# Open thread, Oct. 24 - Oct. 30, 2016

If it’s worth saying, but not worth its own post, then it goes here.

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• I won’t be able to create a new Open thread on monday (I will be at our national version of Comic-Con). Can someone East of US create it?
Community service is good karma. Literally.

• Done! Hope the convention was nice.

• Any insights about the following calculation?

If 100 km size body will fall on the Sun it would produce the flash 1000 times stronger than the Sun’s luminosity for 1 second, which would result in fires and skin burns for humans on day side of Earth.

The calculation is just calculation of energy of impact, and many “ifs” are not accounted, which could weaken consequences or increase them. Such body could be from the family of Sun grazing comets which originate from Oort cloud. The risk is not widely recognized and it is just my idea.

The basis for this calculation is following: Comets hit the Sun with speed of 600 km/​s, and mass of 100 km size body (the comets of this size do exist) is 10e18 kg, so the energy of impact is 3.6x10e29 J, while Sun’s luminosity is 3x10e26 W.

• It sounds pretty spectactular!

I found one paper about comets crashing into the sun, but unfortunately they don’t consider as big comets as you do—the largest one is a “Hale-Bopp sized” one, which they take to be 10^15 kg (which already seems a little low, Wikipedia suggests 10^16 kg.)

I guess the biggest uncertainty is how common so big comets are (so, how often should we expect to see one crash into the sun). In particular, I think the known sun-grazing comets are much smaller than the big comet you consider.

Also, I wonder a bit about your 1 second. The paper says,

The primary response, which we consider here, will be fast formation of a localized hot airburst as solar atmospheric gas passes through the bow-shock. Energy from this airburst will propagate outward as prompt electromagnetic radiation (unless or until bottled up by a large increase in optical depth of the surrounding atmosphere as it ionizes), then in a slower secondary phase also involving thermal conduction and mass motion as the expanding hot plume rises.

If a lot of the energy reaching the Earth comes from the prompt radiation, then it should arrive in one big pulse. On the other hand, if the comet plunges deep into the sun, and most of the energy is absorbed and then transmitted via thermal conduction and mass motion, then that must be a much slower process. By comparison, a solar flare involves between 10^20 and 10^25 J, and it takes several minutes to develop.

• I thought more after I posted and concluded that:

Most likely the energy will be released below sun’s photosphere, as its density is very low like 1 to 6000 of air. This would prevent immediate flash visibility.
The resulting hot gas will flow up eventually but it will cooler and energy less concentrated. But even if it takes several minutes, it still could produce burns on Earth.

Also something like large Solar flash could happen because of integration of the hot gas from the comet with Sun’s magnetic field, and it hypothetically will result in superflare with strong Solar wind and magnetic effect on Earth.

The temperature during impact will be around 5 mln K on the edge of the comet, as I calculated, which is not enough for any meaningful nuclear reactions. But it doesn’t include any additional heating connected with rising pressure because—and pressure would rise as the comet will compress as it decelerate in the solar medium.

If such reaction will happen it could add more energy to explosion and also produce some radioactive isotopes, which could later become part of Solar find and fallout on Earth. I saw an article long time before about possibility of nuclear reaction during impacts, and I will find it.

• Wouldn’t most of the energy go into mechanical deformation of the comet and the sun, rather than EM radiation?

• Comet will not deform as it will be completely vaporised.

After impact of Shumeicker-Levi comet with Jupiter large waves in its atmosphere were observed. So some part of the energy will definitely go into mechanical pressure changes. But I don’t think that most part as a cloud of gas after impact will be extremely hot and will radiate very strong.

I suspect that the higher is speed of the impact, the bigger part of it will go into radiation.

And as the Sun photospere is saturated with radiation energy, it will radiate any excessive energy.

• Vaporising a comet takes significant energy. Heating up a comet to vaporization point takes significant energy. Dissipating the vaporized comet (still the same total mass and momentum as when it was in a solid state) takes significant energy. I really find this simplistic a treatment to be not useful. Still an interesting thought-experiment and a little scary.

• It has enormous energy at its free fall speed of 600 km at sec. It is 10-20 times quicker than speed of meteor collision with earth and so provide 100 or more time energy for any kg of impacting material.

Вut the main problem for “big bang” here is that atmosphere of the Sun is very thin on its photosphere level, so most of the comet will go intact under it (if it will not break into many smaller pieces before impact which is possible because of string tidal forces, evaporation etc—in with case the flash will be much more visible.)

• Along the lines of my earlier GCTA, I’ve written a Wikipedia article on genetic correlations.

• This should be right up LW’s alley. Reconstruct dead people as… chatbots? Quote:

And one day it will do things for you, including keeping you alive. You talk to it, and it becomes you.

• The TV-show Black Mirror had a great (read: terrifying) take on this in “Be Right Back” (S2E1).

• Every now and then someone rediscover this idea in one form or another.
Besides the obvious limitation, and the silliness of saying “it becomes you”, it can be a great gift to the relatives. Of course, it could be abused...

• I don’t know about that being a great gift to the relatives. But maybe I’m just unusually intolerant to fake things.

• Implementation details matter a lot in this case. I tend to see something like this in the guise of a more sophisticated version of a picture or a video of a deceased one, that one sometimes reviews trying to recall pleasant memories. But it surely won’t have to fall into the uncanny valley.

• Can someone here come up with any sort of realistic value system a foreign civilisation might have that would result in it not destroying the human race, or at least permanently stunting our continued development, should they become aware of us?

As has come to light with research on super intelligences, an actor does not have to hate us to destroy us, but rather realise we conflict, even in a very minor way, with its goals. As a rapidly advancing intelligent civilisation, it is likely our continued growth and existence will hamper the goals of other intelligent civilisations, so it will be in their interests to either stunt our growth or wipe us out. They don’t have to hate us. They might be very empathetic. But if their goals are not exactly the same as ours, it seems a huge liability to leave us to challenge their power. I know that I would stop the development of any other rapidly advancing intelligent species if I could, simply because struggles over our inevitably conflicting goals would be best avoided.

So, my question is, can you see any realistic value system a superintelligent alien civilisation might hold that would result in them not stopping us from going on growing and developing our power as a civilisation in a self-directed way? I cannot.

Given this, why is it in any way legal to broadcast our existence and location? There have been efforts in the past to send radio signals to distant solar systems. A superintelligent civilisation may well pick these up and come on the hunt for us. I think that this is one of the biggest existential threats we face, and our only real advantage is the element of stealth and surprise, which several incomprehensibly stupid individuals seem to threaten with their attempts to contact other actors in the universe. Should the military physically bomb and attack installations that attempt to broadcast our location? How do we get the people doing this stuff to stop?

• Can someone here come up with any sort of realistic value system a foreign civilisation might have that would result in it not destroying the human race, or at least permanently stunting our continued development, should they become aware of us?

Not being bored. Living systems (and presumably more so for living systems that include intelligence) show more complex behavior than dead systems.

• If we developed practical interstellar travel, and went to a star system with an intelligent species somewhat below our technological level, our first choice would probably not be annihilating them. Why? Because it would not fit into our values to consider exterminating them as the primary choice. And how did we develop our values like this? I guess at least in some part it’s because we evolved and built our civilizations among plenty of species of animals, some of which we hunted for food (and not all of them to extinction, and even those which got extinct, wiping them out was not our goal), some of which we domesticated, and plenty of which we left alone. We also learned that other species besides us have a role in the natural cycle, and it was never in our interest to wipe out other species (unless in rare circumstances, when they were a pest or a dangerous disease vector).

Unless the extraterrestrial species are the only macroscopic life-form on their planet, it’s likely they evolved among other species and did not exterminate them all. This might lead to them having cultural values about preserving biodiversity and not exterminating species unless really necessary.

• Because it would not fit into our values to consider exterminating them as the primary choice.

Did you ask the Native Americans whether they hold a similar opinion?

• I’m surprised to find such rhetoric on this site. There is an image now popularized by certain political activists and ideologically-driven cartoons, which depict the colonization of the Americas as a mockery of the D-Day landing, with peaceful Natives standing on the shore and smiling, while gun-toting Europeans jump out of the ships and start shooting at them. That image is even more false than the racist depictions in the late 19th century glorifying the westward expansion of the USA while vilifying the natives.

The truth is much more complicated than that.

If you look at the big picture, there was no such conquest in America like the Mongol invasion. There wasn’t even a concentrated “every newcomer versus every native” warfare. The diverse European nations fought among themselves a lot, the Natives also fought among themselves a lot, both before and after the arrival of the Europeans. Europeans allied themselves with the Natives at least as often as they fought against them. Even the history of the unquestionably ruthless conquistadors like Cortez didn’t feature an army of Europeans set out to exterminate a specific ethnicity. He only had a few hundred Europeans with him, and had tens of thousands of Native allies. If you look at the whole history from the beginning, there was no concentrated military invasion with the intent to conquer a continent. Everything happened during a relatively long period of time. The settlements coexisted peacefully with the natives in multiple occasions, traded with each other, and when conflict developed between them it was no more different than any conflict at any other place on the planet. Conflict develops sooner or later, in the new world just as in the old world. Although there certainly were acts of injustice, the bigger picture is that there was no central “us vs them”, not in any stronger form than how the European powers fought wars among themselves. The Natives had the disadvantage of the diseases as other commenters have already stated, but also of the smaller numbers, of the less advanced societal structures (the civilizations of the Old World needed a lot of time between living in tribes and developing forms of governments sufficient to lead nations of millions) and of inferior technology. The term out-competed is much more fitting than exterminated, which is a very biased and politically loaded word.

You cannot compare the colonization of the Americas to the scenario when a starfleet arrives to the planet and proceeds with a controlled extermination of the population.

• You misunderstood my point.

The Europeans did not “proceed with a controlled extermination of the population”. Yet, what happened to that population?

You don’t need to start with a deliberate decision to exterminate in order to end up with almost none of the original population. Sometimes you just need to not care much.

• The Europeans did not “proceed with a controlled extermination of the population”. Yet, what happened to that population?

They still exist… so they were not exterminated? They did not carry out purposeful extermination, and in fact the indigenous people were not exterminated. So what exactly are you arguing?

The only thing that was very truly devastating to indigenous populations was smallpox exposure, and that was an accident. Also lots of internal wars, famine, civilization collapse, etc. But most of that was triggered by the smallpox plague 30+% die-off.

The fact that Europeans outnumber indigenous people 100:1 in north america (less so in central and south america) isn’t some purposeful, master plan of the European colonialists. It’s just the inevitable outcome of a number of historical accidents with compounding effects.

• The development of Native Americans has been stunted and they simply exist within the controlled conditions imposed by the new civilization now. They aren’t all dead, but they can’t actually control their own destiny as a people. Native American reservations seem like exactly the sort of thing aliens might put us in. Very limited control over our own affairs in desolate parts of the universe with the addition of welfare payments to give us some sort of quality of life.

• True, the scenario is not implausible for a non-hostile alien civilization to arrive who are more efficient than us, and in the long term they will out-compete and out-breed us.

Such non-hostile assimilation is not unheard of in real life. It is happening now (or at least claimed by many to be happening) in Europe, both in the form of the migrant crisis and also in the form of smaller countries fearing that their cultural identities and values are being eroded by the larger, richer countries of the union.

• Native American population is at 3 million (not included “mixed race”) and the trend is that it’s growing.

• Fortunately, Native American populations didn’t plummet because they were intentionally killed, they mostly did so because of diseases brought by Europeans.

• I think Val’s argument is that “no realistic value system implies not destroying alien civilizations” implies “either our value system is unrealistic, or we would take the first opportunity to destroy any alien civilization we came across.” Perhaps you intended your comment to imply that we would do that, but I am skeptical. And if we would not do that, Val’s argument is a good one. The only intelligent species we know does not desire to wipe out aliens, so it is more likely than not that alien species will not be interested in wiping us out.

• The issue is the standard “The AI neither loves you nor hates you, but you’re made out of atoms...”. The Europeans did not desire to wipe out Native Americans, they just wanted land and no annoying people who kept on shooting arrows at them.

• The native American thing isn’t analogous to paperclipping because they weren’t exterminated as part of a deliberate plan.

The alien encounter thing isn’t all that analogous, either. It makes a little sense for paperclippers to take resources from humans, because humans are at least nearby. How much sense does it make sense to cross interstellar space to take resources from a species that is likely to fight back?

The ready made economic answer to intra species conflict is to make use of the considerable amounts of no-mans-land the universe has provided you with to stay out if each other’s way.

• Kicking the can down the road doesn’t seem to be a likely action of an intelligent civilisation.

Best to control us while they still can, or while the resulting war will not result in unparalleled destruction.

• Why? Provide some reasoning.

Non interaction was historically an option when the human population was much lower. Since the universe appears not to be densekey populated , my argument is that the same strategy would be favoured.

• There have been wars over land since humans have existed. And non interaction, even if initially widespread, clearly eventually stopped when it became clear the world wasn’t infinite and that particular parts had special value and were contested by multiple tribes. Australia being huge and largely empty didn’t stop European tribes from having a series of wars increasing in intensity until we had WW1 and WW2, which were unfathomably violent and huge clashes over ideology and resources. This is what happened in Europe, where multiple tribes of comparable strength grew up near each other over a period of time. In America, settlers simply neutralized Native Americans while the settlers’ technological superiority was overwhelming, a much better idea than simply letting them grow powerful enough to eventually challenge you.

• You write as though the amount of free land or buffer zone was constant, that is, as though the world population was constant. My point t was that walking in separate directions was a more viable option when the population was much lower...that, where available, it is usually an attractive option because it is like cost. That’s a probabilistic argument. The point is probabilistic. There have always been wars, the question is how many.

Do I really have to explain why Australia wasn’t a buffer zone between European nations? On a planet, there is no guarantee that rival nations won’t be cheek by jowl, but galactic civilisations are guaranteed to be separated by interstellar space. Given reasonable assumptions about the scarcity of intelligent life, and the light barrier, the situation is much better than it ever was on earth.

• This seems like very sound reasoning.

• Native Americans were “neutralized” mostly as a side effect of the diseases brought by colonists, and then outcompeted by economically more successful cultures. Instead of strategic effort to prevent WW1 and WW2 happening on another continent, settlers from different European nations actually had “violent clash over resources” with each other. (also here)

The reasoning may seem sound, but it doesn’t correspond to historical facts.

• Ah, you have been at Atomic Rockets, reading up on aliens? The only reason they came up with.

http://​​www.projectrho.com/​​public_html/​​rocket/​​aliens.php

“So what might really aged civilizations do? Disperse, of course, and also not attack new arrivals in the galaxy, for fear that they might not get them all. Why? Because revenge is probably selected for in surviving species, and anybody truly looking out for long-term interests will not want to leave a youthful species with a grudge, sneaking around behind its back...”

This is why you want to have colonies and habitats outside the Sol system especially,

• Anything remotely resembling humans can’t win a war against an extremely smart AI that had millions of years to optimize itself.

• This is mostly true but not relevant, because we can’t wipe out alien civilizations accidentally. Most planets will not have aliens on them, and if we go to some particular planet and wipe out the civilization, that will surely be on purpose. Likewise if they do it.

• We create friendly AI that maximizes the happiness of humans. This AI figures that we would be happiest in our galaxy if we were alone.

• That assumes that AIs maximize things, and in my opinion they won’t, just as humans don’t. But in any case, if you think that the AI is simply implementing the true extrapolation of human values, then it can only do that if it is the true extrapolation of human values. Which can hardly be called an accident.

• “then it can only do that if it is the true extrapolation of human values. Which can hardly be called an accident.” Good point, but what if we don’t understand our true values and accidently implement them via AI?

• That would be accidental, but in an unimportant sense. You could call it accidentally accidental.

• Run that by me one time?

It seems like you are conceding that we CAN wipe out alien civilizations accidentally. Thread over. But the “unimportant” qualifier makes me think that it isn’t quite so cut and dried. Can you explain what you mean?

• Naturally if I were mistaken it would be appropriate to concede that I was mistaken. However, it was not about being mistaken. The point is that in arguments the truth is rarely all on one side. There is usually some truth in both. And in this case, in the way that matters, namely which I was calling important, it is not possible to accidentally wipe out alien civilizations. But in another way, the unimportant way, it would be possible in the scenario under consideration (which scenario is also very unlikely in the first place.)

In particular, when someone fears something happening “accidentally”, they mean to imply that it would be bad if that happened. But if you accidentally fulfill your true values, there is nothing bad about that, nor is it something to be feared, just as you do not fear accidentally winning the lottery. Especially since you would have done it anyway, if you had known it was contained in your true values.

In any case I do not concede that it is contained in people’s true values, nor that there will be such an AI. But even apart from that, the important point is that it is not possible to accidentally wipe out alien civilizations, if that would be a bad thing.

• We might not know much about a planet at the time we send a mission to the planet. Additional we might simply want to go to every planet within X light-years.

It’s plausible that we will colonize every planet within 100 light years of earth within the next 1000 years.

• I don’t think we would be terraforming planets without checking what was already there, and there would be no reason to interfere with a planet that was already inhabited.

• You don’t need terraforming for a self-replicating AI to take root in a galaxy and convert the galaxy into useful stuff.

I don’t think gathering information about whether or not a solar system is populated will be significantly more expensive then colonizing it.

• So you’re saying that people will send self-replicating AIs to convert galaxies into useful stuff without paying attention to what is already there?

That doesn’t seem at all likely to me. The AI will probably pay attention even if you don’t explicitly program it to do so.

• So you’re saying that people will send self-replicating AIs to convert galaxies into useful stuff without paying attention to what is already there?

I don’t think that there’s a way to “pay attention” that’s significantly cheaper then converting galaxies.

• I think converting galaxies already includes paying attention, since if you don’t know what’s there it’s difficult to change it into something else.

Maybe you’re thinking of this as though it were a fire that just burned things up, but I don’t think “converting galaxies” can or will work that way.

• You make the decision to send the resources necessary to transform a galaxy without knowing much about the galaxy. The only things you know are based on the radiation that you can pick up many light years away.

Once you have sent your vehicle to the galaxy it could of course decide to do nothing or fly into the sun but that would be a waste of resources.

• we can’t wipe out alien civilizations accidentally

The Law of Unintended Consequences says you’re wrong.

• That’s not an argument.

• It’s an observation :-P

• If we were rational, we would stop their continued self-directed development, because having a rapidly advancing alien civilisation with goals different to ours is a huge liability.

So maybe we would not wipe them out, but we would not let them continue on as normal.

• Unless the extraterrestrial species are the only macroscopic life-form on their planet, it’s likely they evolved among other species and did not exterminate them all. This might lead to them having cultural values about preserving biodiversity and not exterminating species unless really necessary.

To me that’s not a culture , but a bias (the hunter gatherer bias).....there are thousands of animal species serving no real purpose for our cause and still we slow down our growth because of concerns regarding their survival , not only that , but after having analyzed our daily values and necessities it becomes perfectly crystal clear how we’d only really need the 5 big crops + plants for photosynthesis , insects and impollinators in order to survive and thrive , plus we would be able to support much more people ! Imagine a planet where 15 billions humans live and each and everyone of them consumes 2700 kcal/​day and contributes to the world’s economy because nobody has to suffer hunger anymore.… that would be possible if we got rid of wastes and inefficiencies . So In my opinion if we ever find other forms of intelligent life and we can’t trade with them , eat them , learn from them or acquire knowledge studying them , then yes I am all up for bombing them , just as I am all up for (and I know many will hate me for this :-D ) running a railway + HVDC line through the giant panda’s territory , or finally get rid of domesticated animals like cows which convert calories and proteins from grains so poorly .

Also I agree with @woodchopper , we should stop sending messages literally “Across the Universe” in order to avoid perishing . An other approach we might use in the remote future could be only using old technologies to broadcast an “hello signal”..… stuff we’ve long moved from , so we could try to select for civilizations which are way behind us technologically so we could sort of be in control of their destiny like your usual anthill , but even then it could be a trap or they might catch up during the time necessary to make the trip or they could be monitored by some other advanced civilization which is not monitoring us , so we would just signal our presence to them as well...

• we’d only really need the 5 big crops + plants for photosynthesis , insects and impollinators in order to survive and thrive

Time and time it turned out that we underestimated the complexity of the biosphere. And time and time again our meddling backfired horribly.

Even if we were utterly selfish and had no moral objections, wiping out all but a handful of “useful” species would almost certainly lead to unforeseen consequences ending in the total destruction of the planet’s biosphere. We did not yet manage to fully map the role each species plays in the natural balance, but it seems like it’s very deeply entangled, everything depending on lots of other species. You cannot just remove a handful of them and expect them to thrive on their own.

• More like leading to a temporary collapse to a lower level of complexity (including much less if any in the way of humans) until all the available niches were re-filled by radiating evolution from the surviving forms.

• Hmmm. wonders if the open thread is a place for a quick analysis of that news item going around about interesting optical signals seen in a few hundred stellar spectra from the sloan digital sky survey …

• Can someone here come up with any sort of realistic value system a foreign civilisation might have that would result in it not destroying the human race, or at least permanently stunting our continued development, should they become aware of us?

“permanently stunting our continued development” might be the only way not to destroy the human race.

it seems a huge liability to leave us to challenge their power.

It’s not clear that we have a realistic change to develop capabilities that threaten a civilization that has a head start of 100 million years.

In addition it’s worth noting that a galactic civilization needs moral norms that allow societies that exist millions of light years apart and to coexist when it’s not possible to attribute attacks to their sources.

Hanson’s argues in the Age of Em that Em’s are likely religious and might follow religious norms.

There are Buddhists who don’t eat meat for religious reasons and in a similar way an alien civilization might not kill us for religious reasons.

Given this, why is it in any way legal to broadcast our existence and location? There have been efforts in the past to send radio signals to distant solar systems.

You don’t need a special effort to broadcast signals for a civilization that cares about emerging species to listen to normal radio broadcasts.

• I don’t think humans as a species or earth creatures as a … evolutionary life-root, have coherent goals or linear development in a way that makes this concern valid.

If a more intelligent self-sustaining agent or group comes along and replaces humans, good. Whether that’s future-humans, human-created AIs, or ETs doesn’t matter all that much.

Did the people of the 19th century make a mistake by creating and educating the next generations of humans which replaced them?

As an aside, it’s far too late to stop broadcasts. The marginal risk of discovery imposed by any action today is pretty much zero—we’ve been sending LOTS of EM outward in all directions for many many decades, and there’s no way to recall any of it.

• If a more intelligent self-sustaining agent or group comes along and replaces humans, good.

Define “good”.

• His name is literally Dagon.

• Heh, it’s been long enough (~35 years, since BBS systems in the early 80s) that I’ve gone by the name that I often completely forget it has any context outside of my usage.

In this case, I’m using “good” in the sense of “I don’t think I, or any other dead-by-then being, has standing to object”.

• At the present for most social changes there are people who object because the change goes against their values.

• You might not care, but a lot of humans do care, and will continue to care. That’s why we’re discussing it.

• A lot of humans care (or at least signal that they care in far-mode) about what happens in the future. That doesn’t make it sane or reasonable.

Why does it matter to anyone today whether the beings inhabiting Earth’s solar system in 20 centuries are descended from apes, or made of silicon, or came from elsewhere?

• Why does anything at all matter?

• I think we can all agree that an entity’s anticipated future experiences matter to that entity. I hope (but would be interested to learn otherwise) that imaginary events such as fiction don’t matter. In between, there is a hugely wide range of how much it’s worth caring about distant events.

I’d argue that outside your light-cone is pretty close to imaginary in terms of care level. I’d also argue that events after your death are pretty unlikely to effect you (modulo basilisk-like punishment or reward).

I actually buy the idea that you care about (and are willing to expend resources on) subjunctive realities on behalf of not-quite-real other people. You get present value from imagining good outcomes for imagined-possible people even if they’re not you. This has to get weaker as it gets more distant in time and more tenuous in connection to reality, though.

But that’s not even the point I meant to make. Even if you care deeply about the far future for some reason, why is it reasonable to prefer weak, backward, stupid entities over more intelligent and advanced ones? Just because they’re made of similar meat-substance as you seems a bit parochial, and hypocritical given the way you treat slightly less-capable organic beings like lettuce.

Woodchopper’s post indicated that he’d violently interfere with (indirectly via criminalization) activities that make it infinitesimally more likely to be identified and located by ETs. This is well beyond reason, even if I overstated my long-term lack of care.

• You have failed to answer my question. Why does anything at all matter? Why does anything care about anything at all? Why don’t I want my dog to die? Obviously, when I’m actually dead, I won’t want anything at all. But there is no reason I cannot have preferences now regarding events that will occur after I am dead. And I do.

• So it’s just après nous le déluge?

• Dude, if you are preaching Might Makes Right you don’t have to bring up nonsense like “standing to object”.

Anything that can replace us will get to decide if the fact that it has done so is “good”. Our arguments will have failed to convince the universe, and we will be gone. Physics is a garbage arbitrator, but from its decision there can be no appeal.

• Arguments made by humans can effect other humans, and from that effect their actins, and from that effect the universe.

In this case, the argument is about whether humans should resist or acquiesce to their own replacement. I take Dagn’s “good” to indicate support for the latter option.

• I mean, he can chime in, but I think he is looking at it from the perspective of a “thing that has happened”. We don’t have standing to object because we are gone.

I doubt he thinks there is a duty to roll over. (Don’t want to put words in your mouth tho, man. Let me know if I’m misunderstanding you here.) The vibe I get from his argument is that, once we are gone, who cares what we think?

• Yeah, well, the Deep Ones already “came along” :-/​

• As an aside, it’s far too late to stop broadcasts. The marginal risk of discovery imposed by any action today is pretty much zero—we’ve been sending LOTS of EM outward in all directions for many many decades, and there’s no way to recall any of it.

Thankfully aside from military radar, which is highly directional and sporadic, the rest is lost in the background noise after a few dozen lightyears.

• realistic value system a superintelligent alien civilisation might hold

I’m not sure what the “realistic” word is doing in here. Do you, by any chance, mean “one I can imagine”? I can imagine many things.

• Bayesian Brains without Probabilities

“the brain is a Bayesian sampler. Only with infinite samples does a Bayesian sampler conform to the laws of probability; with finite samples it systematically generates classic probabilistic reasoning errors, including the unpacking effect, base-rate neglect, and the conjunction fallacy.”

http://​​www.cell.com/​​trends/​​cognitive-sciences/​​fulltext/​​S1364-6613%2816%2930156-5

• Wow! That’s incredibly interesting, and a little scary.
I wonder if the need for communicating secretely is one of the basic AI drives.

• There doesn’t seem to be a lot to be scared about here—given a goal of encryption, the AI will make encryption. This … should be expected.

Not given a goal of encryption, the AI will … ? That’s a more interesting answer, and that’s what you seem to be scared about. But it’s not what the article is talking about, and as such, this shouldn’t scare you.

• The interesting /​ slightly scary part is that we have no idea on how the encryption is done, because NN are totally opaque with their algorithms. So we have an encryption that works, but we cannot even understand it.
Now it seems a bit scarier?

• So we have an encryption that works, but we cannot even understand it.

It works in the sense that a neural net can’t break it. It likely doesn’t work in the sense that a human can’t break it.

When your goal is choosing a safe algorithm you want the algorithm to be able to be understood well enough that you can prove that the algorithm is resistant against various attacks.

• we have an encryption that works, but we cannot even understand it

Huh? First, NNs are not opaque in the sense that you are talking about here. You can take a trained NN and express it as a a function, an algebraic statement. All the terms and the coefficients are out in the open. What you can’t do is ascribe meaning to individual terms or to (easily) evaluate how robust that function is, but that is not “we have no idea on how the encryption is done”.

Second, consider the work of a cryptanalyst. He has to break encryptions he doesn’t understand (yet) and often doesn’t know “how they are done”. I don’t think there were any claims that this encryption scheme is especially secure. Give it to competent cryptanalysts and they will break it.

• What you can’t do is ascribe meaning to individual terms or to (easily) evaluate how robust that function is

Yeah, that’s normally what “understand” means.

Second, consider the work of a cryptanalyst. He has to break encryptions he doesn’t understand (yet) and often doesn’t know “how they are done”

Nah, that’s the old “security through obscurity” which is the first target of any cryptoanalyst and usually the least demanding part of the job (usually algorithms are provided by agents in the field). The “fun” part is breaking a known cypher.
But here we have a cypher that we cannot make sense of:

We don’t know exactly how the encryption method works, as machine learning provides a solution but not an easy way to understand how it is reached.

• The “fun” part is breaking a known cypher.

I don’t think that in the context of this discussion we care about which part is fun and which is not. Cryptanalysts often assume the knowledge of the cypher because it’s a realistic assumption that the attacker will have it. However there is a variety of techniques which assume only the availability of cyphertext or of both cyphertext and plaintext without knowing what the algorithm is.

we have a cypher that we cannot make sense of

Um, evidence? Did any professional cryptographer say that? Was a new class of cyphers invented? Should we use this cypher for important communications?

• Hmmhhhh I dunno. Maybe you got scared by that. I do know the realization you’re talking about though, I had it a couple years ago when I read an article about scientists that tried to see if they could use evolutionary strategies to get a circuitboard with 100 components (or FPGA or something) to process sounds. If it worked, they could just copy the design to other chips and they’d have a really small and cheap sound processing chip!

So they do this, and they help the design a bit by selecting promising designs and cutting out sections which don’t do anything at all, and eventually they have a chip that seems to do pretty well (I don’t know how accurate it was, something like 95%?). So, on to the reveal, how does it work?

Well, there’s like a good 50-70 components being used to process the sounds properly, which is pretty cool, but there’s also a group of 5 components just… doing… nothing. How weird. So they disabled these 5 components (which, I’ll remind you, seemed to be not connected to anything else), and the chip stopped working.

Somehow, the algorithm had made use of the manufacturing flaws in the chip and used them in its design. How it works, they didn’t know. Maybe some electrons jumped the gap somehow. But that showed me how, if you give a such an optimization algorithm a task, it will do that task to a fault, and you will not understand the result.

Same thing here. Create an encryption! Let it sit for a ton of cycles. The result is something that works in an unexpected and as of yet not understood way. I had expected that result, so it didn’t scare me.

• But that showed me how, if you give a such an optimization algorithm a task, it will do that task to a fault, and you will not understand the result.

Exactly, and that’s why we call “summoning Azathoth” that process. “Scary” is 95% just tongue in cheek, the other 5% is awe at how puny our brains are and what surprising damage could be done by a rogue algorithm.

• I had it a couple years ago when I read an article about scientists that tried to see if they could use evolutionary strategies to get a circuitboard with 100 components (or FPGA or something) to process sounds.

I remember that story but I don’t have a source for it. Does anybody have the source?

• https://​​www.cognician.com/​​ for changing people at scale. Sounds like a sensible tool for what LessWrong is trying to do? Many people might be more easily motivated for conversation-like self-coaching than for reading longish blog posts with often technical and geeky content. Any thoughts on that?

EDIT: Here’s an example of what you can make with it: https://​​chat.cognician.com/​​chat/​​5815993f-e998-4ee2-bbdd-5004fd1ce3b2/​​dialogue

• A new “explainer” model for neural nets, that can also do natural language interpretation.

http://​​robohub.org/​​making-computers-explain-themselves/​​

pdf of paper

Tao Lei, Regina Barzilay and Tommi Jaakkola . Rationalizing neural predictions, people.csail.mit.edu/​​taolei/​​papers/​​emnlp16_rationale.pdf

• 29 Oct 2016 6:40 UTC
0 points
1. CGP Grey says he measures his life success by the metric: ‘% of time under his control’ in the ‘millennia of human attention’ video. Anyone replicated this approach? Comments and suggestions for measuring one’s success?

2. Thoughts on the Texas right wing social justice thingy?

• Thoughts on the Texas right wing social justice thingy?

The article doesn’t seem to be very detailed about the actual content of the lecture and about how many people might have walked out.

• Watching from Japan seems to me that the Musk bubble is gonna burst in Q1 2017....the TSLA/​SCTY merger is just nuts considering how both companies consistently fail to make a profit , they completely ignored the most interesting niche in transport automation which is self driving trucks...

Also the new Nevada factory which resulted in gran fanfare (as always with Tesla) and costs for taxpayers (as always with Tesla) in reality is a Panasonic factory and half empty anyway .

Since the loss of the rocket and it’s 250M dollars payload SpaceX has held 2 big PR events focusing on Mars colonization and beyond which is ridiculous considering how the cause of the accident is still unknown , finally both companies (TSLA/​SCTY and SpaceX) employ a disproportionate amount of people in PR and media relations , but differently from other tech/​car companies the goal here seems not solely to sell a product or a service , but to reinforce a real cult of personality around the CEO who seems not too necessary inclined to respect the rules on insider trading , on a lighter note ever engaging tweets of Master Plans conceived during the night and jokingly under the influence seemed to have a positive correlation with the stock price to the point that a mindful analyst could perhaps think that it was in fact done on purpose .

Other serious problems are complaints by workers and engineers which often lament long hours and are never recognized their work during the frequent , grandiose , almost Hughesesque PR events , perhaps to keep feeding the narrative of an ubiquitous CEO to the general public and investors , such narrative has been marketed particularly on social media and especially on Reddit , here articles regarding Musk and his companies frequently reach the first page and specific subreddits like /​r/​futurology are clearly used as advertising space which is only made slightly more credible by the amount of organic shill in the comment section which perhaps not surprisingly aligns with the PR strategy of the company ; reserving to the product a marginal position to focus instead on maintaining and reinforcing the cult of personality around the CEO who is often compared to comic book heroes like Iron Man ; which after all seems quite appropriate considering how Elon Musk succeeded in non coming off as an hypocrite to the masses considering his stance on climate change and his recent purchase of an extremely luxurious , extremely polluting 73 million dollars Gulfstream G650 private jet powered by the evil antiheroes of the fossil fuel industry that he seem so determinate to overthrow......

On a small unrelated to the analisys note it should be noted how he popularized the “Simulation Argument ” failing to acknowledge any credit to the person who wrote the original paper Dr. Nick Bostrom who instead received a 500k donation for his Future of Humanity Institute .

• Do you actually buy shorts on the stock? If not, why not?

• There’s a lot to respond to here, and I’m too lazy to get into a detailed discussion on so many points.

Instead, would you like to make a bet on any of these claims?

• The 2017 average Tesla stock price will not be less than 75% of the average 2016 stock price. (We could make this bet for Q1 2017 if you are certain enough in the time frame you suggest.)

• SpaceX will not file for bankruptcy in 2017. (SpaceX isn’t traded publicly, so we can’t bet on stock price.)

• If you think the Mars ambitions are just hype, we could bet on the launch of a Red Dragon Mars mission by 2018 or 2020, or of some specific planned test actually occurring in 2017. (Tank pressurization tests, Raptor engine tests, etc.)

Also, does anyone know of a safe and legal way to bet Bitcoin or USD online? Ideally, a sort of bet-and-forget system like a prediction market, so that I don’t have to remember a bet for 4 years. Ideally, the system would have a third party automatically determine the victor, and return their own bet and the bet of the other person to them.

• I, for one, suspect they will land a Dragon on Mars in the 2020 window (and that downmass in one could be great for more and cheaper scientific payloads going forward from there) and will probably get their Falcon rockets ironed out in the next year or three. Probably manage some first stage reuse in that timeframe too. But I also think the grand Mars plans are waaaaaay overhyped and unrealistic, especially at the usually advertised timeline.

• Agree, and would like to add that I don’t believe that Hyperloop will be economically viable and safe in current form with large vacuum tubes.

• Elon Musk succeeded in non coming off as an hypocrite to the masses considering his stance on climate change and his recent purchase of an extremely luxurious , extremely polluting 73 million dollars Gulfstream G650 private jet powered by the evil antiheroes of the fossil fuel industry that he seem so determinate to overthrow......

His stance is that the problem is to be solved through technology. He generally doesn’t call for people to reduce their energy usage.

• ...considering how both companies consistently fail to make a profit

Amazon is famous for not turning any meaningful or consistent net income over the course of 20+ years. Not to say your wrong about your predictions, just providing some evidence that long periods of no net income does not necessarily mean crash is imminent.

• but to reinforce a real cult of personality around the CEO who seems not too necessary inclined to respect the rules on insider trading

The existing rules against insider trading don’t forbid the transaction.

Issues of conflict of interest would be a lot stronger without a merger when it comes to selling the new integrated product.

they completely ignored the most interesting niche in transport automation which is self driving trucks...

There are a lot of niches where money can be made. Tesla wasn’t founded to solve transport automation and doesn’t have the capital to do trucks in addition to it’s car manufacturing at the moment.

• Issues of conflict of interest would be a lot stronger without a merger when it comes to selling the new integrated product.

Ok , so what would be the reason for Tesla to partner with a failed company like SCTY which by the way left a total mess in Buffalo , NY , and not with a solid Forbes2000 (#245 worldwide in sales) company like Panasonic with whom they already share technology + they provided equipment for the Nevada factory and one of the major players worldwide in the solar panel research (which obviously is fundamental for the car integration) and production? Plus musk’s cousin was heavily exposed and the Tesla CEO is set to make a substantial profit from the merger , the integrated products seem just a cover up for this orchestrated bailout while they would have been taken seriously with a solid partner like Panasonic...The whole thing smells fishy to say the least....something Donald Trump Jr. would do , not a man who advocates transparency , strict rules for the fossil fuels industry and claims that he wants to singlehandedly save humanity (tweeting stolen ideas from his private jet , while engineers do the heavy lifting) , engineers are not just technical problem solver working for a salary , they are pretty jaded as it is with long hours and zero recognition , if this merger goes through (and the market reacts rationally) those working at Tesla who have options would be quite pissed off

In Japan a person could sit next to Yasukazu Endo (the president of the Central Japan Railway Co which is developing the Maglev trains scheduled to begin commercial service in 2027 - note the realistic deadline - ) in the subway (yes , he takes the subway to go to work) and would not recognize him , why it has to be different in the US ? These corporate and personal cults (originating mainly from SoCal) cause so much damage because they get in the way of critical thinking and lead to a situation where CEOs think they can get away with everything because people and investors would still follow them ( the 2009 pre-cult Elon Musk would have never even thought about a merging with a de facto failed company like SCTY) .

• Ok , so what would be the reason for Tesla to partner with a failed company like SCTY which by the way left a total mess in Buffalo , NY , and not with a solid Forbes2000 (#245 worldwide in sales) company like Panasonic with whom they already share technology + they provided equipment for the Nevada factory and one of the major players worldwide in the solar panel research (which obviously is fundamental for the car integration) and production?

Tesla does partner with Parasonic. Partnering and merging are two different activities.

But why merge with Solar City? Having the Solar City sales force sell Tesla’s is useful.

It’s also worth noting that Elon doesn’t vote for the merger. If the merger goes through it’s because the majority of the other Tesla shareholder thinks it’s a good idea.

These corporate and personal cults (originating mainly from SoCal)

SoCal is the area in the world that produces the most new technology.

• SoCal is the area in the world that produces the most new technology.

So think of what it could potentially become if people didn’t get on their on their knees to blindly blow characters like Elon Musk , Steve Jobs and Elizabeth Holmes (the fastest growing cult leader up until last year) without ever questioning their methods/​behaviors....there is no such thing as too much selective pressure

Also I’m sure you meant design , the actual production phase happens elsewhere

• Also I’m sure you meant design , the actual production phase happens elsewhere

I’m mean the development. There’s a lot of software development required that’s important even if the actual factory is in China.

There’s such a thing as too much pressure. If people are under too much pressure they can’t freely explore creative ideas. Theranos seems to be a failure but the amount of capital invested into it isn’t that much from a societal perspective.

If someone doesn’t want to work the long hours that are called for the don’t have to work for Musk. People work for him because they believe in his vision. The same is true for Steve Jobs. Both manage to create innovative products because people buy into their vision.

Allowing people to take risks and fail also allows great innovation. Japan might manage to build Maglev trains but overall it doesn’t manage to have real economic growth.

• I’m mean the development. There’s a lot of software development required that’s important even if the actual factory is in China.

Agree , I exchanged the word development for design

If people are under too much pressure they can’t freely explore creative ideas

This somehow is only valid for CEOs , not engineers who do the heavy lifting....

People work for him because they believe in his vision

Here lies the damaging cult element , people buy into his cult only to find themselves with a low pay , long hours job , and , on top of that zero recognition once the superstar CEO steps on stage like he’s Axl Rose or some other rockstar from the 80s ready to take on the crowd full of screaming cult followers , who ironically probably envy those working for him...and , lacking critical thinking , fail to question everything that he does

• It’s standard for US companies that engineers don’t get public recognition for the ideas they develop. You can’t give thousands of engineers personal public recognition. You can just make the company popular and then when an engineer tells their friends “I work at X” they get their recognition.

This somehow is only valid for CEOs , not engineers who do the heavy lifting....

Different people have different roles in a company. Some are supposed to set the direction and others are supposed to fulfill it. If you don’t like working or investing in a company like Apple, Tesla or SpaceX you don’t have to do so.

• It’s standard for US companies that engineers don’t get public recognition for the ideas they develop. You can’t give thousands of engineers personal public recognition. You can just make the company popular and then when an engineer tells their friends “I work at X” they get their recognition.

And that is perfectly ok , as long as they get a decent pay and an acceptable hours...and MOST IMPORTANTLY the CEO doesn’t impose a cult of personality regime in his company (like I said this mostly happens in SoCal and Seattle )....my point is the CEO should stay relatively silent , away from the public eye and let the numbers do the talking , PR and marketing are great as long as they are focused on products . In tech there should be more executives like Yasukazu Endo or IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad , guy is worth 40 billions and you couldn’t spot him in a crowd , takes the bus every day , and buys his clothes at the local flea market...seems to me that , while engineers of different companies are competing in a brain measuring contest against each other , founders and CEOs of said companies are having a dick measuring contest in the press instead...the winner emerges as the new cult figure which people would elevate and throw money at without ever questioning their behaviors or hypocrisy , when the dust settles engineers who won the battle that really matters (the technical one) end up burned out and with little money to show for their sacrifices , while people at the helm would keep using their cult of personality to attract more young brains to drain . This is exactly what Musk does , and it is so wrong , that I don’t know how people are failing to see it.

Last time I remember Musk thanking his engineers it must have been 2009 , he’s done so many PR events since and tweeted more tweets than many actors and musicians who differently from him “live” and “die” depending on their cult of personality following : NOT A SINGLE THANKS TO THE EMPLOYEES

• If you look at SpaceX competitors nobody would recognize Dennis Muilenburg, the CEO of Boeing at the street either.

The difference between SpaceX isn’t just the work of engineers. It’s also that the company structure is completely different. Boeing uses a lot of bespoke parts that are created by

The iPhone didn’t succeed because it was technically superior but because Steve Jobs had the vision for a touch-based phone operation system with no stylus and only one button.

Microsoft did much better under Bill Gates (who articulated a public vision) than under Steve Ballmer who wasn’t a guy who focused on a vision.

• If you look at SpaceX competitors nobody would recognize Dennis Muilenburg, the CEO of Boeing at the street either.

Checks out , always thought Boeing was a serious company in fact they don’t to rely on cult of personality , corporate cult or massive PR

So did you just say this is something americans really want (at least for consumer product) ? Some megalomaniac narcissist with massive conflict of interest using PR and cult of personality to try and forcefully push down their throats a product they don’t really need using a cool video presentation in a basketball arena? That would explain a lot because I remember the first iPhone quite well and it was terrible , no 3G , no support for 3rd party apps no GPS....while direct competitors like Palm , NokiaN95 and PocketPC all had such things , in fact I recall that when one friend of mine bought the first iPhone I was quite excited to see what it could do to live up to the hype that preceded it’s launch...turns out my 2005 PocketPC (incidentally Ballmer era) could do the exact same things.

public vision

Honestly this just seems a PR strategy to conceal the truth form the public’s eyes .The relationship between a company and it’s clients or the general public (if a consumer product) is ALWAYS adversarial , every tactic employed to conceal this reality (excessive PR , cult of personality , corporate cult , CEO media appearances ) is only adopted to increase margins or create a situation where executives and CEOs would be able to get away with stuff , they would not be able to get away with otherwise. That’s why people should not buy into this and always keep their critical thinking turned on

• Boeing is a serious company and makes money but it still didn’t build reusable rockets on it’s own. It doesn’t produce disruptive innovation.

That would explain a lot because I remember the first iPhone quite well and it was terrible , no 3G , no support for 3rd party apps no GPS....while direct competitors like Palm , NokiaN95 and PocketPC all had such things , in fact I recall that when one friend of mine bought the first iPhone I was quite excited to see what it could do to live up to the hype that preceded it’s launch...turns out my 2005 PocketPC (incidentally Ballmer era) could do the exact same things.

The iPhone won because it provided a simplicity and not because it managed to do many things. You might not value simplicity but many people did and as a result Apple made a lot of money.

Honestly this just seems a PR strategy to conceal the truth form the public’s eyes .

No. Having vision is a lot more than PR. Steve Job managed to produce simpler products because he had the courage to not do things like allow the first iPhone to run third party apps.

The PocketPC and the Palm had UI’s that were build around the idea of a stylus and buttons and not an UI that’s purely about multitouch.

The first Apple Watch didn’t have a sleep tracker or allowed third party sleep tracking apps because otherwise people would have complained even more about battery issues.

I’m at the moment reading “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz. It’s a good book to get a view on the mindset of how Silicon Valley companies are run.

The relationship between a company and it’s clients or the general public (if a consumer product) is ALWAYS adversarial

No, the company wants to make money and if it does so by providing value for the customer there’s nothing adversarial about it. It’s quite often win-win.

• Boeing is a serious company and makes money but it still didn’t build reusable rockets on it’s own. It doesn’t produce disruptive innovation.

Which Musk obviously developed all by himself , while studying Axl Rose moves so he could woo his cult members at the (at this point) weekly PR event—underpaid engineers don’t have anything to do with that /​s -

The iPhone won because it provided a simplicity and not because it managed to do many things. You might not value simplicity but many people did and as a result Apple made a lot of money.

We would never know what product would have won with the same amount of PR , marketing and CEO cult of personality following

No, the company wants to make money and if it does so by providing value for the customer there’s nothing adversarial about it. It’s quite often win-win.

The company wants to make money and if in order to do so it has to forcefully push down people’s throats a sub optimal product , such sub optimal product would be forcefully pushed using PR , marketing cult of personality , corporate cult...

• Which Musk obviously developed all by himself , while studying Axl Rose moves so he could woo his cult members at the (at this point) weekly PR event—underpaid engineers don’t have anything to do with that /​s -

He set the vision and provided the structure that made the achievement possible.

The company wants to make money and if in order to do so it has to forcefully push down people’s throats a sub optimal product

No startup wins if it’s product is completely supoptimal. SpaceX succeeds because it manages to make launches cheaper even if this often means using more experimental technology and therefore a higher risk of failed launches.

The iPhone provided an intuitive touch UI that was better than previous UI modes for the average person, even if it lacked many features. That’s why most of the profits in the smart phone industry are made by Apple. The success of that kind of UI is also the reason why Google Pixel looks very much like a iPhone.

There are lots of little details like the fact that clicking a button element on the touchscreen created a little bit of haptic feedback. Not enough haptic feedback that a user notices as the phone vibrating but it’s very noticeable to use an App with haptic feedback turned on or off.

Taking the pen away got people to produce an UI that has less elements. Focusing on the fact that it didn’t have a lot of features misses the point. Disruptive products don’t do everything that competitors did at the beginning.

“The Hard Thing About Hard Things” instead of buying it and having my 20 dollar bill split between Bezos (other guy with a cult like following) , AMZN shareholders and Ben Horowitz

That’s not how the economics works in this case. I would estimate that less than half goes to the two.

• He set the vision and provided the structure that made the achievement possible.

Would you say that his contributions are proportional to his profits? (money , influence , status , cult following..)

• I don’t think “proportional” is a concept that’s useful in this context. Without Musk SpaceX would exist and Tesla would have gone bankrupt.

It’s like asking for the proportional effect of the seed, the water and the sun in growing a tree.

• But the brainpower behind such companies would be working at NASA , Volvo , FORD… Also you seem to forget subsides and corporate welfare...without taxpayers no Musk company would exist today as they would have gone bankrupt a dozen times , plus he and his companies are still heavily in debt with taxpayers , especially in Nevada and Buffalo , NY

• There’s a lot of work done at NASA that leads to little results because NASA is pretty bureaucratic. The kind of work that’s required to produce a substantial reduction in the cost of space-flight couldn’t have been done at NASA. Boing had no incentive to reduce costs given that it was paid cost-plus. Instead of reducing cost it focused on having subcontractors in important congressional districts.

Going from the culture of cost-plus to the structure of SpaceX that focuses on reusability to provide cheap spaceflight needed vision.

Taxpayers want electric vehicles in cities so that less asthmatics die due to pollution. The tax rebates for electric cars make sense policy wise.

The US does give tax rebates to Musk’s factories but it’s worth noting that Musk builds factories in the US instead of building them in China. That’s a decision that the government wants to reward.

If a company wants to expand it takes loans. If government loans are available it takes government loans. There’s nothing wrong with uses all available support.

• Taxpayers want electric vehicles in cities so that less asthmatics die due to pollution. The tax rebates for electric cars make sense policy wise.

You can’t say that without a vote...also when people were asked to vote with their wallet which is arguably the best way to cast a vote electric cars always got beaten by a wide margin

• When people asked to vote with their wallet the made the decision to contribute to kill a few of their neighbors. That doesn’t make it right. Clean air in cities is a public good. Clean air is a classic issue of the tragedy of the commons and governments are supposed to act in defend the commons.

Besides air pollution there’s also noise pollution where electric cars also do radically better.

I can’t find poll data directly for electric cars but wind and solar subventions are popular. Given the question “prefer the government to increase, decrease, or not change the financial support and incentives it gives for producing energy from alternative sources such as wind and solar?” in 2009 77% said “increase”.

• When people asked to vote with their wallet the made the decision to contribute to kill a few of their neighbors. That doesn’t make it right. Clean air in cities is a public good. Clean air is a classic issue of the tragedy of the commons and governments are supposed to act in defend the commons.

You could argue that they were not killing their neighbors , but saving their children which would have not been born were they had to pay 75k for a Tesla (a heavy burden on finances)… a 2003 Mercedes C 240 at 4k instead seems a good bargain so a couple would feel financially secure enough to have a kid..

Government while picking winners and losers more often than not doesn’t look at the whole picture , people should be informed by honest reports clearly stating how better would their lives be tomorrow if they made a sacrifice today and about the extremely beneficial impacts on their lives if the whole population made such sacrifices , but ultimately they should be free to decide what to do with their own money

Personally I would love the government to outright ban the entertainment industry , the sport industry , gambling , the fashion industry and a whole bunch of other sectors of the economy so that brainpower and capital could be redirected towards the important stuff (energy , healthcare , infrastructure , cyberinfrastructure , research , basic research....) but at the same time I am conscious that it will never happen because no substantial change has ever been enforced from the top without at least 20% of the population wanting it badly...and guess what ….unfortunately for me people flock to Vegas , love to watch Netflix , pay attention to fashion and spend up to 7000 \$ for a seat at the SuperBowl...so I have to resign myself to convince people not to throw their money , attention and brainpower to such economic black holes which don’t contribute in any way to the advancement of society .

I can’t find poll data directly for electric cars but wind and solar subventions are popular. Given the question “prefer the government to increase, decrease, or not change the financial support and incentives it gives for producing energy from alternative sources such as wind and solar?” in 2009 77% said “increase”.

That’s because people were not allowed to vote with their wallet , they have to somehow materially see money leaving their wallet to make a conscious decision , otherwise we’re just playing the feel good card without looking at the whole picture....people must be informed that switching from fossil fuels to solar and winds means sacrifice and reduced economic prosperity in the short medium term , but a better future and a more radious perspective in the long term , so they’d be able to make a conscious decision , concealing that information is wrong , damaging and most importantly ineffective

• You could argue that they were not killing their neighbors , but saving their children which would have not been born were they had to pay 75k for a Tesla (a heavy burden on finances)… a 2003 Mercedes C 240 at 4k instead seems a good bargain so a couple would feel financially secure enough to have a kid..

If you argue that people don’t die due to the pollution produced by cars in cities than you are simply out of touch with empiric reality. There’s a reason why we had the biggest fine to a corporation lately for overpopulation due to cars. It’s a serious issue.

The fact that 75k is expensive to get an electric car is precisely the reason why rebates make sense.

but ultimately they should be free to decide what to do with their own money

Not when it comes to harming their neighbors. Pollution does harm people and kills people. You don’t solve issues of the tragedy of the commons by

people must be informed that switching from fossil fuels to solar and winds means sacrifice and reduced economic prosperity in the short medium term

It means also less deaths of asthmatics in the short term. Clean air in cities is a valuable public good.

Many towns have speed limits to prevent noise pollution. People frequently violate those speed limits because they care more about their own interests than about

• If you argue that people don’t die due to the pollution produced by cars in cities than you are simply out of touch with empiric reality. There’s a reason why we had the biggest fine to a corporation lately for overpopulation due to cars. It’s a serious issue.

Couples not having kids because they are not financially secure too.....That’s a human life lost too...how can you value more one or the other , you simply can’t

Not when it comes to harming their neighbors. Pollution does harm people and kills people. You don’t solve issues of the tragedy of the commons by

Preserving the health of their neighbors is de facto harming a human life which is not taken into the world because a couple doesn’t feel secure enough...

It means also less deaths of asthmatics in the short term. Clean air in cities is a valuable public good.

The workforce of tomorrow is a valuable public good too...

• Preserving the health of their neighbors is de facto harming a human life which is not taken into the world because a couple doesn’t feel secure enough...

I don’t think that there’s a significant number of people who buy Tesla’s but who don’t feel financially secure enough to get children. What makes you think that’s the case?

That’s a human life lost too..

People dying from illness is not morally equivalent to people not getting born. You don’t get off with murder for offsetting it by getting two children.

The workforce of tomorrow is a valuable public good too...

The workforce works better with clean air and low noise too. People can concentrate better and the have less sick days.

It’s worth noting that paying subventions for EV’s isn’t just a Western thing. China also customers who buy Tesla cars subventions.

• I don’t think that there’s a significant number of people who buy Tesla’s but who don’t feel financially secure enough to get children. What makes you think that’s the case?

In fact people who want to have children vote with their wallet and buy a 2003 Mercedes C 240 selling at 4k or even better they use public transport to go to work and other activities ; people buying Teslas at 75k are 99% the same people who used to buy Mustangs and Corvettes at 75k , they have not a worry in the world financially..

People dying from illness is not morally equivalent to people not getting born. You don’t get off with murder for offsetting it by getting two children.

I never mentioned morals , workforce is about productivity , we should move these people away from urban centers and enable them work from remote in their new home in the countryside instead of slowing down our growth because they would suffer consequences , so we avoid their death and propel our growth , win-win

• people buying Teslas at 75k are 99% the same people who used to buy Mustangs and Corvettes at 75k , they have not a worry in the world financially..

So you agree that the point you made above is baseless?

we should move these people away from urban centers and enable them work from remote in their new home in the countryside instead of slowing down our growth because they would suffer consequences

Making a decision to move people away from urban centers is what Mao tried in the Great Leap forward. It didn’t turn out well. You might think that it works better these days is that we have telecommuting but cities still have a lot of synergy effects.

But what exactly do you mean in practice? You seem to oppose the government incentivizing factories to be build in the countryside.

• my point is the CEO should stay relatively silent , away from the public eye

I am sure you have an opinion, but is there any particular reason you think yours is special? You seem to be unusually confident of how other people should behave.

• but is there any particular reason you think yours is special?

Because when CEOs stay relatively silent , away from the public eye , personality cults don’t emerge and only numbers do the talking (balance sheets , customer reviews , hours worked by employees , their salary...) so people would immediately question fishy and/​or hypocrite behaviors , which is something desirable

• I’m still not sure what are you optimising for. Are you concerned about the virtue of the CEOs? about maximising the economic growth of the company? about political oversight over companies?

Notably, the canonical example of a narcissistic PR-obsessed CEO is Steve Jobs. He… did rather well.

• I’m still not sure what are you optimising for

Society , average quality of life , average lifespan

Notably, the canonical example of a narcissistic PR-obsessed CEO is Steve Jobs. He… did rather well.

He did , society on the other hand , polluted by toxic concepts like the ones promoted by him and Mark Zuckerberg....not so much...Steve Jobs transformed a phone from being a useful , practical tool into a luxurious status symbol people feel the need to upgrade every 6 months , people praise him for having done such thing, but I honestly fail to grasp how this is a desirable outcome , Zuckerberg did the exact same thing with personal blogs...people used to care about the content they put online in their personal blog...now it’s all about selfies wasting bandwidth , hosting space and electricity...on top of that you have companies paying to claim their rights to use such platform to forcefully push down people throats stuff they don’t even need...Puking....so much brainpower terribly allocated..companies like AAPL (mobile division), FB and Sony for that matter (even though there isn’t a cult of personality around the CEO , though there is a corporate cult) have done so much damage in terms of resources wasted (brainpower , capital , electricity , hosting space , raw materials) and people are lining up to elevate CEOs due to the huge cult of personality around them....Companies which don’t invest in PR and corporate cult instead get destroyed by the press and the general public even though they move the world (Saudi Aramco , Exxon , BP , Royal Dutch Shell , Sinopec) and are not trying to forcefully push products down people’s throats but instead providing stuff which is (as of today) objectively necessary like petroleum and gas products which (as of today) constitutes the foundation of the world’s economy on top of which narcissistic PR-obsessed CEOs can build their empire and pontificate on global warming from their oil powered private jets...If you think about it the damage is comparable ; big oil poisons the biosphere (but as of today we could not live without) while FB , AAPL (mobile division) and Sony poison the minds (other than creating damages because of wasted resources like energy , electricity , raw materials...)

I agree that selling stuff like ITER or IV Gen nuclear reactors or HVDC power lines to the general public or convincing people to donate/​invest in companies working on such solutions might seem to far fetched , we won’t ever see people walking people wearing Siemens or Toshiba or ABB t-shirts either....but avoiding selling them shit would surely be a good a good leap forward

• Society , average quality of life , average lifespan

“Society”, I don’t know what that means. For the average quality of life and lifespan the propensity of CEOs to personal aggrandisement is basically irrelevant.

Steve Jobs transformed a phone from being a useful , practical tool into a luxurious status symbol people feel the need to upgrade every 6 months

Nope. Jobs transformed a phone from a voice communications device to a personal computer that’s always with you. There are a lot of consequences to that, both good and bad, but the rise of smartphones is not about status symbols. Not to mention that I don’t know anyone who changes her phone every six months. And Facebook is about the power of the (social) network, not about personal blogs at all.

so much brainpower terribly allocated

So you don’t like market allocation? You want central planning?

You sound like you’re generally unhappy with the world.

• the propensity of CEOs to personal aggrandisement is basically irrelevant.

That is wrong , because CEOs who have a cult following use their status to shape the future of society , Musk is de facto using his influence to de facto burn out kids straight out of collage in order to reach the goal of colonizing Mars

What if we used that brainpower to understand what consciousness is in order to perhaps one day have Whole Brain Emulation instead ? At that point we could have an Earth with the average surface temperature of 150F and no biological life on it and we’d still be able to thrive if we had enough energy to support ourselves , plus it would make space travel far easier , this would (positively) impact our quality of life and lifespan quite substantially , much more than colonizing Mars , so you could argue that Musk with his actions is having a negative impact on society by using his influence to allocate brainpower in a suboptimal way

And gathering data so people could have products they don’t need forcefully pushed down their throats more efficiently....

So you don’t like market allocation? You want central planning?

With limited use central planning might be good....tell me for example what utility does the entertainment industry have for society , or the sports industry , or the music industry for that matter , that’s all wasted brainpower that could be employed in energy , healthcare , infrastructure (the important stuff) . Plus these people are elevated by society and paid millions for their (non)contribution to society...this encourages people to become non contributing member of society (actors , musicians , athletes) themselves....people like Kimkardshian , Tiger Woods , Katty Perry....what is their contribution to society? Zip , still they are sitting over 400M each...that would not happen with (limited) central planning

• CEOs who have a cult following use their status to shape the future of society

That’s a pretty crowded space, with the rock stars, baseball pitchers, K-pop singers, politicians, etc. etc. all milling in there. I still don’t think the CEOs’ influence is noticeable.

With limited use central planning might be good....tell me for example what utility does the entertainment industry have for society

Boggle. Pretty much every person on Earth voluntarily gives money to the entertainment industry in exchange for entertainment. You think they all are wrong and should be prevented from doing that? No music for you? No games, no movies, no nothing?

I don’t know if I expected dour puritanism (defined as “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy”) to resurface here...

• That’s a pretty crowded space, with the rock stars, baseball pitchers, K-pop singers, politicians, etc. etc. all milling in there. I still don’t think the CEOs influence is noticeable.

I just made you the Musk example on colonizing Mars vs Whole Brain Emulation

Boggle. Pretty much every person on Earth voluntarily gives money to the entertainment industry in exchange for entertainment. You think they all are wrong and should be prevented from doing that? No music for you? No games, no movies, no nothing?

They are wrong because that brainpower (musicians , athletes , actors , TV authors and presenters) could be used for example (if redirected to healthcare) to extend their lives or find a cure for the pathology they don’t have yet but they will develop , they are wrong but they don’t know it yet , they’ll find out about how wrong they were when they’ll scramble to get the best experimental treatment but they would not have enough money to pay for it because they spent 15000 to go to the SuperBowl 2 years earlier

• Musk example on colonizing Mars vs Whole Brain Emulation

Yes, and I don’t know anyone—and haven’t even heard of anyone—who decided to dedicate his/​her life to colonizing Mars because Musk is such an awesome guy.

they are wrong but they don’t know it yet

But you will tell them that they are wrong right now! X-) How’s that working out for you?

Let’s take me. I listen to music, play games, watch movies. You’re saying that’s all WRONG. Instead I should be doing.. what? And why?

• Yes, and I don’t know anyone—and haven’t even heard of anyone—who decided to dedicate his/​her life to colonizing Mars because Musk is such an awesome guy.

Many kids straight out of collage find themselves with long hours and low pay because they drank the Musk Kool Aid , plus it’s not only people dedicating their lives...in technology many things overlap so people could consider exploring a particular field because it could also have applications in space exploration...also you fail to take into account investors and donators which would flock at Musk but less so with projects like the one of Aubrey De Grey or WBE

But you will tell them that they are wrong right now! X-) How’s that working out for you?

Don’t we do the same with alcoholics , drug addicts , overweight people and suicides ?

Let’s take me. I listen to music, play games, watch movies. You’re saying that’s all WRONG. Instead I should be doing.. what? And why?

Ok so :

1 ) Diminishing these people (actors , musicians , tv host..) influence over society : this can be done quite easily by not buying but pirating every source of entertainment that you consume...there are many warez and torrent tracker out there to satisfy even the most avid consumer

2 ) Don’t ever buy entertainment again , as companies go out of business they will lower their margins and offer way better deals , don’t fall for it

3) Every entertainment/​sport business has now gone bankruptcy , no new continent is produced , but you’ll still be able to listen to classic songs , classic movies , classic games...

4) As the consumption of old content becomes not enjoyable anymore , switch to producing your own content for your own enjoyment and consumption (acing with your friends , composing , pick up an instrument and exercise to keep getting better at playing it , practicing sport to relive stress and stay fit , gym , physical exercise.......)

• Many kids straight out of collage find themselves with long hours and low pay because they drank the Musk Kool Aid

I don’t think that’s true for reasonable values of “many”. Do you have data?

Ok so

So boycott/​pirate until they all go out of business and then produce your own? But didn’t you say that entertainment was a waste of time to start with? Why would I produce my own if it’s a waste of time and brainpower, anyway?

There is also the little problem of specialized skills and coordination of efforts. I can’t make my own animated movies and even if I learn, the results would be bad and the process would be horribly inefficient. Same for most other modern entertainment.

However the really interesting question is why. Why should I strive to kill all professional entertainment production?

• So boycott/​pirate until they all go out of business and then produce your own? But didn’t you say that entertainment was a waste of time to start with? Why would I produce my own if it’s a waste of time and brainpower, anyway?

No , because you’d do that stuff in your time off , you would have “wasted” those hours (and brainpower) anyway , while as of today people are literally wasting all their lifetime brainpower by choosing a career in entertainment , sports , music , cinema....and instead of being shamed for such non contributive decision they are elevated by society (status , money , influence) , what a lunacy....

There is also the little problem of specialized skills and coordination of efforts. I can’t make my own animated movies and even if I learn, the results would be bad and the process would be horribly inefficient. Same for most other modern entertainment.

Yes , that can’t be done , but you’d still be able to act , play an instrument , dance , do comedy with your friends and so forth...seems a good deal to me

However the really interesting question is why. Why should I strive to kill all professional entertainment production?

Because it would literally extend your life , like in the Super Bowl example I made earlier....all the wasted resources (brainpower , capital , energy , electricity , infrastructures , buildings....) used in the entertainment , sport and music industry could be redirected towards the important things (energy , healthcare , infrastructure , cyberinfrastructure , research , basic research....) , and on top of that we would be able to support more people overall and lifting more people from poverty given that people in such fields are not exactly living a frugal lifestyle and they would contribute to the economy (the important sectors obviously)

• you would have “wasted” those hours (and brainpower) anyway

Why so? Surely the waste could be minimized. Since you’re making wholesale adjustments to the society anyway, why not eliminate all this unproductive “time off”?

Because it would literally extend your life

Would it? I don’t find it likely. First, because I am not sure I want people like Jessica Simpson working on life extension, and second, because of Brook’s Law: Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.

Also, in the utilitarian language, the entertainment industry creates hedons which are a subtype of utilons. It creates utility. You, personally, don’t seem to value these particular hedons but other people do. Why do you think that taking this utility away is worth the trade-off?

• Why so? Surely the waste could be minimized. Since you’re making wholesale adjustments to the society anyway, why not eliminate all this unproductive “time off”?

It cannot be done , people need sleep and time off otherwise they’d burn out

Would it? I don’t find it likely

They’d not literally work on life extension , life extension is the ultimate layer of complexity , very few people in sports and entertainment could work on that , such people could be employed in infrastructure and cyberinfrastructure for example , both would serve indirectly serve the goal of life extension by having equipment and information travel faster

Also, in the utilitarian language, the entertainment industry creates hedons which are a subtype of utilons. It creates utility. You, personally, don’t seem to value these particular hedons but other people do. Why do you think that taking this utility away is worth the trade-off?

hedons : A unit of pleasure used to theoretically weigh people’s happiness

A rational people would always maximize their happiness by maximizing their lifespan

• It cannot be done , people need sleep and time off otherwise they’d burn out

We are not talking about sleep and if you think people will burn out without time off, won’t they burn out without any entertainment available? It was available throughout the entire human history. You try to draw a sharp boundary between amateur and professional entertainment, but I don’t see that line. If I go to see my friend who sings and plays a guitar, is it fine? If ten of us go, is it fine? If a hundred, a thousand people gather, is it still fine?

If people give money to the singer so that he sings more—how is it different from the people giving money to a widget-producing company so that the company makes more?

A rational people would always maximize their happiness by maximizing their lifespan

That seems to be not true. A trivial example: someone suffering from incurable cancer who faces several months of pain and loss of dignity before the inevitable death. Another example: imagine a choice between living, say, 60 years as a rich citizen of the first world and living 80 years as a subsistence farmer in the malarial swamps of Central Africa. Your choice?

• We are not talking about sleep and if you think people will burn out without time off, won’t they burn out without any entertainment available? It was available throughout the entire human history. You try to draw a sharp boundary between amateur and professional entertainment, but I don’t see that line. If I go to see my friend who sings and plays a guitar, is it fine? If ten of us go, is it fine? If a hundred, a thousand people gather, is it still fine?

Yes as long as he has a real job and sings and plays guitar to alleviate stress in his 2 hours free time per day, plus you and your friend can go but you must avoid paying him and elevating him in any way (status , influence), you should go with the mindset that this is something you do in order to unwind and be productive the next day but it doesn’t give any contribution to society..your free time should be planned in order to enable you to unwind with the least amount of resources wasted

If people give money to the singer so that he sings more—how is it different from the people giving money to a widget-producing company so that the company makes more?

No that is wrong , because you’d be rewarding an unproductive use of brainpower , now he’d be able to buy food and other necessary stuff with that money you gave him and he will soon find himself doubting if it could be convenient to diminish the hours of the day to dedicate to his real job and increase the hours to dedicate to singing and playing guitar , which is unproductive for society

That seems to be not true. A trivial example: someone suffering from incurable cancer who faces several months of pain and loss of dignity before the inevitable death. Another example: imagine a choice between living, say, 60 years as a rich citizen of the first world and living 80 years as a subsistence farmer in the malarial swamps of Central Africa. Your choice?

FWIW I’ll take 80 years as a farmer over 60 years as a rich citizen and even though I live in the 1st world I limit my consumption to the very strict minimum , certainly I don’t need the opulent lifestyle of the rich people in entertainment and sports like dicaprio or tiger woods...plus yours is a bad example considering how the african subsistence farmer doesn’t surely envy the vast choice of entertainment that his american counterpart have , but energy , healthcare , infrastructure...

• this is something you do in order to unwind and be productive the next day but it doesn’t give any contribution to society.

You contradict yourself within a single sentence. If the performance is something that helps people “be productive the next day” then surely it contributes something to the society.

And why do you consider being productive the next day to be the ultimate goal, anyway? Is being economically productive the end goal of all life?

because you’d be rewarding an unproductive use of brainpower

Why isn’t producing widgets “an unproductive use of brainpower”? I bet there are a lot of material things which you consider to be a waste—yachts, jewelry, fancy clothes, etc. -- so why do you single out services, in particular entertainment?

plus yours is a bad example

No, because here we are talking about the trade-off between longer life and quality of life and that doesn’t have much do do specifically with entertainment. Your position is that longer life is worth any sacrifice in the quality of life, is that not so?

• You contradict yourself within a single sentence. If the performance is something that helps people “be productive the next day” then surely it contributes something to the society.

As it contributes playing guitar , acting and dancing yourself , arguably more , so I don’t see why you should pay or elevate him given that he doesn’t have a monopoly over activities which help people being productive the following day

Why isn’t producing widgets “an unproductive use of brainpower”? I bet there are a lot of material things which you consider to be a waste—yachts, jewelry, fancy clothes, etc. -- so why do you single out services, in particular entertainment?

Yes we should ban all that stuff too , I mentioned the fashion industry , but I forgot the jewelry industry and the yacht industry , thanks for the remind.

Your position is that longer life is worth any sacrifice in the quality of life, is that not so?

Yes , but in this specific case is not “any sacrifice” I’m explaining you the kind of sacrifice beforehand and I should add that entertainment is at the very top of the MASLOW pyramid , also we’re not even talking about banning enterteinment , you’d be free to play guitar in your free time and entertain your friends if you feel to , you would just not find anybody willing to pay you or elevate your status in exchange for it....differently from real jobs

• so I don’t see why you should pay or elevate him

Let’s set up a template.

I want X. X helps me, um, be productive the next day. I can make X myself, but it will be low-quality and making it will be very inefficient. Therefore I want other people to give me X in exchange for money.

Let’s take the case that X = mattress. I don’t think you have any objections to this trade, do you? I expect you to agree that mattress-makers are useful and should be paid for their work.

Let’s take the case that X = a working toilet. Again, plumbers are useful and it doesn’t look to be a terribly fun job so if you want a working toilet, you probably want a professional plumber and he’d want to be paid. Still good?

Let’s take the case that X = massage. Any problems start to appear?

Let’s take the case that X = video game. We are now in the territory of things you want banned, but what kind of line did we cross? Where is that line?

I should add that entertainment is at the very top of the MASLOW pyramid

Maslow was a guy, it’s not an acronym. And, as far as I remember, at the top of Maslow pyramid is self-actualization which is definitely not entertainment.

you would just not find anybody willing to pay you

You were talking about banning things. As an empirical observation, an overwhelming majority of people are willing to pay artists/​entertainers/​etc. money in exchange for being entertained.

• Let’s take the case that X = mattress. I don’t think you have any objections to this trade, do you? I expect you to agree that mattress-makers are useful and should be paid for their work.

Nothing to say here , we need that stuff

Let’s take the case that X = a working toilet. Again, plumbers are useful and it doesn’t look to be a terribly fun job so if you want a working toilet, you probably want a professional plumber and he’d want to be paid. Still good?

Nothing to say here , we need that stuff

Let’s take the case that X = massage. Any problems start to appear?

Yes , because while you’d need another person , I just need a couple of shoes and I am ready to jog , hopefully beat my best time , shower , go to sleep , get a good night of sleep and be productive the next day—almost zero resources wasted in the process

Let’s take the case that X = video game. We are now in the territory of things you want banned, but what kind of line did we cross? Where is that line?

No way a video game makes you more productive the following day than a massage 1hr of cardio or 2 hrs of guitar playing , so all the extra resources needed to design , develop , test , ship and run the video game would be pretty much wasted ….and even if that was true there would be no way to quantify your increased productivity and compare it against the resources wasted to see if the whole process is net positive.

• Notice that with a mattress you’re buying a physical thing. With a plumber, you’re buying a service (as in, “you’d need another person”). A massage is just another service. You might not need one but someone whose, say, neck and shoulders are stiff from a day of working, could well benefit. You keep on applying your solutions to yourself, but other people are not like you.

No way a video game makes you more productive the following day than a massage 1hr of cardio or 2 hrs of guitar playing

That’s an empirical claim. Do you have evidence?

there would be no way to quantify your increased productivity

Why not? And if you can’t, why would you allow a plumber or a massage, but not a video game? Can you quantify increased productivity from a working toilet?

• That’s an empirical claim. Do you have evidence?

The burden of the proof is on you because your activity wastes way more resources than mine , and such particular activity also wastes way more resources than your other activity you mentioned before (guitar playing)

Why not? And if you can’t, why would you allow a plumber or a massage, but not a video game? Can you quantify increased productivity from a working toilet?

Oh c’mon now....Both your Xbox and your toilet both stop working , which one are you more relived once it has been repaired? Right ….there is always a hierarchy of priorities .

• The burden of the proof is on you

Since I am not asking for a major restructuring of the society, I don’t think so.

Both your Xbox and your toilet both stop working , which one are you more relived once it has been repaired?

You start from the axiom that my desires are wrong. The only thing you care about is my productivity and how helpful it is to bringing the Glorious Future closer. Given this, how relieved (heh) I am is irrelevant. The issue is whether using, say, outdoor latrines will reduce my productivity and the answer to that is not obvious.

More generally, caring only about the Glorious Future and considering real, observable human desires to be “wrong” has been tried in several variations, a notable one being Puritanism. But the Puritans had proper motivation: at stake was eternal life (and bliss) or eternal suffering. That’s worth a lot. But all you want is a bit longer life which you will spend likely in a not-great physical and mental condition. Why is it worth so much?

• is not obvious

Well , without venturing into a deep level of understanding of the urban sewer...you’d have to work to the outdoor latrine , that would waste calories and time you’d have not otherwise wasted

Why is it worth so much?

It might not be worth so much now , but it would be worth a lot in the future , that’s the whole point … While all your friends and acknowledges die , you’d still have 5-10 years to live

Plus it’s not like we have some other choice , this is what we do as humans , we optimze processes and act to maximize future freedom of action , death is the equivalent of zero freedom of action and we want our freedom of action not to drop to zero

• It might not be worth so much now , but it would be worth a lot in the future

How do you know that? Future is uncertain.

Plus it’s not like we have some other choice , this is what we do as humans

This is clearly false, since you want to reject most of what humans actually do.

we optimze processes and act to maximize future freedom of action

Is this what you empirically observe humans do? Doesn’t look like that to me.

There are other ways to have little freedom of action besides death, too. One is being a slave. Another is lying in bed with advanced Alzheimers and machines keeping your body alive.

• Is this what you empirically observe humans do? Doesn’t look like that to me.

People who are low in the social scale (your example of being a slave) want to elevate themselves so they’ll have more freedom of action

Also people avoid doing stuff that could endanger them because they want to avoid their future freedom of action to drop to zero (death)

• You don’t like consumption, right? Let’s try substituting in this word:

People who are low in the social scale (your example of being a slave) want to elevate themselves so they’ll be able to consume more.

Also people avoid doing stuff that could endanger them because they want to avoid their future consumption to drop to zero (death)

Sounds about as plausible to me.

• Sounds about as plausible to me.

It is , but a rational person would still optimize to keep his consumption rate above zero for the longest time instead of having one big peak and then a tragic collapse and crash on the x-axis

• a rational person would still optimize to keep his consumption rate above zero for the longest time instead of having one big peak and then a tragic collapse and crash on the x-axis

If you actually want to optimize for total consumption over a lifetime, 60 years of being rich in the first world is MUCH better than 80 years of being poor in the third.

• optimize to keep his consumption rate above zero for the longest time

• In this case you’re just opimizing for longevity and consumption has nothing do with it. You could easily replace it with, say, “optimize to keep his pulse above zero for the longest time”.

And remember your first example, of a slave who wants more? Note: not “for longer”, but “more”.

• in this case you’re just opimizing for longevity and consumption has nothing do with it

This is wrong , and I’m quoting you , a dozen post above you claimed that everything has a cost we’ve already discussed this :

1) if all people who worked in entertainment moved to do something useful , we’d consume less and live a longer , but (you argued) less satisfying life

2) If a person didn’t blew 25k for a front seat at the Superbowl he’d now have money for that experimental treatment that would prolong his/​her life

3) If you’re convinced of what you’re saying , why are you discussing with me on a forum on rationality instead of having your personal consumption peak , book an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora , get there in a private jet , spend 3 week in total debauchery while binge drinking , sniffing and injecting substances?? You won’t have money left for food afterwards but given that consumption has nothing to do with lifespan you’d be fine

• You sound confused. Let’s make things simple.

You are arguing that longevity is of supreme importance. Specifically, you’re willing to sacrifice pretty much all quality of life (QoL) if that gives you more longevity.

I’m arguing that quality of life is important and that at a certain point (which is different for different people) you would stop trading off QoL for longevity. And if you overshoot this point, you would be willing to live a shorter life, but with higher QoL.

Everything has a cost and in this situation as we set it up the QoL is the cost for longevity.

With respect to your points, (1) is the starting assumption (I’m leaving aside the issue of whether it’s actually true); (2) is true, but so what?; and (3) is not true because if we’re talking about optimization, when you optimize consumption it should be the lifetime total consumption (probably weighted by your ability to enjoy it) -- not the height of a single short peak.

• you’re willing to sacrifice pretty much all quality of life (QoL) if that gives you more longevity.

Yes , but in the specific case I should point out that for me is a no brainer because entertainment doesn’t add anything to my QoL

I’m arguing that quality of life is important and that at a certain point (which is different for different people) you would stop trading off QoL for longevity. And if you overshoot this point, you would be willing to live a shorter life, but with higher QoL.

Are you suggesting that I should live a shorter life just because society has a different QoL cutoff than mine ? Is that your solution , i should just suck it up and die sooner because of this? If that is your position , shouldn’t people like me get a compensation at least ?

is not true because if we’re talking about optimization, when you optimize consumption it should be the lifetime total consumption (probably weighted by your ability to enjoy it) -- not the height of a single short peak.

If you embarked for such vacation , you would not have any lifetime left once it ended , because you would have traded all your remaining lifetime for concentrated QoL .

1) So are you claiming that QoL and lifetime are equally important? And if that is your position why don’t you embark for such vacation given that if you think that lifetime and QoL are equally important it’s basically the same thing as living a long life ? Are you not doing it because such concentrated QoL would not be worth the trade with lifetime because of law of diminishing returns?

2) If lifetime is more important than QoL why not just optimize for lifetime?

3) If your formula is a balance between lifetime and QoL are you aware that as you get closer to death your balance would move more and more towards lifetime and at some point you’d find yourself willing to trade any quality of life left for even a minute more to live ? So in that sense the future you is mad at the present you for having put too much weight on QoL , in fact he/​she finds himself/​herself facing death sooner than it would otherwise happened because of the present you putting too much weight on QoL

• for me is a no brainer

You haven’t been talking about your personal preferences. You’ve been talking about what should be banned, made illegal. Moreover, you’ve been calling people who don’t share your preferences mentally ill.

different QoL cutoff

QoL has no cutoffs (other than death) -- it’s a continuous variable.

So are you claiming that QoL and lifetime are equally important?

No, I’m claiming they’re both important but not necessarily equally. Moreover, if you could make an indifference graph (put life length of the X axis, put QoL on the Y axis, plot points for different x and y such that you are indifferent between the combinations, connect the points) I doubt the lines would be straight.

it’s basically the same thing as living a long life ?

No, it’s not the same thing. Besides, there are limits on how high could you get the QoL peak—you just can’t jam a year’s worth of pleasures into a single day.

If lifetime is more important than QoL why not just optimize for lifetime?

Because when multiple things are important, trying to optimize for only one of them rarely leads to good outcomes.

as you get closer to death your balance would move more and more towards lifetime

I don’t see that as obvious. Look at e.g. euthanasia debates. Some people do trade most of their QoL for additional minutes of life, others do not.

So in that sense the future you is mad at the present you for having put too much weight on QoL

Nope, not true. Willing to sacrifice QoL for longer life in the old age does not mean you necessarily regret what you did when you’re young.

• Nope, not true. Willing to sacrifice QoL for longer life in the old age does not mean you necessarily regret what you did when you’re young.

How so? The future you wants to live longer and he/​she would have been able to do so if he/​she renounced to some QoL in the past , the future you can’t live in good memories of past enjoyed QoL , he/​she needs time.

• You are confusing choosing more life at the cost of reduced QoL in that future life with wishing for a longer life and being willing to sacrifice QoL in the past.

• This would be true if you didn’t know what would your preference be in the future ; but you know that , you know that as you’d be getting closer and closer to death you’d be willing to sacrifice more QoL than you’re willing to sacrifice now , so why not making a sacrifice now and give to the future you more minutes and less regrets?

• This would be true if you didn’t know what would your preference be in the future

Guess what, you do NOT know your preferences in the future. Things change.

Also, I’m not sure what does “as you’d be getting closer and closer to death you’d be willing to sacrifice more QoL” mean. Let’s say I have a choice between dying in the near future and undergoing some treatment which will leave me in permanent pain for the rest of my life. Let’s say I choose the treatment—that’s a clear “sacrifice QoL for longevity” trade-off—but I don’t see why it would matter whether I’m 20 at the time (presumably far away from death) or 80 (presumably close to death anyway). In fact, I suspect that more 80-year-old will refuse the treatment than 20-year-olds.

• but I don’t see why it would matter whether I’m 20 at the time (presumably far away from death) or 80 (presumably close to death anyway)

Again , everything has a cost

You won’t have any money to pay for your treatment at 80 if you squandered it all partying (QoL) at 20 , people do that all the time , they give up QoL in the present in order to be able to afford medical treatments (lifetime extension) in the future...it’s called retirement planning

• You seem to like attacking a strawman where any resources you have you spend immediately on pleasure. I don’t know of anyone who suggests this is a good idea. Nothing I said implies that retirement planning is unnecessary.

Everything has a cost but sometimes the cost is worth paying. If you’re optimizing for total pleasure/​consumption/​etc. over your lifetime then if you’re 20 you expect to have 50-70 years ahead of you and you would plan to spend your existing and expected-in-the-future resources over this whole time.

By the way, are you practicing caloric restriction? It’s the only life prolong treatment which has been shown to work consistently. Most people don’t do it because you lead a pretty miserable life, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem for you..?

• Everything has a cost but sometimes the cost is worth paying. If you’re optimizing for total pleasure/​consumption/​etc. over your lifetime then if you’re 20 you expect to have 50-70 years ahead of you and you would plan to spend your existing and expected-in-the-future resources over this whole time.

And I perfectly agree with that , my only claim is that if society were to put more weight on longevity and less on QoL we’d reach an optimal balance by not having to renounce to anything important plus we’d not have any regrets later on

• an optimal balance by not having to renounce to anything important

Different people will interpret “optimal” and “important” in very different ways. You should know this since you offer a minority viewpoint.

• Ok so back to the question I asked you above...shouldn’t people like me get some sort of compensation for the months , possibly years lost because society interprets “optimal” and “important” in a different way?

• shouldn’t people like me get some sort of compensation for the months , possibly years lost because society interprets “optimal” and “important” in a different way?

If you claim a right to compensation, there must be a matching duty on the part of someone. Who has the duty to compensate you and why?

Oh, and let’s flip the question, too. Shouldn’t other people get some sort of compensation from you because you interpret “optimal” and “important” in a different way?

• I have been following this thread with interest, but I think that I am missing a couple of key pieces of the puzzle as far as understanding your position:

Above, you argue against luxuries (yachts, fashion, jewelry) and professionally produced entertainment so that the human resources used in producing these things could be used towards infrastructure and life-extension. And here you say:

there are thousands of animal species serving no real purpose for our cause and still we slow down our growth because of concerns regarding their survival , not only that , but after having analyzed our daily values and necessities it becomes perfectly crystal clear how we’d only really need the 5 big crops + plants for photosynthesis , insects and impollinators in order to survive and thrive

and

I am all up for … running a railway + HVDC line through the giant panda’s territory , or finally get rid of domesticated animals like cows which convert calories and proteins from grains so poorly .

It seems to me that you are arguing in favor of giving up a lot (e.g. professionally produced entertainment, biodiversity, luxury goods, panda habitats and meat), apparently so as to optimize production towards some specific terminal value or values. So, my questions are:

1. What specific terminal value or values are you optimizing towards? And, what is the “our cause” that you refer to above?

2. Here you seem to suggest that these terminal values are not just your values but are the values of all rational people. If so, why do you believe this?

3. You have argued against the amount of influence that CEOs have in deciding what products should be produced, and here you seem to make the free-market argument that consumers voting with their wallets is a good way for society to decide what products should be produced. But, consumers frequently choose to buy luxury goods, professionally produced entertainment and meat, and at least sometimes appear to value biodiversity. How do you reconcile your pro consumer-choice pro free-market stance with the fact that consumers frequently choose to buy and value things that you think they ought not buy and value?

4. Following-on from question 3, here you said “Personally I would love the government to outright ban the entertainment industry , the sport industry , gambling , the fashion industry and a whole bunch of other sectors of the economy”. If consumers voting with their wallets really is a good way to decide what products and services should be produced, why would you love the government to ban those things? Shouldn’t the consumer be allowed to vote with his/​her wallet? Or, on the other hand, if consumers voting with their wallets is not a good way for society to decide what products and services should be produced, what is? How should this decision be made if not by company executives and not by consumers?

• What specific terminal value or values are you optimizing towards? And, what is the “our cause” that you refer to above?

Human population growth , being able successfully support 1520 billions humans on our planet , while making sure that each and everyone of them receives the daily dose of calories and proteins necessary to fully develop mentally and physically , get connected to infrastructure and cyberinfrastructure so that we would have more brainpower to solve our problems . People think that with automation and machine learning we should diminish our population , in reality humans will be useful to keep around (the more the better ) up until the very second before a recursively improving artificial general intelligence is switched on , and at that point it won’t really matter how many humans lived on our planet because we did things correctly (correctly understand consciousness/​flow of consciousness and assign the goal of protecting our consciousness/​flow of consciousness to the AGI ) we’d be looking at living much longer than even the most optimist transhumanists think

Here you seem to suggest that these terminal values are not just your values but are the values of all rational people. If so, why do you believe this?

Because once a person’s basic needs are satisfied the rational thing to do is to make sure that such needs will be met in the near and remote future , people in 1st world countries are sure of that in the near future , but the further we look into the future the less sure we are that at any given point all our basic needs would be satisfied , not to mention 3rd world country where people don’t know if they’d be alive 10 or 20 days in the future . People who spend resources (brainpower , money , attention...) on stuff like entertainment , fashion and luxury goods are taking for granted that in the future their basic needs would be satisfied , which is a false assumption

You have argued against the amount of influence that CEOs have in deciding what products should be produced, and here you seem to make the free-market argument that consumers voting with their wallets is a good way for society to decide what products should be produced. But, consumers frequently choose to buy luxury goods, professionally produced entertainment and meat, and at least sometimes appear to value biodiversity. How do you reconcile your pro consumer-choice pro free-market stance with the fact that consumers frequently choose to buy and value things that you think they ought not buy and value?

The “wallet vote” of those spending ( not investing or donating) more than 75k (excluding healthcare) per year should be ignored , they clearly have mental problems and their biggest daily concern is to outdo the Jonses or gain societal status by exhibiting an opulent lifestyle and should be treated the same way we treat alcholics and drug addicts… but like I said I am very well aware that change imposed from the top doesn’t ever work so rational people should not only live a frugal lifestyle and consume less resources (brainpower , money ..) as possible on stuff which doesn’t produce any utility (entertainment , sport , fashion ) but also convince other people to stop their vanity fueled lunacy , for their own sake ( see Super Bowl example) and for society in it’s entirety.

Also CEOs are more often than not irrational people , 90% of the times their goal is to forcefully push down people’s throats a service or a product they don’t need (so they are basically doing the opposite of convincing people to avoid wasting money and brainpower on stuff they don’t need) in order to become rich and/​or famous and buy stuff they don’t need themselves....

10% of the CEOs want to forcefully push down people’s throats products and services they need , so they’d be able to live frugally and use that money for financing research and all the other important things ; unfortunately money =/​= brainpower and they’d be never able to offset the damage they caused ; this is the case of the billionaire friend of this community Peter Thiel (almost , he doesn’t quite live frugally) , when he invested in FB he was already into transhumanism , life extension , and WBE , so he probably thought that helping propel an idea like FB would have enabled him to carry on his real interests , 10 years later the progresses made in such fields are insignificant compared with what they could have been if young minds throughout the globe hadn’t been poisoned by such tech fueled debauchery . A book on transhumanism by Ray Kurzweil or Nick Bostrom , no matter how interesting it is can’t compete with the hot flirty russian girl literally 3 clicks away , so the minds (especially the young ones) that rational people were slowly beginning to convince end up wandering away further than ever before , overwhelmed by new overstimulating shiny things which would leave them scrambling for help when they’d learn that they have only 6 months left to live and that new experimental treatment is very expansive and has low chances of saving their lives

• Human population growth , being able successfully support 1520 billions humans on our planet , while making sure that each and everyone of them receives the daily dose of calories and proteins necessary to fully develop mentally and physically , get connected to infrastructure and cyberinfrastructure so that we would have more brainpower to solve our problems .

I am unclear on why this is one of your goals. Is a large population:

1. A terminal goal?

2. An instrumental goal, because the more people that are working on life extension, FAI, or whatever, the sooner we will achieve it?

3. Not a goal at all, but you feel that human population is headed towards 1520 billion, and you wish for all of those people to have their basic needs met?

If #1, it is unclear to me why you would think that a large population is so desirable that you are willing to give up biodiversity, meat, pandas, Netflix, etc., to achieve it.

If #2, I am not confident that a huge population is really the best/​fastest way to achieve those things. A large population can create problems of its own (overcrowding, competition for resources, etc.), and solving those problems could divert attention from whatever it is that you want society to achieve.

Also CEOs are more often than not irrational people , 90% of the times their goal is to forcefully push down people’s throats a service or a product they don’t need

IMO you are overstating the ability of a CEO to push products down anyone’s throat (as I am sure anyone who has ever tried to market an unpopular product could attest). Yes, corporations do engage in marketing, promotion, advertising, etc., but ultimately it is the consumer that makes the choice as to what products to buy. A company that is successful in selling a lot of products is, more often than not, a company that is successful in understanding what products consumers want and is successful in producing those products. By and large, people buy meat, luxury products, professionally produced entertainment, etc., because they really want those things rather than because a corporation forced those products upon them.

Also, I don’t know that I would call most CEOs irrational; perhaps they are acting rationally given their goals (which may differ from yours).

• 2 An instrumental goal, because the more people that are working on life extension, FAI, or whatever, the sooner we will achieve it

Exactly

If #1, it is unclear to me why you would think that a large population is so desirable that you are willing to give up biodiversity, meat, pandas, Netflix, etc., to achieve it.

To get there (WBE , life extension , the maintenance approach by Audrey de Grey , understanding of consciousness , AGI that would preserve our consciousness) faster than we would otherwise

If #2, I am not confident that a huge population is really the best/​fastest way to achieve those things. A large population can create problems of its own (overcrowding, competition for resources, etc.), and solving those problems could divert attention from whatever it is that you want society to achieve.

That’s the reason why we must optimize resources allocation in every possible way , cutting all the unnecessary (entertainment , jewelry , yacht , meat , sports , fashion) and redirect our effort toward the important stuff

By and large, people buy meat, luxury products, professionally produced entertainment, etc.

Because they don’t know what kind of society they are giving up by pursuing those things and not optimizing resources instead , but CEOs are supposed to be smart people , they should know better , instead of enlightening people they sell them the crap they want in order to elevate themselves and be in a position which would enable them to buy all the crap they want . Few of them want to convert money earned by selling crap into progress towards that kind of society , but money are only useful when somebody on the other side accepts it to buy food and other stuff , too bad they are too busy buying crap to care about WBE

Also, I don’t know that I would call most CEOs irrational; perhaps they are acting rationally given their goals (which may differ from yours).

If their goal is becoming the 0,000001% in a suboptimal society instead of being an average citizen in a optimized society , then yes , they are irrational , statistics proved this time and time again , what kills the billionaire is the exact same pathology that kills the plumber....the billionaire might have a 28-32 months advantage in accessing a new experimental treatment , but that doesn’t cost billions of dollars , 5-10 millions will suffice

• If their goal is becoming the 0,000001% in a suboptimal society instead of being an average citizen in a optimized society , then yes , they are irrational , statistics proved this time and time again , what kills the billionaire is the exact same pathology that kills the plumber

I don’t think that you can use statistics to prove that a goal is irrational in this way. You appear to be working from an unstated assumption that everyone’s terminal goals are identical to yours—a high weighting on long lifespan and a negligible weighting on everything else. In fact, this is not the case; people’s terminal goals vary.

• Well , in that case the interests of the majority would prevail

• The thing is, no one needs to align his/​her goals to those of the majority. As long as he/​she does not intrude upon the rights of others, each person can pursue his/​her own goals. The great thing about “voting with your wallet” (as you put it), is that it is not a winner-take-all vote. You can use your resources towards your vision of maximal life expectancy, someone who values biodiversity, panda habitats, etc., can work on or contribute towards conservation efforts, and the live-for-the-moment hedonist can spend his/​her money on luxury goods, etc. In fact, most people are not exclusively in any one of those camps but rather have a complex mix of goals; that is why a one-size-fits-all set of spending and career priorities is unreasonable.

• the rights of others

What about the right not to be killed? I’d live up to 5-10 years more if society valued longevity as much as I do...society would be defacto responsible for my premature death

• Your right to pursue your goal of maximal life expectancy does not imply that anyone else has an obligation to dedicate his/​her career or assets towards your goal. However, the arrangement is reciprocal; no one can compel you to abandon your goals and dedicate your career and assets towards his/​her goals either.

• What about laws in place to punish those who run over people and kill them because their goal is to get wherever they need to go as fast as possible ? We punish these people..also we punish those who drive recklessly because they harm society as a whole by pursuing their goal

• Fortunately we have laws to mediate conflicts in individuals’ goals and desires. The law in most jurisdictions sees a difference between causing the death of another person by driving in an unsafe and illegal manner, and failing to dedicate one’s career and assets towards the goal of maximal life expectancy. IMO, the law gets this distinction right.

If this is what you meant by “Well , in that case the interests of the majority would prevail”, then yes, I agree with that.

• Human population growth

Shouldn’t you be overwhelmingly concerned with increasing fertility, then? Given the current trends, the human population is expected to stabilize (or maybe even peak) at a level below 10 billion people. Some first-world countries (e.g. Japan) already have a declining population.

Because once a person’s basic needs are satisfied the rational thing to do is to make sure that such needs will be met in the near and remote future

Beans and ammo! X-)

Does this mean that you explicitly reject Maslow’s Pyramid? Humans should never want anything other than their basic needs and if these are currently satisfied, humans should continue working at reducing the uncertainty of these needs being met in the future?

stuff which doesn’t produce any utility (entertainment , sport , fashion )

You have an unusual definition of utility. What is it? How do you define utility?

they clearly have mental problems

*snort*

A book on transhumanism by Ray Kurzweil or Nick Bostrom , no matter how interesting it is can’t compete with the hot flirty russian girl literally 3 clicks away

Are you, um, speaking from personal experience? :-D Because clearly people read these books. Maybe there are.. gaps? between chasing hot Russian chicks? (and studs, I presume)

• Shouldn’t you be overwhelmingly concerned with increasing fertility, then? Given the current trends, the human population is expected to stabilize (or maybe even peak) at a level below 10 billion people. Some first-world countries (e.g. Japan) already have a declining population.

I am , but at the same time overwhelming poverty signals that we must be more efficient in how we allocate resources too...having 15 billions humans living on Earth but only having 4 billions actively participating in problem solving is not the goal

Does this mean that you explicitly reject Maslow’s Pyramid? Humans should never want anything other than their basic needs and if these are currently satisfied, humans should continue working at reducing the uncertainty of these needs being met in the future?

I would not say I reject it , for me the cutoff should be at the friends level , or even better allies , likeminded people to share thoughts and trying to change society for the better with the ultimate goal to live longer

You have an unusual definition of utility. What is it? How do you define utility?

Everything below the Maslow pyramid cutoff I just described

Are you, um, speaking from personal experience? :-D Because clearly people read these books. Maybe there are.. gaps? between chasing hot Russian chicks? (and studs, I presume)

We’re talking about a really small percentage of the population

• the cutoff should be at the friends level , or even better allies

Huh? Maslow’s Pyramid goes Physiology → Safety → Belonging → Esteem → Self-actualization. It has nothing to do with how wide your circle of concern is.

with the ultimate goal to live longer

Ah, there we go.

Do you think other people MUST have the same goal and if they don’t they are mistaken?

• Ah, there we go.

Do you think other people MUST have the same goal and if they don’t they are mistaken?

Well yes , because if ask you the question today you’ll answer me that you want to live one more day , if I ask you the same question tomorrow you’ll still answer me that you want to live one more day....and so forth… then you must plan in advance in order to make it happen ; If you fail to plan ; you plan to fail

• That was one of Eliezer’s worse arguments, for a number of reasons. First of all, it is literally false. If you are actually asking what would happen if that were to happen in reality, here’s the answer: each day there is a finite probability that you will say that you do not want to live another day. And there is no reason for that probability to go down infinitely, so in the limit you can be quite sure that you will one day say that you do not want to live another day.

Second, and more empirically, many people in their 80s say they are basically waiting to die, and not because their lives are awful, but because they think they lived long enough. And perhaps they will still say they want one more day, but perhaps not, especially for the above reason.

Third, time inconsistency. Even if you actually say you want to live another day each day, that does not prove that you want to live forever, anymore than if there is an alcoholic who says he wants a drink whenever he is offered, that means he wants to remain an alcoholic.

• Second, and more empirically, many people in their 80s say they are basically waiting to die, and not because their lives are awful, but because they think they lived long enough. And perhaps they will still say they want one more day, but perhaps not, especially for the above reason.

They are simply , wrong , or if you prefer they have a limited vision , they think that they have experienced everything that there is to life , but if they lived longer new cool stuff to experience would emerge and so forth

• The ironic thing is that they probably know more about it than you do, and when you are their age you might think the same way they do.

• Well yes , because if ask you the question today you’ll answer me that you want to live one more day

You’re forgetting that there is a cost to everything.

This goes back to my question about 60 years as a rich first-worlder or 80 years as a tropical subsistence farmer. Or, if you want, it goes back to at least the Achilles’ choice in Iliad.

• This goes back to my question about 60 years as a rich first-worlder or 80 years as a tropical subsistence farmer. Or, if you want, it goes back to at least the Achilles’ choice in Iliad.

I’ll take 80 years as a subsistence farmer over 60 years as Bill “fired my co-founder and childhood friend while he was dying of cancer” Gates any time , because he’ll run out of options and will have his freedom of action reduced to a big fat zero 20 years earlier than the farmer

• Yes, as your personal choice. But the interesting question is whether you consider people who make a different choice to be just wrong or mentally ill.

• So are you claiming that you DON’T consider a person who spends 200k in jewelry to be mentally ill ? 200k for a bunch of rocks...

• Yes, I do not.

You do recognize that other people are different from you..?

• You do recognize that other people are different from you..?

Drug addicts and alcoholics are different from me too....but society paints them as people with disturbs who need to be cured , because those of us not drinking and not doing drugs somehow know better than them and know what is better for them (and for us given that we always calculate the cost of drugs on society , healthcare and economy)

Also would you consider moral somebody who sells a bunch of useless rocks like opals , rubies....for 200k? Society paints drug dealers as evil making money off innocent people’s poor decisions , I don’t know how is that different from a jeweler selling a ruby for 200k , plus people wasting resources mining , polishing , selling and collecting these useless rocks are a cost for society exactly like drug addicts

• because those of us not drinking and not doing drugs somehow know better than them

Careful there. Societies’ opinions on what’s proper and what’s not… change. A few centuries ago if you weren’t a Christian in Europe, you were a person “with disturbs” who needs to be cured, by a bonfire if necessary (to save your immortal soul, of course).

Also would you consider moral somebody who sells a bunch of useless rocks like opals , rubies....for 200k?

Sure. What’s the problem with voluntary transactions? They are useless to you, but not to other people. Do you know what’s useless and what’s not better than everyone else?

• Sure. What’s the problem with voluntary transactions? They are useless to you, but not to other people. Do you know what’s useless and what’s not better than everyone else?

A person who regularly buys opiates is making a voluntary transaction too , society acts to stop these transactions because they damage collectivity (costs for society being : healthcare , unemployment , crime , loss of productivity...) , by the same token you could argue that mining , polishing , transporting and selling a useless rock like a ruby has some undesirable costs for society

• by the same token you could argue

By the same token you could argue for a lot of things—from pointing out that publicly expressing doubt in Beloved Great Leader “has some undesirable costs for society” to just putting grannies onto ice floes.

• Ok , so does this mean that you’re in favor of a depenalization of both commerce and consumption of all drugs , alcohol and prostitution with no age restriction?

• With age restrictions (because minors are limited in the consent they can give) but yes, I am in favour of decriminalisation of sex, drugs, and alcohol.

I feel this is a good place for a Hunter S. Thompson quote X-D

I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.

• I’ll take 80 years as a subsistence farmer over 60 years as Bill “fired my co-founder and childhood friend while he was dying of cancer” Gates any time

I would have supposed that Bill Gates was on your “good CEO list” (if you have such a list) due to the amount of money he has contributed to vaccine development and generally to improving health, longevity and quality of life in developing nations.

• Companies that focus simply on the balance sheet and customer reviews won’t develop the kind of products that Steve Job did. Steve did make strategic moves that could be justified with neither at the time.

• finally both companies (TSLA/​SCTY and SpaceX) employ a disproportionate amount of people in PR and media relations

How do you know? Do you have a source for that claim?

Even if it would be true Tesla spends a lot less on marketing than their competitors.

• 28 Oct 2016 13:41 UTC
0 points

If anyone here has been treated for neurosis (?) using low doses of Sulpiride—did you find life duller, afterwards?

• 27 Oct 2016 4:08 UTC
0 points

What are some rationality things I can do with my girlfriend? Any games? Preferably free and portable things (e.g. don’t need any equipment). I don’t want to go to rationality meetups with her, cause they’re full of guys who’ll hit on her no doubt! Also she’s not a rationalist so no jargonny stuff.

• Do the exercise where you look into the other person’s eyes for 10 minutes by the clock, that’s a fun social skills building exercise that brings you closer to the person you do it with.

Do pre-mortems of things. I.e. supposing we’re 5 years in the future and we look back at the problems we had, what do we expect those problems to have been? Can we change them?

• Define “rationality things”...

they’re full of guys who’ll hit on her no doubt!

So what? Do you think that is different in any street or store? On the opposite I would say that rationality meetups would tend to be more respectful of boundaries than the average group of human beings.

• What are some rationality things I can do with my girlfriend?

The NSFW ones.

• any suggestions?

• Use science! X-D

1. Perform an experiment

2. Observe the results

3. Adjust the particulars of the experiment to shift the results in the desired direction

4. Goto 1

• Insert peg A into slot B. Pleasure should ensue for both parties. Follow emergent heuristics.

If pleasure is not evoked or in case of mismatching heuristics, try to vary peg and/​or slot and/​or frequency/​speed/​depth of insertion.