64Joined Sep 2015


Alignment is super-important for EA organisations, I would put it as priority number 1, because if you're aligned to EA values then you're at least trying to do the most good for the world, whereas if you're not, you may not be even trying to do that.

For an example of a not-for-profit non-EA organisation that has suffered from a lack of alignment in recent times, I would point to the Wikimedia Foundation, which has regranted excess funds to extremely dubious organisations: (see also: ). This is quite apart from the encyclopedia project itself arguably deviating from its stated goals of maintaining a neutral point of view, which is a whole other level of misalignment, but I won't get into that here.

I disagree. This section of the post would presumably be useful to people who lack awareness of the extent of the problem, either because they have not famous and have not ever been the main character on social media, because they are extremely young, or because they are autistic. I am not such a person, but I do think it exposes the nature of the problem vividly and persuasively, in a way that helps you empathise with the victims of such defamation - or "quasi-defamation", as we might call defamation through innuendo and ethereal claims lacking all specificity or falsifiability. If you are not such a person either, it's something you could have just skipped over when reading the post.

It's highly unlikely anyone could sue for libel in the United States.

This is incorrect. Firstly, you probably meant "successfully sue for libel" - anyone can sue for libel, in principle. Secondly, in the United States, people who are considered "public figures" have to prove actual malice, which means that establishing negligence had occurred would be insufficient to establish libel had occurred; however, this is not the case for people who are not public figures. In most cases, they only have to show negligence had occurred.

Then you would have to show that you suffered harm from the libel.

From what I have seen on social media from time to time, the world is suffering from an epidemic of entire political and social movements, such as Effective Altruism, being libelled periodically, with no real consequences. I am not saying this particular article is an example of that, I don't know, but it could be in principle. If that sort of behaviour (again, I'm not speaking about the Time article) isn't considered libel by the law, amounting to billions of dollars in damages from libelling thousands of individuals simultaneously, it ought to be, because it's greviously immoral and sociopathic. Just my opinion, but fiercely-held.

From what I have read, Bankman-Fried is claiming that he had an erroneous impression[*] of how much aggregate leverage FTX was offering to its customers. I think many people do not understand that an exchange like FTX does not necessarily make loans to its customers in the same way as a bank does - by depositing the full amount in their account. Rather, it extends a line of credit, which is subject to margin calls and/or collateral requirements, designed to protect FTX and ultimately its other customers. This was a normal practice offered to numerous customers and documented in their public documentation, it was not some special privilege accorded only to Alameda - though the terms may have been more generous for Alameda. Though note that Alameda had billions in assets so, proportionately to its size, it may not have been that generous after all.

The problem here seems to have been that, according to media reports, the line(s) of credit offered to Alameda were collateralised by FTT - FTX's own exchange token - and shares in Robin Hood - neither of which are particularly high-quality assets compared to, say, US treasuries, especially FTT. But this is an assessment in hindsight, from the perspective of 12 Nov 2022 when FTT is essentially almost worthless - that was not the case earlier in the year!

Note that again, use of non-government bonds as collateral is hardly something unique to FTX - Tether, to take another example within the same industry, has held non-government bonds on its balance sheet to substitute for cash.

This is probably why Bankman-Fried said recently that FTX actually had sufficient assets to cover customer withdrawals, they were just very illiquid, so he needed to find someone to give him a liquidity injection (of some billion dollars!)

When Binance initiated the "controlled demolition" of FTT by selling off their FTT stash and loudly announcing they had done so, this of course brought down the whole precarious house of cards.

This fits with the idea that Bankman-Fried is a "hardcore utilitarian" (his own self-description) of the type who values high expected utility over risk-adjusted returns, rather than a deliberate fraudster. He presumably realised that a big holder of FTT could cause its price to crash by selling it, but he probably thought this was unlikely to happen because it would not be in that holder's self-interest to do so. But I suspect that Binance's CEO CZ got so angry about (what he perceived to be) SBF's attacks on him, his business and even his children, that he was prepared to torpedo the whole thing, despite it hurting him financially as well in the short term, because in the long term it would take out a highly-competent competitor, which was valuable.

Furthermore, perhaps SBF calculated that it would be possible, or even easy to restart the whole shebang if the merry-go-round ever stopped, because FTT was sort of a representation of the money-printing machine that was FTX, so an injection of liquidity into FTX to restart it should have resurrected the value of FTT, enabling the loan to be repaid in the long term. But it turned out that was not the case, because of this little thing called "reputation", which formed a key part of FTX's intangible equity, and which was lost during this whole debacle. No-one wanted to go near the now-radioactive company that was FTX, not even CZ or Elon Musk. Elon didn't trust SBF, and CZ may have had obvious personal reasons (see previous paragraph) to pretend to buy FTX and then thrown up his hands in mock horror and say that it was not something he wanted to be involved in, "pour encourager les autres". I think it is a testament to Bankman-Fried's lack of ego that he went cap in hand to his adversary to see if he would buy FTX out. But it was perhaps not a wise move because I think CZ kind of poisoned the well.

[*] I'm not going to go into how I suspect this erroneous impression came about, because it's a technical detail that's not really relevant to the above points, and my theory looks on its face to be so implausible that I don't think you would believe it - and anyway, SBF has promised to publish a full account of the affair so hopefully we'll know soon anyway.

For some reason, only the last part of the post was included here. The original post is much longer.

I find your comment slightly confusing, as it suggests - even on the most charitable reading of your comment I can muster - that if a sex partner is not enthusiastic, the sex must be ipso facto rape. Where does this leave men who start having sex and then lose their enthusiasm for whatever reason, whether physical or psychological hangups, I wonder... or does your definition of rape only apply to the woman's enthusiasm?