All of Muki's Comments + Replies

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 ... (read more)

2Daniel Kokotajlo2yI agree. I think what's coming out in this discussion is that novelty played a role somehow; if only the Aztecs knew more about the Spanish (even if the Spanish also knew more about the Aztecs) things would have turned out differently. This maybe suggests that the Spanish were better at learning about the Aztecs than vice versa -- and perhaps this was because they were fewer in number? I think a better explanation is that they had experience doing this sort of thing. They were explorer-conquerors, after all. Edit: Oh, and there were plenty of opportunities to pit the conquistadors against each other -- situations in which some were cut off from the others, situations in which some had been taken prisoner, situations in which they were actively fighting each other! I agree that their sales pitch was easier because they could make themselves seem more fearsome than they were... but notice that this is in tension with the idea that their local allies didn't fear eventual betrayal due to their small numbers. The same fearsomeness that makes them good allies should also make them scary enemies, no? So why didn't the Tlaxcalans fear that they would be overthrown next after Tenochtitlan? I think the Spain vs. France hypothetical has more to do with technological and knowledge parity than with threat of retaliation.
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 m... (read more)

5Lukas_Gloor2yI think this is false. There's some strong but circumstantial evidence available about how many cases are asymptomatic or only very mild. That evidence is factored into the most recent death rate estimates. The media continues citing the wrong stuff in lots of places, but people who search carefully can find somewhat robust information about the death rate by now, and even though I haven't checked the source for the 1 in 500 number closely, it for several reasons seems unlikely to me that it's based on the naive calculation. See these estimates about the case fatality rate: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/sph/ide/gida-fellowships/Imperial-College-2019-nCoV-severity-10-02-2020.pdf [https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/sph/ide/gida-fellowships/Imperial-College-2019-nCoV-severity-10-02-2020.pdf] They don't break them down by age groups though. If anything 1 in 500 is more likely to be an optimistic scenario because it doesn't factor in that 5% even of healthy people will still require hospital attention, and in true pandemic conditions, hospitals won't have enough room. The hospital in Wuhan were overcrowded, and yet only very roughly 5% of Wuhan's population got the virus. (And yes those 5% include mild or asymptomatic cases; confirmed cases was only 0.5%.)
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 ... (read more)

5Daniel Kokotajlo2yI agree. However, it can't just be that groups are often disunited and therefore exploitable -- because why was it that the conquistadors were able to exploit the locals and not the other way around? The conquistadors were disunited also. And why weren't the conquistadors able to do to e.g. France what they did to Mexico? I think technology is clearly part of the answer here... but not just technology, also cunning/experience. In general I am excited about looking for more parallels/comparisons between the AI case and these historical cases. And looking for more historical cases, for that matter.
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... (read more)

3George2yIn case you haven't read it: https://existentialcomics.com/comic/1 [https://existentialcomics.com/comic/1] But overall I agree, this "feeling" is partially the reason why I'm a fan of the insert slightly-invasive mechanical components + outsource to external device strategy. As in, I do believe it's the most practical since it seems to be roughly doable with non-singularity levels of technology, but it's also the one where no continuation errors can easily happen.
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... (read more)

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 feed... (read more)