Wiki Contributions


I think we can distinguish between Nietzsche's ethic (I'm not sure morality is the right word) and his metaethics, his theory of what morality is.

His metaethics is that morality, like all psychological phenomena, is an outgrowth of the "will to power", the one true psychological universal. All beings seek power - he counts even the capacity to move and to act upon the environment, as examples of the power that living organisms seek - and the morality of a society or a people is just whatever helps that society flourish, reified into a set of values that are treated as objective good.

Nietzsche certainly respected individual greatness, but I believe his highest respect was reserved for the creators of new value systems, and the leaders and conquerors who made those value systems into the basis of a successful religion or civilization. And this is where we can discern what his own "morality" actually was. He saw himself as a philosopher who had imbibed the moral emptiness of a universe of warring wills to power, and summoned up from his own will to power, a new tablet of values.

The central symbol of the new values is "the superman", and the superman is a new human being who looks with joy upon the "eternal return". What is the eternal return? It is a belief that all the events of our lives, will repeat eternally. Nietzsche thought this was an emerging implication of the scientific worldview, and he thought that it would cause a vast spiritual crisis in the openly atheist Europe of the future. He envisaged masses of people committing suicide because they could not bear the thought of their unhappy lives repeating eternally.

The superman is a human being who is elevated, rather than crushed, by the idea of their life and their world being immortalized in this way. Nietzsche aspired to be the prophet of a future culture in which that life-affirming superman is the ideal, and he seems to have thought that a kind of eugenic aristocracy would be the best political order in which to cultivate and propagate that ideal, and to have viewed a hedonistic steady-state socialism as the chief rival ideology, once the era of religion had truly passed.

He never completed a work in which all of this is articulated, but you can find it in "Thus Spake Zarathustra" and in the unfinished notes that were later assembled as "The Will to Power". 

Why would Toner be related to the CIA, and how is McCauley NSA?

Toner's university has a long history of association with the CIA. Just google "georgetown cia" and you'll see more than I can summarize. 

As for McCauley, well, I did call this a "scenario"... The movie maker Oliver Stone rivals Chomsky as the voice of an elite political counterculture who are deadly serious in their opposition to what the American deep state gets up to, and whose ranks include former insiders who became leakers, whistleblowers, and ideological opponents of the system. When Stone, already known as a Wikileaks supporter, decided to turn his attention to NSA's celebrity defector Edward Snowden, he ended up casting McCauley's actor boyfriend as the star. 

My hunch, my scenario, is that people associated with the agency, or formerly associated with the agency, put him forward for the role, with part of the reason being that he was already dating one of their own. What we know about her CV - robotics, geographic information systems, speaks Arabic, mentored by Alan Kay - obviously doesn't prove anything, but it's enough to make this scenario work, as a possibility. 

how did McCauley get on the board?

I have envisaged a scenario in which the US intelligence community has an interagency working group on AI, and Toner and McCauley were its defacto representatives on the OpenAI board, Toner for CIA, McCauley for NSA. Maybe someone who has studied the history of the board can tell me whether that makes sense, in terms of its shifting factions. 

Following those demands would've put the entire organization under the control of 1 person with no accountability to anyone. That doesn't seem like what OpenAI employees wanted to be the case

The alternative looked like the outright destruction of the company: "We are unable to work for or with people that lack competence, judgement and care for our mission and employees." 

Tasha McCauley is certainly harder to pin down than Helen Toner, who is a straight-up national-security academic. But, there's McCauley's company GeoSim Systems, which does geospatial modeling and was founded by the ex-head of R&D for the Israeli air force. Her husband actually traveled to Moscow to meet Snowden, who worked for the NSA, which does geospatial intelligence. The making of the film was surrounded by subterfuge, her husband's grandfather was on McCarthy's Hollywood blacklist, actors (like journalists) can be good partners for spy agencies... The covert world is a web that we are all caught in, but some people are more entangled than others. 

if the US government decided that AI is a security issue

The US government considered AI a national security issue long before ChatGPT. But when it comes to American companies developing technologies of strategic interest, of course they'd prefer to work behind the scenes. If the powers deem that a company needs closer oversight, they would prefer the resulting changes to be viewed as purely a matter of corporate decision-making. 

Whatever is actually going on with OpenAI, you can be sure that there are national security factions who care greatly about what happens to its technologies. The relevant decisions are not just business decisions. 

Load More