One of the most prominent backers of the “effective altruism” movement at the heart of the ongoing turmoil at OpenAI, Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn, told Semafor he is now questioning the merits of running companies based on the philosophy.




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A pretty poor piece of journalism in my opinion. It gets a number of facts wrong. For example:

  • Adam D'Angelo doesn't have "deep ties" to EA
  • Jaan Tallinn's comments aren't "against EA", just saying that these governance mechanisms weren't enough (I doubt many EA AI Safety advocates have claimed such a thing)
  • The claim that the board didn't consult with layers of a communications firm, based on this tweet which refers to this WSJ article which doesn't mention either of those. It could be true of course, but they weren't justified in claiming it

The relevant paragraphs regarding Tallinn's views:

“The OpenAI governance crisis highlights the fragility of voluntary EA-motivated governance schemes,” said Tallinn, who has poured millions into effective altruism-linked nonprofits and AI startups. “So the world should not rely on such governance working as intended.”

Many EA figures are now again turning to their own methods for making sense of what has transpired, guided by sources like a prediction market website backed by Bankman-Fried and other EA donors. “I remain confused but I note that the market now predicts that this was bad for AI risk indeed,” Tallinn said, citing one of its polls.

I'm not a fan of how Tallinn is citing manifold polls here: it's obviously gameable and non-representative, although I do agree with their conclusion in this case.