Gideon-Lewis has had great access to senior EAs, and inside documents. After weeks of work, there is not that much that he shows he has uncovered, that isn't available after a few conversations or even just available publicly on the EA forum.
This is true, but it's about as good as can be expected since it's an online New Yorker piece. Their online pieces are much closer to blog posts. The MacAskill profile that ran in the magazine was the result of months of reporting, writing, editing, and fact-checking, all with expenses for things like travel.
It's open to interpretation, but I don't think"thrown overboard" is there to suggest much about the EA community, though I'm sure some wish there were a way to distance EA from someone who was so deeply entangled with SBF.
Whatever the case, I think the reference primarily serves to set up the following:
While MacAskill lies in the belly of the big fish, the fate of effective altruism hangs in the balance. Jonah, accepting the burden of duty, eventually went to Nineveh and told the truth about transgression and punishments. At the end of that story, the sinners of that city donned sackcloth and ashes, and found themselves spared.
Will's responses in the piece fall far short from "accepting the burden of duty." First, on his propagating the myth of SBF's frugality:
When asked about the discrepancies in Bankman-Fried’s narrative, MacAskill responded, “The impression I gave of Sam in interviews was my honest impression: that he did drive a Corolla, he did have nine roommates, and—given his wealth—he did not live particularly extravagantly.”
and this, in reference to the Slack message:
“Let me be clear on this: if there was a fraud, I had no clue about it. With respect to specific Slack messages, I don’t recall seeing the warnings you described.
Perhaps Will doesn't deserve much blame (that's certainly a theme running through his comments so far). But if he isn't able to tell the truth about what happened, or isn't equipped to grapple with it, it's bad news for the movements and organizations he's associated with.
Here's an early selection of some of the texts. Sorry for the poor formatting. I am struggling to understand why MacAskill was acting like this:
Who knows but...I presume definitely not? I mean no way was it an actual "loan."
So, SBF gave himself a billion dollars:
definitely not struggling to get good advice:
The backdoor cannot possibly be something like admin access to a server in this case. It had to be something that allowed SBF et al to move money out of FTX accounts without anyone else knowing that it was gone. So the account would have, say, $0 of assets while still displaying $8B of assets to any other employee. His talk about "folders" is nonsensical. Wherever the "folders" were held, when Alameda's loans got called in, those "folders" would have been empty, until they were filled from FTX's "folders" - which then would have been empty themselves.
They had software displaying completely fake figures.
Yes, these are the keys. I really wish he had been asked about the backdoor. All of that stuff will be revealed in court. This is just another attempt at PR for him.