Wiki Contributions


Irrational Modesty

I think seeking status and pointing out you already have some are two different things. Writing an analysis, it would be quite relevant to mention what expertise or qualifications you have concerning the subject matter.

Irrational Modesty

I'd go as far as to say justified pride and status-seeking is actually a virtue and a moral duty!

Why? Because status is a signal: high status people are worth imitating. That isn't all status is, but it is a very central benefit that justifies its existence. If you are really successful, and you're hiding that, you're refusing to share valuable information. They might want to check what you're dong right, and imitate that, hopefully becoming more sucessful themselves.

And why would you refuse to seek justified status? I see only three reasons.

  • Fear of embarassment when you reach too high.
  • Deliberate deception in order to benefit from asymmetric information.
  • Outmoded cultural traditions from back when it was hard to check someone else's work and see whether it is actually that good.

I don't think any of these are good reasons.

Thoughts on the Repugnant Conclusion

I will reluctantly concede this is logical. If you want to optimize for maximal happiness, find out what the minimal physical correlate of happiness is, and build tiny replicators that do nothing but have a great time. Drown the planet in them. You can probably justify the expense of building ships and ship builders with a promise of more maximized happiness on other planets.

But this is basically a Grey Goo scenario. Happy Goo.

Yes it's a logical conclusion, yes it is repugnant, and I think it's a reductio ad absurdum of the whole idea of optimizing for conscious states. An even more dramatic one than wild animal suffering.

What cognitive biases feel like from the inside

I think this is off topic here, except it does sort of the same thing by breaking principles down I to concrete statements. That said, I think that site is exceptionally well-written and designed. I wish other persuasion projects adopted that kind of approach.

What's your best alternate history utopia?

Oh I know how!

When Einstein figured out spacetime, we rethought not only physics, but also other faulty conclusions from our false assumption that reality is three-dimensional. Everything is moving through four dimensions, including us, and that means we're four-dimensional too, although our consciousness is limited to three-dimensional moments.

We started to see ourselves as growing through time like four-dimensional snakes. Or branches, really, since we've all branched off our four-dimensional others when we were born. And by simple recursion we realized that in four dimensions, we all are branched off common ancestors, way back to the origin of life, and all other life-forms are merely seperate-seeming branches of the only life on Earth, the evolutionary tree of life. All of our bodies and minds are extensions of the same thing, just like our fingers are extensions of the same hand.

Lots of religious and mystically inclined people got very excited about this and wanted to believe this is something like proof of God, or all life is conscious, or there's some grand plan, but we insisted on plain physics: nothing about causality has changed, life isn't smart or intentional or conscious, but life is us, and that merely means our self-image was as mistaken as our image of physics. We had to stop identifying with consciousness, which made a lot of problems with consciousness more tractable, and started to identify with the single process that produces all our seperate consciousnesses.

That necessitated a lot of re-thinking of ethics, because consciousness wasn't so fundamental anymore and suffering of conscious beings started to look more incidental. We decided that our minds were created by us/life to serve its/our purpose, and life's/our purpose, while not conscious, looked from revealed preferences like survival, dissemination and diversification. So that became our yardstick for ethical behavior: good is what helps life to survive, spread, diversity and, somewhere among the stars, maybe meet another one.

AR Glasses: Much more than you wanted to know

Awesome article, I would only add another huge AR-enabled transformation that you missed.

AR lets you stream your field of view to someone and hear their comments. I hear this is already being used in airplane inspection: a low level technician at some airfield can look at an engine and stream their camera to a faraway specialist for that particular engine and get their feedback if it is fine, or instructions what to do for diagnostics and repair. The same kind of thing is apparently being explored for remote repairs of things like oil pipelines, where quick repair is very valuable but the place of the damage can be quite remote. I think it also makes a lot of sense for spaceflight, where an astronaut could run an experiment while streaming to, and instructed by, the scientists who designed it. As the tech becomes cheaper and more mature, less extreme use cases begin to make economic sense.

I imagine this leads into a new type of job that I guess could be called an avatar: someone who has AR glasses and a couple of knowledgable people they can impersonate. This lets the specialist stay at home and lend their knowledge to lots of avatars and complete more tasks than they could have done in person. Throw in a market for avatars and specialists to find each other and you can give a lot of fit but unskilled youngsters and skilled but slow seniors new jobs.

And this makes literal hands-on training much cheaper. You can put on AR glasses and connect to an instructor who will instruct you to try out stuff, explain what is going on and give you the most valuable kind of training. This already exists for desk jobs but now you can do it with gardening or cooking or whatever.

Covid 1/7: The Fire of a Thousand Suns

South Africa, and Brazil where the South Africa strain is apparently spreading, are in summer right now. How are temperatures going to save us from that one?

What cognitive biases feel like from the inside

Did you share it with your son, and if so what was the result?

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