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The history of corporate scandals is littered with quasi-messianic figures, and Sam-Bankman Fried (often denoted by the initialism SBF) is simply the latest in the long line of financiers so drunk on their egos and self-perceived intelligence to be blind to the portents of their inevitable downfall. Sam is unique in that his grandiosity stems not purely from unrestrained greed and narcissism—although there is plenty of that—but his philosophical north star of Effective Altruism, an extreme form of Benthamite utilitarianism which espouses the belief that we should extend our ethical locus of concern to all possible sentient beings that may exist in the future. The philosophy attempts to derive, from first principles, an ethical calculus by which we should optimize our actions according to some suppositional fitness function that maximizes the scope and happiness of all future minds. Its adherents believe themselves as ordained prophets sent by the future to guide the progress of humanity according to their oracular pronouncements. The Effective Altruism philosophy is, in one word: insane. It is a philosophy of unbounded narcissism wrapped in a bizarre, autistically hyperrational framework concerning human existence that gives rise to hubris of cosmic proportions. And, of course, this plays out exactly like in Greek tragedy, as acolytes like SBF fancy themselves as agents of the future supposedly single-handedly able to steer humanity’s path through the future Great Filters of existential risk, all while his Bahamanian bucket shop couldn’t do effective risk management of their dog-themed money. His company’s downfall may have arisen from liquidity problems of the Ponzi finance operations they were running and the hilariously lax governance they were allowed to get away with, but the root problem of this business lies in the folly of one man. #arguments #arguments_against #effective_altruism #toread