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The situation is Mariupol is quite weird. Ukraine blames Russia for the destroying a lot of homes and Russia blames Ukraine for destroying the homes. It doesn't really make sense for either party to destroy the homes expect to blame the other party. 

There is very clear cause and effect here. In a counterfactual world were Russia did not attack Ukraine Mariupol would have been a well functioning city. We know this for a fact because Russia gathered invasion forces around Ukraine before. They withdrew and nothing bad happened.

It's like blaming Poles for destruction of Warsaw during the Warsaw Uprising.

And it's not just homes. Defenders of Mariupol have sheltered in Azovstal after the city was under siege for a long time. There was no Ukrainian units capable of attacking Azovstal form outside. Yet, Azovstal got obliterated.

And it's not just Mariupol. Covering ground with artillery fire is a modus operandi of Russian army. Have you seen Grozny after the Second Chechen war? The same happened to Volnovakha, Rubizhne, Popasna, Lyman and Sievierodonetsk. Independent journalists had pretty good access to Kharkiv. And again the same situation.

And you can just listen to the Russians themselves. There was talk in Russian propaganda for a long time about destroying Ukrainian civilian infrastructure - electric plants and heating plants. Russia carried out this attack few days ago as officially confirmed by Russian ministry of defense and judged by the effects on Ukrainian infrastructure.

The only reason to attack electric and heating plants is to terrorize Ukrainians.

Russian logic is the same as a man raping and beating his wife. You must love and obey me and if you don't I will make you. This attitude goes from the very top. As an example, Putin quoted a song during press conference with Emmanuel Macron in early February about Ukraine:

"Whether you like it or don't like it, bear with it, my beauty."

The full quote from "Sleeping beauty in a coffin" song by Red Mold would be:

> Sleeping beauty in a coffin, I crept up and fucked her. Like it, or dislike it, sleep my beauty.

Putin was casually quoting songs about necrophilia with regard to Ukraine when he was still planning the war.

The current Ukrainian position is that they won't stop the war till they recapture all their territory including Crimea. 

There are millions of refugees from these territories. People want to go back to their homes and live normal lives. And there are still Ukrainians living there. They do not want to live under Russian occupation.

Ukrainians also do not believe in peace with Russia. Most likely any peace agreement will be just a time for Russia to rearm and attack again. And as a Pole, I very much understand them. Poland has been under one or another form of Russian occupation for the past 200 years.

I agree, finding a balance between Russian speaking minority rights and promotion of Ukrainian language is the right thing to do.

It was a right thing to do before this year invasion and it is a right thing right now too. The fact that Russia makes nuclear threats should not make otherwise desirable policy suddenly undesirable.

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PEACE) voted to support Resolution 2189 "The new Ukrainian law on education: a major impediment to the teaching of national minorities' mother tongues". Only Ukrainian voters and one UK voter objected. It is the same body that yesterday unanimously called to "declare the current Russian regime as a terrorist one".

But we also have to accept the cruel irony that Russia is doing the most damage to the Ukrainian regions with the biggest Russian speaking minority. In cities like Mariupol.

The facts are that Russians are not concerned with well being of the Russian speaking minorities. Finding further balance is not something that will deescalate this war, but it is worthwhile regardless. It is also exceedingly unlikely that Russians would be willing to reciprocate with regard to Ukrainian rights on the occupied territories or in Russia.

My point stands regardless.

But there are facts and objective reality exists.

This war is a war of choice and a war of conquest. Blanket condemnation would be equivalent to condemning all Germans, Soviets and Poles for the Second World War or blaming Germans and Jews for Holocaust.

Specific instances where Ukrainians are believed to be going too far like killing of Darya Dugina are reprimanded. Truth be told, if Ukrainians were responsible it was a war crime. Instances where perpetrator can not be yet established like Nordstreams are condemned. Shelling the Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant is condemned too. But there are unequivocal facts on the ground like the fact that Russia attacked this nuclear plant in the first place and that Russia is hosting their army there. Ukraine itself has fired people like Lyudmila Denisova for false atrocity propaganda. Ukraine is the biggest contributor to the nuclear nonproliferation by voluntarily giving up the world's third largest nuclear arsenal and can not make nuclear threats as it does not posses nuclear weapons anymore. Other countries did not threatened Russia with nuclear weapons since the start of the war. 

What specific condemnation do you or Tegemark expect?

I'm curious: do you agree that halting (and condemning) the following strategies can reduce escalation and help cool things down without giving in to blackmail?


All 1. to 7. have been condemned by some or all of the Western countries in multiple forms on multiple forums. 

Strong words unsupported by actions will not change the situation. To be more precise, I think there is ~0% chance that condemnation form Western countries would reduce my prediction of 10% chance that Russia may use nuclear weapons to 5% or less. This is excluding all situations where weapons supply to Ukraine are significantly limited. (I'm ranked 18th on Metaculus and I really mean that ~0%)

This also follows from your model where "David winning" is a first step towards nuclear use. According to that model we need to reduce Ukraine chances of winning in order to reduce chances of nuclear use. Condemnations are not affecting Ukraine chances of winning. Western weapons supplies are.

Crushing vote for Russia in UN General Assembly on resolution A/ES-11/L.1 "Aggression against Ukraine" did not change anything. The only countries opposed to that resolution were Russian Federation, Belarus, Democratic People's Republic of North Korea, Syrian Arab Republic and Eritrea.

In fact, recent questions and very weak condemnation from India and China were followed by escalation from Russia.

We understand your questions and concern about this. - Vladimir Putin addressing Xi Jinping, 15 September 2022


I know that today's era is not an era of war, and I have spoken to you on the phone about this - Narendra Modi addressing Vladimir Putin, 16 September 2022

Russia annexed the Southern and Eastern territories of Ukraine two weeks later.

Regarding your Twitter comment about Musk's proposals:

Here's why I think there's now a one-in-six chance of an imminent global #NuclearWar, and why I appreciate @elonmusk and others urging de-escalation, which is IMHO in the national security interest of all nations

The real issue with backing down from nuclear threats is what happens when you back down.

Let's say we force Ukraine to allow Putin to keep the annexed territory because of nuclear weapons. This gives him, every Russian and every dictator around the world a clear message: nuclear weapons are the winning strategy.

It would make Putin and all warmongers like Prigozhin or Kadyrov look like geniuses. They stood against the whole world and won! Everyone inside Russia who was opposing the use of nuclear weapons would have to admit that it worked. So they need to use this trick more! It costs nothing. You just need to be a true believer in the greatness and ruthlessness of mother Russia. 

Hitler also looked like genius of strategy after annexation of Austria and Sudetenland. From German perspective in Summer of 1939 he obviously knew what he was doing and should be trusted.

So, how far are you willing to back down?

Is Poland valuable enough for you? Poland was not valuable enough for UK and France in 1939 despite them pledging "all support in their power". They got war anyway gaining only a bit of time.

And to illustrate that Russia's imperial goals are not limited to Ukraine you have to remember that Russia's demands in the first place were not limited to Ukraine.

From Article 4 of the draft of the "Agreement on measures to ensure the security of The Russian Federation and member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization":

The Russian Federation and all the Parties that were member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as of 27 May 1997, respectively, shall not deploy military forces and weaponry on the territory of any of the other States in Europe in addition to the forces stationed on that territory as of 27 May 1997.

To Poles and Balts this was unacceptable under any circumstances. We would never sign it.

From my perspective if nuclear threat wins Putin anything significant then Poland will need to try to obtain strategic nuclear weapons as soon as possible and at any cost. We lost every fifth person after 1939 because we trusted foreign powers when we should not have. Russian soldiers did not leave Poland until 1993 and we do not want them back.

The way out of nuclear escalation is convincing Russia that they have nothing to gain and everything to lose after using nuclear weapons. They need to back down from their mistake.

I agree with you on tasks where there is not a lot of headroom. But on tasks like International Olympiad level mathematics and programming 4x reduction in model size keeping performance constant will be small. I expect many 1000x and bigger improvements vs. what scaling laws would predict currently.

For example, on MATH dataset "(...) models would need around 10^35 parameters to achieve 40% accuracy" where 40% accuracy is achieved by a PhD student and International Olympiad participant will get close to 90%.

With 100 trillion models (10^14) we would still be short by 10^21 parameters. So we will need to get some 20 orders of magnitude improvements in model size for the same performance from somewhere else.

Worth noticing the 40% vs. 90% gap for expert humans on MATH. And similar gap on MMLU (Massive Multitask Language Understanding) 35% for average human vs. 90% experts. Experts don't have orders of magnitude bigger brains, different architecture or learning algorithm in their brains.

When replying, I also noticed that I made assumptions about what mean by x factor quality improvement. I'm not sure I understood correctly. Could you clarify what you meant precisely?