All of bokov's Comments + Replies

I actually tried running your essay through ChatGPT to make it more readable but it's way too long. Can you at least break it into non-redundant sections not more than 3000 words each? Then we can do the rest.

I second that. I actually tried to read your other posts because I was curious to find out why you are getting downvoted-- maybe I can learn something outside the LW party-line from you.

But unfortunately, you don't explain your position in clear, easy to understand terms so I'm going to have to put off sorting through your stuff until I have more time.

3the gears to ascension2mo
Hmm! Interesting point. Yes, I have been having trouble explaining my position in clear and easy terms. I'll think about how I could do that, thanks for the push! edit: oh wait, were you talking about OP? I suppose it's good advice for both of us, isn't it :)

I meant prepping metaphorically, in the see of being willing to delve into the specifics of a scenario most other people would dismiss as unwinnable. The reason I posted this is that though it's obvious that the bunker approach isn't really the right one, I'm drawing a blank for what the right approach would even look like.

That being said, I figured into class of scenario might look identical to nuclear or biological war, only facilitated by AI. Are you saying scenarios where many but not all people die due to political/economic/environmental consequences ... (read more)

After the nuclear war caused by the AI, there's likely still an unaligned AI out there. That AI is likely going to kill the survivors of the nuclear war. 

It's ironic that you're so excited about autonomous weapons but the first video you posted is a dramatic depiction created by a YouTube account called "Stop Autonomous Weapons".

I think the idea of this video was to scare the public by how powerful, precise, and possibly opaque these weapons are.

But I agree with you-- ethical or not, groups that limit their use of these weapons will be at a disadvantage against groups that do not. That's a microcosm of the whole AI regulatory problem right there.

I'm sad to see him go. I don't know enough about LWs history and have too little experience with forum moderation to agree or disagree with your decision. Though LW had been around for a very long time without imploding so that's evidence you guys know what you're doing.

Please don't take down his post though. I believe somewhere in there is a good faith opinion at odds with my own. I want to read and understand it. Just not ready for this much reading tonight.

I wish I could write so prolifically! Or maybe it's a curse rather than a blessing because then it becomes an obstacle to people understanding your point of view.

I am a bit sad too. You might reassured to know that we are generally very reluctant to remove content once posted and practically never do so excepting spam, even if we didn't think it was great content.

Are there any links we can read about non-appeasing de-escalation strategies?

Either theoretical ones or ones that have been tried in the past are fine.

There have been "Nuclear first-use and threats or advocacy thereof" and those are easy to condemn. But as far as I know they are coming unilaterally from the Russian side and already being widely condemned by those not on the Russian side. But it sounds like you are looking for some broader consensus to condemn escalation on both sides.

Unfortunately neither this post nor the open letter you linked give any specifics about what other behaviours you are asking us to condemn. I'm reluctant to risk endorsing a false-equivalence argument by signing a blank chec... (read more)

I agree that specifics would be useful. It's bad to be too vague to be wrong. The more vague an open letter happens to be the easier it is to ignore it.  As it stands the effects of the letter likely don't go beyond signaling because in the abstract anyone can agree with it, but that's not going to change anyone's actions. When it comes to nuclear first use, the US does threaten []Iran with a nuclear first strike by saying: Nuclear first strikes capability is one element of US national power. As far as I know, past attempts to get the US to explicitely rule out using a nuclear first strike against Iran and North Korea always failed. If you actually want the US to stop making nuclear first strike threats, being explicit about the threads against Iran not being okay would be taking a stance. You would likely get some opposition for taking the stance, but at least it's something concrete. When it comes to "reckless escalation" I find it likely that neither the US nor Ukraine would say they engage in reckless escalation. If you want them to change what they are doing you likely need to be more concrete. 

The EU approach to getting Ukraine to protect the rights of minorities seems more... sustainable... than Russia's approach, so I propose a different compromise:

How about Russia withdraw all its troops back to the 2014 borders and we all give the slow, non-violent path a chance to work.

That's unlikely going to happen in the real world.  When thinking about the world it makes sense to think in terms of what's actually possible. 

I'm not equating the West and Anti-West in terms of power. I agree that the Anti-West is much weaker. That doesn't mean it's incapable of becoming a threat in the future. 

Furthermore, it's up to the Ukrainian people to confront their dark past. Not Russians to do it for them. 

Just like it's up to Americans to confront and atone for America's history of slavery. Not some neighbouring country to roll in with tanks and turn our historical/cultural/political problem into a military one.

This is basically a false equivalence "there are good/bad people on both sides" type of argument. 

If some other country sent troops inside Russia's borders and held a referendum for whether or not the regions they occupied want to be annexed, I would consider Russia to be the victim no matter how screwed up its internal politics are. Furthermore, such a referendum would not be legitimate no matter how honestly executed it is because the presence of foreign troops and displacement of civilians already hopelessly biases the outcome. 

For the same re... (read more)


A decisively defeated Russia will have fewer resources with which to coerce him. And if he's smart and keeps his powder dry like he has, he will have more resources with which to resist.

And if he gets overthrown in a color revolution, the Belarussians have not yet gotten so much blood on their hands as to preclude support from the West.

So I support a ceasefire and I oppose sponsorship of insurgency in Russia. But my opinions don't count. 

You opinions count, though most of us disagree with you. Thus, the replies.

Let's suppose that supporting Ukraine does further empower 'our globe-spanning military-industrial complex'. But failing to support Ukraine empower the rival globe-spanning military-industrial complex that in addition to Russia includes Iran, Syria, and China.

A ceasefire that results in Russia keeping more Ukrainian land than it started will empower this rival military-indust... (read more)

One may live under a variety of political orders. Life becomes difficult when you're caught between two systems fighting each other. As an Australian, I had no problems with the rise of China, until the Trump presidency forced Australia to choose between its economic provider and its security provider.  Actually, while he was campaigning, Trump had an advisor, Carter Page, who proposed an entente between China, Russia, and America. But Page was purged along with all the Russophiles, and Trump wanted his trade war with China, and now under Biden, the idea that all nations should be liberal democracies has been restored to the list of reasons why east and west are at odds. And maybe the odds were always against a LaRouche-style peaceful coexistence of such different powers.  The way I see it, America has had supreme power in the world twice, and has a chance at a third time. First was in 1945, when only the USA has the bomb, and everywhere else was in ruins. Then came 1991, when American information society was suddenly the only serious political and economic model remaining. The third chance is due to artificial intelligence, although perhaps it's more accurate to say that, whatever posthuman order characterizes the era of AI, it's most likely to first take shape on the territory of America.  So personal preferences aside, there is a sense in which I judge the meta-alliance of "NATO+Quad" as more likely to win than "SCO+Iran". But winning only because of AI, and only in the sense that it gets to be ground zero of the AI-driven transformation of the world. If it weren't for AI, I would not expect America to ever be on top again. 
3clone of saturn7mo
It's absurd to equate the shaky and informal coalition of Russia, China, Iran, and Syria with the 750+ extraterritorial bases, worldwide naval dominance, and global surveillance network of the US Military.
Answer by bokovOct 10, 202210

I wonder what the feasibility is for a group of LW-ers somehow putting on retainer a charter flight to NZ?

How would a nuclear test demonstrate that Putin is not bluffing?

It only demonstrates that he has nukes, which we already know.

It would stop people joking "I bet their nukes probably aren't working either". I don't think that the military takes these jokes seriously. But for the general population of NATO countries, this kind of humor helps reduce the anxiety about WW3. A nuclear test would help restore the anxiety.
5Big Tony8mo
Conducting a nuclear test indicates a much higher willingness to use nuclear than just keeping them in storage does.

I'm also biting the bullet and saying that this is probably what we should aim for, barring pivotal acts because I see AGI development as mostly inevitable, and there are far worse outcomes than this.

Dead is dead, whether due to AGI or due to a sufficient percentage of smart people convincing themselves that destructive uploading is good enough and continuity is a philosophical question that doesn't matter.

Now, if synchronizing minds is possible, it would address this problem.

But I don't see nearly as much attention being put into that as into uploading. Why?

A copy of you ceases to exist and then another copy comes into existence with the exact same sense of memories/continuity of self etc. That's like going to sleep and waking up.

Even when it becomes possible to do this at sufficient resolution, I see no reason it won't be like going to sleep and never waking up.

It's not as if there is a soul to transfer or share between the two instances. No way to sync the experiences of the two instances.

So I don't see a fundamental difference between "You go to sleep and an uploaded you wakes up" vs "You go to sleep and a... (read more)

Consider the following thought experiment: You discover that you've just been placed into a simulation, and that every night at midnight you are copied and deleted instantaneously, and in the next instant your copy is created where the original once was. Existentially terrified, you go on an alcohol and sugary treat binge, not caring about the next day. After all, it's your copy who has to suffer the consequences, right? Eventually you fall asleep.  The next day you wake up hungover as all hell. After a few hours of recuperation, you consider what has happened. This feels just like waking up hungover before you were put into the simulation. You confirm that the copy and deletion did occur. It is confirmed. Are you still the same person you were before? You're right that it's like going to sleep and never waking up, but Algon was also right about it being like going to sleep and waking up in the morning, because from the perspective of "original" you those are both the same experience. 
Your instance is the pattern, and the pattern is moved to the computer. Since consciousness is numerically identical to the pattern (or, more precisely, the pattern being processed), the question of how to get my consciousness in the computer after the pattern is already there doesn't make sense. The consciousness is already there, because the consciousness is the pattern, and the pattern is already there.
Now, if synchronizing minds is possible, it would address this problem. But I don't see nearly as much attention being put into that as into uploading. Why?

What I like about this story is that it makes more accessible the (to me) obvious fact that, in the absence of technology to synchronize/reintegrate memories from parallel instances, uploading does not solve any problems for you-- it at best spawns a new instance of you that doesn't have those problems, but you still do.

Yet uploading is so much easier than fixing death/illness/scarcity in the physical world that people want to believe it's the holy grail. And may resist evidence to the contrary.

Destructive uploads are murder and/or suicide.

I note a distributional shift issue, in that the concept of a single, continuous you only exists due to limitations of biology, and once digital uploads can happen, the concept of personality can get very weird indeed. The real question can be, does it matter then? Well, that's a question that won't be solved by philosophers. So the real thing that is a lesson is be wary of distributional shift mucking up your consciousness. I'm also biting the bullet and saying that this is probably what we should aim for, barring pivotal acts because I see AGI development as mostly inevitable, and there are far worse outcomes than this.
Wait, why are destructive uploads murder/suicide? A copy of you ceases to exist and then another copy comes into existence with the exact same sense of memories/continuity of self etc. That's like going to sleep and waking up. Non-destructive uploads are plausibly like murder/suicide, but you don't need to do down that route.

Are there any specific examples of anybody working on AI tools that autonomously look for new domains to optimize over?

  • If no, then doesn't the path to doom still amount to a human choosing to apply their software to some new and unexpectedly lethal domain or giving the software real-world capabilities with unexpected lethal consequences? So then, shouldn't that be a priority for AI safety efforts?
  • If yes, then maybe we should have a conversation about which of these projects is most likely to bootstrap itself, and the likely paths it will take?

Now we know more than nothing about the real-world operational details of AI risks. Albeit mostly banal everyday AI that we can't imagine harming us at scale. So maybe that's what we should try harder to imagine and prevent. 

Maybe these solutions will not generalize out of this real-world already-observed AI risk distribution. But even if not, which of these is more dignified? 

  • Being wiped out in a heartbeat by some nano-Cthulu in pursuit of some inscrutable goal that nobody genuinely saw coming
  • Being killed even before that by whatever is the most
... (read more)