Jun 15, 2023

The Acronym Behind Our Wildest AI Dreams and Nightmares

To understand the deepening divide between AI boosters and doomers, it’s necessary to unpack their common origins in a bundle of ideologies known as TESCREAL.

This is the final installment in the Eugenics in the Twenty-First Century: New Names, Old Ideas” Dig series.

TESCREAL—pronounced “tess-cree-all.” It’s a strange word that you may have seen pop up over the past few months. The renowned computer scientist Dr. Timnit Gebru frequently mentions the “TESCREAL” ideologies on social media, and for a while the Twitter profile of billionaire venture capitalist Marc Andreessen read: “cyberpunk activist; embracer of variance; TESCREAList.” The Financial Times, Business Insider and VentureBeat have all used or investigated the word. And The Washington Spectator published an article by Dave Troy titled, “Understanding TESCREAL—The Weird Ideologies Behind Silicon Valley’s Rightward Turn.”

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Jan 23, 2023

Nick Bostrom, Longtermism, and the Eternal Return of Eugenics

The techno-utopian ideology gets its fuel, in part, from scientific racism.

This is the first of a multi-part Dig series, Eugenics in the Twenty-First Century: New Names, Old Ideas, investigating the racist underpinnings of the Longtermism movement.

Sometime last year, I happened to come across an email from 1996, written by a 23-year-old graduate student at the London School of Economics named “Niklas Bostrom.” Upon reading it, my jaw dropped to the floor, where it stayed for the rest of the day.

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