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Viliam's Shortform

Have you tried using Cronometer or a similar nutrition-tracking service to quickly find these relationships? I've found Cronometer in particular to be useful because it displays each nutrient in terms of a percent of the recommended daily value for one's body weight. For example, I can see that a piece of salmon equals over 100% of the recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids for the day, while a handful of sunflower seeds only equals 20% of one's daily value of vitamin E. Therefore, I know that a single piece of fish is probably enough, but that I should probably eat a larger portion of sunflower seeds than I would otherwise.

I suppose a percentage system like this one is just the reciprocal of saying something like "10 eggs contain the recommended daily amount of vitamin D."

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Open & Welcome Thread - December 2020

Browsing social media for a few hours and talking to friends for a few hours will each give me a high that feels about the same, but the high from social media also feels sickening, as though I'm on drugs. Similarly, junk food is often so unhealthy that it is literally sickening.

My assumption was that wireheading would impart both a higher level of pleasure and a greater feeling of sickness than current superstimuli, but now that I have read your perspective, I no longer think that that is a valid assumption. I still would not wirehead myself, but now I understand why you are confused that wireheading is not being pursued much these days.

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Open & Welcome Thread - December 2020

I suspect that even if wireheading not a hard engineering problem, getting regulatory approval would be expensive. Additionally, superstimuli like sugary soft drinks and reddit are already capable of producing strong positive feelings inexpensively. For these reasons, I wonder how profitable it would be to research and commercialize wireheading technologies.

For what it's worth, though, Neuralink seems to have made quite a bit of progress towards a similar goal of enabling amputees to control prosthetics mentally. Perhaps work by Neuralink and its competitors will lead to more work on actual wireheading in the future.

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The institution of email

What about a norm that emails should only require one reply, and almost never end up as long email chains? I think most emails that I receive are parts of long threads, such as threads to schedule a date and time for a meeting, or threads to discuss technical information. Shortening those threads by being more direct or switching the conversation to a better medium (like a call) seems like a worthwhile goal.

Cal Newport calls this a process-centric approach, in which one spends time up front writing emails and replies that do not require much or any follow-up. For example, instead of discussing a complex idea over email, Newport would argue that one should just schedule a call. Likewise, Newport has a template that allows for meetings to get scheduled with just two replies (shown in the linked source). Newport argues that although this approach reduces the number of times one must check one's inbox per day, it does not reduce the total time spent reading and writing emails. However, I suspect that if both the sender and receiver held this approach as a norm, the total time spent on email might decrease, because one would receive emails that are already easy to resolve.

It seems like this approach could be a norm that could plausibly spread because it confers a clear benefit but only requires one to write emails a bit differently. If enough people adopt it, the number of emails sent and received would decrease. In contrast, strategies like charging people to send one emails or not responding to emails by default seem tenable only for those who work independently of any typical employer, so they are unlikely to spread.

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What technologies could cause world GDP doubling times to be <8 years?

Following this logic, couldn't a government just drive GDP growth by paying people to have more children? 

Right now, it seems that one can get a $1000 tax credit per child under the age of 17 in the US. The GDP per capita in the US is about $65,000. Therefore, it seems that there is lots of room to increase GDP by paying even more per child. 

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Toward A Culture of Persuasion

Personally, the reason I find "persuasion" somewhat off-putting is that I don't want to be persuaded unless I end up with a more accurate or beneficial perspective than before. That said, if two open-minded people are not sure whose perspective is better, I think that there is a place for a non-combative discussion in which arguments are weighed against each other. I'm not sure what word describes that situation better than "discussion," though.

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Toward A Culture of Persuasion

Why do you think that persuasive capacity is pretty limited these days? 

In your example of overcoming vaccine hesitancy, it seems to me that the problem is actually that the anti-vaxxers are remarkably persuasive, considering the lack of evidence available. Likewise, most people I know tend to become quickly persuaded of the efficacy of new policy ideas introduced by politicians of their preferred political orientation, regardless of how feasible or effective these ideas may be. 

I'm assuming that it is easier to be persuaded by people with whom one already agrees with than by people with whom one does not, meaning that people rarely switch between polar opposite opinions, but do still have their minds changed frequently. Do you see things differently, though?

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