Steven K. (not to be confused with

Wiki Contributions


Great Power Conflict

Preemptive attack. Albania thinks that Botswana will soon become much more powerful and that this would be very bad. Calculating that it can win—or accepting a large chance of devastation rather than simply letting Botswana get ahead—Albania attacks preemptively.

FWIW, many distinguish between preemptive and preventive war, where the scenario you described falls under "preventive", and "preemptive" implies an imminent attack from the other side.

A simulation basilisk

Agents using simulations to influence other simulations seems less likely than than agents using simulations to influence reality, which after all is causally upstream of all the simulations.

Why didn't we find katas for rationality?

People like having superpowers and don't like obeying duties, so those who try to spread rationality are pressured to present it as a superpower instead of a duty.

Why didn't we find katas for rationality?

Why aren't there katas for diet? Because diet is about not caving to strong temptations inherent in human nature, and it's hard to practice not doing something. Maybe rationality is the same, but instead of eating bad foods, the temptation is allowing non-truth-tracking factors to influence your beliefs.

wunan's Shortform

There was some previous discussion here.

Why would they want the state of the universe to be unnatural on Earth but natural outside the solar system?

edit: I think aliens that wanted to prevent us from colonizing the universe would either destroy us, or (if they cared about us) help us, or (if they had a specific weird kind of moral scruples) openly ask/force us not to colonize, or (if they had a specific weird kind of moral scruples and cared about being undetected or not disturbing the experiment) undetectably guide us away from colonization. Sending a very restricted ambiguous signal seems to require a further unlikely motivation.

steven0461's Shortform Feed

According to, this morning, Trump president 2024 contracts went up from about 0.18 to 0.31 on FTX but not elsewhere. Not sure what's going on there or if people can make money on it.

perhaps the aliens are like human environmentalists who like to keep everything in its natural state

Surely if they were showing themselves to the military then that would put us in an unnatural state.

Could you have stopped Chernobyl?

Preventing a one-off disastrous experiment like Chernobyl isn't analogous to the coming problem of ensuring the safety of a whole field whose progress is going to continue to be seen as crucial for economic, humanitarian, military, etc. reasons. It's not even like there's a global AI control room where one could imagine panicky measures making a difference. The only way to make things work out in the long term is to create a consensus about safety in the field. If experts feel like safety advocates are riling up mobs against them, it will just harden their view of the situation as nothing more than a conflict between calm, reasonable scientists and e.g. over-excitable doomsday enthusiasts unbalanced by fictional narratives.

What 2026 looks like (Daniel's Median Future)

Is it naive to imagine AI-based anti-propaganda would also be significant? E.g. "we generated AI propaganda for 1000 true and 1000 false claims and trained a neural net to distinguish between the two, and this text looks much more like propaganda for a false claim".

What does GDP growth look like in this world?

Another reason the hype fades is that a stereotype develops of the naive basement-dweller whose only friend is a chatbot and who thinks it’s conscious and intelligent.

Things like this go somewhat against my prior for how long it takes for culture to change. I can imagine it becoming an important effect over 10 years more easily than over 1 year. Splitting the internet into different territories also sounds to me like a longer term thing.

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