BigTech companies are throwing money at artificial general intelligence (AGI), with CEOs telling us that it will come, bringing with it utopia, any day now (for the measly price of SEVEN TRILLION DOLLARS according to Sam Altman). How did AGI come to be a dominant goal in AI? What motivates the drive to attempt to build it? This page is dedicated to answering this question, starting with our paper, the TESCREAL Bundle: Eugenics and the Promise of Utopia through Artificial General Intelligence, which you can read on First Monday. Image is Clarote & AI4Media / Better Images of AI / Power/Profit / CC-BY 4.0

Screenshot of a Zoom lecture where the speaker's screen has been shared, currently showing a website for the Stanford Eugenics History Project. The website has a red header and a red and black logo of a tree with a banner across that says "EUGENICS." On a dark gray background, the text below the header reads, "Our Mission: David Starr Jordan, the first president and first chancellor of Stanford University, was a eugenicist, a promoter of the belief that the human race could be improved by restricting the reproduction of "inferior" populations such as disabled people and people of color." The text continues. On the right, a thumbnail image of Timnit speaking to her computer camera. The room behind her is off white and lit by daylight.

Watch Timnit’s Talk

Timnit gave a 40 minute talk summarizing some of our findings. You can watch it on YouTube

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On a black background, a grayscale digital illustration of a human face composed of pixellated blocks of color. The nose, eyes and lips are distinctly defined, but the sides of the face dissolve into scattered pixels. Above the face, the word 'TESCREAL' in gray.

Read Émile’s Article

Émile writes about the TESCREAL bundle for Truthdig. Find the article on Truthdig.

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Image of the outline of a human brain in profile, rendered in teal and neon blue, with black shadows and a dark background. The front section of the brain is also highlighted by a single bright point of light, while the rear lobes are overlaid with yellow lines reminiscent of computer circuitry.

What is Effective Accelerationism?

Read Émile’s article, “‘Effective Accelerationism’ and the Pursuit of Cosmic Utopia,” on Truthdig.

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On a black background, image of an articulated metallic arm and hand composed of multiple rods holds a white human skull. The skull faces to the left, the same direction that the arm is emerging from.

Does AGI Really Threaten the Survival of the Species?

"When someone talks about the 'existential risk' posed by artificial general intelligence, look under the hood." Read Émile’s take on Truthdig.

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Illustration shows two different green hands, one emerging from the left and another from the right side of the frame. The hands are filled in with a pattern of dots connected by lines, evoking a chemical molecule diagram. The leftmost hand holds an illustrated person who is small enough to be completely encircled by the hand's fingers. He wears a yellow shirt and black pants and looks distressed. The rightmost hand is held out with a flat palm, and the same person is sitting peacefully on it, legs crossed.

Doomers Vs. Acclerationists

Read this Prospect Magazine article. Ethan Zuckerman writes about the TESCREAL bundle of ideologies.

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"We need to examine the beliefs of today’s tech luminaries"

A short description of the TESCREAL bundle in the Financial Times.

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Image is composed of four pictures arranged like a plus sign. Left: a digital illustration of a green, pixellated human face that disintegrates into tiny pieces around the edges. At the top, a photo of two hundred-dollar bills arranged on top of each other. On the bottom, digital illustration of an arrow pointing up and to the right -- the arrow transitions from gray to green from end to tip, and appears to be next to a torn piece of US paper currency. On the right, a photo of Sam Bankman-Fried, a white man with dark, curly hair. The color and jacket of a suit are visible, and he is looking upward.

Effective Altruism's Role

Read Timnit’s Op-ed in Wired, “Effective Altruism Is Pushing a Dangerous Brand of ‘AI Safety'"

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Waist-up photo of Vitalik Buterin, a white man with short brown hair. He is wearing an off-white t-shirt and a large watch on his left wrist. A beige-colored microphone rests on his right cheek next to his mouth. He appears to be speaking from a stage, but the background is out of focus: mostly black, with purple lighting.

The Future of Life’s $665 Million TESCREAL Donation

"A young nonprofit pushing for strict safety rules on artificial intelligence recently landed more than a half-billion dollars from a single cryptocurrency tycoon — a gift that starkly illuminates the rising financial power of AI-focused organizations."

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How Eugenics Shaped Statistics

"In early 2018, officials at University College London were shocked to learn that meetings organized by 'race scientists' and neo-Nazis, called the London Conference on Intelligence, had been held at the college the previous four years." Read Aubrey Clayton’s article.

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Screencapture of a podcast episode header. On the right, the logo is a red square with a photo of a white man in a suit looking to the right. The text reads, 'Dave Troy Presents.' On the right of the logo, the title reads, 'Understanding TESCREAL with Dr. Timnit Gebru and Emile Torres: S2E3 * 1:35:05 * June 14th 2023"


Timnit and Émile discussed the TESCREAL bundle on the Dave Troy Presents podcast in Understanding TESCREAL with Dr. Timnit Gebru and Émile Torres.

Listen to the interview
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Read Émile’s Article on Longtermism and Existential Risk

Émile writes about the "disturbing secular religion" of longtermism and why, while it claims to address humanity's deepest problems, "actually justifies pursuing the social preferences of elites."

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