Silicon Valley's AI boom's 'forced climate' makes sex parties 'disturbing', researcher says

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Women researchers in artificial intelligence and machine learning are calling for more transparency into what they say is a culture of sexual oppression in Silicon Valley. On Sunday, computational neuroscience and machine learning expert Sonia Joseph described a “dark side” of startup culture on X (formerly Twitter) — including “heavy LSD use” and sex parties that are predominantly male. Held by the tech and business elites, there is a lot of fun involved. Playing violent roles with female participants.

“I've seen some disturbing things around the social circles of early OpenAI employees, their friends and affiliate entrepreneurs,” he said in a statement. Detailed tweet.

Joseph, who said she is not currently under a non-disclosure agreement and has never worked for OpenAI, is a graduate of Princeton and a doctoral researcher at the Deep Learning Institute in Mila-Québec. She said her observations reflect what she saw while quietly navigating San Francisco's well-known community housing tech scene and through women's networks. Joseph did not name any individual employees or executives at OpenAI in his posts, but said his knowledge of the events included participants who were early employees at OpenAI and other companies.

“I don't think events like consensual non-consensual (CNC) sex parties and heavy LSD use by some elite AI researchers have been good for women,” Joseph said, adding that while “100B+ interested Combined with the shadows of the groups, it leads to some of the most compelling and social dynamics I've ever seen.”

CNC is a term used to describe alternative sexual interests and sexual acts in kink communities that are pre-agreed upon by all parties, but re-enact violent fantasy of rape, sexual assault or abuse. Can be included. Group sex events involving CNC are generally considered by sex researchers, community advocates, and survivors of abuse to have the strictest participant safety and ethics protocols to reduce the risks of potential criminal abuse. Required.

“This is an event in which you give up your right to consent by participating,” said Rochelle Shane, a Bay Area founder and former machine learning expert. In a May 18 tweet. “The part I'm most concerned about is the age limit and they often target newcomers (to San Francisco). I have friends who have recently moved here, asking me They don't fully understand the nature of what they're doing.”

“The problem isn't people hosting sex parties in their spare time, it's when they (consciously or not) use the power gradient to encourage people who try to engage in these experiences. Don't.”

Shane's background includes computational neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania. He added that the tech startup scene lacks accountability “resulting in problems not unlike Hollywood (and to a lesser extent, academia).”

“For many women, Silicon Valley can be like Westworld, where violence pays off.”

“What's concerning is the subsequent erosion of basic social etiquette as SV blurs personal and professional lines, magnified by the lack of enforcement of accountability on those who abuse these structures,” Shane said.

Joseph similarly describes how the participation of male researchers in these allegedly coercive sexual contexts reflects a long trend of industrialized victimization. She further alleged that women who try to speak out – including herself – are risking their careers if they address male founders about the weekly sex parties.

Such groups “create an environment that can be very hostile for female AI researchers, which has broader implications for (artificial intelligence) safety,” she said. “I believe they are somewhat symptomatic of broader issues: a coercive climate that normalizes carelessness and overstepping boundaries, which we see playing out more broadly in the industry today. Move from and break things, apply to people.”

“For many women, Silicon Valley can be like Westworld, where violence is paid,” Joseph said. “I've seen people shut down time and time again for pointing out these problems. … Once, when trying to point out these problems, I debated with three OpenAI and Anthropic researchers whether I I had no history of mental illness on the Google Doc; and this incident stuck with me as an example of blind spot/groupthink.

Joseph and Shane are the latest women to add their accounts to a long list of other female investors, researchers, programmers, founders, tech-community members and even accusers. Family members of prominent CEOs — all of whom have repeatedly called for greater accountability for Silicon Valley power players and sweeping changes to a tech culture that they believe encourages systemic sexual harassment, discrimination and misogyny.

OpenAI did not immediately return Salon's request for comment. This story will be updated if that happens.

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