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Inside the E/Acc Movement That's Speeding Up AI Development

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A new movement is taking over Silicon Valley—and it has big implications for AI’s future.

It's called “effective accelerationism,” or “e/acc” for short.

Broadly, the movement says that the best thing for humanity to do is speed up the development of AI at any cost. To show support, e/acc followers increasingly put "e/acc" in their social media bios.

Those followers are the reason we're talking about it:

They include some of the top names in Silicon Valley. (Famed tech leader Marc Andreessen is one.) They also include leaders shaping the future of AI. And, the movement serves as a powerful counterweight to those calling for more AI safety.

“This is the technology at all costs movement,” says Marketing AI Institute founder/CEO Paul Roetzer.

Because of that, it's important to understand if you want a taste of where AI is going. Even if what you're about to read sounds like science fiction.

On Episode 78 of The Marketing AI Show, me and Paul went down the rabbit hole of the e/acc movement and what it means for AI.

What Is the E/acc Movement?

So, what is e/acc exactly?

It’s a little out there. But it’s important.

The movement's founders write in a post that technology's acceleration is inevitable. As such, it should be embraced in order to preserve and grow the “light of consciousness” in the universe.

To do this, we must embrace and accelerate the forces of "technocapital." Technocapital is the combined effect of technological innovation and market forces. Together, they result in an explosion of progress. And as much progress at all costs is the most desirable outcome.

E/acc followers don’t like laws and regulations because they limit acceleration. And they’re comfortable with wherever unchecked acceleration leads. Even if it means we build—and get replaced by—more intelligent machine-based life.

Their belief in a nutshell?

“Technological advancements solve everything,” says Roetzer. That includes the AI acceleration at all costs—without guardrails beyond market forces.

And this belief matters because of, well, who believes it.

“This is very important because there are very influential people in technology who believe this all to be true,” says Roetzer.

Who’s Behind the E/acc Movement?

The founder of the e/acc movement was recently unmasked. His name is Guillaume Verdon. He’s the founder and CEO of Extropic. And he has a deep background in quantum physics.

Until recently, Verdon posted pseudonymously on X to promote e/acc as @BasedBeffJezos. In December 2023, reporters at Forbes discovered who he was and revealed his identify.

The reason they took an interest:

The e/acc movement was attracting serious attention from some of Silicon Valley’s top minds. Many began to put the letters “e/acc” in their X bios. These included famed Silicon Valley leaders like Marc Andreessen. AI leaders like Sam Altman at OpenAI have also engaged with the movement online.

Interestingly, the movement was literally engineered to spread.

Verdon revealed on The Lex Fridman Podcast that the movement was built to spread like a virus. He and his collaborators saw that X treated memes favorability and amplified them. So, they built a movement around memes so it would spread like wildfire on X.

Why Does E/acc Matter to You?

E/acc may sound like a wild sci-fi movie. But it has real implications to any business or professional using AI today.

Some AI leaders today believe a portion—or all—of the principles espoused by e/acc. The beliefs they hold, in part, affect the technology they build—the technology we end up using.

Understanding e/acc also gives us a glimpse at the real motivations behind some people in AI:

E/acc AI builders didn’t start companies to create clever chatbots.

“That’s not why these companies exist,” says Roetzer.

Instead, they exist to usher in a very strange future—as quickly as possible.

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