Yudkowsky, Thiel, de Grey, Vassar panel on changing the world

30 minute panel

The first ques­tion was why isn’t ev­ery­one try­ing to change the world, with the un­der­ly­ing as­sump­tion that ev­ery­one should be. How­ever, it isn’t ob­vi­ously the case that the world would be bet­ter if ev­ery­one were try­ing to change it. For one thing, try­ing to change the world mostly means try­ing to change other peo­ple. If ev­ery­one were try­ing to do it, this would be a huge drain on ev­ery­one’s at­ten­tion. In ad­di­tion, some peo­ple are suffi­ciently mean and/​or stupid that their efforts to change the world make things worse.

At the same time, some efforts to change the world are good, or at least plau­si­ble. Is there any way to im­prove the filter so that we get more am­bi­tion from be­nign peo­ple with­out just say­ing ev­ery­one should try to change the world, even if they’re Osama bin Laden?

The dis­cus­sion of why there’s too much du­pli­cated effort in sci­ence didn’t bring up the prob­lem of fund­ing, which is prob­a­bly an­other ver­sion of the prob­lem of peo­ple not do­ing enough in­de­pen­dent think­ing.

There was some dis­cus­sion of peo­ple get­ting too hooked on com­pe­ti­tion, which is a way of get­ting a lot of peo­ple pointed at the same goal.

Link thanks to Clarity