Founder, The Roots of Progress (rootsofprogress.org). Part-time tech consultant, Our World in Data. Former software engineering manager and tech startup founder.

Wiki Contributions


There is certainly no moral equivalence between the two of them; SBF was a fraud and Toner was (from what I can tell) acting honestly according to her convictions. Sorry if I didn't make that clear enough.

But I disagree about destroying OpenAI—that would have been a massive destruction of value and very far from justified IMO.

Did Sam threaten to take the team with him, or did the team threaten to quit and follow him? From what I saw it looked like the latter.

I was basing my (uncertain) interpretation on a number of sources, and I only linked to one, sorry.

In particular, the only substantive board disagreement that I saw was over Toner's report that was critical of OpenAI for releasing models too quickly, and Sam being upset over it.

Thanks. I was quoting Semafor, but on a closer reading of Tallinn's quote I agree that they might have been misinterpreting him. (Has he commented on this, does anyone know?)

Yes, but not all of it is well-understood as problem-solving ahead of time:

It feels strained to say that Henry Ford solved the problem that people couldn’t move over land faster than horses. Or that Apple solved the problem that people couldn’t carry the internet in their pockets. Or that telephones solved the problem that people couldn’t communicate in real time without being in the same room. The list of technologies that didn’t solve a problem except in retrospect is long.


Thank you! That means a lot to me, especially since these posts are never the ones that go viral, so it's good to know that someone appreciates them.

I don't think this is exactly correct: I'm pretty sure that many cities including London and Paris had sewer systems much earlier than that, although they modernized them / made major overhauls in the 19th century. (Anyway, kind of besides the point of the linked thread)

Update: I’m already planning to give brief remarks at a few events coming up very soon:

If you’re in/near Bangalore, hope to see you there!

Maybe “general truths” is still too broad. Let's approach this a different way. I submit that science is the best and only method for establishing a certain class of truths. I'm not totally sure how to describe that class. They are general truths about the world, but maybe it's narrower than that. But I'm pretty sure there is such a class. Do you agree? How would you describe the type of knowledge that science (and only science) can get us?

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