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One possible approach to fixing this is to try to get wayyyy more empirical, and try to produce proof-of-concept implementations of various adversaries we are worried we might face in the future. My analogy would be, there’s a world of difference between speculating about the bogey monster and producing a grainy photo of the bogey monster; the second can at least maaaaaybe be discussed with skeptical people, whereas the first cannot (productively) be.

Anyway, that’s a long-winded way of saying, it seemed to me that it might be useful to implement a treacherous mesa-optimizer in a toy grid-world, so I did. Here is the colab. Below I give a brief recap of the high-level results.


I'm not saying this isn't helpful work worth the tradeoff, but this sounds like very early stage gain of function research? Have you thought about the risks of this line of investigation turning into that? :)

You mentioned a specific Amazon price point that I found surprisingly low and is cheap enough to meaningfully affect strategic plans. The cheapest pasta I've seen is on WebstaurantStore but the shipping doubles the cost to $2/lb approximately. Did you have a link for the $200/year product(s)?

What's the ~$200 food item you saw that would last a person a year, can you link?

(Edit: I see a 30-day container for about $200. It seems to me that $200 buys a month's worth, not a year's worth?)

I consider it collectively important that alignment researchers and their +1s survive, as well as other x-risk researchers and probably other cause areas.

So if there's a 1% yearly risk of nuclear apocalypse

Some think the number is much higher than priors due to current events. You're also not factoring in that that yearly percentage adds up, and a lot of preparations are a one-off action that benefits future you (assuming you don't dig into your backup food).

It felt to me like there's too much for my taste. My impression was that you guys were optimizing for it being about AI content, somewhat related to the % of people involved at Lightcone coworking being AI researchers vs other subjects.

Interesting summary and interpretation of a speech outlining Putin's intentions, "The End of Western Hegemony is INEVITABLE":

This is a reproduction of my live Twitter summary/translation of Vladimir Putin's speech:

I wish every single person in the West would listen to Putin's speech. Obviously, that won't happen so let me summarise as a professional translator for 10+ years. He states, as he has done from the outset, what his intentions and complaints are in the plainest terms possible.

Setting aside his brief comments on the recent "referendums", he spends most of his speech discussing the West. His primary complaint isn't NATO expansion, which gets only a cursory mention. The West is greedy and seeks to enslave and colonise other nations, like Russia.

The West uses the power of finance and technology to enforce its will on other nations. To collect what he calls the "hegemon's tax". To this end the West destabilises countries, creates terrorist enclaves and most of all seeks to deprive other countries of sovereignty.

It is this "avarice" and desire to preserve its power that is the reason for the "hybrid war" the collective West is "waging on Russia". They want us to be a "colony". They do not want us to be free, they want Russians to be a mob of soulless slaves - direct quote.

The rules-based order the West goes on about is "nonsense". Who made these rules? Who agreed to them? Russia is an ancient country and civilization and we will not play by these "rigged" rules. The West has no moral authority to challenge the referendums because it has violated the borders of other countries. Western elites are "totalitarian, despotic and apartheidistic" - direct quote. They are racist against Russia and other countries and nations. "Russophobia is racism". They discriminate by calling themselves the "civilised world".

They colonised, started the global slave trade, genocided native Americans, pillaged India and Africa, forced China to buy opium through war. We, on the other hand, are proud that we "led" the anti-colonial movement that helped countries develop to reduce poverty and inequality.

They are Russophobic (they hate us) because we didn't allow our country to be pillaged by creating a strong CENTRALISED (emphasis his) state based on Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism. They have been trying to destabilise our country since the 17th century in the Times of Trouble. Eventually, they managed to "get their hands on our riches" at the end of the 20th century. They called us friends and partners while pumping out trillions of dollars (his irony game is strong today).

We remember this. We didn't forget. The West claims to bring freedom and democracy to other countries but it's the exact opposite of the truth. The unipolar world is anti-democratic by its very nature. It is a lie. They used nuclear weapons, creating a precedent. They flattened German cities without "any military need to do so". There was no need for this except to scare us and the rest of the world. Korea, Vietnam. To this day they "occupy" Japan, South Korea and Germany and other countries while cynically calling them "allies".

The West has surveillance over the leaders of these nations who "swallow these insults like the slaves they are".

He then talks about bioweapon research (haven't heard about them for a while) and human experiments "including in Ukraine".

The US rules the world by the power of the fist. Any country which seeks to challenge Western hegemony becomes an enemy. Their neocolonialism is cloaked in lies like "containment" of Russia, China and Iran. The concept of truth has been destroyed with fakes and extreme propaganda (irony game still strong).

You cannot feed your people with printed dollars and social media. You need food and energy. But Western elites have no desire to find a solution to the food and energy crises *they* (emphasis his) created.

They solved the problems at the start of 20c with WW1 and the US established dominance of the world via the dollar as a result of WW2. In the 80s they had another crisis they solved by "plundering our country". Now they want to solve their problems by "breaking Russia".

Russia "understands its responsibility to the international community" and will "do everything to cool the heads of these neocolonials who are destined to fail".

They're crazy. I want to speak to all Russian citizens, do we want to replace mum and dad with parent 1 and 2?

They invented genders and claim you can "transition". Do we want this for our children?

We have a different vision.

They have abandoned religion and embraced Satanism - direct quote.

The world is going through a revolutionary transformation. A multipolar world offers nations freedom to develop as they wish and they make up the majority of the world.

We have many like-minded friends in Western countries. We see and appreciate their support. They are forming liberation, anti-colonial movements as we speak - direct quote. These will only grow.

We are fighting for a fair world for our country. The idea of exceptionalism is criminal and we must turn this shameful page. The breaking of the West's hegemony is INEVITABLE (emphasis his).

There is no going back. We are fighting for our "great (as in big), historic Russia". Our values are (irony game crescendo): love of our fellow man, compassion and mercy.

Truth is with us, Russia is with us.

That's the end of the speech. As I said from day 1, the purpose of what Putin is doing in Ukraine is to throw the West off its pedestal. This isn't about NATO or Ukraine, this is the big play to replace the current world order.

when aggression with conventional weapons greatly endangers Russia's existence

Putin could interpret an attack on its newly annexed territories as "greatly endangering Russia's existence". He seems to be generating rhetoric in that direction.

Russia's state faces an existential threat.

The implication is that attacks on the territories it is annexing are interpretable as an existential threat.

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