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[Paper] The Global Catastrophic Risks of the Possibility of Finding Alien AI During SETI

Just out of curiosity: How probable do you think any SETI-contact will turn out to be AI-initiated as opposed to biological (in the broadest possible sense of that word)?

The comment inside the google docs was made by me, I was not trolling you on purpose I thought your writing was literally a test for me and I had little time to spare at the time. Most importantly, I simply couldn't figure out how to remove things once they were written. If you are not too spooked I'd like to retry reading it. No comments inside the google docs this time, I will just leave feedback right here if you want to.

The Benefits of Rationality?

What if it actually doesn't and their craft are really only limited by how fast their typical UFO-discs can spin without killing the crew inside (apparently they are spongelike inside) since unlike us they already know how to create anti-gravity to pull their ships forward? In that case the reason we are not dead yet is because they needed to figure out how to construct fast enough motherships capable of a full-scale earth invasion after we apparently killed most of their messengers. In that case our strategy should be to pool resources into defending the earth against an alien invasion and make it so costly to them that they will instead consider a trade agreement with us, which may at some point be more attractive to them than an all-out war. Trade is the way forward. Of course that is only conjecture, I don't really know if they exist, but assigning literally zero probability to this may be stupid.

A Sarno-Hanson Synthesis

A good example of the proposed mechanism at work can probably be seen in the variety of psychosomatic symptoms experienced and reported by soldiers who fought in the first world war (Often diagnosed as "shell shock", "male hysteria", or "war neurosis"). Symptoms included hysterical blindness, deafness, becoming mute, even paralyzed limbs without any apparent cause were a thing.

Also, the "thousand yard stare" seems to be explainable by a similar mechanism: The module producing conscious experience seemingly "detaches" itself from the body it inhabits in an attempt to distance itself from horrors, which seems to be very similar to depersonalization disorder, which can also be triggered by highly distressing experiences.

List of civilisational inadequacy

Agreed. I would further claim most sellers are not actually aware that they are just selling the representation.

The plain but known and studied "secret" to happiness is to adjust your expectations, refrain from unfavorable social comparisons and keep a gratitude journal or write gratitude letters to people (whether you choose to send them or not), which no ever one does. In my case watching a lot of nature and history documentaries on BBC and being aware on how everyone and everything tends to have a life a lot shittier than me helps keeping track of my relative fortune and put my minor miseries into a stark perspective.

Not being depressed or having some other mental illness helps a lot with happiness too I heard, but we can't reliably help anyone with that.

List of civilisational inadequacy

As someone who worked with online marketing services like google AdWords, facebook ads and search engine optimization, I can absolutely assue you that your statement is not generally true. Advertising is definitely not a terrible waste of resources, but you are right insofar that it CAN be. However, if the basic conditions are right (product and price makes sense, website looks attractive and is easily navigable etc.) ads can be amazing and increase your sales by several 1000%. I've had customers that made a return of roughly 100€ for every 3€ invested (yes, including both the cost-per-click for the ad platform as well as our online marketing service priced at 75€/h. And no, people directly navigating to the URL rather than being led to a specific product or landingpage are not counted either).

In fact, next to the stock market advertising may be one of the few examples of actual civilizational adequacy; I'm especially speaking of the ad platform providers themselves (like google or facebook) who have the resources to optimize the absolute crap out of their ad system. If a company who is doing the online advertising (or providing the platform) is the same that is directly profiting from it, then you have an alignment of incentives and the ability to experiment and continuously improve ads in ways that you can almost perfectly quantify and track - this can be incredibly powerful.

Yes, there are companies who can afford to not advertise their product and specific constellations where it in fact may even save a lot money to not advertise, but consider that those are usually products that are completely unique, have high signaling value and are already known and/or are plainly ten times better than anything else the competition has on the market (e.g. Tesla). But if you basically sell the same thing other people are selling, then I'm afraid there is no other similarly reliable way for you to gain visibility and sales than to simply invest in ads. (And if you think otherwise, then please elaborate).

I can't comment on "old world" things like the efficiency of billboards or TV ads, but barring the odd dolt you can be damn sure that the people making decisions about purchasing that adspace or airtime usually know their way around evaluating numbers and I'd honestly be extremely surprised to learn that they are actually all fools burning their money.

Arbital postmortem

The obvious question is how is it even possible that Wikipedia works at all? If Wikipedia didn't exist in our universe, we would now be tempted walk away from this with a high probability estimate that this concept is simply impossible to pull off due to the various reasons mentioned, yet here we live in a world where Wikipedia is clear evidence to the contrary, and to my knowledge it suffers from many problems you and Qiaochu_Yuan mentioned above. Are we to conclude then, that the sequential nature of the arbital content is the crux here?

As we all know, you can almost always dig up something on what could be considered the most obscure niche topic. So what is the core appeal for the vast number of content creators? Is it simply that Wikipedia is recognized as the internets "centralized encyclopedia" and contributing to it feels so high status that ones total anonymity is not perceived as a huge issue? That would not explain how it got to where it is today, how did Wikipedia bootstrap itself to where it is now?

Dispel your justification-monkey with a “HWA!”

I love the concept, very useful for one's own mental hygene to notice slipping into a justification mindset and I expect if you manage to put it to regular use in social situations, it can really become the equivalent of some oil on the gears of tedious and annoying conversation.

I sometimes have to deal with people who are always late and never ever get anything done on time or as promised, possibly due to procrastination, and their instinct is to justify it because it seems that their entire strategy of getting through life is built around the concept of getting around responsibility by always justifying everything. In fact though, at this point their constant justifications annoy me even more than the fact they they don't get it done on time, which in such cases I already assumed and factored in anyway. For such cases I find I'm already used to cutting their BS shorter with a very close variant of HWA: "Oh well, what's done is done. How do you think we should deal with it?".

The Tallest Pygmy Effect

So basically it's just saying something is "not great but everything else is even worse" in a somewhat ethnically incorrect way? Don't think I'm sold on becoming a frequent user of the phrase; I predict your mileage will vary with "trigger-happy" crowds, scorning the inherent political incorrectness of the term. Also it's not exactly a super complex thought you are trying to compress here, you are saving like five words at the cost of raised eyebrows and bewilderment. IMO not worth it.

Examples of Competent Political Conversation in Contrast to Nerdy Responses

I totally got that part, I'm saying your writing heavily implies the assumption that nerds in general are oblivious to this insight of yours, rather than acting contratian on purpose by semi-conscious calculated choice. I definitely consider myself a member of the nerd spectrum, but I was never blind to these social transactions. If someone talks nonsense that is of the kind that signals group membership there are still many valid reasons to engage in an object-level discussion. I may try to signal to others of the SMART tribe, or even just to that person that I'm not his/her tribe and don't care to belong to it or spend time with any of them. I may try to dominate and ridicule my opponent, or I may try to genuinely engage, because some people can actually be saved from their folly. People sometimes deconvert from their follies and their religions - they never tell it to your face but sometimes you can plant a seed in just the right place and it happens a week later when the cognitive dissonance becomes unbearable.

EDIT: On the upside I should point out though that "How nerdy vs political is this person about this topic?" is not really a bad question to ask oneself before engaging. If you choose to defect by keeping your supposed object-level frame, make sure you are aware of the cost and the potential gains rather than going with your gut.

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