William Eliot

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 AI-focused writer & developer.

Persevere, do not only practice your art, but endeavor also to fathom its inner meaning; it deserves this effort. For only art and science can raise men to the level of gods.
— Beethoven


Labels may be useful for dividing the world, but I struggle to find the right ones to describe myself. My curiosity is easily piqued, and I love diving deep into new thoughts, specifically so-called ‘viewquakes’. I studied English Literature at university, and yet I'm now an engineer for an AI startup. In the past I've created animations, sold electric cars, helped firefighters, designed an airport, and worked backstage in theatres. In the future I want to run sweet pizza restaurants, write musicals, build non-sentient animatronics, authenticate fine art, and manage a big cat sanctuary. So you see, what I lack in focus, I make up for in diversity of interests. With that said, I think the words ‘creative’ and ‘nerdy’ suit me well (for now).


Not long after discovering it in my late teens, I started to see serious philosophy as a buffer between art and science. That drew me in. Then I read a lot of modern analytic papers, especially those related to tech, the future, and the mind. Of course I adored them and of course I immediately thought, ‘ah, maybe I should be a philosopher!’ But it feels like academic culture is partly broken or just too slow for me to enjoy it. However, I'm still reading a lot, in particular the work of Nick Bostrom and Henry Shevlin... besides these two, not enough people are working on the moral status of AI agents and I predict it will be a critical concern soon. Sidenote: I love thinking about loopy things like palindromes, pathological objects, mise en abyme, paradoxes, circular logic, and ancestor simulations.


Stories aren't going anywhere, even as the world undergoes major technological change. Actually, I believe that once most human jobs are automated — around 2 decades away, by my estimation — we'll return to stories to keep ourselves entertained and sane. There will be a renaissance! Good writing (nay good art) is educational, insightful, and motivational. These qualities are important to us humans. Stories are mirrors which reflect both society at large and your soul. But heck, beyond all that, they're entertaining and they enable new avenues of social connection between people. I would write much more, except I'm distracted by today's exciting progress in artificial intelligence. Sometimes, during downtime, I'll write scenes for a tv series which follows an ML startup grappling with the ethical and societal consequences of having created artificial sentience.

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The truth is that I'm unsure about many, many things including (but not limited to): AGI timelines, which Sondheim show is his best, whether utilitarianism matters, why I don't enjoy exercise more, how nuclear control rods and chocolate are made, whether cats are superior pets, if I could ever feel like I've finished a piece of writing, which interpretation of quantum mechnics seems right, and where I want to live. I even have rather low certainty that I'm awake right now — as should you. Way too many people online, particularly those adjacent to AI research, pontificate and spread their self-aggrandising hype waffle. Me, I'm trying to say true things, but I am often confused or misguided or plain wrong. I have a lot of opinions, and I think I can find connections between things well, but I definitely don't claim to be an expert on anything, and I hope you add the proverbial pinch of salt to everything I say.