James_Miller

James_Miller's Comments

My new rationality/futurism podcast

My economics department is hiring a macroeconomist this year. A huge number of applicants are submitting statements of teaching and diversity in which they describe how if hired they will promote diversity in their teaching.

My new rationality/futurism podcast

As the left have taken over most colleges, I think that only thing that could stop them would be if colleges faced tremendous economic pressure because, say, online education or drastic cuts in government funds threatened the financial position of the colleges and they were forced to become more customer oriented, more oriented to producing scientific gains or to enhancing the future income of their students. Right now, elite colleges especially are in a very comfortable financial position and so face no pressure to take actions their leaders would consider distasteful which would include becoming more open to non-leftist views. I haven't written on this.

I agree with you on x-risks. I think one of our best paths to avoiding them would be to use genetic engineering to create very smart and moral people, but most of academia hates the possibility that genes could have anything to do with intelligence or morality.

My new rationality/futurism podcast

I was initially denied tenure but appealed claiming that two members of my department voted against me for political reasons. My college's five person Grievance Committee unanimously ruled in my favor and I came up for tenure again and that time was granted it. I wrote about it here: https://www.forbes.com/forbes/2004/0607/054.html#d70ce6c6e9f1

Yes, in many fields you could hide your politically incorrect beliefs and not be harmed by them so long as you can include a statement in your tenure file of how you will work to increase diversity as defined by leftists.

I think it is getting worse in that people who have openly politically incorrect beliefs are now being considered racist. I don't see the trend reversing unless the economics of higher education change.

My new rationality/futurism podcast

Most academics don't take politically incorrect positions. If you don't have tenure doing so would be very dangerous. If you do, it could make it much harder to move to a higher ranked school, but it is very difficult to fire tenured professors for speech. One way to move up in academics is to take staff positions as a dean, provost, or college president. Taking politically incorrect positions likely completely forecloses this path.

When would an agent do something different as a result of believing the many worlds theory?

Assume you put enormous weight on avoiding being tortured and you recognize that signing up for cryonics results in some (very tiny) chance that you will be revived in an evil world that will torture you and this, absent many worlds, causes you to not sign up for cryonics. There is an argument that in many worlds there will be versions of you that are going to be tortured so your goal should be to reduce the percentage of these versions that get tortured. Signing up for cryonics in this world means you are vastly more likely to be revived and not tortured than revived and tortured and signing up for cryonics will thus likely lower percentage of you across the multiverse who are tortured. Signing up for cryonics in this world reduces the importance of versions of you trapped in worlds where the Nazis won and are torturing you.

What's your big idea?

While you might be right, it's also possible that von Neumann doesn't have a contemporary peer. Apparently top scientists who knew von Neumann considered von Neumann to be smarter than the other scientists they knew.

What's your big idea?

Yes, I am referring to "IQ" not g because most people do not know what g is. (For other readers ,IQ is the measurement, g is the real thing.) I have looked into IQ research a lot and spoken to a few experts. While genetics likely doesn't play much of a role in the Flynn effect, it plays a huge role in g and IQ. This is established beyond any reasonable doubt. IQ is a very politically sensitive topic and people are not always honest about it. Indeed, some experts admit to other experts that they lie about IQ when discussing IQ in public (Source: my friend and podcasting partner Greg Cochran. The podcast is Future Strategist.). We don't know if the Flynn effect is real, it might just come from measurement errors arising from people becoming more familiar with IQ-like tests, although it also could reflect real gains in g that are being captured by higher IQ scores. There is no good evidence that education raises g. The literature on IQ is so massive, and so poisoned by political correctness (and some would claim racism) that it is not possible to resolve the issues you raise by citing literature. If you ask IQ experts why they disagree with other IQ experts they will say that the other experts are idiots/liars/racists/cowards. I interviewed a lot of IQ experts when writing my book Singularity Rising.

What's your big idea?

Most likely von Neumann had a combination of (1) lots of additive genes that increased intelligence, (2) few additive genes that reduced intelligence, (3) low mutational load, (4) a rare combination of non-additive genes that increased intelligence (meaning genes with non-linear effects) and (5) lucky brain development. A clone would have the advantages of (1)-(4). While it might in theory be possible to raise IQ by creating the proper learning environment, we have no evidence of having done this so it seems unlikely that this was the cause of von Neumann having high intelligence.

What's your big idea?

We should make thousands of clones of John von Neumann from his DNA. We don't have the technology to do this yet, but the upside benefit would be so huge it would be worth spending a few billion to develop the technology. A big limitation on the historical John von Neumann's productivity was not being able to interact with people of his own capacity. There would be regression to the mean with the clones' IQ, but the clones would have better health care and education than the historical von Neumann did plus the Flynn effect might come into play.

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