chaosmage

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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?

What cognitive biases feel like from the inside

I'm fantasizing about infographics with multiple examples of the same bias, an explanation how they're all biased the same way, and very brief talking points like "we're all biased, try to avoid this mistake, forgive others if they make it, learn more at LessWrong.com".

They could be mass produced with different examples. Like one with a proponent of Minimum Wage and an opponent of it, arguing under intense confirmation bias as described in the table above, with a headline like "Why discussions about Minimum Wage often fail". Another one "Why discussions of Veganism often fail", another one "Why discussions of Gun Control often fail" etc. Each posted to the appropriate subreddits etc. Then evolve new versions based on what got the most upvotes.

But I am completely clueless about how to do infographics. I'd love for someone to grab the idea and run with it. But realistically I should probably try to half-ass something and hope it shows enough potential for someone with the skills to take pity.

Or at least get more eyes on it to further improve the concept. Getting feedback from fellow LessWrongers was extremely helpful for development thus far.

What cognitive biases feel like from the inside

I'm using pictures because I couldn't get either editor to accept a proper table.

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