I don’t see the point of making the first box opaque, if you can open it and then decide whether to take the second box.
I think there was an opportunity for the USSR to grow faster, on par with other countries that leapfrogged it since the 60s. Maybe it’s not about capitalism vs socialism, but still has to do with economic issues, like the oil curse.
I think overregulation of land is indeed responsible for high rents and many other problems, but it’s not the main factor in homelessness. Many Western cities with high rents still have much fewer homeless than the Bay Area. There are counterexamples in the other direction too: Moscow in the 90s had a lot of questionably legal construction and a lot of homeless.
Maybe the Bay Area homelessness situation is caused by US society being unwilling to house and feed the homeless in cheaper areas? That might be a simpler explanation, but I don’t know enough.
If obtaining more of the good at its normal cost could fix the shortage, it wasn’t a very severe shortage. The serious ones do require obtaining more units of the good at higher cost per unit, one way or the other. Imagine a drought that makes bread production more expensive, or a snowstorm that increases transport costs for bringing snow shovels from the next town over.
As I said in the other comment, if society feels that some good should be offered for cheap to people in need, then it should actually offer that good for cheap, funded by taxes. Banning private actors from offering that good at higher price is just an empty way to pretend you’re helping.
Sweatshops are nice, but not because poor workers prefer them to the alternative. After all, poor workers will also work in diamond mines or banana plantations, if the alternative is starving. But an economy based on diamond mines or banana plantations will always stay poor with bandits on top, while countries with sweatshops (trading their labor instead of extracting stuff from the land) get massive economic growth and “graduate” from sweatshops pretty fast.
About price gouging, I’m not sure this is even the right question. Disaster recovery is the perfect situation where planned economy beats market: there’s a known need, affecting a known set of people equally, and the government has tax money specifically for this need.
As far as I know, the only real solution to this and other such problems is hiring better bouncers—with good situational awareness, good judgment of people, good ability to become very present/intimidating or very invisible/unobtrusive at will. Have some at the door, turning away people who give the wrong vibe, and some inside the venue, making the rounds in a friendly way.
Also, please don’t listen to the more outlandish suggestions here (ban drinks, ban drinks on the dancefloor, have gatekeepers between parts of the venue, tape lids on drinks, post scary signs). These will actively turn off good people. The venue should feel like a place of free-rolling comfort and joy.
I’m pretty happy that we no longer have divine right of kings, though. For most of history god-monarchies were very prevalent. Somehow Locke and his friends found an attack that worked, it wasn’t a small task.
Eye patterns are interesting. For example, when walking outside, I’ve always been more focused on the big static overall view. But recently I discovered that it’s pretty fun to do “motion detection” instead—look at each moving person / car / bird for a split second to register which way they’re going and how fast, then flit to the next one, and ignore non-moving objects completely. It’s quite relaxing.
When I saw the title of your post, I thought of something else that could be pretty exciting: training research skills using independent rediscovery. For example, if you’re a chemist and have a vague idea that rubber can be vulcanized, you can work out the details yourself without looking it up. It’d probably need some more experienced people to choose the problems, so you don’t end up spending decades like Goodyear did, but it could be fun. In math of course it’s commonplace, when you read math you always try to work out proofs before looking ahead. But I don’t know how much it’s done in other fields.
That’s a good criticism which goes to the heart of the post. But I’ve done plenty of introspection, and on the margin I have less trust in it than you do. Most people I expect can’t tell the difference between “I’m unhappy in my profession” and “I’m unhappy with my immediate manager” much better than chance, even with hours of introspection.
One thing that does help is experimenting, trying this and that. But for that you need “resource”; and the list in my post is pretty much the stuff that builds “resource”, no matter what your problems are.
Okay, yeah, I had no idea that this much parallelism already existed. There could be still a reason for serial overhang (serial algorithms have more clever optimizations open to them, and neurons firing could be quite sparse at any given moment), but I’m no longer sure things will play out this way.
Yeah, maybe my intuition was pointing a different way: that the brain is a physical object, physics is local, and the particular physics governing the brain seems to be very local (signals travel at tens of meters per second). And signals from one part of the brain to another have to cross the intervening space. So if we divide the brain into thousands of little cubes, then each one only needs to be connected to its six neighbors, while having plenty of interesting stuff going inside—rewiring and so on.
Edit: maybe another aspect of my intuition is that “tick” isn’t really a thing. Each little cube gets a constant stream of incoming activations, at time resolution much higher than typical firing time of one neuron, and generates a corresponding outgoing stream. Generating the outgoing stream requires simulating everything in the cube (at similar high time resolution), and doesn’t need any other information from the rest of the brain, except the incoming stream.
My point is, the whole “age of em” might well come and go in the following regime: many neurons per processor, many processors per em, few ems per data center. In this regime, adding more processors to an em speeds up their subjective time almost linearly. You may ask, how can “few ems per data center” stay true? First of all, today’s data centers are like 100K processors, while one em has 100B neurons and way more synapses, so adding processors will make sense for quite awhile. Second of all, it won’t take that much subjective time for a handful of Von Neumann-smart ems to figure out how to scale themselves to more neurons per em, allowing “few, smarter ems per data center” to go on longer, which then leads smoothly to the post-em regime.
Also your mentions of clock speed are still puzzling to me. My whole argument still works if there’s only ever one type of processors with one clock speed fixed in stone.
To Amdahl’s law—I think simulating a brain won’t have any big serial bottlenecks. Split up by physical locality, each machine simulates a little cube of neurons and talks to machines simulating the six adjacent cubes. You can probably split one em into a million machines and get like a 500K times speedup or something. Heck, maybe even more than a million times, because each machine has better memory locality. If your intuition is different, can you explain?
To overclocking—it seems you’re saying parallelization depends on it somehow? I didn’t really understand this part.
Here’s something that just came to my mind: simulating a human brain is probably very parallelizable, since it has a huge number of neurons, and each neuron fires a couple hundred times per second at most. So if you have some problem which is difficult but still can be solved by one person, it’s probably more efficient to give it to one person running at 1000x speedup, not 1000 people at 1x speed who have to pay fixed costs to understand the problem and communication costs to split it up. And as computers get faster, the arithmetic keeps working—a 1M em is better than 1K 1K ems. So it seems possible that the most efficient population of ems will be quite small, one or a handful of people per data center. It’s true that as knowledge grows, more ems are needed to understand it all; but Von Neumann was a living example that one person can understand quite a lot of things, and knowledge aids like Wikipedia will certainly be much cheaper to run than ems.
In the slightly longer perspective, I expect our handful of ems to come up with enough self improvement tech, like bigger working memory or just adding more neurons, that a small population can continue to be optimal. No point paying the “fixed costs of being human” (ancestral circuitry) for billions or trillions of less efficient ems, if a smaller number of improved ems gives a better benefit ratio for that cost.
So in short, it seems to me that the world with lots and lots of ems will simply never arrive, and the whole “duplicator” concept is a bit of red herring. Instead we should imagine a world with a much smaller number of “Wise Ones”, human-derived entities with godlike speed and understanding. They will probably be quite happy about their lot in life, not miserable and exploited. And since they’ll have obvious incentive to improve coordination among themselves as well, that likely leads to the usual singleton scenario.
I don’t know if this argument is new, welcome to be shown wrong.
No way to remove it from the internet at this point, but the obvious thing to do for LW goodwill is to remove the post and replace it with an apology, I’m not sure why that hasn’t happened yet.
Yeah, I was also wondering about the minimum requirement. It seems feedback would be most useful to people writing their first posts, and there’s no limitation on making a first post, is there? In the AI Alignment Prize I tried to write feedback to everyone and it ended up being a very valuable experience, both for the participants and for me.
So, I think your message has two contradictory parts:
Write from your own experience, in your personal voice, and so on
Write like this! Remove X, remove Y, etc
This took me a while to realize, but (1) is the more valuable advice. Different people’s personalities are tuned to different ways of writing, and any trick you learned elsewhere and try to layer “on top” (yes, even brevity) can get in the way. The goal of writing is partly to discover how you write. Not how you write at current skill level—that probably just sucks—but something more like an idealization of how you read.
There was some book that a friend once mentioned to me, I don’t know the author or how the book is called, but an anecdote stuck with me. It’s about a guy who’s trying to learn opera singing, and keeps trying to find some imagined teacher, “the man with the voice of a red bull”, a phrase that came to him in a dream. Quite an image for an idealized opera singer, don’t you think? Well, he spends years and never realizes that the thing he was dreaming about was his own voice—in a potential future where he chased the art in exactly the right way.
To me that story sums up what art should be about. You’ve got to have a dream; it has to be your dream, and it will suggest ways to chase it. To some people the dream tells to omit unnecessary words, to Nabokov it suggested something quite different. And to you personally, I guess the question is: are short sentences getting straight to the point really the most enjoyable thing about writing to you? It’s certainly the thing that Paul Graham likes, so more power to him, but you’re allowed to like other things too.
This is all very suspicious. Let’s say I write a program for a robot that will gather apples and avoid tigers. So most of its hardware and software complexity will be taken up by circuitry to recognize apples, recognize tigers, move legs, and so on. There seems no reason why any measure of “symmetry” of the mental state, taken from outside, would correlate much to whether the robot is currently picking an apple or running from a tiger—or in other words, to pleasure or pain.
Maybe we have some basic difference from such robots, but I’d bet that we’re not that different. Most of our brain is workaday machinery. If it makes “waves”, these waves are probably about workaday functioning. If you’re measuring anything real, it’s probably not a correlate of consciousness at all, and more likely a correlate of how busy the brain is being at any moment. No?
I don’t know, meditation is very inward and mental, the opposite of the stuff I’d recommend. And people who meditate a lot tend to change their affect in a way that’s kinda off-putting to me; while people who live “outward” in the way I describe tend to have pretty attractive (to me) manner.