Historical Examples of Opposition to Technological Progress

This feels related to Hanson's recent article:

Which mentions that the greatest threat to successor ages are preceding ages that don't like the prospect of 'alienation'.

Some of the arguments mentioned here against technology point in that same direction.

Mathisco's Shortform

I'm not sure I follow. Whether it's the evolving configuration of atoms or bits, both can lead to new applications. The main difference to me seems that today it is typically harder to configure atoms than bits, but perhaps that's just by our own design of the atoms underlying the bits? If some desired information system would require a specific atomic configuration, then you'd be hardware constrained again.

Let's say that in order to build AGI we find out you actually need super power efficient computronium, and silicon can't do that, you need carbon. Now it's no longer a solved hardware problem, you are going to have to invest massively in carbon based computing. Paul and the rationalists are stuck waiting for the hardware engineers.

Mathisco's Shortform

I once read a comment somewhere that Paul Graham is not a rationalist, though he does share some traits, like writing a lot of self-improvement advice. From what I can tell Paul himself considers himself a builder; a builder of code and companies. But there is some overlap with rationalists, Paul Graham mostly builds information systems. (He is somewhat disdainful of hardware, which I consider the real engineering, but I am a physicist.) Rationalists are focussed on improving their own intelligence and other forms of intelligence. So both spend a great deal of time building and improving intelligent information systems, as well as improving their own mind, but for different reasons. For one the goal is merely to build, and self-improvement is a method, for the other self-improvement is the goal and building is a method. Well, and for some the goal is to build a self-improving intelligence (that doesn't wipe us out).

Builders and rationalists. Experimentalists and theoretical empiricists. I suppose they work well together.

Process Orientation

Thanks for taking the time to transparantly writing down your approach. I'm spending more and more time optimizing developer effectiveness at work, so posts like this may help me in my own behavior.

This is my 100ᵗʰ post on Less Wrong

Thanks Lsusr, thinking back there was a post where you asked people to "pick up the glove" and you mentioned people hardly do. It helped kick me out of my passivity. I'm not sure I can be as risk seeking as you have been in life, but I'm trying to create more instead of just consuming.

Unnecessary Boredom Bias

Woah, thanks for your confirmation.

I'll admit it's a constant struggle. This smartphone is both a blessing and a curse.

Did you ever follow those guided meditation apps? It's all about recognizing you are distracted and moving back to your breath or some other concentration excercise.

Well, I try to catch myself in the act of avoiding boredom. Reaching to my phone. Or opening some social media app. Or even going to read LessWrong. Those are cues. Instead I now stare out the window a bit, accepting the boredom, doing a micro-meditation. Or I start writing a small note about some topic. I tried a Babble just now. But afterwards I looked up that babble link, got distracted by the LessWrong notifications and here we are, replying to your comment.

Ok, I am going to go back now. But I'll think about this a bit as well.

Open & Welcome Thread – February 2021

Well this is quite a tantalizing introduction.

The Economics of Media

I read my first anti-news manifesto about 10 years ago and the meme immediately clicked with me. Haven't gone back ever since, my close family, friends and colleagues inform me of relevant news.

I haven't been able to convince many others though. So I guess I'll just salute you, fellow meme spreader.

Meditative thinking

On reflection I do this too on occasions. If it helps you then it's great, right?

Also there is a whole literature about the meditation posture. If you are prone to falling asleep while lying down you should consider sitting. But if you are a high energy individual then a reclining posture can actually help. Don't feel bad about what works well for you after experimentation.


This reminds me of Left Brain, Right Stuff. It also has content on how overconfidence helps athletes perform something like 4% better, which is a big deal in a relative competition where small differences can make you win or lose. He then continues to find business analogies.

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