tragedyofthecomments's Shortform

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I often see people making statements that sound to me like . . . "The entity in charge of bay area rationality should enforce these norms." or "The entity in charge of bay area rationality is bad for allowing x to happen."

There is no entity in charge of bay area rationality. There's a bunch of small groups of people that interact with each other sometimes. They even have quite a bit of shared culture. But no one is in charge of this thing, there is no entity making the set of norms for rationalists, there is no one you can outsource the building of your desired group to.

I often see people making statements that sound to me like . . . "The entity in charge of bay area rationality should enforce these norms." or "The entity in charge of bay area rationality is bad for allowing x to happen."

Can you give an example of someone who said this? I've never heard this, only "the bay area rationality community should", which is much more reasonable, if no easier to enforce.

I assume tragedy is referring to roughly that sort of statement, and inferring something about how the statement comes across or what it sounds like the person is imagining. 

I think 'the bay area should' is a somewhat confused statement, or one that comes from a mistaken sense of what's going on. And there's a particular flavor of frustration that comes from thinking that there's actually some entity that has the power to do stuff, which doesn't exist, and I think if you properly understood that the entity doesn't exist you'd do some combination of "redirecting your energy towards things that are more likely to fix the problem" or "realize that being frustrated in the particular way that you are isn't actually helping."

(where I think "things that might actually work" are "refactor your social environment into something that has boundaries and goals, and figure out how to be a leader." The main problem is that the Bay Area is leadership bottlenecked, and that generally competent people are rare and the world is big, with many problems competing for their attention)

I actually think it's quite useful to make a statement like "Man, it would be great if the community would."

I think its' a strawman to translate this to "I want the all powerful entity that runs the community to..."

And I think it stems from an attitude that "You shouldn't complain about problems if you don't have real solutions."

Which seems wrong to me. People pointing out problems even when they don't have solutions is useful. People pointing out better equilibria even if they don't have plans to get there is also useful.

A lot of time this complaint seems to be hiding a deeper complaint which is "You pointing out problems without solutions makes me stressed and frustrated." - Which is OK to state, but also I get this sense of like "OK, but that's not really the person's problem who pointed it out, learn to handle your own emotional reactions."

Raemon is correct in surmising the thing I was pointing to.

mr-hire, I think both kinds of statements exist and I agree it can sometimes be useful to imagine what things a community as a group can do.

I wasn't complaining about pointing-out-problems-without-solutions. Not everyone who makes "The community should . . ." statements are making a top down argument, but I think some are and I expect people thinking of entities in charge to become increasingly frustrated by the lack of top down coordination.

Recognizing the lack of top down coordination won't solve the problems they care about immediately, but might allow them to feel less angry and/or pursue the thing they're looking for in a different fashion.

Probably not so hot take.

The Doomsday Clock is an out of date metaphor and should be replaced.

I think it was valuable during the cold war for the doomsday clock to be a representation of risk that everyone could easily recognize and talk about, but I think it is now likely doing more harm than good.

Bad Things: -Trying to include many types of risks: The doomsday clock was originally a representation of the risk of large scale nuclear war, now it includes climate, biorisk, and AI. Tracking progress and risk in these fields is complex. Tracking them all at once it's not really clear what increase or decrease in the clock means or if you should have trust in the risk evaluations from these disparate fields. (Oh, also looks like Anders Sandberg already said something like this)

-Adding too much granularity (now with seconds!): This seems like a move because they want it to move forward to give people a sense of urgency, but it was already real close to midnight. Probably it should have been moved much further away from midnight when the cold war ended and increase or decrease depending on stability of current nuclear deals.

Qualities I'd like in new symbols of potential global catastrophes: -Representing specific global risks -Easily explainable what heuristics/data are being used to alter the state of the new symbol -Simple Representation