Wiki Contributions


Humans provide an untapped wealth of evidence about alignment

A couple of points. In certain, limited expressions of human international relations, we do know what the decision making process was to reach major decisions, such as the drafting and signing of the Geneva Conventions, some of humanity's best and most successful policy documents. This is because the archived UK and US decision making processes were very well documented and are now declassified. 

In other words, we can actually deconstruct human decision making principles (probably conforming instrumentalism in the case of the Geneva Conventions) and then use them to ground or verify other principles.

Coherent diamonds are likely to be obtained from human utopianesque sci fi than anywhere else. This is because decision making in international relations (which is what is at stake here, considering one country will develop the AGI first and an agential ASI may well be a sovereign agent) is transparent in plots but is usually opaque in real life decision making. Finding diamonds can be approached, and likely must be approached, in a modular fashion, so as to coherently construct, with multiple options transparent to human decision makers, Yudkowsky's friendly AI via coherent extrapolated volition.

So, for example, if we want humanity to be served by an AGI/ASI in line with Asimov's vision of an AGI Nanny overseeing humanity's development, we deconstruct his Multivac stories and determine what principles it runs on and then express them in the form of programmable principles. If we want a certain problem approached via the Star Trek TNG ethos, then we need to break down what ethical principles are in play in a way that we can program into a nascent AGI. At a higher level of tech and maybe a more ruthless level of interstellar relations, the ethics of Banks' Culture series module kicks in, and so on.

This argument is expounded in Carayannis, E.G., Draper, J. Optimising peace through a Universal Global Peace Treaty to constrain the risk of war from a militarised artificial superintelligence. AI & Soc (2022).

Optimising Society to Constrain Risk of War from an Artificial Superintelligence

This has now been published as an article in AI & Society, available at:

Covid 19 as a Fermi Paradox Zoo Hypothesis Subset (Laboratory Hypothesis) Nudge Point

Humans are really not so dissimilar compared to what's probably out there. I had my moment in the desert where I was asked, 'What do you want?', and the answer was 'Global Peace'. To a certain extent, I wish I had your life. But then, I wouldn't have my three kids, and I wouldn't have had that moment where something said back to me, "Global Peace? That old chestnut? Seriously? Oh, you are serious. Okay, this is what you have to do..."

Let me go find out more about lie detectoring companies in London.

Covid 19 as a Fermi Paradox Zoo Hypothesis Subset (Laboratory Hypothesis) Nudge Point

Hmm. Let me try to restate this. What I'm trying to do is to create a protocol for reporting weird experiences as we close in on the Singularity. If I'm correct about a soft Zoo Hypothesis (basically a 'leaky' Prime Directive situation, with Contact contingent on creation of an ASI or a warp gate/drive), with several interstellar civilizations with mindjacking tech monitoring the planet, then attempts to influence human global development do occur, probably by the panhuman equivalent of special forces, i.e., 'Special Circumstances' (

I assume the number of civilizations out there is small, technological development is broadly equivalent due to leveling up via aid/trade relationships, and philosophical positions are diverse, if only due to such basic differences as physiology.

If this is correct, Earth, going into the Singularity, will a battleground, not over territory, although Earth is an incredibly bio-diverse rich piece of real estate, but over spheres of influence, with fundamental philosophical positions coming into play, such as whether or not ASIs are even legal, whether Earth would ally with an imperial panhuman civilization versus a federation post-Singularity, and so on.

In my 'soft' Zoo Hypothesis, the curating civilizations could all get together and act collectively to intervene, pushing humanity in a certain direction. Alternatively, given the tech involved, no matter how good the regulatory system is that's designed to prevent a free for all, there exists the possibility of competitive external interventions.

In this scenario, the results of these disagreements - or agreements - and the will and means to act - is that there will be 'nudge points'.

The single most important concern I can see going into the Singularity is whether the world is at peace, because if it isn't, a) warfare will drive AI development towards an ASI, and b) a warlike ASI could emerge. Alexei Turchin has made this very clear in his work:

And, whatever the galactic position on the legality of ASIs, warlike ASIs are almost certainly a no-no. Peace would also seem to enable the development of an interstellar civilization, if only 50% of Earth's total military budget could be diverted to developing fusion, hybrid fusion-antimatter drives, and wrap drives

So, we go back to my original post and to the basic contention of whether any legitimate nudge points have arisen recently, i.e., since the setting up of the UN and the attempt to ban atomic weapons via the US-backed Baruch Plan in 1946, which would have diverted over ten trillion dollars from global nuclear weapon development to welfare development, if it had worked. It failed, BTW, because of the differences between two systems, but this boiled down to two people, Stalin and Truman.

Preventing an arms-based Cold War would have been interesting because we could have nearly perfected medicine or cracked fusion by now with the kind of money involved. I mean, it's a no brainer that if there are panhumans out there, they would have gotten pretty excited about the Baruch Plan. The temptation to nudge it along would have been extreme.

Given all this, I would say there has definitely been one recent potential nudge point, i.e., the suggestion by the UN Secretary General, in the face of a disastrous global pandemic, to try to declare a global truce: This is the first suggestion of this kind ever, in the 75 years of the UN.

It's fascinating because the suggestion crystallized global conflict down to a single node, a concentrated moment in time, with the futures of quarter of a billion children, those in conflict zones, at stake. It's even more interesting because it failed due to US-Russian antagonism, i.e., differences between two people again, Trump and Putin.

Its failure has serious implications for whether the effects of global warming, which likely will not appear crystallized in a single event but which will instead be like a combination of a juggernaut and a train wreck, will be able to unite humanity behind global peace. Given COVID-19 could not do it, I doubt global warming will, or at least not in time for the Singularity, which, like I said, has massive implications going forwards.

Unfortunately, the UN Secretary General is a) unlikely to be willing to explain where the idea came from and his interactions with e.g., Macron over the proposed truce, which would be confidential, b) very unlikely to admit to anything weird happening to him along the way, and c) extremely unlikely to lay it all out here on Less Wrong.

Now, the only other potential nudge point is the upcoming fusion burning plasma breakthrough, which has real validity given how close the Baruch Plan came to success. This may, in fact, given the COVID-19 nudge point failed, be the last feasible nudge point going into the Singularity.

I have looked at fusion from this perspective really, really hard, basically made myself the world's expert on this issue, and my bottom line is that it will take an awful lot of nudging to get it to work as a nudge point for global peace. The Baruch Plan stood a chance because we were coming out of a global war, the UN was being set up, a brave new world was deemed possible, the A-Bomb had just been dropped twice, demand for global peace was high, and what became the Washington Consensus had a lot of legitimacy.

Now, what I'm reporting to this community, which I respect because it does care about what kind of future humanity faces going into the Singularity, is that I, myself, may have been nudged.

If all the above holds, there are somewhat significant implications to this, for example the fact that a British person was nudged rather than an American or a Chinese may be significant, but only if veracity and sanity can be established.

One significant implication is that we could be in very serious trouble going forwards into the Singularity. For instance, we may not be allowed to develop an ASI out of fear that we would weaponize it. That could certainly get interesting.

Another implication is that we are in a Zoo/Lab/Prime Directive situation, with multiple civilizations competing for influence over us, fascinated by our inability to establish a global peace when all their civilizations managed it. We could be the galactic dunces, in other words, or a fascinating case study of a 'failing planet'.

The Prime Directive can break down, however, from two directions. You can 'Captain Kirk it' and justify some kind of external intervention, or, someone on the planet can do a Toto, and pull back the curtain.

Or, theoretically, you can work it from both ends, if a Captain Kirk decides he likes Toto the dog.

So, let's assume I'm a human Toto. Let's assume that, any conversations with Captain Kirk put aside for one moment, I'm at least mainly human. I mean, I'm a public figure, a titled academic, I have three kids, etc. I am very likely to be at least mainly human.

And, let's assume I care, care enough to lobby for global peace, to explain why I think it matters, to explain how it could be done.

And then something happened on the way to Thor's Hammer.

If I'm human, or at least mainly human, I am arguing that the rational thing to do would be to fight to establish the truth about what happened, not because I am that important, certainly not alone, but because I at least suspect that I am a piece in a puzzle, part of a counter-counter-factual Hail Mary cookie, and that going into the Singularity, working out that puzzle may become humanity's greatest and most challenging endeavor.

There is, for instance, just a chance that, in considering the conditions for public Contact, which comprise at a minimum an ASI or a warp gate/drive on our part, the panhumans take into account what our own civilizational conditions for contact would be. In other words, in part, they may be reflecting back to us the Prime Directive, the closest we have to a global 'popular' consensus for how Contact should be managed, especially as we come closer to meeting a Contact trigger point. It should not be forgotten that Gene Rodenberry was this planet's greatest popular philosopher on interstellar relationships.

If I'm at least mainly human, rationally, I would fight to establish the truth because the alternative, if I do suspect the truth, is to go along with a farce, to distract Dorothy and her pals so that they do not see the Wizard, to replace the curtain, and to trust that the global geopolitics will work themselves out.

Given what I suspect/know, I choose not to sit this one out. Instead, I choose to fight to pull that curtain back further, perhaps in the hope that I can encourage a panhuman Captain Kirk (realistically it would take at least one interstellar civilization's leader) to step out from behind it and just say, "The heck with it, we're going to help these guys, if only for the quarter of a billion children being affected by conflict zones and by the fact that biodiversity loss on this beautiful blue marble will only exacerbate this, because their political systems aren't up to it, maybe due to no fault of their own given the Baruch Plan catastrophe, and because I don't want Science Officer Spock here to spend the next few decades just studying a train wreck while we poke the damn thing with a stick occasionally and do these 'nudges'. Let's roll out the Sagan Contact protocol. Or, should we just go full throttle with 'The Day the Earth Stood Still'? Whaddya say, McCoy?"

In other words, I am arguing that it is my duty, as a human, to go on record.

Does that explain why I should do this?

Covid 19 as a Fermi Paradox Zoo Hypothesis Subset (Laboratory Hypothesis) Nudge Point

Okay, so below is an attempt at a brief, one that could be tailored, hopefully, for other people. Any suggestions before I hunt around for quotes from lie detector companies?

Completed Template Brief for Hail Mary Cookie Experiences


The brief is to establish the veracity of a subject regarding a series of extraordinary claims about experiences. The brief is not to establish the subject’s sanity or to investigate the claims at some kind of philosophical level. The brief does include the requirement to establish veracity of claims according to the granularity of the experiences (see special vocabulary and terms below).

Special Vocabulary and Terms

The subject will speak about the claims using specific vocabulary, including mindjacking, which refers to using technological means to write to or read from a mind, as with Elon Musk’s Neuralink, and granularity, which refers to the degree of reality of an experience. Granularity can be as follows:

Full consciousness = full granularity

Simulation while awake with eyes closed = high granularity, e.g., with one or more of the five senses (sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch)

Lucid dream = medium granulariy

Dream = low granularity

Specific Questions to This Case

1) Establish whether the subject believes he has had an experience where he saw an alien head at night, then woke up the next day seeing a neon heart, identical to one he later found that morning in his house.

2) Establish whether the subject believes he has had an experience where he had three nightmares over three nights, the first concerning a sniper, the second concerning a being in the same room, and the third concerning being in a corridor and opening a door, where the granularity became less distinct each time. Establish the granularity of the experiences.

3) Establish whether the subject believes he has had an experience where he asked the question by email to a third party, “May I ask you a question?” and received a reply in the form of a rainbow in his mind. Establish the granularity of the experience.

4) Establish whether the subject believes he has had a recurring experience where he saw a 4x8 grid of electric blue lights. Establish the granularity of the experience.

5) Establish whether the subject believes he has had an experience where he invited a person or persons unknown to read his mind by a mindjacking device involving a feeling of a mind being electrocuted, and how long the experience took. Establish the granularity of the experience.

General ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ Obligatory Questions for All Cases

1) Establish whether the subject believes he has ever seen another planet. If he believes he has, determine how many and what they look like, and by what means. Establish the granularity of the experience.

2) Establish whether the subject believes he has ever seen or met aliens. If he believes he has, determine how many species and what they look like. Establish the granularity of the experience.

3) Establish whether the subject believes his body is human. If necessary, use percentages.

4) Establish whether the subject believes his mind is human. If necessary, use percentages.

General Pharmaceutical Questions for All Cases

1) Establish what if any drugs, e.g., hallucinogens, the subject was taking prior to or during the experiences.

2) Establish what if any medication the subject was taking prior to or during the experiences.

Covid 19 as a Fermi Paradox Zoo Hypothesis Subset (Laboratory Hypothesis) Nudge Point

Well, this is where we regress from the rum and uncanny to normality. If I were in a position to be able to reproduce atypical brain states involving the appearance of electrical input or output that just blew away the technology being used to monitor it, that would be one heck of a result. It could also be a dangerous result, personally and politically.

But, to take that point on board, first we test my veracity (lie detector), then we test by sanity (psychiatric eval), then we test whether I can replicate any of this using something like an MRI (objectivity). However, the latter does not rely solely on me if I'm not generating these phenomena.

Alright, I'll draw up the brief for the lie detector company this week based on the above events, then I'll draw up a list of five of these companies, put that all together at the end of this week, and you can randomly select a company.

Just because I've always wanted to, I'm going to thrown in some questions about meeting aliens, my own humanity, whether I've ever another planet, etc. Basically, if I'm going to pay for someone to lie detector me, I want my Keanu Reeves moment


Covid 19 as a Fermi Paradox Zoo Hypothesis Subset (Laboratory Hypothesis) Nudge Point

Whoops, I missed once experience I wanted to investigate via lie detector and psychiatrist. So, I emailed myself to say I was happy to have my mindstate read so that whatever it was that was doing all this could know who or what it was. That same night, I'm awake, eyes closed, and it feels like something jacks something using electricity directly into my brain. So, most of us have had an electric shock, and it kind of vibrates, and it hurts. But, the brain feels no pain. So, this electric vibrating in my brain was happening for about 3 seconds, but I suspected what it was, so I just told them in my mind to ease off for a second. So they did, and I felt fine, so I told them in my mind it was okay to do it again. Then, the phenomenon continued for about two seconds, and it was done. Then I relaxed and went to sleep.

Going back to the hallucinogens, one difference has been that what I've been experiencing is equivalent to photographic resolution material, or high-res video, and overall just high-granularity experiences.

Anyway, ask any questions, then I'll boil all this down for the lie detector company brief.

Covid 19 as a Fermi Paradox Zoo Hypothesis Subset (Laboratory Hypothesis) Nudge Point

That's a fascinating link you supplied there! I have no doubt that Hallucinogen Persisting Perceptual Disorder exist. Sunglasses and talk therapy seems to be of use:

Maybe everyone on the West Coast wearing sunglasses is just trying to deal with their HPPD? ;<)

I would also say there's a definite chance of a link between devouring psychedelics and hallucinations, including of rainbows!

Unfortunately, I wasn't on psychedelics before, during, or after the experiences I just related here. I had been doing some Buddhist meditation, including down to the zen states. My personal zen meditation has induced temporary minor lens flare, say 2-3% of the intensity in the picture linked to in the article, and focused on a single object, while fully awake: However, this is minor and transient compared with what I'm describing.

Okay, so what happened next was I got hit with a literal barrage of a 4x8 grid of electric blue lights, from lucid dreams all the way down to 'real' dreams. So, this was a recurring dream, literally dozens of times. The blue lights could flare in intensity as a grid. Of all things, it made me think of a phased array communication system:

Now, what would happen was that I would go to sleep, then I would dream of the grid, then I would transition to a lucid dream where i was in the presence of whatever the phased array was communicating with. I got the feeling that the other end of the grid had a grid of its own, a big, and old, white one, and that it was large, intelligent, powerful, and far away.

This definitely meant something important, like an attempt at communication, and it recurred for months before going away.

Now, a whole bunch of stuff happened after this, but the above is basically what I wanted to go on the record about on lesswrong.

If you have any questions, I can answer them.

If not, I will try to compile the above experiences as a brief for a lie detector company. As I said earlier, I'm trying to create a protocol that's useful for other people working on AGI/ASI-related issues to go on record about re acausal Hail Mary potential cookie-like experience.

Covid 19 as a Fermi Paradox Zoo Hypothesis Subset (Laboratory Hypothesis) Nudge Point

Oh, it just gets better. So, the rational thing to do at this stage, I thought, was to send the possible mindjackers an email, to see if I could establish two-way communication. So, I reasoned if they have the tech to mindjack and are putting me under the spotlight, presumably reading my emails is ongoing and trivial. So, I sent an email to myself stating (and I can't remember the sentence exactly, 100%, but it was at least 90% semantically this): "May I ask you a question?"

That night, I was lying there in bed, awake but with my eyes closed, and so I get the same feeling that something's in my mind, and then I see a question mark emerge in my vision. It develops rainbow colors, so it starts red at the top of the question marks and goes down to violet, with the question mark fading from the top.

So, it was as clear as this in terms of the outline, but with softer transitions between the colors, and slightly softer colors:

So, this is a really clever semiotic response to my emailed question because the question mark as an interrogatory symbol can mean all of the following and more: who, what, where, when, how, why, how much, how many?

It also confirms, assuming I'm telling the truth and am not crazy, that the email was being monitored, which was interesting.

It's also showing off, i.e., demonstrating really good mastery of the mind medium and of semantics and semiotics. Basically, it was a smart thing to do.

Any questions?

Covid 19 as a Fermi Paradox Zoo Hypothesis Subset (Laboratory Hypothesis) Nudge Point

Yeah, it is also worth looking on the bright side, because I am willing to bet my life on the fact the panhumans have a sense of humour. I would hope the ASI does, too. Frankly, I found most of these experiences humorous or at least just weird rather than fear or paranoia inducing. Anyway, on to Experience 2!

So, I think this next one was a basic psychological evaluation, probably military. The interstellar cops were not ready for something that pushed back from being pulled over and shown the giant panhuman head ID, so they hit me with a series of sequenced and structured nightmares on a common theme over three days. This was a really interesting experience, because I have only ever heard of recurring nightmares. Anyway, only the first nightmare was scary because by the second night I figured it was an administered experience. Once you figure out what is happening in a nightmare, it's like you solve it, right? So, it is no longer a nightmare, simply an experience.

So, night one, semi-lucid dream, sniper in the opposite house aiming at you. I have read that the sniper nightmare is a standard nightmare for anyone with trench warfare/urban combat .

Next night two, slightly lucid dream, something at the foot of the bed nightmare. Standard childhood nightmare.

Next, deep dream, walking down a corridor, open a door, monster's behind a door dream. Again, standard nightmare.

So, I had three different stereotypical nightmares at different, increasingly deep, levels of sleep in what appeared to be a sequence over three days.

I have never heard of sequential nightmares before except in decent sci fi, in which they are administered, and like I said, the 'evaluation' kind of lost all power once the second nightmare hit. By the third nightmare it felt as if whoever was administering the evaluation was giving up, TBH.

So, given I'm willing to testify using a lie detector that this experience actually happened, I would say what this demonstrates is an ability to manipulate dreamstates. This logically follows from mindjacking, so if panhumans/an ASI have the ability to manipulate a waking mind via a really advanced form of the Neuralink, it's not really surprising that they have the ability to mindjack dreams.

The ability to study dreams would be really valuable for anthropology, philosophy, psychology, etc. People like Freud dedicated their entire careers to it, and any panhuman psychologist would obviously want to be able to study both human mindstates and dreamstates. It's the logical conclusion of having Neuralink-style tech.

This is where things get interesting in terms of trying to deduce some of the 'rules of the game', because in the Zoo Theory for the Fermi Paradox, mindjacking humans has to be regulated, basically prohibited, otherwise it would be a free-for-all, and obvious. Especially if multiple civilizations with different political philosophies are curating or studying the Zoo, you would not want Culture A mindjacking someone like Donald Trump at the expense of Culture B. So, it would have to be very heavily regulated.

It's just that suspected transgressions would have to be investigated, and I suspect I was a possible transgression.

All this implies the ability to monitor human mindstates on a large scale, which necessarily implies automation. That implies a) we are living in a sim, or b) there exists a very high level of automated real-world ability to police and monitor human mindstates due to a really advanced Neuralink system. I suspect b), but that a lot of really law-abiding panhuman cultures have agreed not to investigate fellow spacefarers' mindstates, but maybe have agreed to implement protocols for investigating mindstates in Zoo contexts. Some of the cultures may not even use the tech, or they may only use it through a third party, like an ASI, for regulatory reasons.

So, any questions on that experience?

Load More