The AI Playbook and Theocratic Capture

I am what you could refer to as an "effective accelerationist" (e/acc) in the AI world. This exists in contradistinction to decelerators (decels) who, by my observation, use some flavor of eschatological doom to attempt to gain jurisdiction over the most important technology of our time. Not all of them of course, but the leaders commonly display a variation of the following tactics. This is not the first time I've witnessed this. These are my thoughts on the strategies deployed, and by whom.

The playbook to gain ideological control over AGI:

1. Neurotic priests that present as experts foment fear via their secular eschatology.

2. The bureaucratic class (government, predominately) attach to pseudo-expert priests and use fear as a tool to justify their control over the institution. They point to "the experts" as condoning the capture.

3. Under the guise of a fake emergency, both will push to give the government power over the most important technology of our time.

4. Both parties are fundamentally motivated by control. However the priests tend to have particularly high neuroticism underpinning the thought process behind their claims.

You've heard about the Man In The Arena, now learn to recognize the Priest In The Arena (PITA).

PITA's seek to control via theocratic capture. You're dealing with PITAs when under no real circumstance could their demands be satisfied, so the ideological jurisdiction is open ended.

PITAs are often highly narcissistic, and fundamentally driven by controlling an institution. However this motivation will masquerade as "empathy", "equality", "safety", etc. The motivations will present as noble, always. One of the easiest tells is the use of moral authority; a PITA always tries to assert unearned moral superiority on the subject they wish to capture.

What is theocratic capture: when an ideological movement (a cult, fundamentally) demands control/authority over a domain. The control is justified by claims of privileged knowledge in regards to safety and fairness that only the ideology can provide.

It's not enough that a PITA's voice is heard, it must be the authoritative voice on the matter. The tone and language will be that of lecture, censure, and reprimand.

They rely on abstract word games and mental gymnastics that can never quite be pinned down. The most effective PITAs that currently dominate their respective domains are: climate alarmists, DEI racial tribalism, AGI doomers, and essentially the majority of academic social sciences. Their enemies are undefinable and their claims largely unfalsifiable. These are religions attempting capture.

Example: look at this inscrutable word cancer (compliments: Yudkowsky). I see this and see nothing but deception. Unfortunately, midwits and academics are enamored by turgid rhetoric that vastly overcomplicates, and using a $10 paragraph to make a 25-cent point is a preferred rhetorical tactic of a PITA. You speak this way to obfuscate and manipulate, and it upsets me.

Described often via mendacious word and logic games like you just saw, the purported "enemies" of these ideological clergymen are often contrived boogeymen. Remember how literal religions compel adherents: a priest gets you to listen by making you fear his description of hell. Feat is incredibly powerful.

On loyalty: PITAs generate loyalty by promising followers control over the captured institution. This is (in part) why theocratic capture and neoliberal ideologies are such good loyalty-generating mechanisms. Branding: if you follow along, you'll get to control it with us (you won't though).

This is why conservatives kind of suck at generating loyalty. What's the promise if you win? You get left alone! Ehh...

PITAs advancing theocratic capture are adept at compelling and motivating loyalty by tacitly promising that a captured institution will have its power harnessed and controlled by them and their adherents. It's a powerful message, which is why it works so well. Religion is a powerful tool to assert unearned authority and generate loyalty and deference. And the power of religion can be applied in a very secular-presenting fashion; but it's all the same thing.

I know there are people with legitimate, well-intentioned AGI concerns. I don't think they're all malignant.

But I categorically *do* believe these earnest people will be leveraged and weaponized by those who's motivation is to control. We saw it during COVID, and I see the same pattern forming again here.

I've written previously on the religious similarities of "secular" movements and used the moniker "priests" when describing them. But I must give credit to Venkatesh Rao of Ribbonfarm Studio for coining the terms "priests in the arena" and "theocratic capture". It's a brilliant encapsulation of the problem.

Follow at @BackTheBunny

Check out another popular post --> Countercultures & The Milady Sociopolitical Evolution

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