I would strengthen the term+self-fund recommendation for readers of LW. You say it only makes sense if you “expect to be very wealthy”; however, it seems to me that it is pretty easy, over the course of 20 years or so, to plan to save up a few hundred thousand $ to self-fund after that point. If that doesn’t sound easy then it is not so clear that cryonics is for you; and IUL isn’t solving the problem because you still have to pay the money in expectation. It seems like IUL only makes sense if the term insurance gets expensive before you can conceive of a way to save the money on your own. I guess it also makes sense if you aren’t conscientious about saving or making term payments. But it seems to me like you pay a lot for this convenience.
This is a hard question and software people will typically not want to be pinned-down on specifics without consulting with you extensively, because the depth of requirements for software projects vary dramatically. You’re asking for very little functionality (which is great!) but the bulk of costs of software construction are not in the core functionality, they are in polish, bug-fixing and edge-case handling, which you included in your requirements (“simple, secure, and easy to use”) but would need to be a lot more specific about, in order to get a result you’d be happy with. It’s really hard to give these kinds of estimates without those conversations.
To just satisfy the requirements, I could imagine doing the non-payment-processing version very cheaply using Typeform or another “survey builder” for the UI, and a simple backend that just pulls the results out of Typeform and sends notifications. I could imagine throwing a prototype for this together in a few days of time for someone like me (so less than a few thousand $) but it would probably not work well, be reliable, etc. at that level of polish. Also, few freelance developers of quality will take on a project like this at that price point, because they have “seen it all before” and know that the edge cases and polish are likely going to result in a 10x cost inflation at a minimum.
Payment processing increases the cost a bunch because it adds new requirements for security, ease of understanding & debuggability, etc. You can often outsource the actual UI for it to e.g. Stripe Checkout though so it may not make a huge impact.
I don’t think you’ve given enough information to answer “what would be the best way to go about it?” For example it sounds like you need software help, but you might also need graphic design help, product design/UX help, etc. For software help I know that freelance developers will bid on your projects on various sites (I’m not familiar with which sites are currently considered reputable and I haven’t done this myself so I don’t know how hard it is to figure out which bidders are any good). But it’s unlikely you’ll produce a “simple, secure and easy to use” product without getting help in other domains as well. It is sometimes possible to convince people to work with you for free if they like your idea (and you).
Strong upvoted, because this post made me realize I myself am doing this “merge” and it seems like a useful distinction to draw that I haven’t been thinking about enough!
The biggest fear I have about pushing too hard towards purchasing these things separately is addressed in your post: I agree that “your efforts to do good will be cut off from the energy the accomplishment desire provides — a deprivation that could be costly, especially given that cases like Bob’s above only make a difference to Bob’s attitudes, not his actions.”
In some sense, I’d guess that a pretty sizable % of this community is attracted by the idea that one could do big things while also doing good things. Certainly that is a strong undercurrent in a lot of Eliezer’s writing. And if we push too hard back against that, there might be something of value lost. So I guess I agree with the post and am similarly mystified by what to do about it :)
I have a sense that we could collate thought and interest on “how to live better at home”. Setting up super-bright lighting, tips for finding friends, partners & raising kids, cohousing & coparenting, choosing places to move to en masse: it’s about your existence at the place you spend most of your time, and co-existence with people you love so much that you live with them.
Looking back, this seems to have been quite influential on my communication in the past year. I find myself summoning a mental image of the first diagram very frequently, and using the phrase “gears-level understanding” much more often. Nominated.
Oh exciting! I’ll probably join for this!
if I am interpreting Zolmeister correctly, i think you are misunderstanding their point and/or are talking past each other.
If I get paid $100 to write software for a company, that company may earn far more than $100 from the software I write; the company then resells the software, creating a ton of wealth. The wealth creation happens through the work, not the macroeconomic details of how I spend the $100. Those macroeconomic details are the “coincidence” of which GP speaks.
I don’t have Personal enabled under Latest and thus I don’t see the personal blog posts under “Latest”. But I do see them under “Recent Discussion”, maybe that is what ShardPhoenix is referring to? (In fact this is how I arrived here)
I asked just the title of this post to someone near me, who first laughed and said “ha ha not possible,” and when I said “no, really”, they came back with “community”. I asked for more details and it went something like this:
Community is the everyday practice of negotiating a positive outcome with people who aren’t just like you. When you do this regularly with people around you, you learn that they are people and that they have your back. Think churches, block parties, school boards. When community is our primary source of human interaction, we build this muscle of cooperation-by-default because that’s the social expectation, and because successful cooperation has positive feedback cycles that produce immediate returns.
We suck at this today: our communities are online,
national and personalized. There’s no longer a forcing function to be nice to / learn to communicate with our neighbors.
See also Ben Kuhn: https://www.benkuhn.net/lux/ and me: http://www.lincolnquirk.com/2019/11/26/lumenator.html (both of these are from about a year ago)
My update since my blog post is that I have a Yuji “high bay” luminaire, which I had linked to from my blog post but not tried last year. Now I can confirm that it is pretty bright, good color spectrum and easy to use—I place it on top of a bookshelf facing towards the corner. https://store.yujiintl.com/products/high-cri-95-high-bay-ufo-led-light-pack-1pcs
I know you said android, but I use an iPad Pro and am quite happy with it. The biggest thing affecting drawing performance is pad-to-screen latency, and Apple has actual experts that have spent a lot of time on that problem at the OS and hardware level—I don’t think android is well set up to achieve anything similar because of OS/hardware disintegration.
Huh, interesting. I’d like to hear more about your plans & vision, but I’ve put my interest in the spreadsheet.
Regarding one’s ability to effect social change: It seems like the standard arguments about small-probability, high-impact paths apply. I think a lot of STEM types tend to default to shy away from policy change, not because of comparative advantage (which would often be a good reason) but because of some blind spot in the way technologists talk about how to get things done in society. I think for historical reasons (the way the rationality community has grown) we tend to be biased towards technical solutions and away from policy ones.
My position is similar to that of 80000 hours: it seems like a super high impact cause, vying for the top with AI risk, pandemic risk, global poverty, and maybe 1 or 2 others. But is far more widely recognized and worked-on than those other causes. Enough so that it doesn’t seem like the marginal thing I can do is interesting compared to other problems I could work on.
My models for how to work on it if I did decide to work on it: 1) technology—we should have technology that solves the problem if widely enough deployed. I think we are basically there with nuclear and solar PV+energy storage, so I would probably only spend 10% or so of time getting up to speed on the technology before focusing on
Policy—we need to convince people to deploy the technology. This seems bigger and harder than the technology one, because of two reasons: a) society’s nuclear blind spot and b) the short-term interests of oil companies and the like who are powerful opposition to any policy which would hurt them in the short run regardless of long term societal outcome.
I don’t have a clear policy agenda but it seems like some combination of carbon tax, investment in PV, and nuclear is the right way to go. I currently would expect that work on the nuclear blind spot would be the most leveraged thing. The reason we have a blind spot seems to be the work of environmentalists from the 70s. As long as we could get them to flip, that could propagate through society in a useful way.
Oh great! I realize a lot of different people might have different ideas about what the vision is. Could you spend a few sentences distilling what exactly excites you about the idea?
Ok, I’ve thought a lot about this but I don’t have a strong pitch to make yet.
Here are my thoughts:
Cost of living seems really important in the long run! High cost of living eats up lifestyle slack really quickly, which constrains the sorts of occupations that one can have while being part of the community.
That said, there is a pretty substantial tradeoff between optimizing a place for the community (essentially relying on your social life being in-community members), and optimizing it for the surroundings. e.g., if you pick a place for low cost-of-living, you might expect nearly all your friends to be people who live in your community. Whereas if you pick a big city, you are probably picking it because you expect a rich social life outside the community.
As Vaniver wrote, it makes sense to pick places which are well suited to create a pocket neighborhood. Living in the same city as your friends is good, but living 2 doors down from them is way more awesome!
I know people talk about the weather as being important, but I am not fully sold on that needing to be a constraint. Humans are adaptable and most people should be able to adjust to bad seasonal weather pretty quickly. Seasonal mood disorders are a real thing though, and if we did go to a place with bad weather, I would definitely want to invest as a community into infrastructure that can help with this. I also am not willing to accept bad air quality in exchange for more temperate weather—e.g., when I lived in Senegal, the weather was gorgeous but the air quality was terrible. (That said, in the US there aren’t many places with really bad air quality.)
One weird idea I am considering is the monastery life: explicitly try excluding the outside world, optimize the space only for the gated community, and see how it works. It’s just an experiment, but if people are interested, let me know. (Inspiration from Neal Stephenson’s Anathem :) )
This seems absolutely right to me. I’ve been noodling on ideas in this space for a long time and it definitely seems like the right end-state for living long term is more like an archipelago / cluster than the group houses we usually see. I also don’t know how to find places that are well suited to this sort of development.
But even without the support of a town, it should be possible, with enough planning/thoughtfulness, to purchase (over time) a high % of the properties within a given city block or cul-de-sac or apartment building or whatever. To me, this just seems like a chicken-and-egg coordination problem—there are so many plausible cul-de-sacs you could buy, none will be perfect but any could work if there was already momentum, but there’s not yet. (Also, most people are impatient and don’t have the lifestyle slack to wait 2-5 years for a place to open up in their desired pocket neighborhood)
Have you read https://www.benkuhn.net/hard/ ? Curious what you think. (Disclosure: I started the company that Ben works for, which does not have hard eng problems but does have a high potential for social impact)
Nice post. I’m excited—is there a place where people who want to work on this sort of thing / live there can coordinate?
$100k and $250k are standardized life insurance amounts which over-fund CI by a lot. I can get a $100k 10-year term life at $11/mo and a $250k one for $15/mo. I currently get $100k life insurance through my company so I just did that. Smaller than $100k doesn’t seem worth thinking about.
I do expect to pay out of pocket once I have saved enough money for the cost not to matter, because I want to stop dealing with the logistics of proof of insurance.