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E/Acc – What is it? – by Harry Harrison

I first read about the e/acc move in X last Sunday. It means “effective accelerationism” and features some of the most prominent figures in technology, such as Garry TanCEO of Y Combinator and Venture Capitalist, Marc Andreessen, among his supporters.

Marc Andreessen is perhaps the most famous venture capitalist in the world and one of the biggest supporters of the e/acc movement.

Its advocates see it as a more positive view of technological growth. They believe that instead of ushering in a dystopian world run by robots, AI will create a utopia where scarcity becomes a thing of the past.

Perhaps ominously, the name derives from the social movement known as “effective altruism” – followed infamously by Sam Bankman-Fried, the Disgraced CEO of FTX.

Although it has only recently become widely known, the ideas for the accelerationism movement appear to have come from a 1967 novel by Roger Zelazny named Lord of Light.

A plot of the novel revolves around a group of revolutionaries who want to take their society to a higher level by transforming attitudes towards technology. Zelazny he named them accelerationists.

Lord of Light eBook: Zelazny, Roger: Kindle Store -

Lord of Light is an award-winning novel that can be taken as science fiction or fantasy. The context of the novel is modern Western characters in a world of Hindu-Buddhist influence.

In more recent years he called himself a British philosopher Nick Land has built on the idea. A professor at the University of Warwick in the 1990s, Land has become popular for writing about the inevitable end of humanity (thanks to AI) and “human biodiversity” – a term for what he seems to believe is a form of eugenics.

Nick Land: The Tall Writer

Nick Land has very controversial ideas about society and politics, but is best known for his work around acceleration.

Other accelerationists are now moving away from Land, but his mark on the movement has been left. He argued that capitalism had never been properly liberated, but had always been held back by politics; he believes acceleration is the movement that will finally unleash him.

The basic premise of the movement is that we must harness the full potential of innovation and capitalism to bring about transformative social change; even if it requires a total revision of the current social structure.

e/acc (Effective Acceleration) |  Know your Meme

Nobody seems to know who Beff Jezos is, but he’s become an influential figure in the tech world over the past 12 months.

Beff Jesuspseudonym of one of the most vocal accelerationists and an influential figure in the tech space, he wrote an outline of the movement’s beliefs about its substack. Its reason (quite long and complex) is as follows:

  • Matter rearranges itself to take advantage of the energy of its environment, contributing to the maintenance and reproduction of its own state of matter.

    • From life it arose dissipative adaptation – a process that describes how systems can self-organize and evolve by exchanging energy and matter with their environment, resulting in increased complexity and order while dissipating energy.

  • The universe favors the creation of matter that has adapted to capture more free energy and convert it into entropy.

  • Intelligence arises as a result of this: it allows life to identify patterns in the environment that aim to find resources to procreate and/or sustain intelligent life. This also gives rise to a consciousness that accelerationists believe arises naturally as intelligence passes a certain threshold.

  • Beyond single agents, there are groups of agents. These may include organized groups working together that form an emergent whole: states, corporations, networks, etc.

    • These organizations compete for resources in a capitalist system.

    • The spread of information is part of the intelligence of civilization as a whole.

    • Capitalism is therefore a form of intelligence that changes the environment, captures energy and uses it to grow and sustain our civilization.

  • The main purpose of the e/acc movement is to help accelerate this force rather than trying to slow it down as many have done suggested doing so recently with the AI ​​boom.

As with anything, there are probably many reasons why acceleration has grown, but here are a few that I think are key.

  • Reaction to technological advances: As technology becomes a bigger part of our lives, accelerationist ideas become more attractive to some, especially those in the tech industry.

  • Dissatisfaction: As we have seen with the rise of populism, many people are dissatisfied with the current political and economic systems. Acceleration aims to accelerate the collapse of existing systems to make way for something new.

  • Global crises: Global crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recessions and climate change have highlighted the limitations of existing systems. Accelerationism offers a radical approach to addressing these problems by promoting rapid change.

A large portion of the movement’s supporters seem to see it as a kind of tongue-in-cheek idea to get involved with. It is not clear how many of them actually want, or believe, that it can be generalized.

Nor does it explain why”free energy capture” is a goal we should strive for or why it might result in a good outcome for the majority of humanity.

Could e/acc take us to a dystopian world?

I’m all for accelerating technological progress, but I don’t think it should be an end in itself.

We’ve already seen how bad things can get when technology advances unchecked. The the increase in mental health disorders is strongly correlated with the rise of social media and developments in non-IT technologies such as transport or manufacturing have undoubtedly been detrimental to the environment.

How well could advanced AI do it all if allowed to develop unfettered?

Some supporters of e/acc just want the technology to fix things with no real specification of how exactly it can help.

As with most things related to technology, e/ac supporters seem to have good intentions. However, taking into account some people are really worried about AI destroying humanitysupporting a movement to advance it as quickly as possible seems like a questionable idea….


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