A new ideology called effective accelerationism is gaining popularity among tech power players in Silicon Valley. Figures like Marc Andreessen and Garry Tan have added the term “e/acc” to their usernames on Twitter, signaling their support for this vision. So, what exactly is effective accelerationism and why is it becoming a hot topic in tech circles?
The theory of effective accelerationism draws inspiration from effective altruism, a social movement focused on evidence-led philanthropy. It is believed to have originated from the ideas of British philosopher Nick Land, who is considered the father of the broader accelerationism movement. The philosophy suggests that in a technological age, innovation and capitalism should be pushed to their limits to bring about radical social change, even if it means disrupting the existing social order.
Supporters of effective accelerationism believe that embracing extreme technological advancements can lead to advancements in consciousness, the creation of new lifeforms, and the development of artificial general intelligence (AGI) for the benefit of humanity. They argue that no idea, no matter how absurd or dangerous, should be dismissed if it has the potential to contribute to progress and human prosperity.
The rising interest in effective accelerationism can be attributed to the increasing promise and potential of AI, especially since the release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Some tech enthusiasts see the development of AGI as a game-changing moment comparable to the launch of the iPhone or the internet. They believe that achieving AGI at the earliest opportunity is morally imperative, despite concerns about the potential harms of AI.
Marc Andreessen, for instance, describes himself as an “effective accelerationist” in his Twitter bio. Garry Tan, the president of Y Combinator, has also expressed his support for the ideology. Effective accelerationism has even been discussed in the context of urban rehabilitation, with the idea that fixing cities like San Francisco can create a breeding ground for transformative ideas and bring about a golden age.
While effective accelerationism is still considered a niche theory, its prominence is likely to continue as long as AI remains a focal point of discussion in the tech industry.