We’re learning more about Caroline Ellison, Sam Bankman-Fried’s partner in crime. Some of it is kind of cute. She was a math nerd!
The daughter of esteemed economists — her father, Glenn Ellison, is currently the head of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and her mother, Sara Fischer Ellison, is an economics department lecturer at the university — she grew up outside of Boston, in a household filled with numbers. While other kids were playing with Lego, Ellison was learning about Bayesian statistics before middle school; one year, rather than write her father a birthday card, she presented him with an economic study of stuffed animal prices at Toys ‘R’ Us. “We definitely got exposed to a lot of economics,” Ellison previously told Forbes in an interview.
A natural mathematician, high school was a laboratory for Ellison’s love of numbers and she competed multiple times in the Math Prize for Girls, the national contest that draws the country’s brightest young minds. But her interests went far beyond math, and as a senior, she received an honorable mention in a linguistics olympiad. She also loved books—her parents read her the first Harry Potter book when she was 3, she said, then she read the second one on her own at age 5. (She has apparently described herself as a Ravenclaw.)
So far, that’s cool — I can’t hold the Harry Potter fandom against her, since lots of people got into that in her youth. But then her biography takes a darker turn.
By the time Ellison arrived at Stanford as a math major in 2012, her professional ambitions were taking shape, and while adjusting to college life, she took to Tumblr to publish her daily musings. The now-deleted blog, called WorldOptimization, is unsigned but a close associate confirmed that it was hers. In it, she wrote that “the sexual revolution was a mistake” and that she believed “women are better suited to being homemakers and rearing children than doing Careers.” She also mused about race science, in one post saying the “genetic differences there are massive” when it comes to Indian people from different provinces and castes — which has become a source of discrimination in Silicon Valley. And at the top of her list of “~cute boy things~” was “controlling most major world governments.”
Oh god. So she wasn’t so bright after all. Just another privileged white person with a battery of misconceptions and a poor understanding of the sciences.