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Most of human problems could be solved by humans or slightly above human AIs

Every task (mainly engineering problems) that are currently solved by humans could be optimized to a staggering degree by a strong AI, think microprocessors.

The long list of coordination problems that exist in human communities.

The fact that humans are capable of solving some problems now (e.g. food production), is hardly sufficient. The problem is currently solved with immense human costs.

But the main problem is that even though humans are capable of solving some problems, they are inherently selfish, so they will only solve problems for themselves. For this reason there are billions of people on this planet lacking basic (and more complex) necessities of life.

Of course, whether an AI will actually help all these people will depend on the governing structure into which it will be integrated. But should it come from a corporation, in a capitalist system, it will still help by dramatically driving the costs down.

In other words, I think of an AI as a massively better tool for problem solving, a much more dramatic jump than the switch from horses to automobiles and planes for transportation.

I, too, have some objections, including issues with the underlying model on which this post is written.

First off, impostor syndrome, self-esteem. It's mostly an endocrine "problem", it's a body's way of adapting status negociation to the social environment. It's almost entirely determined by testosterone levels in males (and probably in females as well). Of course, winning social competitions results in a boost in T. But the conscious level evaluation of where you you rank among others, in what percentile you are at something is completely different than the underlying, system-1 self-evaluation. Of course, gathering evince that you are good at something will update your system-1 evaluation automatically (e.g. having produced something you are proud of, receiving praise and admiration that you perceive as genuine etc).

The mechanism by which this happens is fairly complex. Testosterone also has a strong anxiolytic effect, by regulating the GABA neurotransmitter, which is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system. This also has a very strong impact on stress-regulation, the ability of the organism to cope with stress. The result of this is that people with higher T levels are never concerned with "how good they are", or where they rank.

> if you're the kind of person who worries about statistics and Dunning--Kruger in the first place, you're already way above average and clearly have the necessary meta-cognition to not fall victim to such things
Non sequitur. Just because you're interested in statistics doesn't automatically make you good at every other field. This reminds me of all those "Why aren't rationalist winning" posts (e.g. Being more rational doesn't give you more domain knowledge in specific domains.

But I would also not pay too much attention to social science studies such as that, which is probing surface level effects in human populations. These things could vary significantly in different cultures, and a lower level understanding of self-esteem sort of dissolves this question. Besides, you don't know whether you should update down or down.

> the smartest people I know join Google or go work at B2B startups and are simultaneously bored in their day jobs
If you consider the risk-reward gradient, joining Google or similar high-paying jobs is a great choice in terms of maximizing status and money, even though it is a local-maxima. And these are the basic human drives. Even on HN, the HQ of people with entrepreneurial spirit, people generally recommend getting a job at google or similar bigcorp if you have the opportunity, early in your career for several reasons.

Richard Hamming's advice of tackling the biggest problem, is I think applicable only to tenured professors. To anyone else it is a recipe for disaster, i.e. taking on a huge-reward/huge-risk without having either siginificant wealth or social capital, you are just getting yourself out of the gene pool. The thing is, the gut feeling has been shaped by generations of evolution, and ended up being a good heuristic. If your gut feeling is telling you not to attempt something to risky, to try something smaller, it is because that's the natural sequence in which things are done, including by world-leading scientists. People like Einstein haven't started with General Relativity. And by starting with small things and succeding, you become more confident and attempt slightly bigger problems and so on. It's an iterative cycle.

> the least funny people are so tragically unfunny that they wouldn’t know humor if it bit them
This isn't really relevant in the grand scheme of things, but humor itself is highly dependent on the person's social status. So how funny you perceive someone to be is directly influenced by his status. And obviously, how confident he is, which again is directly related to T levels (citation needed).

> Most things just aren’t that hard, and a good percentage of the people doing those jobs are phoning it in anyways.
> The bar on competency is tragically low. And yet the world revolves.
This is somewhere where you are perfectly right. Having seen how disfunctional most organisations are, it's very surprising how most of them even work. Even places like Google, I've seen way too many incompetent people getting hired, despite the place having had a certain reputation (more so in the past).

> The world is being run by people who are too incompetent to know it; people who are only in power because they’re the ones who showed up, and because showing up is most of the battle
This is not at all how I model the world. Sure, if your self-esteem is too low to even try, then of course, nobody (other than your family) will hand the power to you on a platter. But other than that, people who end up in power don't end up there accidentally, for reasons similar to why you won't find a $20 bill in the Grand Central. (although I actually think I have seen that happening, several times).

Overall, this whole post clearly sends that motivational vibe, while also seemingly containing too many applause lights. Which is a good or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it. It could probably help some people.

My personal experience with this phenomena was related to burnout. After some structural changes to the organization (software $bigcorp), which lead to the creation of a highly politicized environment, I was exposed to a lot more stress. Gradually, after about 1 year, I just couldn't take it anymore.

I was having all sorts of symptoms by then, such as constant fatigue, concentration issues, basically I was close to non-functioning. I knew I had to get out, but decided to take up on one of the job offers I had at the time (higher pay, in a field I was very interested in). After the interview, they told me I was the most qualified engineer they ever interviewed, they would be really exited to have me there. And yet, I barely lasted a couple of days.

I was barely done setting my hardware up, that I was experiencing strong panic attacks, something that hadn't happened to me before. I had to get out for a walk, I simply couldn't sit on a chair, or the world felt like it was crashing on me. Even though I was objectively better qualified than most of my peers, I had extremely low self-esteem. I could point to hundreds of objective things that would justify my competence (projects I've done in the past, winning several significant competitive programming competitions, graduating top of my class etc). Of course, I took some time of to figure out what is wrong with me, and get myself in a functional state again. After eliminating all sorts of hypotheses, like doing sleep studies (my sleep was terrible at the time, I was fairly sure I had something like sleep apneea, although I was lean), still nothing. I was tired all day. I did a hormone panel test, and T levels came out below the chart, worse than you'd expect from a healthy 90yo. I was 23 at the time, which is around when T levels should peak. No other significant issue found. Also, anxiety was a big issue at the time.