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Cortés, Pizarro, and Afonso as Precedents for Takeover

The smaller and more similar your group the easier it is to keep up unity and guard for any attempts of outside meddling. How could the natives even approach separate conquistadors to find anyone to be swayed? Aztecs had a big empire over a wide area with a lot of vassals. Cortes could easily approach them and make his sales pitch.

And sure technology played a role. Conquistadors were different, unknown and that made the sales pitch easier to make as they looked more powerful than they actually were. Plus they were a small outsider group. The natives that sided with them likely didnt fear them long term.

Conquistadors were not that alluring to French. They could never hope to do the same thing to a neighbouring country that is both powerful and hates your guts even if they found people willing. Plus a failed attempt like that would have meant retaliation against your own country which would not have been desirable. If their gambit had failed in Mexico there would have been no larger consequences. But it was still seen a lot in medieval europe. 100 year war was full of nobles switching sides like this. Almost a daily occurence in Holy Roman Empire throughout its existence. It was a slow day when one set of Princes didnt betray another set to join a third set to be betrayed and conquered by a fourth set.

Seeing the Smoke
your chances of dying is about 1 in 500

That is currently the worst case scenario death rate. The absolute ceiling to our estimates. The actual death rate will very likely be much much lower. Becuse we have no good figures on how many people are actually infected. How many infected have very mild responses and dont even show proper symptoms and so they wont seek help and wont get tested? That information will only be available months if not years later.

Swine flu has estimated 0.02% death rate now. When the 2009 pandemic hit, the panic was also great. The media reported death rate in the first weeks was also much higher than the actual rate turned out to be.

For an example lets say 10 people are hospitalised in a very serious condition. They get tested and turns out it is some sort of a new virus never seen before. 5 of them die before any new cases are discovered. The death rate will be 50%. But you have no idea yet if we have a world threatening pandemic on our doorstep or a very mild case of a 99.999% of the times an asymptomatic virus.

disproportional auto-immune reaction by the freaking out society

Sadly this is indeed the pandemic we need to react to time and time again. There however are some conflicting and potentially worrisome reports about the possibility of being re-infected, some concerns about long term complications and etc which should raise the severity of our response to this outbreak but not to the level of panic we are having now.

It is a good thing to move when seeing smoke but you dont want to start evacuating skyscrapers and hospitals every time someone smells something that could be smoke(er)

Cortés, Pizarro, and Afonso as Precedents for Takeover
I have vague, conspiracy-theory-esque worries that actually the conquistadors really did just all get lucky

I like history and military history in general. I think I have easily read detailed accounts of hundreds and hundreds of battles, sieges, empires collapsing and there are plenty of examples where one side has won out by finding colluders from the other side just like the conquistadors. Sometimes you need luck but often not - there almost always is some disunity among groups that just begs to be exploited.

Imagine a rogue AI sending an email to every person on earth. Tailoring the content to fit every person. Telling you that he sees your children in school, telling you where you get your morning coffee. Telling you what is the colour of your bedroom curtains and then asking you to do this one small thing for it or something bad will happen to you. Or promising you money so you can help your sick child/parent/pet. This is all information that already exists freely on social media. Doesnt take a superintelligence to exploit that.

In my mind there is no doubt that a misaligned AI, even one limited to human level thinking and reasoning abilities, could easily wreak havoc once it is able to roam free online. How many millions or hundreds of millions would immediately support it on just a promise of something good or threat of something bad? I have never thought about it like this but now after reading your post it really does look like that the human race is indeed the Aztecs and Cortes is a misaligned barely competent AI just waiting to be unleashed.

How to actually switch to an artificial body – Gradual remapping

Enhancing yourself is great. I would gladly plug in extra memory and better indexing algorithms to my brain. Throw in rocket boosters and indestructible bones and I'll empty my wallet. This I get and support. But what I have never understood is when people talk about uploading or transferring their conciousness. I wouldnt mind creating copies of myself, virtual or otherwise, but it wouldnt be me me. For some reason I have a very strong fear of continuity errors. Maybe you could fool me by replacing my fleshy brain part by part with mechanical hardware and then slowly outsourcing different functionalities part by part to a cloud based solution until I no longer have any physical presence. But I fear this will just lead to a day when I will have a sudden realisation that I am not actually me me and the following existential crisis will lead to unexpected outcomes.

This fear of continuity breaks is also why I would probably stay clear of any teleporters and the like in the future.

Epistemic Spot Check: Unconditional Parenting

tl;dr - the scientific(-ish) literature on parenting that I have read and my personal experience support some of the core principles of Unconditional Parenting.

"And with something like child-rearing, where I dismiss almost all studies as “too small, too limited”"

While I understand the sentiment, however even the limited studies can provide useful information for filtering out interventsions and techniques that are less likely to provide a positive outcome. Before my first child was born I did a lot of reading on child psychology and on what impact could various different child raising methods have. Everyone has an opinion on child-rearing and there are hundreds of recommendations on what to do and what not to do. So before I decided to write anything on my list of approaches to try when raising a human I asked the following questions:

a) is there a theorethical framework in place on how or why approach X delivers the intended positive outcome? Is there something from psychology, evolutionary biology, brain biochemistry etc that could in theory support the claim that approach X has effect Y on the child.

b) are there studies that find an actual effect? Sure, most studies in this regard are limited but 5 limited studies finding a positive effect means I will rank approach X higher than approach Y that does not have any studies backing it up.

And while I have not heard about this "unconditional parenting" before it seems that my search for best strategies to grow a human have lead to similar core principles (albeit the reasoning might be somewhat different):

  • Conditionality of rewards and punishments is bad.

Toddlers lack a proper understanding of cause and effect. They dont really understand complicated or second order interactions - punishment for jumping on the bed after being told not to is being removed from the bed and not being allowed back for some time. The punishment cannot be loss of dessert or taking away some toys etc, that is just too long of a path to understand. With age you can introduce more complicated chains but even for older children the punishment needs to be as imminent and as related to the negative action as possible.

As for rewards they need to happen before the action that you are trying to buy. "I am going to give you this delicious snack and then you'll let me take your temperature, okay?" It might seem like a very small difference from taking the temperature first and then giving the promised snack but it is an important difference.

In general you want to keep punishments and rewards to a minimum. Otherwise you will experience hyperinflation and the value of punishments and rewards becomes meaningless. However you can establish routines that are always true and so the punishment/reward fuse together with the action. (You can never eat your meals without a bib. Not giving you food is not a punishment for not wearing a bib nor is giving you food not a conditional reward for wearing a bib - wearing a bib and eating is just the same action, just how the world works)

  • Children should be respected as autonomous beings.

Children are autonomous beings, there is no question about that. It is indeed often costly to follow this principle but that is partly due to not taking it into account when making plans. Also you can often hide the fact that you are limiting their autonomy. In your beach example you can make it a game and grab one and chase the other. Also it is important to put yourself in their shoes - how would you react if someone told you "no more Netflix today, you have had enough", why should children react any better to it? Wouldnt it be better if someone told you "stop watching Netflix, let's do this super fun activity instead (and the activity is actually fun)"? Don't ask of children what you don't ask from yourself/other adults - it is often not possible to do but it certainly should be much more common than it usually is.

  • The way kids learn to make good decisions is by making decisions, not by following directions.

Absolutely agree. You can start practicing this from a very early age when they first show signs of understanding choice and starting to communicate more clearly (1-1.5 years). Having more control over their own lives is important. This also gives crucial decisionmaking experience and creates a habit of making decisions. You can also use an illusion of choice to get your way which is a win-win for everybody (do you want to wear these pants or these pants? (not leaving the house pantsless is not given as an option). Do you want me to dry you up or mommy? (continuing your 30 minute shower and running up our water bill is not given as option). As they get older you do have to become more subtle in creating an illusion of free will, which is still possible. Just don't go overboard.

The above is not meant as a definitively best approach to raising humans. Just something that I filtered out from all the subject matter that I read and which so far seems to be working perfectly in an ongoing experimental setting. Will update with results in 60-70 years.

Why are people so bad at dating?

Maybe most people do not think that they are bad at dating. They think that their pictures look great. They think that their profiles are good. Therefore they are not looking to optimise further. Not getting any dates is explained away by the faults in others.

Also nefore reading this post I had absolutely no idea that things like this exist so it would not have crossed my mind to look for something like this if I had to create a dating profile.

Someone might also think (either consciously or subconsciously) along the line of - this site is giving me feedback about me. I have a prior estimate on how datable/likable/pretty I am. Getting a lot of direct feedback on these aspects might make me re-evaluate my current position about me and that is scary. For some scary enough not to do it.