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From what I've read of the source writings within the contemplative traditions, modern neuroscience studies and theories on meditation, and my own experiences and thoughts on the subject as well, I've come to view the practice of meditation as serving 3 different but interconnected purposes: 1.) ego...(read more)

Wanted to add the insights of Neil Gershenfeld which I think is how we should frame these problems: >We've already had a digital revolution; we don't need to keep having it. The next big thing in computers will be literally outside the box, as we bring the programmability of the digital world to t...(read more)

Surprised no one has mentioned anything involving sustainable/clean tech (energy, food, water, materials). This site does stress existential threats, and I'd think that, given many (most?) societal collapses in the past were precipitated, at least partly, by resource collapse, I'd want to concentra...(read more)

Ok, so we can with confidence say that humans and other organisms with developed neural systems experience the world subjectively, maybe not exactly in similar ways, but conscious experience seems likely for these systems unless you are a radical skeptic or solipsist. Based on our current physical ...(read more)

To summarize (mostly for my sake so I know I haven't misunderstood the OP):

* 1.) Subjective conscious experience or qualia play a non-negligible role in how we behave and how we form our beliefs, especially of the mushy (technical term) variety that ethical reasoning is so bound up in. * 2.) The ...(read more)

We have evolved moral intuitions such as empathy and compassion that underly what we consider to be right or wrong. These intuitions only work because we consciously internalize another agent's subjective experience and identify with it. In other words, without the various quales that we experienc...(read more)

"How an algorithm feels from inside" discusses a particular quale, that of the intuitive feeling of holding a correct answer from inside the cognizing agent. It does not touch upon what types of physically realizable systems can have qualia.

>"If everything real is made of physics, you still must either explain how certain patterns of neuronal excitations are actually green, or you must assert that nothing is actually green at any level of reality."

This is a 'why' question, not a 'how' question, and though some 'why' questions may not...(read more)

In my opinion, the most relevant article was from Drew McDermott, and I'm surprised that such an emphasis on analyzing the computational complexity of approaches to 'friendliness' and self-improving AI has not been more common. For that matter, I think computational complexity has more to tell us a...(read more)