LW/SSC Dublin: The Great Filter, Cities and Ambition, Lifehacks - Saturday November 2nd


Hey everyone!

There'll be another meetup this Saturday, November 2nd, at 2pm.

Location: Caffe Nero in Temple Bar

Discussion Topics:

Based on how quickly we got through things last time, I think we can fit in 3 topics this week.

The Great Filter

"The Great Filter is a proposed explanation for the Fermi Paradox. The development of intelligent life requires many steps, such as the emergence of single-celled life and the transition from unicellular to multicellular life forms. Since we have not observed intelligent life beyond our planet, there seems to be a developmental step that is so difficult and unlikely that it "filters out" nearly all civilizations before they can reach a space-faring stage... The Great Filter might be a step in our evolutionary past, in which case our civilization has already passed it. But the hard step might also be ahead of us: surviving the creation of nuclear bombs, AGI, biotechnology, nanotechnology or an asteroid impact. In that case, we should be worried, as the Great Filter seems to have been successful in stopping the development of every other civilization so far. Estimating the location of the Great Filter is thus important for helping estimate the magnitude of existential risk. Many efforts have been made in that direction, but much remains uncertain."

This has been a topic of much discussion and debate over the years on Lesswrong, and it's always fun to talk about.
You can find many more posts about it other than those linked above!

Cities and Ambition, by Paul Graham

A city speaks to you mostly by accident—in things you see through windows, in conversations you overhear. It's not something you have to seek out, but something you can't turn off... No matter how determined you are, it's hard not to be influenced by the people around you. It's not so much that you do whatever a city expects of you, but that you get discouraged when no one around you cares about the same things you do.

This is a really interesting essay about the subtle effects different cities have on the minds of their inhabitants.

Productivity Tips and Tricks
An open-ended group discussion where everyone can share techniques they've found for being more productive, or ask for ideas on tackling specific issues. Basically, show and tell for all your weird lifehacks!

As always, if anyone has ideas or suggestions for future topics, I'd love to hear them!
- Dan