot of injustice.''
Write to Charlotte Alter at email@example.com.
The good delusion: has effective altruism broken bad?
Sat, 18 Nov 2023 16:06
By Linda Kinstler
This article is part of our Summer reads series. Visit the full collection for book lists, guest essays and more seasonal distractions.
I n June 2017, Stern, a liberal German magazine, published an article, ''Why your banker can save more lives than your doctor'', introducing readers to a social movement called effective altruism. The piece was about a 22-year-old called Carla Zoe Cremer who had grown up in a left-wing family on a farm near Marburg in the west of Germany, where she had taken care of sick horses.
The story told of an ''old Zoe'' and a new one. The old Zoe sold fair-trade coffee and donated the profit to charity. She ran an anti-drug programme at school and believed that small donations and acts of generosity could change lives. The new Zoe was directing her efforts to activities that were, in her view, more effective ways of helping.
Cremer discovered effective altruism through a friend who was at Oxford University. He told her about a community of practical ethicists who claimed to combine ''empathy with evidence'' in order to ''build a better world''. Using mathematics, these effective altruists, or EAs as many called themselves, sought to reduce complex ethical choices to a series of cost-benefit equations. Cremer found this philosophy compelling. ''It really suited my character at the time to try to think about effectiveness and rigour in everyday life,'' she told me. She began attending EA get-togethers in Munich and eventually became a public face of the movement in Germany.
Following the guidance of Peter Singer, a philosopher who has inspired many effective altruists, Cremer pledged to donate 10% of her annual income to good causes for the rest of her life, which would make a greater difference than selling coffee beans. As she considered her next job, she was directed towards the movement's careers arm, 80,000 Hours '' a reference to the amount of time that the average person spends at work during their life.
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Oxford provides an academic home for the people who built the intellectual scaffolding of the effective-altruism movement. Chugg joined the university's effective-altruism club, attending workshops to tease out the movement's philosophy. He met young, ambitious and empathetic people who wanted to combat factory farming, climate change and infectious disease. Unlike participants in other student societies, the effective altruists saw their shared interests as obligations rather than hobbies. To be a true EA meant going vegan, or at least vegetarian; it meant promising to give away money, if not immediately then in the future; it meant immersing yourself in long podcasts on esoteric questions of moral philosophy.
Cremer, too, soon found herself at Oxford. In 2018 she was invited to interview for a trading job with Alameda Research, a new cryptocurrency firm run by a young EA called Sam Bankman-Fried. She was flown to Oxford and spent a day trading with fellow interviewees and wondering why no one asked her any questions about herself.
Instead of joining the firm she returned to her studies, and eventually became a research scholar at the university's Future of Humanity Institute, which shares office space with two other research centres affiliated with effective altruism. She began working on two topics of great interest to the movement: artificial intelligence and existential risk.
The Oxford branch of effective altruism sits at the heart of an intricate, lavishly funded network of institutions that have attracted some of Silicon Valley's richest individuals. The movement's circle of sympathisers has included tech billionaires such as Elon Musk, Peter Thiel and Dustin Moskovitz, one of the founders of Facebook, and public intellectuals like the psychologist Steven Pinker and Singer, one of the world's most prominent moral philosophers. Billionaires like Moskovitz fund the academics and their institutes, and the academics advise governments, security agencies and blue-chip companies on how to be good. The 80,000 Hours recruitment site, which features jobs at Google, Microsoft, Britain's Cabinet Office, the European Union and the United Nations, encourages effective altruists to seek influential roles near the seats of power.
Last week FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange founded by Bankman-Fried, filed for bankruptcy. It emerged that FTX had lent client funds worth billions of dollars to Alameda Research, the firm which invited Cremer for an interview, and that some of FTX's clients were unable to retrieve that money. Assets worth up to $2bn were missing, according to Reuters.
The collapse of FTX has been disastrous for crypto's reputation. But it is also a massive blow to effective altruism. Bankman-Fried had pledged to give away most of this wealth, which at one point Forbes estimated at more than $26bn. (Bankman-Fried did not respond to interview requests for this article.) He had funnelled over $130m into the movement in 2022 alone via the FTX Future Fund, a charity that provides grants to projects aiming to secure humanity's long-term future. Some of effective altruism's leading figures, including MacAskill, were part of the team '' they resigned en masse after FTX imploded, saying they were ''shocked and immensely saddened''. ''To the extent that the leadership of FTX may have engaged in deception or dishonesty, we condemn that behaviour in the strongest possible terms,'' they wrote. But the fall of Bankman-Fried raises questions about whether his belief that he was doing the right thing justified some of his reckless professional actions.
Well before the recent fiasco, a number of effective altruists had begun to cast doubt on the direction of the movement and its tightly knit core of benefactors and leaders. Many, like Chugg and Cremer, felt drawn to the effective-altruism community at Oxford. Chugg told me that EAs were ''the kindest, nerdiest people you'll ever meet''. But over time both noticed that the movement's focus was starting to shift. Of the research areas 80,000 Hours lists as having the most impact, ending factory farming and combating climate change had been downgraded, as had improving health care in poor countries.
The community now encouraged students to pursue work in fields deemed to be ''highest priority''. Two of these were speculative: ''positively shaping the development of artificial intelligence'' and ''reducing global catastrophic biological risks''. Another two, ''building effective altruism'' and ''global priorities research'', seemed self-serving. An emerging philosophy called ''longtermism'' '' the idea that the far future should be given at least as much weight as the present in moral and political decision-making '' stood behind the change.
To Chugg, effective altruism's new priorities felt morally iffy, and far from the issues that had first attracted him. Cremer thought the community was becoming increasingly undemocratic and secretive. Chugg began to look into the mathematical justifications for longtermism; Cremer started untangling effective altruism's claims to predict the risks from advanced artificial intelligence. Both worried that the movement had taken a wrong turn and took it upon themselves to understand what had happened.
T he seeds of effective altruism were first planted in St Edmund Hall, one of the colleges that make up Oxford University. The gardens were once a burial ground and a handful of gravestones still protrude from the lawn, though the inscriptions wore away long ago. In 2009 William MacAskill, then a philosophy undergraduate, asked Toby Ord, a junior research fellow, to meet him there. When MacAskill recounts this foundational moment he always mentions that it occurred in a graveyard. The setting foreshadowed a central tenet of their shared mission: cultivating what Ord calls a ''strong cosmopolitanism'' not just between peoples and countries, but between the dead, the living and the yet-to-be-born.
A central principle of effective altruism is that all individuals are ascribed equal value, regardless of space or time. A human life in Britain is worth exactly the same as a human life in Yemen; a life now is worth just as much as a life in the past or future. After reading Singer, MacAskill had become ''terribly concerned by the problem of extreme poverty''. Though Singer is an atheist, he was inspired by the practice of tithing advocated by many religions and suggested that we should all have a ''minimum ethical standard of giving''. (In ''The Life You Can Save'', published in 2009, he proposes a sliding scale, ranging from 1% of gross income for people making $40,000-81,000 a year, minus certain deductions such as student-loan repayments and pension contributions, to 50% for people earning more than $53m a year.)
MacAskill wondered how such a tithe would work in practice. ''I'd read on Toby's website that he was giving 'the required amount', but I was very sceptical about whether he really was,'' he later wrote. Yet Ord was no phoney: as of 2020 he donates at least 10% of his annual earnings, which have amounted to more than £125,000 ($147,000) over the years. (His largest donations have gone to deworming and anti-malaria foundations.)
The two men talked in the graveyard for hours, ranging over unusual terrain for moral philosophers: how to apply their theoretical ideas to the real world. Later that year, they teamed up to launch a non-profit organisation, Giving What We Can, encouraging people to donate at least 10% of their earnings to ''whichever organisations can most effectively use it to improve the lives of others''. They settled on the name ''effective altruism'' to describe their project because it seemed to capture their stated goal. Two years after their initial meeting, MacAskill and Ord founded the Centre for Effective Altruism, an umbrella organisation for the community; Giving What We Can was soon folded into its portfolio.
MacAskill is now 35, with dark-rimmed glasses, tousled boy-band hair and a thick Scottish accent. He became an associate professor at Oxford aged 28, where he taught an introductory lecture course on utilitarianism, the ethical theory that underwrites effective altruism. According to utilitarian thinking, the consequences of our actions are the sole measure by which good and bad are determined, so we are morally required to pursue goals that promote the most good in the world.
Over the past decade MacAskill has explained how to go about this to wealthy individuals, elite undergraduates, large companies and government officials around the world. He has offered a series of answers: do give to charities, but only the most effective ones; by all means look after friends and neighbours, but know that you aren't making effective use of your time, because you could be helping others in greater need; don't waste precious hours reading the news because, as he said in 2018, ''Every day, newspapers lie to you by telling you, 'This is what is the most important of what is going on right now.''' If he were to publish his own paper, he would call it the Reality Times, he said. The headlines would always be the same: 5,000 children died of malaria, 10,000 nuclear warheads are poised to fire, 100m animals were needlessly killed and tortured. Who would waste time reading about politics while standing amid such carnage?
Goodness can be quantified, argued MacAskill in ''Doing Good Better: How Effective Altruism Can Help You Make a Difference'', a book published in 2015. He demonstrated how utilitarianism can help people reach decisions and adapted a measure economists normally use to calculate the benefits of health treatments such as alleviating back pain or life-saving surgery: the ''quality-adjusted life year'', or QALY. One QALY is equivalent to a year lived in perfect health; fractional QALYs are ascribed to people living in pain and ill health. The greater the suffering, the lower the value of the QALY.
MacAskill applies a similar measure to the emotional consequences of our experiences, a metric he calls a WALY, or well-being-adjusted life year. (MacAskill doesn't seriously question whether attempting to quantify an experience might miss something essential about its nature. How many WALYs for a broken heart?) The Centre for Effective Altruism used these kinds of calculations to measure how useful charitable causes might be.
Effective altruists want to achieve more than simply doing good: to waste time doing anything less than the maximal good is implicitly to cause suffering, they say, because you've alleviated less pain than you could have done. As MacAskill writes, you should constantly ask yourself, ''Of all the ways in which we could make the world a better place, which will do the most good?'' On Facebook, EAs often run decisions by each other. In my local group in Washington, DC, one woman wanted to help resettle Afghan refugees but worried that this might not be the most effective use of her time.
The commitment to do the most good can lead effective altruists to pursue goals that feel counterintuitive. In ''Doing Good Better'', MacAskill laments his time working as a care assistant in a nursing home in his youth. He believes that someone else would have needed the money more and would have probably done a better job. When I asked about this over email, he wrote: ''I certainly don't regret working there; it was one of the more formative experiences of my life'...My mind often returns there when I think about the suffering in the world.'' But, according to the core values of effective altruism, improving your own moral sensibility can be a misallocation of resources, no matter how personally enriching this can be.
Since an individual's capacity for doing good in the world is severely limited, adherents of effective altruism have often been advised to earn as much as possible to support the good deeds of others. A doctor working at a hospital in Africa might contribute 300 QALYs each year, according to MacAskill. But if he established a well-paid private practice in Britain, he would be able to ''earn to give'': he'd save ''considerably more'' lives and still be comfortable.
This reasoning inspired hundreds of benevolent people, including Bankman-Fried, to pursue high-paying careers. The promise of absolution makes effective altruism particularly attractive. You can be blessed as one of the elect by making a great fortune, so long as you keep giving '' just like the pre-Reformation Catholic church, which accepted indulgences from its adherents in return for the forgiveness of their sins.
E ffective altruism is not a cult. As one EA advised his peers in a forum post about how to talk to journalists: ''Don't ever say 'People sometimes think EA is a cult, but it's not.' If you say something like that, the journalist will likely think this is a catchy line and print it in the article. This will give readers the impression that EA is not quite a cult, but perhaps almost.''
Though it may not be a cult, effective altruism is a kind of church '' one that has become increasingly centralised and controlled over time. Several scholars and practitioners have suggested as much, including contributors to a recent book on effective altruism and religion. One of them asks if ''EA in some sense [may] be seen as a quasi-religious movement itself, considering how comprehensively life-orienting it is''.
Over the past two years, I've heard many stories of young, ambitious people who came to effective altruism wanting to change the world but grew disenchanted. Many people I spoke to didn't want to be identified, concerned that the community might retaliate by reducing funding or offering fewer professional opportunities. A spokesman for the Centre for Effective Altruism denied this and said that ''collaboration and constructive dialogue are essential to free-thinking, a core value of effective altruism''.
This disillusionment was partly because the community expends so much effort raising money for the proliferation of institutes and think-tanks that host its most prominent thinkers. Open Philanthropy, a foundation that Dustin Moskovitz helped to create, funds 80,000 Hours (over $10m since 2017), the Future of Humanity Institute ($7.6m since 2017), the Centre for Effective Altruism (over $35m since 2017), the Effective Altruism Foundation ($1.4m since 2019) and the Global Priorities Institute ($12m since 2018). Effective altruists are themselves encouraged to give directly to the Centre for Effective Altruism, 80,000 Hours and related institutes. The FTX Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Bankman-Fried's cryptocurrency exchange, lists the Centre for Effective Altruism as one of its grantees and partners.
The circularity of the effective-altruism funding network has accelerated the homogenisation of the community's culture. Many effective altruists are highly educated white men with degrees from some combination of Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Stanford and Yale. The movement supports ''campus specialists'' who spread the gospel among undergraduates. A survey of over 2,500 EAs in 2019 found that most were aged 25 to 34; over 70% of them were male and more than 85% white. The majority were left-leaning and identified as agnostic, atheist or non-religious. Almost all had or were in the process of acquiring a degree.
As the community has expanded, it has also become more exclusive. Conferences, seminars and even picnics held by the Centre for Effective Altruism are application-only. Simon Jenkins was an early member of the community and founded an effective-altruism group in Birmingham in Britain. He has since drifted somewhat away from the movement, after years of failing to get a job at its related institutions. It has become both more ''rigorously controlled'', he said, and more explicitly elitist. During an event at a Birmingham pub he once heard someone announce that ''any Oxbridge grad can get involved''. ''I was like, hold on a sec, is that the standard?''
The logic of maximisation means its adherents reckon that the ''best'' universities provide the best education and also, therefore, the most effective thinkers. The community of fearless philosophers is not blind to its own insularity '' but it does seem to be largely unconcerned by it.
O ne idea has taken particular hold among effective altruists: longtermism. In 2005 Nick Bostrom, a Swedish philosopher, took to the stage at a TED conference in a rumpled, loose-fitting beige suit. In a loud staccato voice he told his audience that death was an ''economically enormously wasteful'' phenomenon. According to four studies, including one of his own, there was a ''substantial risk'' that humankind wouldn't survive the next century, he said. He claimed that reducing the probability of an existential risk occurring within a generation by even 1% would be equivalent to saving 60m lives.
The knock-on effects were magnified if you took a rather longer view of 100m years, Bostrom continued. Providing we are capable of colonising the rest of our galaxy and nearby ones, a 1% reduction in the risk of extinction on such a time horizon would be the equivalent of saving 1032 lives. In such a perspective, nothing else matters.
That year, Bostrom founded the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford, dedicated to mitigating risk. He elaborated on his theory of longtermism in a book in 2008, urging people to be ''good ancestors'' by practising ''altruism toward our descendants''. He didn't mean composting or stopping driving, but mitigating existential risks to humanity '' ''x-risks'' in community parlance '' from hazards such as advanced artificial intelligence and bio-hacking, that could potentially wipe out or severely deplete humankind.
Over the past two decades, existential risk has emerged as a new academic field: Oxford, Cambridge, Berkeley and Stanford all host institutes devoted to its study. This research assumes that the continued existence of humanity has never been so uncertain and that we have created conditions that could easily cause our own demise. The biggest risks, Bostrom argued in 2012, come from technological advances that allow us to manipulate ourselves and our environment with unforeseen consequences: the probability of such disasters occurring are unquantifiable, the potential consequences devastating.
Many longtermists reckon that the antidote to the threat from technology is more technology; mastering artificial intelligence will forestall a malevolent AI from enslaving us. They also believe that technological acceleration is morally good in its own right, as it enables the universe to sustain more people. Bostrom laments the lives lost every second that technological advances are delayed. In a paper from 2003 he invites readers to imagine all the ''unused energy'...being flushed down black holes'', and all the suns beyond our own that are ''illuminating and heating empty rooms'', because we lack the means to populate the planets orbiting them. (Bostrom calculates that 1029 potential lives are lost for every second that we fail to colonise the supercluster of galaxies containing the Milky Way.)
Critics of longtermism say that the outlook almost exclusively concerns what Karin Kuhlemann, a lawyer and population ethicist at University College, London, labels ''sexy global catastrophic risks'', such as asteroids, nuclear disaster and malicious AIs. Effective altruists are less bothered by ''unsexy'' risks like climate change, topsoil degradation and erosion, loss of biodiversity, overfishing, freshwater scarcity, mass un- or under-employment and economic instability. These problems have no obvious culprit and require collective action. (Effective altruists claim that they care about these issues, but that long-term risks are insufficiently studied, given how devastating they are likely to be.)
Disillusioned effective altruists are dismayed by the increasing predominance of ''strong longtermism''. Strong longtermists argue that since the potential population of the future dwarfs that of the present, our moral obligations to the current generation are insignificant compared with all those yet to come. By this logic, the most important thing any of us can do is to stop world-shattering events from occurring.
According to Benjamin Todd, a founder of 80,000 Hours, longtermism ''might well turn out to be one of the most important discoveries of effective altruism so far''. Yet critics say this conclusion is callous, because it openly proclaims that the neediest people on the planet matter vastly less than people who have not yet been born.
Projects devoted to global health and poverty still garner the most funding, but their share of the total allocation is shrinking as long-term-risk research attracts more cash. EA Funds, the philanthropic wing of the movement, launched a Long-Term Future Fund in 2017 to support research on existential risks and has distributed over $10m to date. (One person told me that it isn't hard to get funding if you ''just talk about what can go wrong, and reference the right people''.) The FTX Future Fund is explicitly dedicated to advancing longtermist causes.
In 2019 Bostrom once again took to the TED stage to explain ''how civilisation could destroy itself'' by creating unharnessed machine super-intelligence, uncontrolled nuclear weapons and genetically modified pathogens. To mitigate these risks and ''stabilise the world'', ''preventive policing'' might be deployed to thwart malign individuals before they could act. ''This would require ubiquitous surveillance. Everyone would be monitored all of the time,'' Bostrom said. Chris Anderson, head of TED, cut in: ''You know that mass surveillance is not a very popular term right now?'' The crowd laughed, but Bostrom didn't look like he was joking.
Such single-minded reasoning is evident throughout the effective-altruism world. The 80,000 Hours institute now advises students to pursue careers that may benefit the long-term future, such as AI safety and biomedical research. Some influential EAs have begun to participate in politics. Earlier this year, Bankman-Fried donated $10m to the congressional campaign of Carrick Flynn, an EA and former research associate at the Future of Humanity Institute, who was recently trounced in Oregon's Democratic primary contest. One devotee reflected on the loss online: ''''Could that $10m wasted on Flynn have been better used in just trying to get EA or longtermist bureaucrats in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or other important decision-making institutions?''
Nick Beckstead, the chief executive of the FTX Foundation, wrote in a PhD dissertation completed in 2013 that ''It now seems more plausible to me that saving a life in a rich country is substantially more important than saving a life in a poor country, other things being equal.'' Why? The former has the potential to create more long-term value and therefore save more lives. (Beckstead did not respond to an interview request. He resigned from the FTX Foundation last week.) On his personal blog, Holden Karnofsky, chief executive of Open Philanthropy, has compared effective-altruist reasoning to avant-garde jazz '' appreciated by the cognoscenti but a cacophony to untrained ears.
Not everyone agrees. Emile Torres, an outspoken critic of effective altruism, regards longtermism as ''one of the most dangerous secular ideologies in the world today''. Torres, who studies existential risk and uses the pronoun ''they'', joined ''the community'' in around 2015. ''I was very enamoured with effective altruism at first. Who doesn't want to do the most good?'' they told me.
But Torres grew increasingly concerned by the narrow interpretation of longtermism, though they understood the appeal of its ''sexiness''. In a recent article, Torres wrote that if longtermism ''sounds appalling, it's because it is appalling''. When they announced plans on Facebook to participate in a documentary on existential risk, the Centre for Effective Altruism immediately sent them a set of talking points.
This is far from the only attempt by leaders of the movement to act as though they were running a public-relations campaign rather than conducting philosophical inquiry. Jenkins told me about a post he wrote on the community's Facebook forum, questioning whether bringing people out of poverty might inadvertently increase animal suffering because those on higher incomes could afford to eat more meat. He soon received a phone call from someone at the Centre for Effective Altruism informing him that his post had been deleted. Other people I spoke to reported that they'd been asked by individuals affiliated to the Centre for Effective Altruism not to publish articles or posts that might reflect negatively on the community. A spokesman for the Centre said that ''It respects diversity of thought and encourages debate and criticism.''
Effective altruism treats public engagement as yet another dire risk. Bostrom has written about ''information hazards'' when talking about instructions for assembling lethal weaponry, but some effective altruists now use such parlance to connote bad press. EAs speak of avoiding ''reputational risks'' to their movement and of making sure their ''optics'' are good. In its annual report in 2020, the Centre for Effective Altruism logged all 137 ''PR cases'' it handled that year: ''We learned about 78% of interviews before they took place. The earlier we learn of an interview, the more proactive help we can give on mitigating risks.'' It also noted the PR team's progress in monitoring ''risky actors'': not people whose activities might increase the existential risks to humanity, but those who might harm the movement's standing.
W hen Cremer was doing research at the Future of Humanity Institute in 2019, she started to worry that the movement's insularity was crippling its ability to help people. She talked to friends in the movement, many of whom turned out to share her concern that secrecy and deference to hierarchy within the community would lead to groupthink. Yet most were unwilling to say so publicly. So Cremer tried to pose the question to the community in the gentlest way possible: a post on its online forum.
Cremer hoped her article, published in July 2020, would lead EAs to reflect. ''I wanted to give them a chance,'' she said. Her post quickly became one of the most-read pieces on the forum that year. But nothing changed. By then, Cremer had stopped calling herself an EA.
Chugg, for his part, also had his confidence in effective altruism fatally shaken in the aftermath of a working paper on strong longtermism, published by Hilary Greaves and MacAskill in 2019. In 2021 an updated version of the essay revised down their estimate of the future human population by several orders of magnitude. To Chugg, this underscored the fact that their estimates had always been arbitrary. ''Just as the astrologer promises us that 'struggle is in our future' and can therefore never be refuted, so too can the longtermist simply claim that there are a staggering number of people in the future, thus rendering any counter argument mute,'' he wrote in a post on the Effective Altruism forum. This matters, Chugg told me, because ''You're starting to pull numbers out of hats, and comparing them to saving living kids from malaria.''
For help investigating the maths deployed by longtermists, Chugg turned to Vaden Masrani, a friend studying machine-learning at the University of British Columbia. Masrani, who is not an effective altruist, concluded that the calculations had little basis. He noted the extent to which devotees on the Effective Altruism forum had already adopted longtermism: ''They are taught to trust equations over their moral intuitions. It's sociopathic.'' Philosophers of longtermism were using mathematical equations as a rhetorical ploy, he said, to leave readers ''stunned, confused, and bewildered''.
Masrani's calculations helped convince Chugg that effective altruism had drifted far from the values that attracted him five years earlier: it seemed to ignore reason, not deploy it. ''As long as you give me a bigger number than I gave someone yesterday,'' he said, ''you can convince me that an alien invasion is the biggest thing we should worry about, and tomorrow it is AI, and the day after that it'll be the depletion of some natural resource.''
E ffective altruists believe that they will save humanity. In a poem published on his personal website, Bostrom imagines himself and his colleagues as superheroes, preventing future disasters: ''Daytime a tweedy don/ at dark a superhero/ flying off into the night/ cape a-fluttering/ to intercept villains and stop catastrophes.''
MacAskill has likened effective altruists to trauma surgeons, triaging the claims of people in need. Yet these philosophers and their followers sometimes seem to have more in common with the forensic investigators or insurance assessors who turn up at the site of a plane crash to place a price on the dead and injured. The difference, of course, is that, rather than assess actual disasters, the philosophers conjure imaginary crises and pre-emptively calculate whom we should mourn, whom we might yet save and what sacrifices we ought to make.
Effective altruists are trying to embed their ideas in policymaking and defence circles on both sides of the Atlantic. Bostrom has acted as a consultant to the CIA, the European Commission and the President's Council on Bioethics in America. Toby Ord has advised the British prime minister and the World Health Organisation. He recently worked with the United Nations on global catastrophic risks and future generations.
Longtermism is here to stay, though its parameters are shifting. Ord, MacAskill and Greaves told me frankly that they were still working out its implications. New ideas are being developed all the time. In a recent paper, MacAskill suggested creating ''permanent citizens' assemblies with an explicit mandate to represent the interests of future generations''. His latest book, ''What We Owe the Future'', aims to introduce longtermism to a general audience. In it, he argues that individuals can help secure the far future by making ''particularly high-impact'' decisions, like donating to ''effective'' non-profits, being politically active, ''spreading good ideas'' and ''having children''. To Amy Berg, a professor of philosophy at Oberlin College in Ohio who has studied effective altruism and its affiliate movements, MacAskill's vision seemed ''morally inert'': it showed how far the movement had shifted from its original ethos of doing the most good towards championing highly speculative and costly research. ''What I can do as a person has really changed to 'Here's how people with a lot of money can get involved,''' Berg said.
Yet there are signs that such ideas are being questioned at a high level. In an email, MacAskill told me he believes that ''Longtermism is the view that positively impacting the long-run future should be one of the priorities of our time.'' He continues to be ''much less sure about 'strong' longtermism'', and noted that people often misunderstood its implications. ''For instance, some have argued that strong longtermism justifies committing harm, which is simply not true.''
Greaves, for her part, told me in 2021 that she wasn't sure whether longtermism really applied to people's everyday lives. Despite researching how we can best affect the future, she herself gives money to global-health charities dedicated to ameliorating the present. ''I'm not really capable of ignoring all charities that have contact with my life,'' she said. ''If you're asking, do I inhabit that middle ground in practical terms, the answer is yes. If you're asking, do I think it's the correct thing to do as opposed to just some kind of incoherent mess that I've ended up in'...then, I'm not sure.''
Most of us experience life as an incoherent mess. Effective altruists have tried to clarify our obligations, and in doing so have entertained a series of increasingly radical positions. The changes in direction by the movement's most prominent figures are not always absorbed by their followers. ''It is fascinating to me that members of effective altruism seem more committed to certain claims about morality than their leaders are, or want to say they are publicly,'' Berg said.
Chugg has disengaged from the movement since discussing his misgivings on the EA forum, and has become suspicious of joining any kind of organisation, because ''Once you identify as part of a group, you're much less likely to see its flaws.'' But he hasn't entirely left effective altruism's orbit: he still donates to and volunteers with some branches. He believes that effective altruists were trying to do good by thinking about longtermism, even if their conclusions have had deleterious effects.
Cremer, too, continues to ponder the questions posed by effective altruism, though she no longer thinks the movement will provide the right answers. She is now pursuing her doctorate at Oxford, with funding from the Future of Humanity Institute. In December 2021 she published a paper with Luke Kemp, a catastrophic-risk researcher at Cambridge University, proposing that effective altruists modify their approach to existential risk to help make the field more democratic, transparent and less self-referential. They pointed out that the study of existential risk is not politically neutral, and challenged the determinism of effective altruism's ''techno-utopian approach'', which, they wrote, presents ''the stark choice between one of only two destinies '' technological maturity or existential catastrophe '' as a fait accompli''.
The paper went through 28 revisions and passed through the hands of over 20 readers before it finally came out. Cremer and Kemp were told that they and their institutions might lose funding because of it, and were advised not to publish at all. They were dismayed by how much scrutiny even their simplest arguments were subjected to '' such as the benefits of democratic debate '' as well as their concerns about the movement's funding. ''Having a handful of wealthy donors and their advisers dictate the evolution of an entire field is bad epistemics at best and corruption at worst,'' they wrote.
Initially, they appeared to achieve their goal: MacAskill offered to talk to Cremer. She presented him with structural reforms they could make to the community. Among other things, Cremer wanted whistleblowers to have more protection and for there to be more transparency around funding and decisions about whom to invite to conferences. MacAskill responded that he wanted to support more ''critical work''. Subsequently, the movement established a criticism contest. Yet when it came to specifics such as the mechanisms for raising and distributing money, he seemed to think the current process was sufficiently rigorous. MacAskill disputes this characterisation and told me he was in favour of ''increasing donor diversity''.
Cremer had hoped MacAskill would take her suggestions seriously, but was left feeling that she'd had little effect. ''I think he was a bit of my last hope,'' she messaged me. The paper she wrote with Kemp had been her ''parting gift'' to effective altruism.
Last week Cremer watched as Alameda Research, the trading firm she might have worked for, imploded on the world stage. Bankman-Fried lost almost all his wealth, leaving many of the effective-altruism funds he supported unable to fulfil their grants.
Critics were quick to link Bankman-Fried's championing of effective altruism to his gross financial miscalculation. ''Effective altruism also encompasses an emphasis on 'long-termism', which can read like another excuse for mercenary corner-cutting today, so long as you commit your loot to improving tomorrow,'' David Morris wrote on CoinDesk, a website that reports on digital currencies. Kemp said he felt some relief that FTX had imploded now and not later, when it would have done far more financial and political damage. ''I hope this is a critical juncture that forces effective altruism to reform itself,'' he said. ''It should stop playing with fire, and pursuing vast amounts of money and power.''
Bankman-Fried once said that he'd got into cryptocurrency only to make money as quickly as possible and help finance the main goals of the effective-altruism movement. He was a proponent of the longtermist ethos, in which prediction and speculation are often indistinguishable and obligations to a probabilistic future outweigh those to the material present. Effective altruism is ultimately a gamble. Bankman-Fried placed his bet. For now, he has lost. '
Linda Kinstler is a contributing writer for 1843 magazine and the author of ''Come to this Court and Cry: How the Holocaust Ends''. She has previously written for 1843 magazine about the Aspen Institute and Belarusian exiles
Illustrations: Angelica Paez
The Cults of Sam Bankman-Fried - The Atlantic
Sat, 18 Nov 2023 15:38
Sam Bankman-Fried was a member of two cults: one I have criticized, and one I belong to.
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Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder of the trading platform FTX, was a member of two cults. Or, more precisely, he was a figurehead of two movements that outsiders considered cultish. One of these movements I have criticized relentlessly. The other I belong to.
The first is the cult of crypto. I've made little secret of the fact that, although I think crypto is anthropologically fascinating, its substance, so far, is almost completely lacking. The blockchain and its related innovations are sometimes described as extraordinary technology in search of an ordinary use case. They are also a glossary in search of a spine'--pages worth of lingo (gm, ngmi, maxis, DeFi) that are, as of now, unglued from any stable vision of the future besides the bet that certain asset values will go up. To reinvent the casino and tell yourself that, next up, you'll reinvent the world, requires either the mind of a time-traveling genius or the faith of a simple zealot.
The second is the cult of effective altruism, a philosophy that seeks to do the most good for the most people, now and in the future. Despite its controversies, I find EA (as it's often known) to be a compelling corrective for many modern activists and philanthropists. If you want to give away money, EA urges you to figure out how to make the most difference to the most lives. If you want to find a meaningful job, it offers clever (perhaps, sometimes, too clever) ideas for how to plow a career path that will create more value for the world than your likely replacement.
Before the sky fell in on him, Bankman-Fried fluently spoke the language of both movements. He was one of the richest crypto founders in the world and the rare billionaire who publicly pledged to liquidate his personal wealth to benefit causes in line with effective altruism. This strange juxtaposition was too delicious for mainstream news organizations to resist. In retrospect, the whole thing looks like a nesting doll of fraud: a sketchy crypto product, built on a berserk approach to protecting customer assets, wrapped inside a fraudulent effort to ''philanthropy wash'' his ill-gotten wealth.
One question circulating in the aftermath of FTX's downfall is: To what extent should this scandal change our minds about crypto and EA? Predictably, critics of both movements say Bankman-Fried's undoing should be the death knell for both causes.
In the days after FTX's bankruptcy, I was ready to believe that it was curtains for crypto. How many different ways had the rug been pulled out from under the promises of Web3 boosters?
Crypto advocates have hailed the decentralization of finance'--that is, the idea that new financial institutions, built on the blockchain, might pull money away from the chokepoints of state treasuries and central banks. But this fraud was perpetrated on its own centralized exchange, which gave SBF unusual authority to move customer funds however he liked. Another purported benefit of the blockchain was that it would make tracking money and tracing the provenance of assets easier; however, with FTX, authorities still don't know where all the money went. Crypto was supposed to give us trust in a trustless world. Instead, FTX created a shadow banking system outside of federal assurances for checking accounts; in other words, it injected an untrustworthy institution into an otherwise trusting relationship between customers and their brokerage accounts.By contrast, I was defensive on the issue of effective altruism. As the criticisms of EA came pouring in, I was certain that the critics were being monstrously unfair. I thought: If every philosophy required the sinlessness of all participants, there would be no philosophies left. And: Blaming a philanthropic cause for the business ethics of its donors is simply nonsense; by definition, the money has already been earned by the time it is donated. And: Does anybody actually think that fraud in the Bahamas makes pandemic preparedness (a central cause of EA) less important for the world?
But I was doing a lot of thinking with my heart, which is not necessarily the sort of thing effective altruists tend to promote. My mom died of pancreatic cancer in 2013, the same year that the EA philosopher Will MacAskill moved into my apartment in New York City, as a subletter. At the very moment that I felt emotionally eviscerated and existentially unmoored, I found his ethics to be an unexpected balm. I decided that I wanted to honor my mom's death with a large donation to a charity that would save lives, so that, in some cosmic equation, I could feel as if I'd reclaimed a sense of purpose from a senseless tragedy. Effective altruism is often dismissed as an ersatz religion by its critics. But if religion is a tool for turning life's chaos into stories of meaning, then EA was more than just a philosophical reorientation for me, or a mere coping mechanism. It filled a religion-size hole in my life.
The reputational implosion of EA hit close to home in another way: I interviewed Bankman-Fried in October on his approach to donating money. He said nothing to me that was newsbreaking, but he demonstrated a fluency with the ideas of effective altruism that made him seem like a sincere believer. He was profoundly nerdy and seemed very kind.
So consider all that a confession. My immediate response to Bankman-Fried's downfall was that it had everything to do with the nonsense of crypto and nothing to do with the wisdom of EA. With time, I came to see how absurd that initial point of view actually was.
The FTX detonation ought to leave a dent in both movements, crypto and EA. For crypto, the lesson is simple: This quasi-cult, which speaks of empowering the disadvantaged, has proved itself eerily adept at centralizing wealth and decentralizing losses in an era of whiplashing interest rates. History is long, and the range of outcomes is still wide. But for now, the ratio of ''pension funds lost'' to ''nongambling use cases found'' continues to grow.
I also think the scandal ought to compel EA-aligned institutions to be much more critical of their financiers. This movement, which is so clear-eyed about outputs and outcomes, ought to be equally concerned about inputs and incomes. Where is this movement's money coming from? Whom is it coming from? How might the reputations of EA funders shape the reputation of EA? These are questions that need answers.
Many effective altruists are fixated on the threat of advanced artificial intelligence, including the so-called alignment problem: What if technologists build a big, powerful system that doesn't do what we want, or doesn't care what we want? A silly-yet-useful example is that we design an advanced AI to make paper clips, and the AI steals $1 trillion in bank assets to pay terrorists to acquire a fleet of weapons, with which they ransom the governments of every major steel-producing country to hand over the entire global supply of steel. All this, just to satisfy the initial parameters of the AI: make paper clips.
Today, EA institutions have an alignment problem. Effective altruists helping to distribute SBF's wealth built a big, powerful system whose central actor didn't do what they wanted and didn't seem to ultimately care what they wanted. Good intentions are worthless in the face of bad outcomes: That is the alignment problem, and utilitarianism, and effective altruism all wrapped up in a sentence. But the converse is also true: Being good is a part of doing good.
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Effective Altruism and the Cult of Rationality: Shaping the Political Future from FTX to AI '-- COLUMBIA POLITICAL REVIEW
Sat, 18 Nov 2023 15:37
Who in society is left behind when those in power prioritize the future over issues impacting individuals in the current day? The Effective Altruism (EA) movement has an answer. Utopian in their future-minded aims, effective altruists idealize an imagined future where accumulated wealth creates the greatest good for future generations. While not overtly political in current times, the movement has latent, insidious impacts on the functioning of American government and society. Most recently, such influence has made itself explicitly visible in the FTX bankruptcy scandal and subsequent congressional hearings. While reflecting on the movement's political and social repercussions, it is imperative for us to assess what an EA-dominated world would look like. If effective altruism controlled political advocacy, society would tumble towards a different form of tyranny of the majority.
As a method of future minded, strictly data-driven philanthropy'--popular among young elites in the technology and finance industries'--EA emphasizes the quantification of ''the most good.'' It reduces the effectiveness of solutions to three main measures: the number of potential lives saved, the odds of success, and the most objective value derived from philanthropic donation. A morbid, rational, altruistic view of life, the movement translates its empirical analysis of value into its priorities in the present and the future. The EA line of reasoning suggests some social issues in the present day should be of less importance if it would negatively impact the possibility of life for future generations, such as artificial intelligence turning against humans.
The EA movement started in November of 2009, brought about by two Oxford University students, Toby Ord and William MacAskill. MacAskill and his group of like-minded peers took utilitarian moral philosophy to heart and created an organization called ''Giving What We Can,'' in which members were encouraged to donate 10 percent of their income to charities. It then evolved into the wider EA movement. MacAskill writes that, ''Humanity, today, is like an imprudent teenager.'' In other words, short term-enjoyment has become a prime motivator for decisions, despite the magnitude of their long term repercussions. For example, while it may be seen as less ethical to work on Wall Street, if one does so with the intention of giving away their earnings, it would be considered more ''effectively altruistic'' than working at a low-paying yet socially responsible job. Such paradigms sit at the core of EA's philosophy.
The EA movement has become more prevalent in the current socio-political landscape due to its connection to Sam Bankman-Fried and the FTX cryptocurrency scandal. While the actual function of FTX is relatively unrelated to promoting an EA ideology, Backman-Fried himself was one of the most vocal advocates for the EA mission and provided substantial donations to the cause. His net worth, prior to congressional investigations, was estimated at $32 billion.
On November 11, 2022, Bankman-Fried's company filed for bankruptcy. $8 billion in customer deposits were reported missing, and Bankman-Fried was shortly thereafter arrested in the Bahamas on December 13, 2022. The next day, the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs conducted a full committee hearing about the crypto crash.
This incident created several problems for the EA movement. Not only was the movement's public image affected, but the millions of dollars Bankman-Fried planned to give to EA organizations and interest charities disappeared overnight. The movement has lost one of its wealthiest supporters. More importantly, however, the scandal prompted a reckoning on how an organization that prioritizes rationality, scrutiny, and assessing risk could miss this level of blatant unethical practices. Of course, Effective Altruists insist the FTX scandal has not impacted their mission.
To a certain degree, the financial solvency of the EA movement is irrelevant. The FTX scandal has shed light on a far more profound issue'--the reliability of EA's leadership. Because of the recent scandal, there is cause to consider why those in the Effective Altruism movement should determine effectiveness and rule on what deserves philanthropy. The individuals involved in the EA movement often come from positions of relative privilege, particularly those involved in the tech field. They are majority young, male, white, educated, and socioeconomically advantaged. According to the Center for Effective Altruism, the median age of those involved in the movement is 24 years old, the majority are currently employed or done with collegiate education, and less than 15% were undergraduates. A privileged cohort determining what benefits the majority, while dismissing problems impacting a minority group, does not translate into equitable policymaking.
Policymaking should not be based on deserving, it should be based on what is equitable. However, the utopia of EA is a utopia based on deserving. There is a criteria to get in and reap the benefits of accumulated bounty, and many do not make the cut because they do not fit within a quantifiable mode of statistics nor ''effectiveness.'' For Effective Altruists, this utopia exists somewhere in the future and is denied to people in the present, unless they are one of the few who are rational enough to be part of the movement or deemed worthy of its reward.
Most Effective Altruists believe that what stands in the way of their utopia is artificial intelligence'--that is, AI taking over human society and exceeding the intellectual performance of humans. If the exponential increase in AI abilities is controlled, it could be a benefit to society. However, if AI goes unchecked there could be dire consequences, with the Center for Effective Altruism warning that ''it could result in an extreme concentration of power in the hands of a tiny elite.'' A different tiny elite from the one funding EA efforts? These expanding AI abilities will affect future generations. The way to combat this potential catastrophic future is through AI value alignment, which ensures that AI behaves with the same values as humans. Effective Altruism pumps a great deal of money into AI alignment research, such as the Berkeley's Center for Human-Compatible AI. It is framed in a way similar to the relationship between constituents and their governments. How do people ensure that their government is working for the will of all the people? They develop a constitution or a set of rules to abide by that dictate proper action and values.
Effective Altruists seek a utopia that is sterile and sealed off from the small struggles of the present. While upholding rationality as the means to an altruistic life, the movement fails to actually think rationally about its own existence and, most importantly, the consistency between its projected values and actual actions. If political advocacy were to take on this framework, the majority would overshadow the needs of the few in the present. The good of real humans would be overshadowed by the focus on artificial intelligence. Thus, we must be wary of the power behind a mindset focused solely on the hypothetical future and allow space and empathy for the short term needs of society. A tyranny of the quantifiably rational majority would lead to more quantifying of human suffering than policy change.
Claire Schnatterbeck is a Junior Editor for Policy 360. She is a rising senior (CC '24) studying political science. When she's not searching for an open seat in Butler Library she can be found listening to a podcast, strolling through Riverside park looking for dogs, or discussing her favorite Simon and Garfunkel song. She has roots in Illinois and Wyoming.
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What is effective altruism? | Effective Altruism
Sat, 18 Nov 2023 15:13
ContentsIntroductionWhat are some examples of effective altruism in practice?Preventing the next pandemicProviding basic medical supplies in poor countriesHelping to create the field of AI alignment researchEnding factory farmingImproving decision-makingWhat principles unite effective altruism?How can you take action?FAQWhat are some common objections to effective altruism?What's next?IntroductionIntroduction
Effective altruism is a project that aims to find the best ways to help others, and put them into practice.
It's both a research field, which aims to identify the world's most pressing problems and the best solutions to them, and a practical community that aims to use those findings to do good.
This project matters because, while many attempts to do good fail, some are enormously effective. For instance, some charities help 100 or even 1,000 times as many people as others, when given the same amount of resources.
This means that by thinking carefully about the best ways to help, we can do far more to tackle the world's biggest problems.
Effective altruism was formalized by scholars at Oxford University, but has now spread around the world, and is being applied by tens of thousands of people in more than 70 countries.1
People inspired by effective altruism have worked on projects that range from funding the distribution of 200 million malaria nets, to academic research on the future of AI, to campaigning for policies to prevent the next pandemic.
They're not united by any particular solution to the world's problems, but by a way of thinking. They try to find unusually good ways of helping, such that a given amount of effort goes an unusually long way. Here are some examples of what they've done so far, followed by the values that unite them:
What are some examples of effective altruism in practice?Preventing the next pandemicWhy this issue?
People in effective altruism typically try to identify issues that are big in scale, tractable, and unfairly neglected.2 The aim is to find the biggest gaps in current efforts, in order to find where an additional person can have the greatest impact. One issue that seems to match those criteria is preventing pandemics.
Researchers in effective altruism argued as early as 2014 that, given the history of near-misses, there was a good chance that a large pandemic would happen in our lifetimes.
But preparing for the next pandemic was, and remains, hugely underfunded compared to other global issues. For instance, the US invests around $8bn per year preventing pandemics, compared to around $280bn per year spent on counterterrorism over the last decade.3
Preventing terror attacks is certainly important. But the scale of the issue seems smaller. For instance, just to focus on the number of deaths, in the last 50 years, around 500,000 people have been killed by terrorism. But over 21 million people were killed by COVID-19 alone4 '' or consider the 40 million killed by HIV/AIDS.5
Not to mention, a future pandemic could easily be much worse than COVID-19: there's nothing to rule out a disease that's more infectious than the Omicron variant, but that's as deadly as smallpox. (See more on the comparison in footnote 4.)
In effective altruism, once a big and neglected problem has been identified, the community then looks for solutions that have a chance of making a big contribution to solving the problem, and are neglected by others working on that issue, which brings us to...
Some examples of what's been done
In 2016 Open Philanthropy '' a foundation inspired by effective altruism '' became the largest funder of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, which is one of the few groups doing research to identify better policy responses to pandemics, and was an important group in the response to COVID-19.6
When COVID-19 broke out, members of the community founded 1DaySooner, a non-profit that advocates for human challenge trials. In this type of vaccine trial, healthy volunteers are deliberately infected with the disease, enabling near-instant testing of the vaccine. As one of the only advocates for this intervention, 1DaySooner has signed up over 30,000 volunteers,7 and played an important role in starting the world's first COVID-19 human challenge trial. This model can be repeated when we face the next pandemic.
Members of the effective altruism community helped to create the Apollo Programme for Biodefense, a multibillion dollar policy proposal designed to prevent the next pandemic.
Providing basic medical supplies in poor countriesWhy this issue?
It's common to say that charity begins at home, but in effective altruism, charity begins where we can help the most. And this often means focusing on the people who are most neglected by the current system '' which is often those who are more distant from us.
Over 700 million people live on less than $1.90 per day.8
In contrast, an American living near the poverty line lives on 20 times as much, and the average American college graduate lives on about 107 times as much. This places them in the top 1.3% of income, globally speaking.9 (These amounts are already adjusted for the fact that money goes further in poor countries.)
Global inequality is extreme. Because of this, transferring resources to the very poorest people in the world can do a huge amount of good. In richer countries like the US and UK, governments are typically willing to spend over $1 million to save a life.10 This is well worth doing, but in the world's poorest countries, the cost of saving a life is far lower.
GiveWell is an organization that does in-depth research to find the most evidence-backed and cost-effective health and development projects. It discovered that while many aid interventions don't work, some, like providing insecticide-treated bednets, can save a child's life for about $5,500 on average. That's 180 times less.11
These basic medical interventions are so cheap and effective that even the most prominent aid sceptics agree they're worthwhile.
Some examples of what's been done
Over 110,000 individual donors have used GiveWell's research to contribute more than $1 billion to its recommended charities, supporting organisations like the Against Malaria Foundation, which has distributed over 200 million insecticide-treated bednets. Collectively these efforts are estimated to have saved 159,000 lives.12
In addition to charity, it's possible to help the world's poorest people through business. Wave is a technology company founded by members of the effective altruism community, which allows people to transfer money to several African countries faster and several times more cheaply than existing services. It's especially helpful for migrants sending money home to their families, and has been used by over 800,000 people in countries like Kenya, Uganda and Senegal. In Senegal alone, Wave has saved its users hundreds of millions of dollars in transfer fees '' around 1% of the country's GDP.13
Helping to create the field of AI alignment researchWhy this issue?
People in effective altruism often end up focusing on issues that seem counterintuitive, obscure or exaggerated. But this is because it's more impactful to work on the issues that are neglected by others (all else equal), and these issues are (almost by definition) going to be unconventional ones. One example is the AI alignment problem.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is progressing rapidly. The leading AI systems are now able to engage in limited conversation, solve college-level maths problems, explain jokes, generate extremely realistic images from text, and do basic coding.14 None of this was possible just ten years ago.
The ultimate goal of the leading AI labs is to develop AI that is as good as, or better than, human beings on all tasks. It's extremely hard to predict the future of technology, but various arguments and expert surveys suggest that this achievement is more likely than not this century. And according to standard economic models, once general AI can perform at human level, technological progress could dramatically accelerate.
The result would be an enormous transformation, perhaps of a significance similar to or greater than the industrial revolution in the 1800s. If handled well, this transformation could bring about abundance and prosperity for everyone. If handled poorly, it could result in an extreme concentration of power in the hands of a tiny elite.
In the worst case, we could lose control of the AI systems themselves. Unable to govern beings with capabilities far greater than our own, we would find ourselves with as little control over our future as chimpanzees have control over theirs.
This means this issue could not only have a dramatic impact on the present generation, but also on all future generations. This makes it especially pressing from a ''longtermist'' perspective, a school of thinking which holds that improving the long-term future is a key moral priority of our time.
How to ensure AI systems continue to further human values, even as they become equal (or superior) to humans in their capabilities, is called the AI alignment problem, and solving it requires advances in computer science.
Despite its potentially historical importance, only a couple of hundred researchers work on this problem, compared to tens of thousands working to make AI systems more powerful.15
It's hard to sum up the case for the issue in a few paragraphs, so if you'd like to explore more, we'd recommend starting here, here and here.
Some examples of what's been done
One priority is to simply tell more people about the issue. The book Superintelligence was published in 2014, making the case for the importance of AI alignment, and became a New York Times best-seller.
Another priority is to build a research field focused on this problem. For instance, AI pioneer Stuart Russell, and others inspired by effective altruism, founded The Center for Human-Compatible AI at UC Berkeley. This research institute aims to develop a new paradigm of AI development, in which the act of furthering human values is central.
Others have helped to start teams focused on AI alignment at major AI labs such as DeepMind and OpenAI, and outline research agendas for AI alignment, in works such as Concrete Problems in AI Safety.
Ending factory farmingWhy this issue?
People in effective altruism try to extend their circle of concern '' not only to those living in distant countries or future generations, but also to non-human animals.
Nearly 10 billion animals live and die in factory farms in the US every year16 '' often unable to physically turn around their entire lives, or castrated without anaesthetic.
Lots of people agree we shouldn't make animals suffer needlessly, but most of this attention goes towards pet shelters. In the US, about 1,400 times more animals pass through factory farms than pet shelters.17
Despite this, pet shelters receive around $5 billion per year in the US, compared to only $97 million on advocacy to end factory farming.18
Some examples of what's been done
One strategy is advocacy. The Open Wing Alliance, which received significant funding from funders inspired by effective altruism, developed a campaign to encourage large companies to commit to stop buying eggs from caged chickens. To date, they have won over 2,200 commitments, and as a result over 100 million birds have been spared from cages.19
Another strategy is to create alternative proteins, which if made cheaper and tastier than factory farmed meat, could make demand disappear, ending factory farming. The Good Food Institute is working to kick-start this industry, helping to create companies like Dao Foods in China and Good Catch in the US, encouraging big business to enter the industry (including JBS, the world's largest meat company) and securing tens of millions of dollars of government support.20
Open Philanthropy was an early investor in Impossible Foods, which created the Impossible Burger '' an entirely vegan burger that tastes much more like meat, and is now sold in Burger King.
Improving decision-makingWhy this issue?
People who want to do good often prefer to directly tackle problems, since it's more motivating to see the tangible effects of their actions. But what matters is that the world gets better, not that you do it with your own two hands. So people applying effective altruism often try to help indirectly, by empowering others.
One example of this is by improving decision-making. Namely: if key actors '-- such as politicians, private and third sector leaders, or grantmakers at funding bodies '-- were generally better at making decisions, society would be in a better position to deal with a whole range of future global problems, whatever they turn out to be.
So, if we can find new, neglected ways to improve the decision-making of important actors, that could be a route to having a big impact. And it seems like there are some promising solutions that could achieve this.
Some examples of what's been done
Many global problems are exacerbated by a lack of trustworthy information. Metaculus is a forecasting technology platform that identifies important questions (such as the chance of Russia invading Ukraine), aggregates forecasts made by hundreds of forecasters, and weighs them by their past accuracy. Metaculus gave a probability of a Russian invasion of Ukraine of 47% by mid January 2022, and 80% shortly before the invasion on the 24th of February21 '' a time when many pundits, journalists and experts were saying it definitely wouldn't happen.
The Global Priorities Institute at the University of Oxford does foundational research at the intersection of philosophy and economics into how key decision-makers can identify the world's most pressing problems. It has helped to create a new academic field of global priorities research, creating a research agenda, publishing tens of papers, and helping to inspire relevant research at Harvard, NYU, UT Austin, Yale, Princeton and elsewhere.
What principles unite effective altruism?Effective altruism isn't defined by the projects above, and what it focuses on could easily change. What defines effective altruism are the principles that underpin its search for the best ways of helping others:
Prioritization: Our intuitions about doing good don't usually take into account the scale of the outcomes '-- helping 100 people often makes us feel as satisfied as helping 1000. But since some ways of doing good also achieve dramatically more than others, it's vital to attempt to use numbers to roughly weigh how much different actions help. The goal is to find the best ways to help, rather than just working to make any difference at all.
Impartial altruism: It's normal and reasonable to have special concern for one's own family, friends or nation. But, when trying to do as much good as possible, we aim to give everyone's interests equal weight, no matter where or when they live. This means focusing on the groups who are most neglected, which usually means focusing on those who don't have as much power to protect their own interests.
Open truthseeking: Rather than starting with a commitment to a certain cause, community or approach, it's important to consider many different ways to help and seek to find the best ones. This means putting serious time into deliberation and reflection on one's beliefs, being constantly open and curious for new evidence and arguments, and being ready to change one's views quite radically.
Collaborative spirit: It's often possible to achieve more by working together, and doing this effectively requires high standards of honesty, integrity, and compassion. Effective altruism does not mean supporting 'ends justify the means' reasoning, but rather is about being a good citizen, while ambitiously working toward a better world.
These principles are not absolutes, and are subject to revision, but we think they're important and undervalued by society at large. Anyone applying these principles in trying to find better ways to help others is participating in effective altruism. This is true no matter how much time or money they want to give, or which issue they choose to focus on.
Effective altruism can be compared to the scientific method. Science is the use of evidence and reason in search of truth '' even if the results are unintuitive or run counter to tradition. Effective altruism is the use of evidence and reason in search of the best ways of doing good.
The scientific method is based on simple ideas (e.g. that you should test your beliefs) but it leads to a radically different picture of the world (e.g. quantum mechanics). Likewise, effective altruism is based on simple ideas '' that we should treat people equally and it's better to help more people than fewer '' but it leads to an unconventional and ever-evolving picture of doing good.
People interested in effective altruism most often attempt to apply the ideas in their lives by:
Choosing careers that help tackle pressing problems, or by finding ways to use their existing skills to contribute to these problems, such as by using advice from 80,000 Hours.
Donating to carefully chosen charities, such as by using research from GiveWell or Giving What We Can.
Starting new organizations that help to tackle pressing problems.
Helping to build communities tackling pressing problems.
See a longer list of ways to take action.
The above are not exhaustive. You can apply effective altruism no matter how much you want to focus on doing good, and in any area of your life '' what matters is that, no matter how much you want to contribute, your efforts are driven by the four values above, and you try to make your efforts as effective as possible.
Typically, this involves trying to identify big and neglected global problems, the most effective solutions to those problems, and ways you can contribute to those solutions '' with whatever time or money you're willing to give.
By doing this and thinking carefully, you might find it's possible to have far more impact with those resources. It really is possible to save hundreds of people's lives over your career. And by teaming up with others in the community, you can play a role in tackling some of the most important issues civilization faces today.
FAQWho created this website and why?This website was created by the Centre for Effective Altruism, a charity dedicated to building and nurturing the effective altruism community. CEA created this website to help explain and spread the ideas of effective altruism.
What is the definition of effective altruism?Effective altruism is the project of trying to find the best ways of helping others, and putting them into practice.
We can roughly break the project of effective altruism down into a research field that aims to identify the most effective ways of helping others, and a practical community of people who aim to use the results of that research to make the world better.
Someone is practising effective altruism if they're participating in either of these two projects i.e. attempting to find more effective ways of helping, or devoting some of their resources to the most effective ways of helping discovered so far.
Effective altruism, defined in this way, doesn't say anything about how much someone should give. What matters is that they use the time and money they want to give as effectively as possible.
''As effectively as possible'' means trying to uphold the four values of effective altruism covered above: (i) prioritization '' trying to weigh the scale of the effects of your actions (ii) impartial altruism '' attempting to treat others equally (iii) truthseeking '' constantly searching for new evidence and arguments (iv) collaborative spirit '' acting with high standards of honesty and friendliness, and taking a community perspective.
What is meant by ''helping others'' or ''doing good'' within effective altruism? See the next FAQ entry.
To see a more precise definition of effective altruism, see The Definition of Effective Altruism.
What is meant by 'doing good' or 'helping others' in effective altruism?What it means to 'do good' is a subject of active debate and research in the community, which includes people who hold many different moral views.
That said, typically in effective altruism, 'doing good' is tentatively understood to mean enabling others to have lives that are healthy, happy, fulfilled; in line with their wishes; and free from avoidable suffering '' to have lives with greater wellbeing.
Effective altruism has this focus because increasing wellbeing is a goal that is important to many people. That isn't to say that only increasing wellbeing matters, and in practice people in effective altruism have many other values.
Because what matters morally is so uncertain, people involved in effective altruism aim to respect other widely held values in their pursuit of doing good. Effective altruism is not about ''ends justifies the means'' thinking. It is about being a good citizen while ambitiously working toward a better world.
Read more about how 80,000 Hours '' a non-profit that's part of the community '' defines 'doing good' here.
To see a more precise definition of doing good used in effective altruism, see The Definition of Effective Altruism, by the philosopher and co-founder of Effective Altruism, William MacAskill.
How did effective altruism get started?Effective altruism was formed when several communities around the world came together, including Giving What We Can and the Future of Humanity Institute in Oxford, the rationality community in the Bay Area, and GiveWell (then in New York).
The term 'effective altruism' was coined in Oxford in 2011 as part of the name for the Centre for Effective Altruism (which hosts this website), but it caught on as a term to describe the broader movement.
Some of effective altruism's intellectual inspirations are evidence-based medicine & policy; applied utilitarianism; and research into heuristics and biases in human reasoning.
Here is a talk about the intellectual history of effective altruism by Toby Ord and a history of the term 'effective altruism'.
What resources have inspired people to get involved with effective altruism in the past?Some examples of resources that have inspired people to get involved in effective altruism (but don't necessarily represent its current form) include:
Doing Good Better, by Will MacAskillThe 80,000 Hours career guide, by Benjamin ToddThe Precipice, by Toby OrdTaking Charity Seriously, by Toby OrdOur top charities, by GiveWellRationality: A-Z, by Eliezer YudkowskyDoing Good '' A conversation with William MacAskill, by Sam HarrisThe why and how of effective altruism, by Peter Singer at TED.The Drowning Child and the Expanding Circle, by Peter SingerOn Caring, by Nate SoaresThe most important century, by Holden Karnofsky500 million, but not a single one more, by Jai DhyaniAn introduction to effective altruism, by Ajeya CotraAnimal Liberation, by Peter SingerEffective altruism: an introduction, the 80,000 Hours podcastWhy does effective altruism matter?In brief:
Lots of people want to do good.Some ways of doing good achieve much more than others (given the same amount of resources).These differences are not widely known or acted upon.This means that by searching for the most effective ways to do good, making them widely known, and acting on them, people interested in doing good can do far more to tackle the world's most pressing problems.
Moreover, this can be achieved even if the amount of resources devoted to doing good doesn't increase.
What do people interested in effective altruism work on in practice?People interested in effective altruism work on a wide range of issues and projects.
For instance, Benjamin Todd estimated the following distribution of funding across issues in 2019:
In terms of how they contribute, many choose jobs with the aim of tackling pressing problems. These jobs span all sectors, including within non-profit and for-profit organisations aiming to tackle these problems, academic research, or positions in government and policy.
Over 5,000 people pledge to donate over 10% of their income to the charities they believe are most effective through Giving What We Can, and over 100,000 people have made at least one donation based on GiveWell's recommendations.
A common misconception is that effective altruism is only about donating money to global health charities or 'earning to give'. But community members support many causes besides global health, only a minority are prioritizing earning to give, and effective altruism is as much about how to use your time effectively as your money. In fact, the organization 80,000 Hours argues that for many people, their career decisions matter more than their decisions about where to donate. Read more in ''Misconceptions about effective altruism''.
See examples of people practising effective altruism in the next question.
What are some examples of people involved in effective altruism?See some examples of:
People who changed their career due to 80,000 Hours.People who've taken the Giving What We Can pledge.Does effective altruism say I should make doing good my only focus in life?No. How much to focus on doing good is a personal decision.
Effective altruism is about how to use the resources you want to devote to doing good as effectively as possible, not how much to focus on helping others in the first place.
Effective altruism often inspires people to make doing good a greater focus, because they realise it's possible to do more good than they thought.
But for most in the community, doing good is just one important goal among several moral and personal goals. Likewise, while some in the community donate 50%+ of their income to charity, others only donate 1%.
Your own decision will be based partly on your moral views, and partly on your life circumstances. Many are simply not able to make helping others a major focus in life.
Even if you do want to make doing good a major focus, making it your only focus is often counterproductive. First, this is because what matters morally is deeply uncertain, and focusing on one ill-defined moral goal to the exclusion of all others could easily cause harm. Second, having a single goal isn't a good match with most people's psychology, so is likely to cause burnout, reducing your impact in the long term.
Why don't people in effective altruism focus on more conventional issues?A key consideration for which issue one should focus on is where resources are already being allocated by society. If an important problem is already widely recognised, then it is likely that a lot of people are already trying to solve it. That means it will usually be harder for a few extra people who decide to work on the issue to have a very large impact. All else equal, it's possible to do far more good in an area that is not getting the attention it deserves.
One way to think about this is in terms of a "world portfolio" '' what would the ideal allocation of resources be across all social causes? And where are we farthest from that ideal allocation?
This is why the issues people in effective altruism prioritize can seem surprising or narrow. They focus on the issues that are furthest from getting the attention they need.
This means the issues the community focuses on will change over time. If more people get interested in effective altruism, then the issues focused on today will no longer be neglected, and the community will change or expand its scope.
Where do organizations inspired by effective altruism get their funding?Some organizations in the community are backed by a large number of individual effective donors. For example, over 110,000 individual donors have used GiveWell's research to contribute more than $1 billion to its recommended charities. Others '-- including the Centre for Effective Altruism, which produced this website '-- are supported in significant part by grantmaking organizations inspired by effective altruism such as Open Philanthropy. Grants and donations can vary widely in size; the common thread between them is that these donors care deeply about doing as much good as possible with their giving.
See more common questions about effective altruism.
What are some common objections to effective altruism?What about if I disagree that the projects in this article are effective?Is effective altruism only about making money and donating it to charity?Is effective altruism the same as utilitarianism? What if I'm not a utilitarian?Does effective altruism neglect systemic change?If everyone followed the advice of effective altruism, wouldn't that lead to a misallocation of resources?Is effective altruism calculating and impersonal?Is effective altruism too demanding?Doesn't charity start at home?Do charity and aid really work?How are the people you're trying to help involved in the decision-making?Does effective altruism neglect effective interventions when the impact can't be measured?Isn't effective altruism obvious?Is the effective altruism community too homogeneous?What's next?If you're interested in learning about how to do more good, we've compiled the following lists of some of the best resources about effective altruism:
ArticlesPodcastsBooksVideos & talksGet an introduction to effective altruism in your inboxSign up and we'll send you a couple of emails about the most important ideas of effective altruism, plus a monthly update on the latest research and key projects in the community.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Statement on Charity Commission inquiry into Effective Ventures Foundation UK - Effective Ventures
Sat, 18 Nov 2023 14:52
The Charity Commission has announced an inquiry into Effective Ventures Foundation in the UK following the collapse of FTX. We understand the Commission's desire to exercise extra scrutiny, especially given the scale and profile of the FTX situation, and we will be cooperating fully.
The trustees have carefully assessed the financial situation and the charity is not reliant on the FTX-related funds for its future operations.
We have kept the Commission informed of our actions throughout the process and note that the Commission has confirmed that we complied with our duties in making a serious incident report.
We are pleased that the Commission has found our interactions thus far to be fully cooperative and we plan for that to continue.
'-- Howie Lempel, Interim CEO of Effective Ventures Foundation UK
Centre for Effective Altruism - Wikipedia
Sat, 18 Nov 2023 14:49
The Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA) is an Oxford-based organisation that builds and supports the effective altruism community. It was founded in 2012 by William MacAskill and Toby Ord, both philosophers at the University of Oxford. CEA is part of Effective Ventures, a federation of projects working to have a large positive impact in the world.
History edit CEA's founding was prompted by the need to set up an umbrella organization under which Giving What We Can and 80,000 Hours could be incorporated. In late 2011, the members of those two organizations met to discuss how this new entity should be named, and the name ''Centre for Effective Altruism'' was adopted. At the time, the movement that would later be called ''effective altruism'' did not yet have a standard name'--terms common back then included ''optimal philanthropy'' and ''rational altruism'''--and this was the first time the term ''effective altruism'' was used in its current sense. CEA was registered as a charity the following year.
In 2015 and 2016, CEA incorporated several projects, including Effective Altruism Global and Giving What We Can, and began to function as a centralized organization, rather than merely as an umbrella. Sam Bankman-Fried joined CEA as director of development in late 2017, leaving shortly thereafter to fund Alameda Research. In 2018, CEA launched a new version of the Effective Altruism Forum, based on the LessWrong codebase.
In 2022, the division of CEA providing operations support and fiscal sponsorship to several projects changed its name to ''Effective Ventures''. The rest of CEA now operates as one of Effective Ventures' many projects, which besides Giving What We Can and 80,000 Hours, include EA Funds, the Forethought Foundation, the Centre for the Governance of AI, Longview Philanthropy, Asterisk, Atlas Fellowship, and Non-trivial. CEA continues to pursue its mission to build and nurture a global community of people who are thinking carefully about the world's biggest problems and taking impactful action to solve them.
Activities edit As of 2022, CEA's primary activities include organizing the Effective Altruism Global conference series; building and maintaining the Effective Altruism Forum and the effective altruism landing page; funding and advising hundreds of effective altruism groups across the world; and preserving the effective altruism community's ability to grow and produce value in the future by building a healthy intellectual culture and an inclusive community.
CEA's offices are in Trajan House, a building that also accommodates many other organizations connected with the effective altruism movement, including the Forethought Foundation, the Centre for the Governance of AI, the Global Challenges Project, Our World in Data, the Future of Humanity Institute and the Global Priorities Institute; the latter two are also part of the University of Oxford.
CEA's budget for the year 2021 was $28 million.
See also edit Effective altruism80,000 HoursGiving What We CanEffective Altruism GlobalImpact investing References edit ^ Matthews, Dylan (2018-10-15). "Future perfect, explained". Vox. ^ Bajekal, Naina (2022-08-10). "Want to do more good? This movement might have the answer". Time . Retrieved 2022-08-10 . ^ "Effective Ventures". 2022-08-10 . Retrieved 2022-08-10 . ^ Bajekal, Naina (2022-08-10). "Want to do more good? This movement might have the answer". Time . Retrieved 2022-08-10 . ^ Muehlhauser, Luke (2011-07-25). "Optimal philanthropy for human beings". LessWrong . Retrieved 2022-09-20 . ^ Karnofsky, Holden (2013-01-16). "In memory of Aaron Swartz". The GiveWell Blog . Retrieved 2022-09-20 . ^ Lewis-Kraus, Gideon (2022-08-08). "The reluctant prophet of effective altruism". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X . Retrieved 2022-08-08 . ^ Matthews, Dylan (2022-08-08). "How effective altruism went from a niche movement to a billion-dollar force". Vox . Retrieved 2022-08-08 . ^ MacAskill, William (2014-03-10). "The history of the term 'effective altruism' ". Effective Altruism Forum . Retrieved 2022-09-20 . ^ Bajekal, Naina (2022-08-10). "Want to do more good? This movement might have the answer". Time . Retrieved 2022-08-10 . ^ "Sam Bankman-Fried | 2021 40 Under 40". Fortune. 2021 . Retrieved 2022-09-20 . ^ Habryka, Oliver (2018-11-08). "The new Effective Altruism forum just launched". LessWrong . Retrieved 2022-09-23 . ^ Effective Ventures (2022-09-20). "EV's Structure and Charitable Status". Effective Ventures . Retrieved 2022-09-20 . ^ Effective Ventures Ops (2022-09-13). "CEA Ops is now EV Ops". Effective Altruism Forum . Retrieved 2022-09-20 . ^ Centre For Effective Altruism (2022). "What is CEA?". Centre For Effective Altruism . Retrieved 2022-09-19 . ^ "EA Global - The effective altruism community's annual conference". Effective Altruism Global. 2022 . Retrieved 2022-09-20 . ^ "Effective Altruism". 2022 . Retrieved 2022-09-20 . ^ Effective Altruism Forum (2022). "Community". Effective Altruism Forum . Retrieved 2022-09-20 . ^ Centre For Effective Altruism (2022). "CEA's Strategy | Centre For Effective Altruism". Centre For Effective Altruism . Retrieved 2022-09-20 . ^ Lewis-Kraus, Gideon (2022-08-08). "The reluctant prophet of effective altruism". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X . Retrieved 2022-08-08 . ^ Centre For Effective Altruism (2021). "EA hub office manager". Centre For Effective Altruism . Retrieved 2022-09-20 . ^ Bajekal, Naina (2022-08-10). "Want to do more good? This movement might have the answer". Time . Retrieved 2022-08-10 . External links edit Official website
Helen Toner '' The National Security Futures Hub
Sat, 18 Nov 2023 14:41
Director of Strategy, Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), Georgetown University
Helen Toner is a member of the National Security College Futures Council and Director of Strategy at Georgetown's Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET). She previously worked as a Senior Research Analyst at the Open Philanthropy Project, where she advised policymakers and grantmakers on AI policy and strategy. Between working at Open Philanthropy and joining CSET, Helen lived in Beijing, studying the Chinese AI ecosystem as a Research Affiliate of Oxford University's Center for the Governance of AI. Helen has written for Foreign Affairs and other outlets on the national security implications of AI and machine learning for China and the United States, as well as testifying before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Helen holds a BSc in Chemical Engineering and a Diploma in Languages from the University of Melbourne.
Helen Toner : AI Expert - OECD.AI
Sat, 18 Nov 2023 14:40
Helen Toner is Director of Strategy and Foundational Research Grants at Georgetown's Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET). She previously worked as a Senior Research Analyst at Open Philanthropy, where she advised policymakers and grantmakers on AI policy and strategy. Between working at Open Philanthropy and joining CSET, Helen lived in Beijing, studying the Chinese AI ecosystem as a Research Affiliate of Oxford University's Center for the Governance of AI. Helen has written for Foreign Affairs and other outlets on the national security implications of AI and machine learning for China and the United States, as well as testifying before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. She is a member of the board of directors for OpenAI. Helen holds an MA in Security Studies from Georgetown, as well as a BSc in Chemical Engineering and a Diploma in Languages from the University of Melbourne.
Ransomware Group Files SEC Complaint Over Victim's Failure to Disclose Data Breach - SecurityWeek
Fri, 17 Nov 2023 22:35
A notorious ransomware group has filed a complaint with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over the failure of a victim to disclose an alleged data breach resulting from an attack conducted by the cybercrime gang itself.
The ransomware group known as Alphv and BlackCat claims to have breached the systems of MeridianLink, a California-based company that provides digital lending solutions for financial institutions and data verification solutions for consumers.
The cybercriminals claim to have stolen a significant amount of customer data and operational information belonging to MeridianLink, and they are threatening to leak it unless a ransom is paid.
In an apparent effort to increase its chances of getting paid, the malicious hackers claim to have filed a complaint with the SEC against MeridianLink, accusing the company of failing to disclose the breach within four business days, as required by rules announced by the agency in July.
BlackCat published screenshots on its leak website on November 15 to show that the complaint has been filed and received by the SEC.
Screenshot showing the complaint filed with the SEC against MeridianLinkThis appears to be the first time a ransomware group has filed an SEC complaint against one of its victims.
The hackers told DataBreaches.net that the attack against MeridianLink '-- which allegedly did not involve file-encrypting ransomware, only data theft '-- was conducted on November 7 and it was discovered the same day.
However, MeridianLink told DataBreaches.net that the intrusion occurred on November 10.
''Upon discovery on the same day, we acted immediately to contain the threat and engaged a team of third-party experts to investigate the incident. Based on our investigation to date, we have identified no evidence of unauthorized access to our production platforms, and the incident has caused minimal business interruption,'' the company said, adding that it cannot share further details due to its ongoing investigation.
Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.It's worth pointing out that the new SEC data breach disclosure rules will only go into effect in mid-December 2023. In addition, companies will be required to notify the SEC within four business days of determining that a cybersecurity incident is material to investors, which, based on MeridianLink's statement, has yet to happen.
Contacted by SecurityWeek, an SEC spokesperson declined to comment.
BlackCat has been one of the most active ransomware operations and it's not uncommon for the group to try new methods for convincing targets to pay up, including by setting up dedicated leak websites for individual victims.
*updated to say that the SEC declined to comment
Related: BlackCat Ransomware Targets Industrial Companies
Related: Western Digital Confirms Ransomware Group Stole Customer Information
Staffers at Malcolm Gladwell's Pushkin Industries are unionizing
Fri, 17 Nov 2023 20:50
Malcom Gladwell's podcasting and audiobook company Pushkin Industries has voluntarily recognized its workers' union.
Staffers at the cash-strapped company '-- which recently laid off dozens of employees '-- joined the Writers Guild of America East, the labor union announced on Thursday.
The union said it plans to commence talks with the company ''as soon as possible'' on a collective bargaining agreement.
Pushkin Industries produces hit podcasts like Gladwell's ''Revisionist History,'' ''The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos,'' and ''Against the Rules with Michael Lewis,'' among other series.
Writers Guild of America East also represents workers at podcast-producing companies including Crooked Media, The Ringer and iHeart Podcast Network.
Pushkin's union will initially include 10 staffers who work in the production, engineering and editorial departments.
Ariella Markowitz, a post production manager, told Bloomberg News that the initial membership would have been bigger had it not been for the company's decision to lay off 30% of its workforce in September.
Staffers at Malcolm Gladwell's podcasting company have announced that they have formed a union. BloombergThe successful unionization drive comes just days after it was reported that Gladwell had a tense exchange with staffers over diversity at the company.
Gladwell '-- the Canadian-Jamaican bestselling author of hit books such as ''The Tipping Point'' and ''Outliers'' '-- has also reportedly been at loggerheads with close friend Jacob Weisberg over strategy and finance.
At a February all-hands meeting with staffers, Gladwell ruffled feathers when he brought up the topic of ideological diversity '-- lamenting the fact that there weren't enough Republicans employed by the company.
''My definition of diversity might be different from other people, but that's part of diversity '-- allowing Malcolm to have a different definition of diversity than everyone else,'' he told staffers, who were visibly uncomfortable over the tone of his remarks, according to Confider.
Pushkin Industries, the audiobook and podcasting company, was co-founded by Gladwell. Pushkin Industries''Here's a question: If you're a Republican, raise your hand,'' Gladwell reportedly told staffers.
When nobody raised their hand, Gladwell reportedly said: ''I would think that a diverse company should have some Republicans in it.''
When irked staffers noted that there wasn't enough diversity within the management structure, Gladwell, who is half black, told staffers in response: ''Hello, I don't count?''
Jacob Weisberg, Gladwell's business partner, has been criticized by employees. Getty ImagesPushkin Industries was founded in 2018 by Gladwell and Weisberg, the former editor-in-chief of Slate.
According to Confider, Gladwell acknowledged to staffers that he and Weisberg ''made mistakes'' in helming the firm.
''I think we grew too fast. I think we lost sight of who we are and what we stand for,'' Gladwell told staffers.
''I think we got a little blinded by some of the hype and craziness in our industry over the last couple of years.''
Pushkin Industries failed to land Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who took her podcast to a rival media company. AFP via Getty ImagesWeisberg was criticized within the company for failing to make a sufficiently strong offer to former ''Seinfeld'' star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who spurned Pushkin in favor of rival Lemonada Media.
The Post has sought comment from Pushkin Industries.
Syllogism - Wikipedia
Fri, 17 Nov 2023 19:04
"Socrates" at the LouvreType of logical argument that applies deductive reasoning
A syllogism (Greek: ÏÏ Î>>Î>>ÎÎ"Î¹ÏÎ¼ÏÏ , syllogismos, 'conclusion, inference') is a kind of logical argument that applies deductive reasoning to arrive at a conclusion based on two propositions that are asserted or assumed to be true.
In its earliest form (defined by Aristotle in his 350 BC book Prior Analytics), a deductive syllogism arises when two true premises (propositions or statements) validly imply a conclusion, or the main point that the argument aims to get across. For example, knowing that all men are mortal (major premise) and that Socrates is a man (minor premise), we may validly conclude that Socrates is mortal. Syllogistic arguments are usually represented in a three-line form:
All men are mortal.Socrates is a man.Therefore, Socrates is mortal.
In antiquity, two rival syllogistic theories existed: Aristotelian syllogism and Stoic syllogism. From the Middle Ages onwards, categorical syllogism and syllogism were usually used interchangeably. This article is concerned only with this historical use. The syllogism was at the core of historical deductive reasoning, whereby facts are determined by combining existing statements, in contrast to inductive reasoning in which facts are determined by repeated observations.
Within some academic contexts, syllogism has been superseded by first-order predicate logic following the work of Gottlob Frege, in particular his Begriffsschrift (Concept Script; 1879). Syllogism, being a method of valid logical reasoning, will always be useful in most circumstances and for general-audience introductions to logic and clear-thinking.
Early history [ edit ] In antiquity, two rival syllogistic theories existed: Aristotelian syllogism and Stoic syllogism.
Aristotle [ edit ] Aristotle defines the syllogism as "a discourse in which certain (specific) things having been supposed, something different from the things supposed results of necessity because these things are so." Despite this very general definition, in Prior Analytics Aristotle limits himself to categorical syllogisms that consist of three categorical propositions, including categorical modal syllogisms.
The use of syllogisms as a tool for understanding can be dated back to the logical reasoning discussions of Aristotle. Before the mid-12th century, medieval logicians were only familiar with a portion of Aristotle's works, including such titles as Categories and On Interpretation, works that contributed heavily to the prevailing Old Logic, or logica vetus. The onset of a New Logic, or logica nova, arose alongside the reappearance of Prior Analytics, the work in which Aristotle developed his theory of the syllogism.
Prior Analytics, upon rediscovery, was instantly regarded by logicians as "a closed and complete body of doctrine", leaving very little for thinkers of the day to debate and reorganize. Aristotle's theory on the syllogism for assertoric sentences was considered especially remarkable, with only small systematic changes occurring to the concept over time. This theory of the syllogism would not enter the context of the more comprehensive logic of consequence until logic began to be reworked in general in the mid-14th century by the likes of John Buridan.
Aristotle's Prior Analytics did not, however, incorporate such a comprehensive theory on the modal syllogism'--a syllogism that has at least one modalized premise, that is, a premise containing the modal words necessarily, possibly, or contingently. Aristotle's terminology in this aspect of his theory was deemed vague and in many cases unclear, even contradicting some of his statements from On Interpretation. His original assertions on this specific component of the theory were left up to a considerable amount of conversation, resulting in a wide array of solutions put forth by commentators of the day. The system for modal syllogisms laid forth by Aristotle would ultimately be deemed unfit for practical use and would be replaced by new distinctions and new theories altogether.
Medieval syllogism [ edit ] Boethius [ edit ] Boethius (c. 475''526) contributed an effort to make the ancient Aristotelian logic more accessible. While his Latin translation of Prior Analytics went primarily unused before the 12th century, his textbooks on the categorical syllogism were central to expanding the syllogistic discussion. Rather than in any additions that he personally made to the field, Boethius' logical legacy lies in his effective transmission of prior theories to later logicians, as well as his clear and primarily accurate presentations of Aristotle's contributions.
Peter Abelard [ edit ] Another of medieval logic's first contributors from the Latin West, Peter Abelard (1079''1142), gave his own thorough evaluation of the syllogism concept and accompanying theory in the Dialectica'--a discussion of logic based on Boethius' commentaries and monographs. His perspective on syllogisms can be found in other works as well, such as Logica Ingredientibus. With the help of Abelard's distinction between de dicto modal sentences and de re modal sentences, medieval logicians began to shape a more coherent concept of Aristotle's modal syllogism model.
Jean Buridan [ edit ] The French philosopher Jean Buridan (c. 1300 '' 1361), whom some consider the foremost logician of the later Middle Ages, contributed two significant works: Treatise on Consequence and Summulae de Dialectica, in which he discussed the concept of the syllogism, its components and distinctions, and ways to use the tool to expand its logical capability. For 200 years after Buridan's discussions, little was said about syllogistic logic. Historians of logic have assessed that the primary changes in the post-Middle Age era were changes in respect to the public's awareness of original sources, a lessening of appreciation for the logic's sophistication and complexity, and an increase in logical ignorance'--so that logicians of the early 20th century came to view the whole system as ridiculous.
Modern history [ edit ] The Aristotelian syllogism dominated Western philosophical thought for many centuries. Syllogism itself is about drawing valid conclusions from assumptions (axioms), rather than about verifying the assumptions. However, people over time focused on the logic aspect, forgetting the importance of verifying the assumptions.
In the 17th century, Francis Bacon emphasized that experimental verification of axioms must be carried out rigorously, and cannot take syllogism itself as the best way to draw conclusions in nature. Bacon proposed a more inductive approach to the observation of nature, which involves experimentation and leads to discovering and building on axioms to create a more general conclusion. Yet, a full method of drawing conclusions in nature is not the scope of logic or syllogism, and the inductive method was covered in Aristotle's subsequent treatise, the Posterior Analytics.
In the 19th century, modifications to syllogism were incorporated to deal with disjunctive ("A or B") and conditional ("if A then B") statements. Immanuel Kant famously claimed, in Logic (1800), that logic was the one completed science, and that Aristotelian logic more or less included everything about logic that there was to know. (This work is not necessarily representative of Kant's mature philosophy, which is often regarded as an innovation to logic itself.) Although there were alternative systems of logic elsewhere, such as Avicennian logic or Indian logic, Kant's opinion stood unchallenged in the West until 1879, when Gottlob Frege published his Begriffsschrift (Concept Script). This introduced a calculus, a method of representing categorical statements (and statements that are not provided for in syllogism as well) by the use of quantifiers and variables.
A noteworthy exception is the logic developed in Bernard Bolzano's work Wissenschaftslehre (Theory of Science, 1837), the principles of which were applied as a direct critique of Kant, in the posthumously published work New Anti-Kant (1850). The work of Bolzano had been largely overlooked until the late 20th century, among other reasons, because of the intellectual environment at the time in Bohemia, which was then part of the Austrian Empire. In the last 20 years, Bolzano's work has resurfaced and become subject of both translation and contemporary study.
This led to the rapid development of sentential logic and first-order predicate logic, subsuming syllogistic reasoning, which was, therefore, after 2000 years, suddenly considered obsolete by many.[original research? ] The Aristotelian system is explicated in modern fora of academia primarily in introductory material and historical study.
One notable exception to this modern relegation is the continued application of Aristotelian logic by officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman Rota, which still requires that any arguments crafted by Advocates be presented in syllogistic format.
Boole's acceptance of Aristotle [ edit ] George Boole's unwavering acceptance of Aristotle's logic is emphasized by the historian of logic John Corcoran in an accessible introduction to Laws of Thought. Corcoran also wrote a point-by-point comparison of Prior Analytics and Laws of Thought. According to Corcoran, Boole fully accepted and endorsed Aristotle's logic. Boole's goals were "to go under, over, and beyond" Aristotle's logic by:
providing it with mathematical foundations involving equations;extending the class of problems it could treat, as solving equations was added to assessing validity; andexpanding the range of applications it could handle, such as expanding propositions of only two terms to those having arbitrarily many.More specifically, Boole agreed with what Aristotle said; Boole's 'disagreements', if they might be called that, concern what Aristotle did not say. First, in the realm of foundations, Boole reduced Aristotle's four propositional forms to one form, the form of equations, which by itself was a revolutionary idea. Second, in the realm of logic's problems, Boole's addition of equation solving to logic'--another revolutionary idea'--involved Boole's doctrine that Aristotle's rules of inference (the "perfect syllogisms") must be supplemented by rules for equation solving. Third, in the realm of applications, Boole's system could handle multi-term propositions and arguments, whereas Aristotle could handle only two-termed subject-predicate propositions and arguments. For example, Aristotle's system could not deduce: "No quadrangle that is a square is a rectangle that is a rhombus" from "No square that is a quadrangle is a rhombus that is a rectangle" or from "No rhombus that is a rectangle is a square that is a quadrangle."
Basic structure [ edit ] A categorical syllogism consists of three parts:
Major premiseMinor premiseConclusionEach part is a categorical proposition, and each categorical proposition contains two categorical terms. In Aristotle, each of the premises is in the form "All A are B," "Some A are B", "No A are B" or "Some A are not B", where "A" is one term and "B" is another:
"All A are B," and "No A are B" are termed universal propositions;"Some A are B" and "Some A are not B" are termed particular propositions.More modern logicians allow some variation. Each of the premises has one term in common with the conclusion: in a major premise, this is the major term (i.e., the predicate of the conclusion); in a minor premise, this is the minor term (i.e., the subject of the conclusion). For example:
Major premise: All humans are mortal.Minor premise: All Greeks are humans.Conclusion: All Greeks are mortal.Each of the three distinct terms represents a category. From the example above, humans, mortal, and Greeks: mortal is the major term, and Greeks the minor term. The premises also have one term in common with each other, which is known as the middle term; in this example, humans. Both of the premises are universal, as is the conclusion.
Major premise: All mortals die.Minor premise: All men are mortals.Conclusion: All men die.Here, the major term is die, the minor term is men, and the middle term is mortals. Again, both premises are universal, hence so is the conclusion.
Polysyllogism [ edit ] A polysyllogism, or a sorites, is a form of argument in which a series of incomplete syllogisms is so arranged that the predicate of each premise forms the subject of the next until the subject of the first is joined with the predicate of the last in the conclusion. For example, one might argue that all lions are big cats, all big cats are predators, and all predators are carnivores. To conclude that therefore all lions are carnivores is to construct a sorites argument.
Types [ edit ] Relationships between the four types of propositions in the square of opposition(Black areas are empty,
red areas are nonempty.)There are infinitely many possible syllogisms, but only 256 logically distinct types and only 24 valid types (enumerated below). A syllogism takes the form (note: M '' Middle, S '' subject, P '' predicate.):
Major premise: All M are P.Minor premise: All S are M.Conclusion: All S are P.The premises and conclusion of a syllogism can be any of four types, which are labeled by letters as follows. The meaning of the letters is given by the table:
codequantifiersubjectcopulapredicatetypeexampleAAllSarePuniversal affirmativeAll humans are mortal.ENoSarePuniversal negativeNo humans are perfect.ISomeSarePparticular affirmativeSome humans are healthy.OSomeSare notPparticular negativeSome humans are not old.In Prior Analytics, Aristotle uses mostly the letters A, B, and C (Greek letters alpha, beta, and gamma) as term place holders, rather than giving concrete examples. It is traditional to use is rather than are as the copula, hence All A is B rather than All As are Bs. It is traditional and convenient practice to use a, e, i, o as infix operators so the categorical statements can be written succinctly. The following table shows the longer form, the succinct shorthand, and equivalent expressions in predicate logic:
The convention here is that the letter S is the subject of the conclusion, P is the predicate of the conclusion, and M is the middle term. The major premise links M with P and the minor premise links M with S. However, the middle term can be either the subject or the predicate of each premise where it appears. The differing positions of the major, minor, and middle terms gives rise to another classification of syllogisms known as the figure. Given that in each case the conclusion is S-P, the four figures are:
Figure 1Figure 2Figure 3Figure 4Major premiseM''PP''MM''PP''MMinor premiseS''MS''MM''SM''S(Note, however, that, following Aristotle's treatment of the figures, some logicians'--e.g., Peter Abelard and Jean Buridan'--reject the fourth figure as a figure distinct from the first.)
Putting it all together, there are 256 possible types of syllogisms (or 512 if the order of the major and minor premises is changed, though this makes no difference logically). Each premise and the conclusion can be of type A, E, I or O, and the syllogism can be any of the four figures. A syllogism can be described briefly by giving the letters for the premises and conclusion followed by the number for the figure. For example, the syllogism BARBARA below is AAA-1, or "A-A-A in the first figure".
The vast majority of the 256 possible forms of syllogism are invalid (the conclusion does not follow logically from the premises). The table below shows the valid forms. Even some of these are sometimes considered to commit the existential fallacy, meaning they are invalid if they mention an empty category. These controversial patterns are marked in italics. All but four of the patterns in italics (felapton, darapti, fesapo and bamalip) are weakened moods, i.e. it is possible to draw a stronger conclusion from the premises.
Figure 1Figure 2Figure 3Figure 4BarbaraCesareDatisiCalemesCelarentCamestresDisamisDimatisDariiFestinoFerisonFresisonFerioBarocoBocardoCalemosBarbariCesaroFelaptonFesapoCelarontCamestrosDaraptiBamalipFig. 1, treble clef. "A syllogism's letters can be best represented in music'-- take E, for example." -Marilyn Damord[citation needed ]
The letters A, E, I, and O have been used since the medieval Schools to form mnemonic names for the forms as follows: 'Barbara' stands for AAA, 'Celarent' for EAE, etc.
Next to each premise and conclusion is a shorthand description of the sentence. So in AAI-3, the premise "All squares are rectangles" becomes "MaP"; the symbols mean that the first term ("square") is the middle term, the second term ("rectangle") is the predicate of the conclusion, and the relationship between the two terms is labeled "a" (All M are P).
The following table shows all syllogisms that are essentially different. The similar syllogisms share the same premises, just written in a different way. For example "Some pets are kittens" (SiM in Darii) could also be written as "Some kittens are pets" (MiS in Datisi).
In the Venn diagrams, the black areas indicate no elements, and the red areas indicate at least one element. In the predicate logic expressions, a horizontal bar over an expression means to negate ("logical not") the result of that expression.
It is also possible to use graphs (consisting of vertices and edges) to evaluate syllogisms.
Examples [ edit ] Barbara (AAA-1) [ edit ] All men are mortal. (MaP) All Greeks are men. (SaM)'´ All Greeks are mortal. (SaP) Celarent (EAE-1) [ edit ] Similar: Cesare (EAE-2)
No reptile has fur. (MeP) All snakes are reptiles. (SaM)'´ No snake has fur. (SeP)Camestres (AEE-2)Camestres is essentially like Celarent with S and P exchanged.Similar: Calemes (AEE-4)
All snakes are reptiles. (PaM) No fur bearing animal is a reptile. (SeM)'´ No fur bearing animal is a snake. (SeP) Darii (AII-1) [ edit ] Similar: Datisi (AII-3)
All rabbits have fur. (MaP) Some pets are rabbits. (SiM)'´ Some pets have fur. (SiP)Disamis (IAI-3)Disamis is essentially like Darii with S and P exchanged.Similar: Dimatis (IAI-4)
Some rabbits are pets. (MiP) All rabbits have fur. (MaP)'´ Some fur bearing animals are pets. (SiP) Ferio (EIO-1) [ edit ] Similar: Festino (EIO-2), Ferison (EIO-3), Fresison (EIO-4)
No homework is fun. (MeP) Some reading is homework. (SiM)'´ Some reading is not fun. (SoP) Baroco (AOO-2) [ edit ] All cats are mammals. (PaM) Some pets are not mammals. (SoM)'´ Some pets are not cats. (SoP) Bocardo (OAO-3) [ edit ] Some cats are not pets. (MoP) All cats are mammals. (MaS)'´ Some mammals are not pets. (SoP) Barbari (AAI-1) [ edit ] All men are mortal. (MaP) All Greeks are men. (SaM)'´ Some Greeks are mortal. (SiP)Bamalip (AAI-4)Bamalip is exactly like Barbari with S and P exchanged:
All Greeks are men. (PaM) All men are mortals. (MaS)'´ Some mortals are Greek. (SiP) Celaront (EAO-1) [ edit ] Similar: Cesaro (EAO-2)
No reptiles have fur. (MeP) All snakes are reptiles. (SaM)'´ Some snakes have no fur. (SoP) Camestros (AEO-2) [ edit ] Similar: Calemos (AEO-4)
All horses have hooves. (PaM) No humans have hooves. (SeM)'´ Some humans are not horses. (SoP) Felapton (EAO-3) [ edit ] Similar: Fesapo (EAO-4)
No flowers are animals. (MeP) All flowers are plants. (MaS)'´ Some plants are not animals. (SoP) Darapti (AAI-3) [ edit ] All squares are rectangles. (MaP) All squares are rhombuses. (MaS)'´ Some rhombuses are rectangles. (SiP)Table of all syllogisms [ edit ] This table shows all 24 valid syllogisms, represented by Venn diagrams. Columns indicate similarity, and are grouped by combinations of premises. Borders correspond to conclusions. Those with an existential assumption are dashed.
Terms in syllogism [ edit ] With Aristotle, we may distinguish singular terms, such as Socrates, and general terms, such as Greeks. Aristotle further distinguished types (a) and (b):
terms that could be the subject of predication; andterms that could be predicated of others by the use of the copula ("is a").Such a predication is known as a distributive, as opposed to non-distributive as in Greeks are numerous. It is clear that Aristotle's syllogism works only for distributive predication, since we cannot reason All Greeks are animals, animals are numerous, therefore all Greeks are numerous. In Aristotle's view singular terms were of type (a), and general terms of type (b). Thus, Men can be predicated of Socrates but Socrates cannot be predicated of anything. Therefore, for a term to be interchangeable'--to be either in the subject or predicate position of a proposition in a syllogism'--the terms must be general terms, or categorical terms as they came to be called. Consequently, the propositions of a syllogism should be categorical propositions (both terms general) and syllogisms that employ only categorical terms came to be called categorical syllogisms.
It is clear that nothing would prevent a singular term occurring in a syllogism'--so long as it was always in the subject position'--however, such a syllogism, even if valid, is not a categorical syllogism. An example is Socrates is a man, all men are mortal, therefore Socrates is mortal. Intuitively this is as valid as All Greeks are men, all men are mortal therefore all Greeks are mortals. To argue that its validity can be explained by the theory of syllogism would require that we show that Socrates is a man is the equivalent of a categorical proposition. It can be argued Socrates is a man is equivalent to All that are identical to Socrates are men, so our non-categorical syllogism can be justified by use of the equivalence above and then citing BARBARA.
Existential import [ edit ] If a statement includes a term such that the statement is false if the term has no instances, then the statement is said to have existential import with respect to that term. It is ambiguous whether or not a universal statement of the form All A is B is to be considered as true, false, or even meaningless if there are no As. If it is considered as false in such cases, then the statement All A is B has existential import with respect to A.
It is claimed Aristotle's logic system does not cover cases where there are no instances.Aristotle's goal was to develop "a companion-logic for science.He relegates fictions, such as mermaids and unicorns, tothe realms of poetry and literature. In his mind, they exist outside theambit of science, which is why he leaves no room for such non-existententities in his logic. This is a thoughtful choice, not an inadvertentomission. Technically, Aristotelian science is a search for definitions,where a definition is 'a phrase signifying a thing's essence.'...Because non-existent entities cannot be anything, they do not, inAristotle's mind, possess an essence... This is why he leavesno place for fictional entities like goat-stags (or unicorns)."
However, many logic systems developed since do consider the case where there may be no instances. Medieval logicians were aware of the problem of existential import and maintained that negative propositions do not carry existential import, and that positive propositions with subjects that do not supposit are false.
The following problems arise:
(a) In natural language and normal use, which statements of the forms, All A is B, No A is B, Some A is B, and Some A is not B, have existential import and with respect to which terms?In the four forms of categorical statements used in syllogism, which statements of the form AaB, AeB, AiB and AoB have existential import and with respect to which terms?What existential imports must the forms AaB, AeB, AiB and AoB have for the square of opposition to be valid?What existential imports must the forms AaB, AeB, AiB and AoB have to preserve the validity of the traditionally valid forms of syllogisms?Are the existential imports required to satisfy (d) above such that the normal uses in natural languages of the forms All A is B, No A is B, Some A is B and Some A is not B are intuitively and fairly reflected by the categorical statements of forms AaB, AeB, AiB and AoB?For example, if it is accepted that AiB is false if there are no As and AaB entails AiB, then AiB has existential import with respect to A, and so does AaB. Further, if it is accepted that AiB entails BiA, then AiB and AaB have existential import with respect to B as well. Similarly, if AoB is false if there are no As, and AeB entails AoB, and AeB entails BeA (which in turn entails BoA) then both AeB and AoB have existential import with respect to both A and B. It follows immediately that all universal categorical statements have existential import with respect to both terms. If AaB and AeB is a fair representation of the use of statements in normal natural language of All A is B and No A is B respectively, then the following example consequences arise:
"All flying horses are mythical" is false if there are no flying horses.If "No men are fire-eating rabbits" is true, then "There are fire-eating rabbits" is true; and so on.If it is ruled that no universal statement has existential import then the square of opposition fails in several respects (e.g. AaB does not entail AiB) and a number of syllogisms are no longer valid (e.g. BaC,AaB->AiC).
These problems and paradoxes arise in both natural language statements and statements in syllogism form because of ambiguity, in particular ambiguity with respect to All. If "Fred claims all his books were Pulitzer Prize winners", is Fred claiming that he wrote any books? If not, then is what he claims true? Suppose Jane says none of her friends are poor; is that true if she has no friends?
The first-order predicate calculus avoids such ambiguity by using formulae that carry no existential import with respect to universal statements. Existential claims must be explicitly stated. Thus, natural language statements'--of the forms All A is B, No A is B, Some A is B, and Some A is not B'--can be represented in first order predicate calculus in which any existential import with respect to terms A and/or B is either explicit or not made at all. Consequently, the four forms AaB, AeB, AiB, and AoB can be represented in first order predicate in every combination of existential import'--so it can establish which construal, if any, preserves the square of opposition and the validity of the traditionally valid syllogism. Strawson claims such a construal is possible, but the results are such that, in his view, the answer to question (e) above is no.
Syllogistic fallacies [ edit ] People often make mistakes when reasoning syllogistically.
For instance, from the premises some A are B, some B are C, people tend to come to a definitive conclusion that therefore some A are C. However, this does not follow according to the rules of classical logic. For instance, while some cats (A) are black things (B), and some black things (B) are televisions (C), it does not follow from the parameters that some cats (A) are televisions (C). This is because in the structure of the syllogism invoked (i.e. III-1) the middle term is not distributed in either the major premise or in the minor premise, a pattern called the "fallacy of the undistributed middle". Because of this, it can be hard to follow formal logic, and a closer eye is needed in order to ensure that an argument is, in fact, valid.
Determining the validity of a syllogism involves determining the distribution of each term in each statement, meaning whether all members of that term are accounted for.
In simple syllogistic patterns, the fallacies of invalid patterns are:
Undistributed middle: Neither of the premises accounts for all members of the middle term, which consequently fails to link the major and minor term.Illicit treatment of the major term: The conclusion implicates all members of the major term (P '' meaning the proposition is negative); however, the major premise does not account for them all (i.e., P is either an affirmative predicate or a particular subject there).Illicit treatment of the minor term: Same as above, but for the minor term (S '' meaning the proposition is universal) and minor premise (where S is either a particular subject or an affirmative predicate).Exclusive premises: Both premises are negative, meaning no link is established between the major and minor terms.Affirmative conclusion from a negative premise: If either premise is negative, the conclusion must also be.Negative conclusion from affirmative premises: If both premises are affirmative, the conclusion must also be.Other types of syllogism [ edit ] Disjunctive syllogismHypothetical syllogismLegal syllogismPolysyllogismProsleptic syllogismQuasi-syllogismStatistical syllogismSee also [ edit ] Philosophy portal Syllogistic fallacyArgumentation theoryBuddhist logicEnthymemeFormal fallacyLogical fallacyThe False Subtlety of the Four Syllogistic FiguresTautology (logic)Venn diagramReferences [ edit ] ^ Lundberg, Christian (2018). The Essential Guide to Rhetoric. Bedford/St.Martin's. p. 38. ^ John Stuart Mill, A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive, Being a Connected View of the Principles of Evidence, and the Methods of Scientific Investigation, 3rd ed., vol. 1, chap. 2 (London: John W. Parker, 1851), 190. ^ a b Frede, Michael. 1975. "Stoic vs. Peripatetic Syllogistic." Archive for the History of Philosophy 56:99''124. ^ Hurley, Patrick J. 2011. A Concise Introduction to Logic. Cengage Learning. ISBN 9780840034175 ^ Zegarelli, Mark. 2010. Logic for Dummies. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781118053072. ^ Aristotle, Prior Analytics, 24b18''20 ^ Bobzien, Susanne.  2020. "Ancient Logic." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. § Aristotle. ^ Lagerlund, Henrik (2 February 2004). "Medieval Theories of the Syllogism". The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edward N. Zalta . Retrieved 17 February 2014 . ^ a b Bacon, Francis.  2001. The Great Instauration. '' via Constitution Society. Archived from the original on 13 April 2019. ^ Boole, George.  2003. The Laws of Thought, with an introduction by J. Corcoran. Buffalo: Prometheus Books. ^ van Evra, James. 2004. "'The Laws of Thought' by George Boole" (review). Philosophy in Review 24:167''69. ^ a b Corcoran, John. 2003. "Aristotle's 'Prior Analytics' and Boole's 'Laws of Thought'." History and Philosophy of Logic 24:261''88. ^ "Philosophical Dictionary: Caird-Catharsis". Philosophypages.com. 2002-08-08 . Retrieved 2009-12-14 . ^ According to Copi, p. 127: 'The letter names are presumed to come from the Latin words "AffIrmo" and "nEgO," which mean "I affirm" and "I deny," respectively; the first capitalized letter of each word is for universal, the second for particular' ^ "Syllogisms Made Easy". Archived from the original on 2021-12-11 '' via www.youtube.com. ^ "Groarke, Louis F., "Aristotle: Logic", section 7. (Existential Assumptions), Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy". Archived from the original on 2017-02-04 . Retrieved 2017-03-07 . ^ See, e.g., Evans, J. St. B. T (1989). Bias in human reasoning. London: LEA. ^ Khemlani, S., and P. N. Johnson-Laird. 2012. "Theories of the syllogism: A meta-analysis." Psychological Bulletin 138:427''57. ^ Chater, N., and M. Oaksford. 1999. "The Probability Heuristics Model of Syllogistic Reasoning." Cognitive Psychology 38:191''258. ^ Lundberg, Christian (2018). The Essential Guide to Rhetoric. Bedford/St. Martin's. p. 39. Sources [ edit ] Aristotle, [c. 350 BCE] 1989. Prior Analytics, translated by R. Smith. Hackett. ISBN 0-87220-064-7Blackburn, Simon.  1996. "Syllogism." In The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-283134-8.Broadie, Alexander. 1993. Introduction to Medieval Logic. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-824026-0.Copi, Irving. 1969. Introduction to Logic (3rd ed.). Macmillan Company.Corcoran, John. 1972. "Completeness of an ancient logic." Journal of Symbolic Logic 37:696''702.'-- 1994. "The founding of logic: Modern interpretations of Aristotle's logic." Ancient Philosophy 14:9''24.Corcoran, John, and Hassan Masoud. 2015. "Existential Import Today: New Metatheorems; Historical, Philosophical, and Pedagogical Misconceptions." History and Philosophy of Logic 36(1):39''61.Englebretsen, George. 1987. The New Syllogistic. Bern: Peter Lang.Hamblin, Charles Leonard. 1970. Fallacies. London: Methuen. ISBN 0-416-70070-5.Cf. on validity of syllogisms: "A simple set of rules of validity was finally produced in the later Middle Ages, based on the concept of Distribution."Åukasiewicz, Jan.  1987. Aristotle's Syllogistic from the Standpoint of Modern Formal Logic. New York: Garland Publishers. ISBN 0-8240-6924-2. OCLC 15015545.Malink, Marko. 2013. Aristotle's Modal Syllogistic. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Patzig, G¼nter. 1968. Aristotle's theory of the syllogism: a logico-philological study of Book A of the Prior Analytics. Dordrecht: Reidel.Rescher, Nicholas. 1966. Galen and the Syllogism. University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 978-0822983958.Smiley, Timothy. 1973. "What is a syllogism?" Journal of Philosophical Logic 2:136''54.Smith, Robin. 1986. "Immediate propositions and Aristotle's proof theory." Ancient Philosophy 6:47''68.Thom, Paul. 1981. "The Syllogism." Philosophia. M¼nchen. ISBN 3-88405-002-8.External links [ edit ] Smith, Robin. "Aristotle's Logic". In Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Koutsoukou-Argyraki, Angeliki. Aristotle's Assertoric Syllogistic (Formal proof development in Isabelle/HOL, Archive of Formal Proofs)Lagerlund, Henrik. "Medieval Theories of the Syllogism". In Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Aristotle's Prior Analytics: the Theory of Categorical Syllogism an annotated bibliography on Aristotle's syllogisticFuzzy Syllogistic SystemDevelopment of Fuzzy Syllogistic Algorithms and Applications Distributed Reasoning ApproachesComparison between the Aristotelian Syllogism and the Indian/Tibetan SyllogismThe Buddhist Philosophy of Universal Flux (Chapter XXIII '' Members of a Syllogism (avayava))Online Syllogistic Machine An interactive syllogistic machine for exploring all the fallacies, figures, terms, and modes of syllogisms.
Live Podcasting. How to stream a live event in a'... | by Alberto Betella | Nov, 2023 | Medium
Fri, 17 Nov 2023 17:37
How to stream a live event in a podcast, interact with the audience in real-time and exchange valuePodcasting 2.0 allows live streaming of audio and video episodes as well as interaction with the audience via real-time messages and micropayments
On November 9th, 2023, we organized PodconMX by RSS.com in Mexico City. Our conference featured live video streaming accessible via podcasting 2.0 enabled apps and the ability for the local and remote audience to engage with the speakers via short messages and micropayments.
To the best of our knowledge, this was the first time anyone has broadcasted a conference as a live video podcast episode via a podcast app, and it effectively constitutes a real-world proof of concept of what open podcasting based on RSS feeds has enabled and can become.
The idea behind this post is sharing our experience and providing an overview on how live audio and video podcasting can be accomplished. This is far from being a comprehensive article, but it is rather based on our personal choices and preferences. It worked for us, and hopefully it will inspire others to do the same or better!
Below, we refer to ''Live podcasting'' as an audio and/or video podcast episode that:
Is streamed in real-time to Live Item Tag supporting apps via an RSS feed;Allows audience interaction through means of short messages (also known as ''boostagrams'') and micropayments.Live podcasting requires 4 main components:
Streaming serverAudio/Video SourceRSS FeedPodcast applicationFigure 1 '-- Diagram showing the four main components of live podcasting designed by someone who is not versed in drawing by handAn ideal streaming server setup for live podcasting supports the Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) for receiving real-time audio and video signals and also allows generating a playable URL called ''playlist file'' or ''m3u8 manifest''.
A RTMP server typically can receive real-time audio and video signals via a specific URL, which often requires a stream key. A RTMP URL is a web address that typically looks like this:
The associated stream key is a unique value that is used by the server to identify who is sending the incoming stream (typically a registered user of the service). The stream key also provides added security to avoid unwanted data streams to be sent to a RTMP server (RTMP Hijack).
A typical RTMP Stream key is a long alphanumeric hash that looks like this:
You have two main options:
A) You sign up for a cloud service that offers live streaming capabilities (usually these are paid services)
B) Do it yourself (DIY), i.e. you build your own server
A) Using a cloud-based service (recommended)For the sake of time and simplicity, purchasing a cloud-based service is the recommended option. This will also ensure redundancy (via a content delivery network), high-speed connection, stable bandwidth and minimize delays. There are several companies out there offering RTMP as a service.
For the live podcast streaming of PodconMX, we chose Viloud, a platform run by a small bootstrapped startup that allows the creation of online TV channels. Setting up a TV channel was much more than we needed, we just wanted a cloud-based service supporting RTMP. However, for Viloud, and larger competitors such as Wowza and DaCast among others, RTMP typically constitutes only a small part of their product offering.
After trying out a few services, we opted for Viloud because it was a no-frills product with the simplest interface. One of our core values at RSS.com is simplicity and ease of use, which (ironically) are very complex to achieve in a mature product!
With Viloud, in 3 clicks (literally), we were able to obtain our RTMP URL and stream key. On top of that, this platform stores all the data that is streamed via their RTMP server as videos, and allows users to download them later on, or create an online TV channel for the playback of the recorded videos.
Viloud offers a 14-days trial period that allows live video streams up to one hour each at no cost. This may work for you if the event you are streaming lasts 60 minutes or less. Because we wanted to live stream over 9 hours of video in our podcast, we purchased a Business plan for 79 USD a month.
An analysis of the competitors landscape would highlight alternative services that offer a more or less sophisticated set of features at different price points. This was not in scope for us and we were pleased with our choice. Others may prefer different platforms.
How we obtained our RTMP URL and streaming key using our provider of choice:
1. Go to https://viloud.tv and sign up
2. [OPTIONAL: if you need to stream more than 1 hour of content] On the top menu, click on Upgrade Plan and select the Business plan
3. Click on Live Stream (left side menu) ''> Start Live Stream
You are all set! You'll obtain your RTMP URL and streaming key (green arrow in the figure below). On top of that, you'll also find the Playback URL also known as ''m3u8 manifest'' (red arrow in the figure below). Notice that the m3u8 manifest is the URL you will need to use in your RSS feed as explained in the Live Item Tag section below.
Figure 2 '-- User Interface in Viloud showing the RTMP URL and Streaming Key (green arrow), as well as the Playback URL / m3u8 manifest (red arrow)B) Build your own RTMP serverIf you are a technical person who is well acquainted with modern cloud infrastructure, one option is to set up a state-of-the art live streaming server using Amazon Web Services. AWS offers a CloudFormation Template that does the heavy lifting for you (but you need to know what you are doing).
If you are less technical, but you are on a low budget or have plenty of spare time, there are also ''scrappy'' routes to set up your own local RTMP using only your laptop and an internet connection.
We will not cover comprehensively all the DIY options in the current article, but if you use MacOS this is a good starting point.
Download the latest release of the app on your Macbook and you'll be running a local RTMP server in seconds. All you have to do is make sure that your external IP address is accessible and maps to your Macbook's local IP. This is typically achieved by configuring the NAT settings in your router and optionally setting up a Dynamic DNS service.
We would not recommend this setup for a professional event such as an official conference because too many things can go wrong, e.g. The internet provider of the venue may not allow custom internet configurations involving firewalls and port mapping.
We would also not recommend venturing into the DIY route if you have limited time and don't know what ''NAT'' is or you've never dealt with the custom setup of a router before.
Figure 3 '-- Local RTMP Server running on macOS (Source: Github)You have two main options to capture live audio and video streams during an in-person event:
A) Use professional services such as a Company or independent contractors
B) Do it yourself (DIY), i.e. use your smartphone or laptop to capture audio and video
A) Professional servicesIf you have enough budget for your event, then you will probably be working with a Company or contractors that provide professional audio and video recording services.
If this is the case, you will just need to tell them in advance that you would like to send the live audio-video signal to your RTMP server, and provide them with your RTMP URL and Streaming key.
Using professional services will ensure there will be nothing else to do on your end on this front except making sure your contractors have access to a stable wifi / cable internet connection in the venue hosting your event.
For our conference PodconMX, we worked in collaboration with our partners Grupo F"rmula (the #1 talk radio group in Mexico) who provided professional cameramen, mixers, wireless microphones and a small team for monitoring and making sure everything worked seamlessly. The team at F"rmula captured the 2 audio sources (we offered live translation of Spanish into English and vice versa) and video sources and re-directed the resulting video stream to our RTMP server.
B) Do it yourselfYou don't need a professional team if you are holding a smaller event such as a local Meetup.
In this case you will just need a basic setup consisting of a camera, a microphone, a laptop or smartphone and a software to send the resulting audio or video stream to your RTMP server.
The easiest and minimum-viable DIY setup is pretty inexpensive as it requires only a smartphone (that you probably already own) and an internet connection. HD cameras in modern smartphones produce great results!
To stream audio and video signals from a smartphone to your RTMP server you will need an app such as Larix Broadcaster which is available for both iOS and Android.
Once you download Larix Broadcaster, just go to Settings '' Connections and add a new Connection using the + button. Specify your RTMP URL, save and you are good to go!
Notice that some apps do not have a field to insert the Streaming Key in their settings. When this is the case, these apps expect the Streaming Key appended to the RTMP URL.
For instance, if your RTMP URL is rtmps://livestream.myrtmpserver.com:443/live
And your Stream key is ye04k171497fcb692f45bf47dec37d0c45f23a324
For those apps like Larix Broadcaster that do not have a Stream Key setting, you will need to append RTMP URL and Stream key as follows:
Figure 5 '--Configuration of the Android and iOS app Larix Broadcaster to stream audio and video to one or more RTMP servers. Notice that the streaming key is appended after the RTMP URL.Figure 6'-- Live audio and video streaming using Larix Broadcaster on iOS and Android.Larix Broadcaster offers 60 minutes free streaming so if your event lasts one hour or less, you will be able to use it without paying a dime.
A low-hanging fruit and budget-friendly idea to improve the video and audio quality in this basic DIY setup is to purchase:
A smartphone tripod to keep your video as steady as possible (prices starting from ~$20 on Amazon)A wireless microphone that plugs directly into your smartphone and can be easily clipped to the speaker's shirt or collar (prices starting from ~$25 on Amazon)What if my live event is remote?While the main scope of this article is covering in-person events such as conferences, the audio and video capturing setup for remote events such as webinars over Zoom, Teams or Google Meet is even easier. Zoom, for instance, supports live streaming via RTMP out of the box.
For live video podcasts or live podcast interviews, instead, one of our favorite tools is Streamyard. Streamyard allows you to host one or more remote guests and live stream the result via RTMP.
Just go to Streams and Recordings '' Create '' Live Stream '' Select Destinations '' Custom RTMP and specify your RTMP server URL and Stream Key
Figure 7 '-- For remote events like webinars or interviews, StreamYard is a great tool to live stream podcasts as it allows to specify a custom RTMP server that can be used with the Live Item Tag (LIT).The RSS feed is where the magic happens in podcasting!
To be able to provide live streaming within a podcast, you'll need to add the Live Item tag (LIT) to your RSS feed. You can do so manually or using a podcast hosting platform that supports LIT.
Automatically add the Live Item Tag to your RSS feedIf your podcast hosting company supports LIT, no manual changes to your RSS feed are needed on your end as they'll do all the heavy lifting.
Your podcast hosting company will also take care of sending a signal (a ''podping'') when the status of your live streaming changes so the supporting apps will be able to change the status of your event in real time.
See the list of podcast hosting companies supporting LIT.
Figure 8 '-- Example of a live episode in pending status in Fountain.fm for iOS. PodconMX podcast is hosted by RSS.com.Manually add LIT to your RSS feedThe official documentation and specs of the LiveItem tag are clear, yet sometimes a real-world example is worth more than a thousand words. Below is the minimum-viable implementation of LIT in an RSS feed that we used at PodconMX:
Spun Up - Financial Preparedness
Fri, 17 Nov 2023 17:23
The hosts of the No Agenda podcast often point out how many (if not most) Americans are ''spun up'': anxious, agitated, upset, fearful. Have you noticed that many of your fellow Americans often seem to be on edge, disturbed, not psychologically well? Why is that? I can think of many reasons.
First, there's a seasonal theory based on the cycles of history. ''The last of these eras-- the Fourth Turning --was always the most perilous, a period of civic upheaval and national mobilization as traumatic and transformative as the New Deal and World War II, the Civil War, or the American Revolution. Now, right on schedule, our own Fourth Turning has arrived. The polarization, the growing threat of civil conflict and global war will culminate by the early 2030s in a climax that poses great danger....''
Second, the upshot of the recent rise of (Marxist) Critical Theory is that there is always something wrong with everything , so nothing can ever be right. Adherents of this theory (which is really just a political strategy for violent revolution) are constantly riled up and make absurd demands of others. For these people, this is actually quite disempowering since the solution always lies outside of their own agency. The documentary '' Uncle Tom '' discusses this.
And if you're just an ordinary American who's simply minding your own business, you're constantly on edge from indoctrination and '' struggle sessions '' at mandatory corporate DEI training events and possible accusations of racism (or any other number of -isms or ''-phobias''), microaggressions, misgendering, not using the correct pronoun (probably one you've never heard of), taking up too much space and other absurdities.
For years, I've noticed a fundamental difference in the dispositions of people based on their political views. Leftists always seem strident and angry; some even seem ''not right'' (pun intended). Conservatives and libertarians, on the other hand, are usually laid back, of good cheer, and enjoy a good laugh. From a health point of view, both anger and stress are killers.
Critical Theory requires, promotes and results in tribalism'--another major source of unease. Is another tribe trying to persecute or discriminate against my tribe, or trying to take resources away from it? These days, what matters is not the content of your character (as Martin Luther King, Jr. called for) but your race or skin color'--the exact same lens that a Klansman would use.
The government is another major source of distress, for several reasons. First, it tries to keep its citizens in a perpetual state of fear with its Homeland Security Advisory System (which was always on orange), its fabricated COVID-19 ''pandemic'' (it did create the virus in a ChiCom lab using U.S. tax money, but the only reason it was as bad as it was was due to government lies, malfeasance and fraud), and made-up, bullshit warnings about almost nonexistent threats such as Global Cooling Global Warming Climate Change and militias.
This isn't as blatant as it was during the Bush 43 regime, however, as the elite who are in control have figured out that if they use this tactic too hard for too long, Americans will tune out (as they've done now with COVID). So now they seem to be using a more subtle, long-term, low boil to create a constant, nagging state of anxiety. For example, since Joseph Robinette (AKA '' The Big Guy ,'' Robin Ware, Robert L. Peters and JRB Ware ) was installed as the godfather of our national crime family, it seems like the American flag has been at half mast for much (perhaps most?) of that time. Everything is a tragedy or an outrage, and Something Needs To Be Done About It.
Second, the government is constantly trying to make people do things that they don't want to do: pay an exorbitant amount of taxes (including for programs that taxpayers strongly disagree with), disarm themselves, comply with every rule and regulation ginned up by the unaccountable administrative state, etc. The government reminds me of a boy who likes to frequently poke his pet scorpion with a stick. No wonder the scorpion gets pissed off.
Third, government policies inevitably result in extreme, perverse outcomes: war, poverty, crime, sickness and death, corruption. If I lived in a place such as Chicago that has multiple layers (federal, state, county, city) of statist government, I'd be wound up, too. No wonder 50 or so people get shot there every weekend.
Perhaps the institution most responsible for spinning up Americans is the media. Just look at their incentives. First, they need eyeballs and ratings so they can sell ads to Big Pharma. So ''If it bleeds, it leads.'' So things like war, riots (though ''mostly peaceful''), a ''pandemic,'' an ''insurrection,'' racism, etc. are all great for ratings.
I remember seeing an animated video once (which I now cannot find) that showed a lot of little people moving around inside a box, minding their own business. One of them does something that's a little impolite, and the news media does a story about it. A few people see the story, and they get a little riled up, which prompts at least one of them to do something that's kind of mean. The media then does a story about that, which leads to more anger and hostilities in an ever-escalating loop until eventually, everyone is at war with everyone else.
Second, probably 90% of the Legacy Media are proponents of Critical Theory, so they want everything to be wrong. So when they find one situation out of billions of events and human actions that was (or seemed) unjust, and they do a short story about it using carefully chosen words, using edited video or audio that is taken out of context, and they show those emotional and usually misleading reports to their Low Information viewers, well of course it's going to result in riots, looting, arson and murder.
What do I mean by Low Information? Functional illiteracy; a lack of education and knowledge (especially about history); a lack of curiosity and the desire to seek out more information to understand the full context; a lack of independent, critical thinking; an inability to see nuance and complexity; ignorance of human nature.
Let's not overlook certain religious beliefs as a reason why so many people are spun up. If you believe that you and your fellow believers are God's Chosen People, well, often that means the infidels will need to be destroyed. (And God may be omnipotent, but for some reason he leaves that heavy lifting to his followers, which usually requires many billions of dollars of military aid from the U.S. government.)
Look at what's happening in the Middle East. Jews, Muslims (and Christians, etc.) have been fighting each other there for millennia. Do you think that's going to change any time soon? If you want to get people spun up, do a news story that involves war, religion, terrorism, beheaded babies, kidnapping, hostages, urban combat, a humanitarian crisis, the possible use of nuclear weapons, etc. Not only is that ratings gold, it gets people spun up like nothing else.
Finally, another major reason why so many Americans are agitated is their physiological and mental/psychological state. Their bodies are full of harmful substances such as pharmaceutical products, sugar , wheat, herbicides (such as Glyphosate), pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, heavy metals, and thousands of man-made substances (including possibly nicotine, alcohol, and recreational drugs). The human body cannot function properly with such a heavy and unnatural chemical load.
Another major contributing factor to Americans' terrible physical and mental state is lack of sleep (both quantity and quality). There are many causes of this, including: viewing unnerving content (such as news or political commentary)'--AKA ''doomscrolling'''--on blue light emitting screens just before bedtime; sleeping in a bedroom full of EMFs (including sleeping with your cell phone); not leaving your work at the office, etc.
Related to both of the two paragraphs above are a lack of: movement and exercise; clean air and water ; exposure to sunlight (especially direct and in the morning); exposure to nature (including natural beauty) and grounding ; real, face-to-face socialization in Meatspace (instead of Metaspace ), including laughter, hugs and pets; and mindfulness (including meditation) and gratitude .
In closing, if you want to get out of this doom loop of stress and anxiety that'--if unchecked-- would eventually lead to total war and tyranny, you have to get your body into a physiological state where you can practice mindfulness and avoid getting spun up. Reclaim your attention, emotions, thoughts and consciousness. You don't have to react like Pavlov's dog to the edited, out-of-context video clips that Big Brother/Big Tech show on your telescreen .
If you want to make the world a better place, that won't happen if you get spun up and ask politicians to Do Something. Instead, tend to your own garden, be the change you seek (as Gandhi said), and present the world with one improved version of yourself.
News You Can Use
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Trust in Legacy Media Craters to Record Low
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Meet the American millionaire Marxists funding anti-Israel rallies
Fri, 17 Nov 2023 15:01
The pro-Palestinian protests over the last month, where tens of thousands in the US have chanted for the end of Israel, are not merely a story of organic rage.
They are also funded in large part by an uber-wealthy American-born tech entrepreneur, Neville Roy Singham, and his wife, Jodie Evans.
Since 2017, Singham has been the main funder of The People's Forum, which has co-organized at least four protests after 1,200 innocent Israelis were slaughtered by Hamas on Oct. 7.
One rally, in Times Square, happened on October 8 before Israel had even counted its dead.
Based in Midtown Manhattan, The People's Forum calls itself a ''movement incubator for working class and marginalized communities to build unity across historic lines of division at home and abroad.''
But a review of public disclosure forms shows that multimillionaire Singham and his wife Evans have donated over $20.4 million to The People's Forum from 2017 to 2022 through a series of shell organizations and donor advisory groups '-- accounting for nearly all of the group's funding.
Communist tiesSingham's wealth stems from Thoughtworks, a software consulting company that he launched in 1993 in Chicago and sold in August 2017 to private equity firm Apax Partners for $785 million.
Neville Roy Singham and his wife, Jodie Evans, have funded large pro-Palestinian protests through The People's Forum. Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for V-DayThat same year, The People's Forum was founded and set up on the ground floor of a multistory building on 37th Street just blocks from Times Square; Evans was also installed as one of its three board members.
As of 2021, the organization employed 13 staff members and held more than $13.6 million in total assets.
''I decided that at my age and extreme privilege, the best thing I could do was to give away most of my money in my lifetime,'' said Singham, now 69, in a statement after selling his company, according to a New York Times investigation in August.
But Singham is more than just a Marxist with deep pockets.
He is also a China sympathizer who lives in Shanghai and has close ties to at least four propaganda news sites that boost the Chinese Communist Party's image abroad, the Times reported.
A poster for a rally organized by The People's Forum was posted just a day after Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7. TwitterThese Chinese media interests are helping sow discord in the US, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, told the Free Press.
''The Chinese Communist Party uses tools like Confucius Institutes on college campuses, TikTok's addictive algorithm, and organizations like those that Mr. Singham funds to divide and weaken America,'' Gallagher said.
Lifelong radicalBorn to a Cuban mother and a Sri Lankan father in 1954, Singham grew up steeped in far-left politics.
His father, Archibald Singham, worked as a professor of political science at Brooklyn College and was the first scholar in residence at the New York State Martin Luther King Jr. Institute for Nonviolence, in Albany.
After spending his early days in Connecticut, Singham grew up partly in Jamaica.
When he was 17, he joined the radical Marxist group and labor union League of Revolutionary Black Workers, and the following year, according to a 2021 blog post by Singham, ''like all disciplined cadre [I] went to work in the factory.''
That factory was a Chrysler plant in Detroit, where he took a central role with the league, helping organize strikes and partaking in ''daily, intense self-criticism sessions.''
In 1974, the FBI investigated Singham as ''potentially dangerous because of background, emotional instabilities or activity in groups engaged in activities inimical to the U.S.,'' according to its report, which he published on a blog.
Demonstrators gathered in Times Square for a pro-Palestinian rally on Oct. 8, 2023 '-- the day after Hamas' attack. Photo by Adam Gray/Getty Images A protester displaying a swastika at the Oct. 8 rally. Stuart MeissnerTwo years later, Singham enrolled at Howard University, studying political science, before joining the ranks of corporate America with his global startup.
Within two decades, his company had employed over 4,500 people across 42 offices in 15 different countries.
One magazine profile later referred to Singham as ''something like the righteous antithesis of Peter Thiel, the Trump-supporting co-founder of PayPal.''
Though he became fabulously wealthy, he never gave up his radical politics. In a 2008 profile in Fortune, Singham said that Venezuela under left-wing populist Hugo Chavez was a ''phenomenally democratic place'' and that China's economic policies should serve as a model for capitalist economies.
''China is teaching the West that the world is better off with a dual system of both free-market adjustments and long-term planning,'' he said.
In 2017, the same year he sold his company and kickstarted The People's Forum, Singham married Jodie Evans, a former Democratic political activist and presidential campaign manager for Jerry Brown, in a beachside ceremony in Runaway Bay, Jamaica.
The couple called their Bob Marley-themed wedding ''One Love Union'' and advertised it in a logo incorporating the Jamaican flag and a power salute.
Prominent leftist figures, including ''The Vagina Monologues'' writer Eve Ensler and Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, attended the three-day event, which included a ''radical chic festive'' dress code and a three-hour panel discussion on ''The Future of the Left.''
Singham's wife, Evans, 69, was a far-left political leader herself before she wed him.
While married to a multimillionaire data scientist in 2002, she co-founded the anti-war nonprofit Code Pink, whose members are known for wearing pink peace sign earrings and protesting the US invasion of Iraq.
Last month, a group of Code Pink followers disrupted a Senate Appropriations Committee meeting to chant for a cease-fire in Israel as they held up their red-painted hands '-- calling to mind a famous 2000 image of a Palestinian man who waved his blood-soaked hands to celebrate the lynching of two IDF reservists.
Midtown HQAt its multiroom modern headquarters in Midtown, which anyone can visit, The People's Forum hosts classes like ''Lenin and the Path to Revolution,'' praising countries like China and Cuba that have ''smash[ed] the shackles of Western imperialism,'' as well as seminars like ''Healthcare Under Siege and Apartheid,'' blaming Israel for ''discriminatory policies'' and ''genocide'' in Gaza.
One of the regular lecturers at the forum includes Singham's friend, the Marxist intellectual Vijay Prashad. The treasurer of The People's Forum, Chris Caruso, once worked for Singham at Thoughtworks as a research analyst.
The People's Forum headquarters also boasts a socialist-themed coffee shop, The People's Caf(C), where visitors can order a $4 chai tea latte, a $10 Southwestern salad or an $11 Cuban panini, stuffed with pulled pork, ham and Swiss cheese.
Evans previously founded the anti-war nonprofit Code Pink and worked as a Democratic political activist. Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty ImagesIts bookshop, 1804 Books '-- named after the year Haiti overthrew its French rulers '-- is stocked with hundreds of titles celebrating Communist heroes from Karl Marx to Che Guevara.
According to tax filings from 2018 to 2021, the forum spent over $12 million in ''leasehold improvements'' to their office space.
For now, the People's Forum is focusing on its pro-Palestinian agenda, calling for ''more marches, walk-outs, sit-ins, and other forms of direct action directed at the political offices, businesses, and workplaces that fund, invest, and collaborate with Israeli genocide and occupation.''
The next protest co-organized by the forum, called ''Shut It Down for Palestine,'' is taking place today in at least 18 locations across the world including Copenhagen, New York City, Idaho and Iowa.
Reprinted with permission from the Free Press.
Volkswagen scores deal to replace entire Vatican fleet with EVs
Fri, 17 Nov 2023 14:47
The Vatican City State, home to the Pope, will replace its entire fleet of vehicles with EVs by 2030. Volkswagen will deliver fully electric cars, including the ID.3 and ID.4, to the Vatican State to support its transition to EVs.
The transition is part of the Vatican's ''Ecological Conversion 2030,'' a long-term project to cut emissions from the State's fleet.
As part of the project, the Vatican will gradually transition existing cars with electric ones for an all-EV fleet by 2030.
VW announced Wednesday it will be the chosen partner to advance the plan. Through Volkswagen Financial Services, it will begin supplying the Vatican State with a fleet of EVs starting next year.
The automaker will deliver just under 40 fully electric vehicles, including the ID.3, ID.4 electric SUV, and ID.5. Further electric models will be delivered at later stages until the entire fleet has transitioned to fully electric.
Volkswagen personally handed over the first two electric vehicles, both ID.3 Pro Performance models, at the Vatican.
The automaker did not release financial details or any further information about the partnership.
Volkswagen ID.3 (left) and ID.4 (right) (Source: Volkswagen)Meanwhile, after warning the world of man's place and the impacts of human-caused climate change in 2015, Pope Francis issued an urgent update last month.
''The signs of climate change are here and increasingly evident.'' Pope Francis explained the transition to clean, renewable energy sources was not happening fast enough.
Volkswagen ID.5 Pro (Source: Volkswagen)He added, ''It is verifiable that specific climate changes provoked by humanity are notably heightening.'' The Pope pointed out that every 0.5° C rise in global temperatures increases extreme weather events like floods, droughts, and excessive heat.
The Pope highlighted that burning fossil fuels was the leading cause. He explained that ''the abandonment'' of fossil fuels is ''not progressing at the necessary speed.''
Partnering with Volkswagen to replace the Vatican State's fleet of vehicles with EVs is a small piece to a bigger puzzle.
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Anheuser-Busch's U.S. Marketing Chief To Resign Following Dylan Mulvaney Disaster | The Daily Wire
Fri, 17 Nov 2023 14:38
Anheuser-Busch's U.S. marketing chief Benoit Garbe will resign at the end of the year after the beer company's sales disaster following its marketing campaign with trans-identifying male influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
Garbe, who's been in charge of the company's U.S. portfolio of beers, canned cocktails, and non-alcoholic beverages since 2021, ''will be resigning at the end of the year in order to embark on a new chapter in his career,'' Anheuser-Busch said in a statement, The New York Post reported.
''This week we announced key changes to our US leadership team that reduce layers within our organization and better enable our top commercial leaders to drive our business and legacy forward,'' Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth told the Post.
Anheuser-Busch's marketing chief to finally exit after Bud Light's Dylan Mulvaney fiasco https://t.co/rmDenTZCd5 pic.twitter.com/kYxRr3KUJ9
'-- New York Post (@nypost) November 16, 2023
''These senior leadership changes will accelerate our return to growth as we continue to focus on what we do best'--brewing great beer for everyone and earning our place in moments that matter,'' he added.
Anheuser-Busch's U.S. Chief Commercial Officer Kyle Norrington will take over Garbe's duties in the new year, CNN reported.
Garbe's departure follows the exits of Bud Light marketing VP Alissa Heinerscheid and group VP of Anheuser-Busch's mainstream portfolio Daniel Blake, both of whom were placed on leave shortly after the controversy over the Mulvaney campaign began.
Earlier this year, the trans-identifying activist partnered with Bud Light to sell its beer and a huge backlash ensued against both him and the brand, resulting in a widespread boycott of the beer that sent sales crashing. Bud Light also fell from the number one spot as the top-selling beer in America, a position it held for more than two decades.
Mulvaney recently lamented the ''hate and vitriol'' he had experienced over the partnership and suggested companies should forge true partnerships with trans-identified spokespersons rather than engaging in ''performative'' marketing catered to those groups, as previously reported.
''If you're going to ask us to capitalize on our vulnerabilities and our traumas, at least have our backs when the going gets tough,'' Mulvaney told Seth Matlins, managing director of the Forbes CMO Network, at the 2023 Forbes CMO Summit in Miami.
Related: WaPo Desperately Tries To Spin Bud Light's Massive Plummet In Sales
Thanks, Biden: NYC Forced to Make Huge Cuts in Education, Police Budgets Due to Illegal Immigrant Crisis '' RedState
Fri, 17 Nov 2023 14:37
As if New York City didn't have enough problems, Mayor Eric Adams announced a budget Thursday that would require a hiring freeze at the NYPD and deep cuts in education and sanitation. The cuts come because the so-called sanctuary city has had to pay billions to deal with the influx of illegal immigrants due to President Biden's disastrous handling of the southern border.
What could go wrong?
BREAKING: NYT reports NYC Mayor Eric Adams has announced that due to the financial impact of ongoing migrant arrivals, the city will have to make budget cuts that will reduce NYPD officers to below 30,000 & slash the Education Department by $1 billion, amongst other cuts. He'...
'-- Bill Melugin (@BillMelugin_) November 16, 2023Here's the full tweet from Fox News' Bill Melugin:
BREAKING: NYT reports NYC Mayor Eric Adams has announced that due to the financial impact of ongoing migrant arrivals, the city will have to make budget cuts that will reduce NYPD officers to below 30,000 & slash the Education Department by $1 billion, amongst other cuts. He warns more cuts will be necessary unless the city receives more federal money to help with migrant arrivals.
Adams has been a vocal critic of the Biden administration's porous border, so much so that many wonder whether the mayor's recent run-ins with the FBI are a form of payback from Joe and his weaponized Department of Justice. The feds raided his fundraising chief's home in early November, and then on November 10, agents stopped him on the street and demanded he turn over his cellphones and an iPad. They are reportedly investigating whether he colluded with the Turkish government to funnel illegal foreign donations to his campaign account.
The influx of illegals has cost the city billions:
Mayor Eric Adams announced a $110.5 billion budget, saying cuts across all agencies were necessary with the city having spent $1.45 billion in fiscal 2023 on the migrant crisis and nearly $11 billion expected to be spent in 2024 and 2025.
"For months, we have warned New Yorkers about the challenging fiscal situation our city faces," Adams said in a statement. "To balance the budget as the law requires, every city agency dug into their own budget to find savings, with minimal disruption to services.
The NYPD will freeze hiring to bring numbers from 33,000 to below 30,000 by the end of fiscal year 2025, and there will also be steep cuts in education, including the universal pre-kindergarten program, and sanitation.
Adams once again criticized the federal government, saying, "No city should be left to handle a national humanitarian crisis largely on its own, and without the significant and timely support we need from Washington, D.C., today's budget will be only the beginning."
SANCTUARY CITY UPDATE:Services for taxpayers in NY will be cut drastically in order to pay for illegals.
These budget cuts reduce the number of police officers and reduce spending on education by $1 billion.
More on the way, Mayor Adams adds.
'-- End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) November 16, 2023Police union President Patrick Hendry said life would get even more dangerous in the Big Apple as a result:
This is truly a disaster for every New Yorker who cares about safe streets.Cops are already stretched to our breaking point, and these cuts will return us to staffing levels we haven't seen since the crime epidemic of the '80s and '90s.
We cannot go back there. We need every level of government to work together to find a way to support police officers and protect New York City's 30 years of public safety progress.
The New York Post editorial board blasted the move:
Nor would it bring the promised savings: Overtime would have to soar, since any crisis would mean calling in cops from a smaller base.
Plus, as Adams himself put it while running for mayor, ''The prerequisite to prosperity is public safety.''
And a more dangerous city is a less prosperous one '-- Adams is giving every business another reason to flee or just close, and potential new companies a huge reason to open elsewhere; property values will drop, too: This will decimate the tax base.
What is the mayor thinking '-- that slashing the NYPD is politically easier?
New York has had a hard time of it in recent years, getting smacked by COVID, rising crime, homelessness, and illegal immigration. It's about to get a lot worse.
Thanks, Joe. And Mayor, how's that sanctuary city thing working out for you?
IBM Pulls Ads From X/Twitter After Ads Ran Next to Pro-Nazi Content
Fri, 17 Nov 2023 14:23
IBM said it was immediately pulling advertising from Elon Musk's X, formerly known as Twitter, after a report found that ads for the tech giant had appeared next to posts supporting Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.
''IBM has zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination and we have immediately suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation,'' a company rep said in a statement to Variety. The news was first reported Thursday by the Financial Times.
IBM was among five major brands that progressive watchdog group Media Matters said it had found ads for adjacent to posts that ''tout Hitler and his Nazi Party'' on X. The others were Apple, NBCUniversal's Bravo, Oracle and Comcast's Xfinity.
Separately, Musk earlier Thursday, in response to someone who posted on X that ''Everyone is allowed to be proud of their race, except for white people, because we've been brainwashed into believing that our history was somehow ''worse'' than that of other races,'' said that was ''super messed up'' and added, ''Time for this nonsense to end and shame ANYONE who perpetuates these lies!''
That came after Musk on Wednesday agreed with a different X user who promoted the conspiracy theory that Jewish communities ''have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.'' The X user said they were ''deeply disinterested in giving the tiniest shit now about western Jewish populations'' who are facing ''hordes of minorities that support flooding their country.'' To that, Musk commented, ''You have said the actual truth.'' CNN anchor Jake Tapper posted a screenshot of the exchange, with the comment, ''Elon Musk pushing unvarnished anti semitism at a time of rising antisemitism and violence against Jews.''
Meanwhile, Musk in May 2023 wrote on Twitter, ''Soros reminds me of Magneto,'' comparing billionaire financier and philanthropist George Soros to the Jewish supervillain from Marvel's X-Men series. Musk said Soros, like Magneto, ''wants to erode the very fabric of civilization. Soros hates humanity.'' Musk's comparison of Soros to Magneto drew a rebuke from Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, who noted, ''Soros often is held up by the far-right, using antisemitic tropes, as the source of the world's problems.''
In a post Thursday afternoon, X CEO Linda Yaccarino, whom Musk recruited away from NBCUniversal, wrote, ''X's point of view has always been very clear that discrimination by everyone should STOP across the board '-- I think that's something we can and should all agree on. When it comes to this platform '-- X has also been extremely clear about our efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination. There's no place for it anywhere in the world '-- it's ugly and wrong. Full stop.''
Last month, X notified employees eligible for stock grants that they would receive shares at a valuation of $19 billion '-- less than half the $42 billion that Musk had been dragged into court to pay for Twitter.
According to Musk, advertising revenue at X/Twitter has plummeted as much as 60% since he closed the deal for the social network despite his promise to marketers that he would not turn Twitter into a ''free-for-all hellscape.'' Advertisers have been alarmed over reports of the proliferation of hate speech and misinformation on X/Twitter, and they've been skittish over some of the changes Musk has implemented, such as his move to reinstate thousands of formerly banned accounts including Donald Trump's.
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VIDEO - Hashtag related to Osama bin Laden's 'Letter to America' removed by TikTok
Sun, 19 Nov 2023 02:55
TikTok removed the hashtag #lettertoamerica from its search function after videos about Osama bin Laden's 2002 ''Letter to America'' went viral on the platform and were re-uploaded to the social media platform X. Some social media users suggested that the Al Qaeda founder's document gives an alternative perspective about the U.S.' involvement in conflicts in the Middle East.
Throughout the week, TikTok users had been sharing the link to The Guardian's transcript of bin Laden's letter, which was written about a year after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people in the U.S. The Guardian took the letter down from its website Wednesday.
In the letter, bin Laden addressed the American people and sought to answer the following questions: ''Why are we fighting and opposing you?'' and ''What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you?'' The letter includes antisemitic language and homophobic rhetoric.
The virality of the letter has reignited criticism of the platform, which is owned by China's ByteDance. The app has faced mounting scrutiny in the last year as the U.S. and other countries argue it poses a threat to national security. Since Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel, critics of the app have alleged that it is using its influence to push content that is anti-Israel and contrary to U.S. foreign policy interests. TikTok has said the allegations of bias are baseless.
Researchers at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, which studies extremism on social media, said they found 41 ''Letter to America'' videos on TikTok. While TikTok has now blocked ''Letter to America'' from within its search function, videos referring to ''Letter to America'' are still easily accessible under the search term ''Bin Laden,'' the institute said in its findings.
Bin Laden's letter condemns U.S. support for Israel and accuses Americans of aiding the oppression of Palestinian people. Bin Laden, who was killed in a U.S. special operation in Pakistan in 2011, also denounced U.S. interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Kashmir, Chechnya and Lebanon.
People online have used bin Laden's words as a springboard for discussion about American foreign policy in the Middle East. Several have said it caused them to re-evaluate their beliefs around the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. While people were critical of U.S. involvement in global conflicts, many clarified that they were not praising or defending bin Laden's orchestration of the 9/11 attacks.
Those on the platform citing the letter encouraged people to read it, saying that doing so helped them better understand the U.S.' interventions in the Middle East and the Israel-Hamas war. The videos have also gone viral on X, where some renewed calls for TikTok to be banned.
While the letter has been re-uploaded on TikTok, numerous videos discussing it were removed. TikTok spokesperson Ben Rathe said in an email that videos featuring the letter violate the platform's community guidelines.
''Content promoting this letter clearly violates our rules on supporting any form of terrorism,'' Rathe said. ''We are proactively and aggressively removing this content and investigating how it got onto our platform. The number of videos on TikTok is small and reports of it trending on our platform are inaccurate. This is not unique to TikTok and has appeared across multiple platforms and the media.''
A viral X post from journalist Yashar Ali highlighting the videos received 25.6 million views. That brought more attention to the TikTok discourse. TikTok said that the number of videos about the letter was small but that interest was magnified after they were posted to X.
Ali told The Washington Post that the hashtag was not trending on TikTok when he made his compilation, but he said the number of videos posted on the platform was ''not small enough to be minuscule or not important.''
In its research, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue said references to bin Laden on X jumped more than 4,300%, from Tuesday to Thursday, from just over 5,000 to more than 230,000. References to ''Letter to America'' jumped more than 1,800%, from just over 4,800 to 100,000, with 719 million impressions across the platform.
On YouTube, searches for bin Laden also jumped 400% from Tuesday to Thursday, according to Google Trends. Instagram's autosuggest function in search assisted users in finding ''Letter to America,'' listing it as a ''popular search.''
A spokesperson for YouTube said in an email statement that its "Community Guidelines apply consistently for all content uploaded to our platform."
"We may allow content with sufficient educational, documentary, scientific or artistic (EDSA) context," the spokesperson wrote, sharing a link to its guidelines on "How YouTube evaluates Educational, Documentary, Scientific, and Artistic (EDSA) content."
The guidelines list "Unmodified reuploads of content created by or glorifying violent terrorist or criminal organizations" as one type of content that doesn't get EDSA exceptions.
A representative for X did not respond to request for comment.
X's guidelines also say the platform ''will remove any accounts maintained by individual perpetrators of terrorist, violent extremist, or mass violent attacks, and may also remove posts disseminating manifestos or other content produced by perpetrators.''
A representative for Meta, which owns Instagram, declined to comment.
Instagram's community guidelines note the platform ''is not a place to support or praise terrorism, organized crime, or hate groups.''
On Oct. 13, Meta outlined its efforts to up content moderation amid the Israel-Hamas War in a news release. The company later updated the post, stating that its "teams introduced a series of measures to address the spike in harmful and potentially harmful content spreading on our platforms."
"Our policies are designed to keep people safe on our apps while giving everyone a voice," Meta wrote.
As of Thursday afternoon, the link to the removed document was listed as one of the most viewed on The Guardian's website.
''The transcript published on our website in 2002 has been widely shared on social media without the full context,'' a spokesperson for The Guardian said in an emailed statement. ''Therefore we have decided to take it down and direct readers to the news article that originally contextualised it instead.''
Daysia Tolentino Daysia Tolentino is a culture and trends reporter for NBC News.
Ken Dilanian, Angela Yang and Hallie Jackson contributed.
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VIDEO - Israel vs. Palestine: Are You Being Played?
Sun, 19 Nov 2023 01:38
What's crackin, fam?
You ever get the feeling you're being played? Sometimes I do. The most recent example is with this supposed Israel vs Palestine conflict. I think certain factions in Israel have been wanting to do this for a long time and may have just manufactured an excuse to get it done. The Palestinians are simply caught up in their narrative.
I will show you how the Middle East conflict is connected to the US, to Ukraine, to history, and to biblical prophecy. I'm going to break down the how (and possibly why) folks are pushing a false narrative with this crisis, much in the same way they called January 6th an insurrection.
I don't buy much the mainstream media is offering these days. I think it's all a bunch of smoke and mirrors.
But maybe I don't know what I am talking about. You'll have to tell me.
Peace and good fortune to you all!
If you would like to buy me a cup of coffeehttps://www.buymeacoffee.com/dflirt
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VIDEO - CNN's Dana Bash Immediately Backtracks After Comparing Pro-Palestinian DNC Protesters To January 6 | The Daily Caller
Fri, 17 Nov 2023 14:36
CNN's Dana Bash immediately backtracked on Thursday after she appeared to compare pro-Palestinian protesters who attacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters on Wednesday night to Jan. 6 protesters.
Approximately 200 protesters attempted to block the exits to the DNC headquarters on Wednesday and resisted officers during the violent protest. Six officers were injured while trying to quell the protests and at least one individual was arrested.
Bash was taken aback by the imagery and appeared to liken the protesters to those of Jan. 6 before backtracking.
''I mean, that is quite an image. We haven't seen an image like that since January 6th,'' Bash said before immediately trying to clarify. ''Totally different topic. Totally different kind of people. I mean, I don't want to at all compare the sort of substance of it, but the '-- there was violence and then there were capitol police officers actually hurt there.'' (RELATED: Democrat Leadership Refuses To Condemn Violent Pro-Palestinian Protest Right Outside Their Own Headquarters)
''Mm-hmm. I believe there were about six capitol police officers that were injured, according to the Capitol police that put out that report last night,'' CNN Political Analyst Laura Barr"n-L"pez said. ''There are key differences. I wouldn't compare it to January 6th, but it was a clash, and the protesters, or the ralliers, were standing outside and blocking the entryways and the exitways and that's why police confronted them and tried to get them to move because people couldn't exit or enter the building''''
''And not just people, like the most senior House Democrats,'' Bash interjected.
Barr"n-L"pez said the protest showed the ''fissures'' among the Democratic Party over President Joe Biden's handling of the war in Israel.