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Polling Thread January 2016

I got 44. Six faces is too much.

Stupid Questions, December 2015

It is hard to tell in advance what is important. Quite a few innovations that were promised to change everything turned out to have much more limited value.

Within a decade we should know a lot about the genetic basis of intelligence

I don't see any reason for it. So far, all knowledge in this area is just correlation between some genes and IQ, with no understanding how it works. Judging from history of other technologies, with such theoretical base any major improvements take centuries of trial and error.

Open thread, Nov. 16 - Nov. 22, 2015

I don't think it is reasonable to portray Paleolithic tribe as dictatorship. When the best weapon is pointed stick, and every man is has skill to use it, minority simply can't rule by force.

Open thread, Nov. 16 - Nov. 22, 2015

If we define "progress" as "less slavery, less torture, more freedom" as in top comment, then yes it went in reverse.

Open thread, Nov. 16 - Nov. 22, 2015

Whether there is "universal progess" in described sense depends on which start and end points do we choose. If take say from Middle Ages to today, then there is. If from Paleolithic to the height of Roman Empire, then trends would be exactly opposite, a march from freedom to slavery. So growth of per capita wealth can coexist with different directions of moral change.

LINK: An example of the Pink Flamingo, the obvious-yet-overlooked cousin of the Black Swan

First, it is not. Idea that this Cold War doctrine was suicidal (for the Europeans) madness is rather popular, I think more than the opposite.

Second, given that exactly zero states were attacked by US for trying to make nukes, I wouldn't call this the most important reason. As for third-world politicians, they adopt the first-word attitude to nukes as thing you can only threaten with but can't really use.

LINK: An example of the Pink Flamingo, the obvious-yet-overlooked cousin of the Black Swan

The article makes a good point: USA can lose very much in case of such war. If the world sees that nukes can destroy enemy army without turning whole country into a blasted radioctive wasteland like scaremongers say, then non-proliferation is a lost cause and US military might suddenly turns into a heap of useless expensive toys.

Open thread, Aug. 17 - Aug. 23, 2015

If interstellar travel (and astroengeneering) is impossible, that is enough to explain Great Filter without additional assumptions.

A map: Typology of human extinction risks

First, this map mixes two different things: human extinction and collapse of civilization. It has a lot of risks that cannot cause the former such as resource depletion, and has things like "disjunction" box that I would call not a risk but a desirable future.

Second, it mixes x-risks with things that sound bad. Facsism in not a x-risk.

Third, it lacks such category as voluntary extinction.

SSC Discussion: No Time Like The Present For AI Safety Work

I don't think that so high estimate for first statement is reasonable.

Also, link now leads to bicameral reasoning article.

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