I skimmed this medium post regarding the "TESCREAL" discussions that have been happening, and I figured people here would find it interesting. It talks about EA, AI Safety, Longtermism, etc. It's a critique of those who created the term TESCREAL.
They have begun to promote the theory that Silicon Valley elites, and a global network of corporate, academic and nonprofit institutions, are invested in a toxic bundle of ideologies that they call TESCREAL, short for Transhumanism, Extropianism, Singularitarianism, Cosmism, Rationalism, Effective Altruism, and Longtermism. Guided by this conspiracy framework they have tried to connect the dots between the advocates for these ideas, and support for eugenics, racism and right-wing politics.
I don't agree with everything in the post and think that it's too harsh on EA (it has the common intro critique that EAs don't care about social change) and longtermism (it just assumes every longtermist ascribes to hardcore strong longtermism and have no uncertainty in their position), but overall worth sharing.
Here's some select quotes:
Some critics have decided futurist philosophies and their advocates are bound together in a toxic, reactionary bundle, promoted by a cabal of Silicon Valley elites. This style of conspiracy analysis has a long history and is always a misleading way to understand the world. We need a Left futurism that can address the flaws of these philosophies and frame a liberatory vision.
Ultimately, the TESCREAL label is an excuse for lazy scholarship and bad arguments. It allows people to thingify complex constellations of ideas, and then criticize them based on the ideas of one member of the group. It imagines that all the guys who think hard about the future and tech must hang out in secret bars plotting to bring about 10²⁰⁰⁰⁰⁰⁰⁰ digital minds. No evidence is needed for such claims. (Bentham’s Bulldog, 2023)
While we share some of their criticisms of the ideologies, and certainly of the elites in question, a better sociology and intellectual history reveals that each philosophy has a progressive political wing that has been ignored. Moreover the wholesale condemnation of these ideas has cast a pall over all thinking about humanity’s future when we desperately need to grapple with the implications of emerging technologies.