[ Question ]

Are there non-AI projects focused on defeating Moloch globally?

by eapache1 min read14th Sep 202019 comments


MolochOrganizational Culture & DesignMemeticsWorld Optimization

Meditations on Moloch lays out a rather pessimistic view of the future, and then offers a super-intelligent AI "gardener" as the solution. A lot of the rationalist community is focused on AI, which makes sense in that light (and of course because of the existential risk of unaligned AI), but I don't know of any projects focused on non-AI solutions to countering or defeating Moloch. Some projects exist to counter specific local coordination problems, but apparently none to counter the global gardening problem in the original post? Am I missing such a project? Is there a reason that AI is the only plausible solution? Is this low-hanging fruit waiting to be picked?

edited to add some clarifications:

  • By defeating Moloch "globally" I mean in the sense of the global race to the bottom - preventing humanity from "reaching the sea" in the metaphor from the original Meditations on Moloch (which itself is borrowed from the Apocrypha Discordia). This doesn't mean solving all local coordination problems forever, just preventing us from reaching the absolute worst case that Bostrom conjures of our own destruction, the "Disneyland with no children".
  • Yes, I've read Inadequate Equilibria.
New Answer
Ask Related Question
New Comment

3 Answers

For Marx, capitalism was Moloch, and communism was a solution.

For Unabomber, the method to stop Moloch was the destruction of complex technological society and all complex coordination problems.

RadicalxChange is a movement that grew out of a book called Radical Markets, which proposes mechanism changes we could use to fund public goods (which would take a large bite out of the Moloch issue). Can recommend the book and or the 80,000 hours episode with Glen Weyl as an intro.

Other promising options I've seen but not looked into in as much depth

Generally speaking one might lump these approaches into "Anti Moloch memetic warfare" which in a way was what Scott was doing. Spreading memes that identify Moloch as an issue and proposing different ways of self organising to the network.

There's the Game B discourse around creating social norms that defeat moloch.