July 16, 2024

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‘Beff Jezos’ praises Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk for space push

2 min read

Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are in a bit of a space race. The two billionaires are like-minded about getting humanity into the solar system, but here on Earth they’re competing fiercely to give their respective space companies—SpaceX and Blue Origin—an upper hand.

Not everyone is thrilled about two of the world’s richest men wielding so much power to shape our future, but “Beff Jezos,” for one, believes it’s justified.

“I’m for billionaires. I know this is a controversial statement sometimes, but I think that, in a sense, it’s kind of proof-of stake voting,” he said on Friday episode of the Lex Fridman Podcast.

Of course, “Beff Jezos” is not a real name. It’s the handle used on X by Guillaume Verdon, a former Google quantum computing engineer and one of the leaders of the effective accelerationism movement, or e/acc (pronounced “ee-ack”). 

Verdon and others in the movement argue that propelling technological progress at nearly any cost is the only ethically justifiable course of action. Silicon Valley elites—including venture capitalist Marc Andreessen and Garry Tan, CEO of startup accelerator Y Combinator—add the label e/acc to their X profiles and consider themselves “techno-optimists.” They often criticize “decels,” or people they deem to be hindering progress—a favorite target being those wanting to slow down AI development for the safety of humanity.

The e/acc movement has some critics, not surprisingly, among them New York Times columnist Ezra Klein, who wrote in October: “Reactionary futurism is accelerationist in affect but decelerationist in practice. Treating so much of society with such withering contempt will not speed up a better future. It will turn people against the politics and policies of growth…”

Until recently, few knew that Verdon, founder of the stealth AI hardware startup Extropic, was the man behind the Beff Jezos account, but that changed when Forbes published an article…

Steve Mollman

2023-12-30 15:20:28

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