Manuel Del Río Rodríguez

Satellite School Head of Studies - Noia (Spain) @ EOI Santiago (Official School of Languages, Santiago)
203 karmaJoined Working (6-15 years)


English teacher for adults and teacher trainer, a lover of many things (languages, literature, art, maths, physics, history) and people. Head of studies at the satellite school of Noia, Spain.

How others can help me

I am omnivorous in my interests, but from a work perspective, I am very interested in the confluence of new technologies and education. As for other things that could profit from assistance, I am trying to self-teach myself undergraduate level math and to seriously explore and engage with the intellectual and moral foundations of EA.

How I can help others

Reach out to me if you have any questions about Teaching English as a Foreign Language, translation and , generally, anything Humanities-orientated. Also, anything you'd like to know about Spain in general and its northwestern corner, Galicia, in particular.


"This is like saying that if I break into the Federal Reserve Bank, make off with a million bucks, spend it all on Powerball tickets and happen to win, it was okay." – Judge Kaplan

Mostly agree and have found your post insightful, but am not too sure about the 'confront this a bit' part. I feel both most EAs and most Rationalists are very solidly on the left (not the radical, SJW fringe, but very clearly left of center, Democratic-leaning). I vaguely remember having read somewhere Tyler Cowen describing EA as 'what SJW should be like'. Still, I feel that political partisanship and accepting labels is such a generally toxic and counterproductive affair that it is best avoided. And I think there's probably some inevitable tension inside EA between people who prioritize the search for veracity and effectiveness, and a high degree of respect for the freedom to explore unconventional and inconvenient truth, and others who might lean more towards prioritizing more left-coded practices and beliefs.

It was for me. Also, I had read about Tara and others leaving Alameda and having issues with Sam, but not the gory details.

I'd say there are two main aspects that impact negatively on EA portrayal. One I've mentioned below - Lewis goes out of his way to establish that the inner circle were 'the EAs', and implicitly seems to be making the point that Sam's mentality is a perfect match to EA mentality. But much more damning is how he depicts The Schism in early Alameda. Even though he is practically siding with Sam in the dispute, from what he describes it beggars belief how the EA community -and more so its top figures- didn't react in a stronger way after hearing what the Alameda quitters were saying. The pattern of the early Alameda mess very eerily prefigured what would happen, and Sam's shadiness. 

Reading the book right now like everybody else, I guess. If Lewis is to be believed (complex in parts, as he is clearly seeing all this through Sam-tinted glasses), ALL the members of his inner circle (Caroline, but also Nishad and Wang) were committed EAs, which is something I find disturbing.

I was surprised too, and would be more except for awareness of human fallibility and how much of a sucker we are for good stories. I don't doubt that some of what Lewis said in that interview might be true, but it is being massively distorted by affinity and closeness to Sam.

Dunno, but I'd guess it would depend on the rough percentages through which you weigh the different moral stances. Myself, I tend to feel like 70% deontologist, 30% consequentialist, which means I would definitely write the negative review (I'm not vegan or vegetarian either, so it's really a no-brainer for me here, though). Ultimately, you have to make the choice which you think is the best given the limited information available.

I think that it has been said that among the leadership, Nishad Singh was pretty close to EA too. Further down the line, it is commonly said that Alameda especially attracted a lot of EA people as it was part of its appeal from the beginning. Needless to say, though, these people would have been completely in the dark about what was happening until they were told, in the very end.

I mostly agree that people seem to have overreacted and castigated themselves about SBF-FTX, but also feel the right amount of reaction should be non-trivial. We aren't just talking about SBF, as the whole affair included other insiders who were arguably as 'true believers' in EA as it is reasonable to expect (like Caroline Ellison) and SBF-FTX becoming poster-children of the movement at a very high level. But I think you are mostly right: one can't expect omniscience and a level of character-detection amongst EAs when among the fooled were much more cynical, savvy and skeptic professionals in finance.

For what it's worth, I feel some EA values might have fueled some of Sam's bad praxis, but weren't the first mover. From what I've read, he absorbed (naive?) utilitarianism and a high-risks stake from the home. As for the counterfactual of him having ending up where he has without any involvement with EA... I just don't know. the story that is usually told is that his intent was working in charity NGOs before Will McAskill steered him towards an 'earning to give' path. Perhaps he would have gone into finance anyway after some time. It's very difficult to gauge intentions and mental states- I have never been a fan of Sam's (I discovered his existence, along with that of EA after and because of the FTX affair), but I can still assume that, if it comes to 'intent', his thoughts were probably more in a naive utilitarian, 'rules are for the sheep, I am smart enough to take dangerous bets and do some amoral stuff towards creating the greater good' frame than 'let me get rich by a massive scam and fleece the suckers'. Power and vanity would probably reinforce these as well.

You're right, but it does feel like some pretty strong induction, though not just to not accepting the claim at face value, but for demanding some extraordinary evidence. I'm speaking from the p.o.v. of a person ignorant of the topic, and just making the inference from the perennially recurring apocalyptic discourses.

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