Wiki Contributions



You are not directly vouching for anyone here, but as a general point I'd like to argue that friendship is a poor predictor of ethical behavior. 

It may be tempting to consider positive social experiences and friendship as evidence that someone behaves generally ethically and with high standards, but when dealing with more capable people, it's not. Maintaining ethical behavior and building trust in low-stakes settings like friendship with few temptations to try and exploit for profit is trivially easy. Especially if you are socially skilled and capable of higher level power games and manipulation. The cutthroat moves are saved exclusively for situations where the profits are large enough. 

(And a skilled manipulator will rarely engage in obviously cutthroat moves anyways, because the cost of being outed as an unethical cutthroat is high enough to outweight the potential profit of most situations..)

Because you're someone with influence in the community, anyone with a manipulative bent and any smarts will absolutely give you their best impression. You have more value as an ally, and probably provide few opportunities for direct profit otherwise.


Instead of creating new ingroups and outgroups and tribal signifiers for enforcing such, we should focus on careful truth-seeking. Some mythologies and terms that engage our more primal instincts can be useful, like when Scott introduced "Moloch", but others are much more likely harmful. "Orthodox vs Reform" seems like a purely harmful one, that is only useful for enforcing further division and tribal warfare.

To summarize, in this post Aaronson,

  1. Enforces the idea that AI safety is religion.
  2. Creates new terminology to try and split the field into two ideological groups.
  3. Chooses terminology that paints the other one as "old, conforming, traditional" and the other as, to quote wiktionary, "the change of something that is defective, broken, inefficient or otherwise negative".
  4. Immediately adopts the tribal framing he has created, and already identifies as "We Reform AI-riskers", to quote him directly.

This seems like a powerful approach for waging ideological warfare. It is not constructive for truth-seeking.

Answer by xarkn50

Historically it seems likely that there will be several weeks or even months of warning where a reasonably prepared person can react. What sort of crisis would immediately or surprisingly close all borders? Coronavirus closed many borders, but we had many weeks to react before that. A significant challenge might not be leaving, but being accepted to another country.

Some practical and mostly cost-effective ideas that should increase the speed and odds of escape:

  • Connections: Having friends abroad. Having friends you can discuss and analyze the risks with.
  • Established backup: Having citizenship or residence permit in another country. Even just owning property like a holiday home can circumvent many possible bureaucratic problems.
  • Funding: Cryptocurrencies, foreign bank accounts, and cash. The main purpose is to fund your escape and immediate survival, and to make it emotionally less painful to leave all your wealth. Cryptocurrencies seem by far the easiest and most secure.
  • Emotional acceptance: Accept that if you don't escape, you might lose everything you're leaving behind anyways. Think about how people close to you will react, and what will happen to them. Can you convince your husband/wife to exit?
  • Practice and normalcy: Get used to travel and foreign countries. Cultivate a lifestyle where leaving the country for a long holiday would be quite normal.
  • Geography: Live in a place that's easy to exit. Might require much more sacrifice than any of the above. Owning a car, boat, or plane might help depending on where you live. If you're in a situation where you desperately need to drive out and can't get a taxi to the airport, it's probably too late anyways.

In the end, the two most important things are probably 1) having plans and 2) being ready to act on them. All of the others are nice but optional. Ultimately all that matters is that you exit.

inoculating via the GI tract, which may lead to weaker symptoms than the same load in the respiratory system.

A critical care doctor speculated in the This Week in Virology -podcast that getting the virus gastrointestinally might result in worse outcomes. They had observed that in hospitalized patients, those with GI symptoms tended to have worse outcomes, and one theory for why was that the GI system has the widest surface area for the virus to multiply in before spreading to the rest of the body. I don't have the expertise to judge how plausible this is.


Regarding point 2, how sure are you? Why are we even trying to disinfect N95 masks if that's true? I think your point is plausible but the filter technology in these masks isn't entirely trivial. Most filter materials actually depend on a static electric charge in the polypropylene to filter properly. Does the charge actually release the active virus particles after some time, and then you breathe them in? I have no idea. I was already surprised to find out that masks simply aren't just a dense material that filters particles, but a bit more complicated.


I bought a half-mask and several filters almost two months ago, and it's definitely easier and safer for my once-per-week shopping trip than a single use mask. I don't think that it's a particularly effective general solution though, for the following reasons:

1. All of these are sold out. To make more, you need to manufacture both masks and filters.

2. All the replaceable filters are sold out. The filters need to be sequentially rotated or otherwise disinfected.

3. Wearing one for anything more than 30 minutes is still quite awful.

4. Most of them have exhaust valves which still spread the virus to others.