This reminds me, it’s been years since I last checked the progress of laws against corporal punishment of children.
It brings me back to another period of my life. I would talk about it a lot around me, but ended up having very little impact.AFAIK, it’s an other class of problems than the ones EA solves. EA tends to focus on consensual and scalable problems where money has an obvious way of being used. Because money has more impact in poorer countries, the typical problem is something like “we need money to build wells in Sahel”, as opposed to “we need to pass this controversial law in the US”.
I have no idea of the situation in the US. I would expect the lockdowns to have a tremendous negative effect on mental health. I mean, even ignoring social isolation, lockdowns have a tremendous negative effect on the economy, and the economy has a direct impact on mental health. In France, I’ve read that there’s a visible increase in student depression, and while the suicide rate was normal in 2020, it started to rise in 2021 possibly as a delayed effect.
Border closures: Shouldn’t be a legal mandate or recommended, except in extreme circumstances
Vaccine passports: Probably fair, seems fantastic for public health and, while highly abusable, not at all an abuse in this actual case
You seem to think that since the context that triggered vaccine passports is the right one, then the measure is not an abuse. But what matters is the use that’s made of the measure.
Asking additional precautions from people who are not vaccinated when traveling could be understandable, as long as the virus is considered a big enough threat. But outright forbidding travel for people who are not even sick would be, for most western countries, a new precedent of unseen human rights breach.
Seeing the way my country has favored coercive measures to fight the pandemic, regardless of the efficiency and cost, I can confidently say that such a measure as vaccine passports will be abused. At least here.
But hey, as a major contributor on the topic here once said, I’m just a European concerned for “muh freedom”.
While I fully agree with your general point that you have to compare your costs not with the current situation, but the counterfactual where you would not have incured those costs, in the TSA case, I wonder whether more regulation might also have an effect of increasing attacks chances by signaling that you care about attacks, therefore that attacks are efficient at hurting you.
Then next week, as you are saving your nth child, you notice that this is the first child you saved. That child fell into the pond again!
Years later you meet a child you saved. That child is now a grown adult. They kept living near the pond in a dire condition. As a consequence their whole life has been miserable, and they made people miserable around them.
That child is now an adult. They had 10 children. 5 of them fell in ponds and drowned.
I’m not saying that that’s what happens in real life. Just that the analogy never considers those cases (same disclaimer as OP).
Concise, to the point, love it.
There are probably a class of people for whom working on AI alignment is not worth it/optimal/their concern before crunch time, but becomes their main focus once crunch time is officially declared. Something akin to sleeper agents, if you will.
There should be a network ready to tap on these people’s assets/skills when the signal is launched.
The right to reproduce is fundamental.
It might be that creating new consciousnesses is a fundamental right, but merely stating it is just sweeping a (tricky) subject under the rug. And even rights have limits when they collide with other rights. Imagine someone has a genetic trait that condemns their offspring to constant excruciating pain. How about the right not to be born just to suffer?
Selective Breeding is CruelFor myself personally, this is the most compelling reason to not use selective breeding: it is a cruel judgment upon those who, through no fault of their own, happen to draw the short stick in the genetic lottery.
For myself personally, this is the most compelling reason to not use selective breeding: it is a cruel judgment upon those who, through no fault of their own, happen to draw the short stick in the genetic lottery.
How about people who are not attractive then?
Though we may recognize that certain genes confer advantages to an individual, we must not confuse human ability with human value.
Differences in ability already lead to different opportunities for breeding offspring. Should we correct that too?
There’s one that’s hard to guess, but easy to test if you have a small pool or even a kitchen sink (from Aha! by Martin Gardner).
In a pool there’s a boat with heavy gold in it. You throw the gold at the bottom of the pool. Of course, the boat rises, but what about the level of the water in the pool?
One I haven’t seen anywhere:
I go hiking on a mountain. When I start, the water makes up half the total wieght of my backpack. When I reach the summit, I have drunk half the water. What proportion of the backpack weight does it make up now?
At quick glance it seems just a slightly more complicated example of always telling the truth (a la Kant) VS lying strategically. But lying can be useful. Likewise PR can be useful.
I have a strong feeling of déjà-vu. I witnessed a similar discussion happen a few years ago, but was it here?
If you talk about the progress of (un)happiness in rich countries over the last decades, you should say a word about the progress of unemployment in rich countries over the last decades.
Spiritual feelings are often associated with awe and the word ‘transcendent’
After being born, at the crucial stages of the development of our being, we are left in a stage of utmost dependency. We own nothing, we are helpless, and the world is full of obvious but unnatainable meaning. At this stage, every growing human needs the percievable world to be fairly well-intended to even survive through infancy, let alone thrive. So evolution hardwired us to seek bonding with our caretakers. That wiring manifests in the form of an intense feeling of fullfillment when we reaffirm or strengthen that bond.
I suspect that transcendence and spiritual awe are more common with people who feel helpless in their life, as an attempt to recreate that feeling of being helped and supported by a powerful entity beyond understanding. Monotheistic spirituality, with the figure of the loving father-god, goes as far as to explicitly state that the believer should forgo understanding and be a helpless child in the hand of the benevolent god.
I am neither evil nor a psychopath.
Shame really, we are still short of one for our Evil Psychopath monthly poker night! Let us know if you manage to acquire the evil of psychopathy you’re missing before the end of the month! We’ve got smoothies!
That’s one difference I regularly meet between western stories and anime. In the West, evil antagonists seem reduced to two qualities: they’re bad, and we don’t want/need to know about them. Evil here is like mysterious. Conversely, in anime, most villains have their motives explained as well as heroes. Sometimes, it’s the same motive! Typically, loyalty to friends (the °1 motive for heroes and villains alike in shonen).
This makes villains much more interesting and relatable. Villains are not alien, of a different substance than us. They’re like us, except they dare do what we don’t, and in doing that they exemplify their values in a way that lets us explore counterfactuals and learn from that experience. They’re so interesting that they can become more popular than heroes (Yagami Light).
A show that does it masterfully is Attack on Titan. It’s excellent at circling a character’s point of view in a few quick strokes and never making light of it. I can sympathise with really any character, however beef they have among themselves.
All your points are correct, but they explain why censorship can be successful, which I don’t doubt. My point was that it ends up not being for the greater good.
Ever read history? Censorship has a really bad track record. I’m puzzled at why some people think it’ll be for the greater good this time.
Well I think as a general matter that a case against status quo is incomplete without the case for an alternative, because everybody can picture the status quo, but few will guess what your alternative looks like.
There’s been a plethora of essays denouncing the school system already, and I haven’t seen any major change except more restrictions on alternatives to public schools. A difficulty IMO is that good teaching is hard to scale. To keep motivated, young people need models to look up to, and the most relatable are the ones they can interact with IRL. An alternative would be teaching parents to be those role models, but your mileage would vary.
Have you heard of the monitorial system—bleh, this sounds carceral in English - ? When public education appeared, a lot of leeway was left to teachers. To manage large numbers of students, the school didn’t batch students by age. Students who had learned a topic would teach it in return. This seems like a clever way to form role models, personalize learning, teach responsibility and reinforce the learnings, all with minimum investment.
My current best plan would be to get rich, fund multiple private schools based on alternatives, rate them, keep the best, open more. I’m far from milestone 1.
Great writing, enthralling, whether or not one adheres with the message. The Enemy feels like it fits a very general pattern in my mind, like this article could be interpreted as a metaphor for many different struggles.
However I am sick and tired of the “we will eventually prevail” mantra (my gratitude for whoever finds if there’s an actual name). I am starting to get old, and in my life I’ve seen countless of these claims about various causes, how group X is suffering unfairly now, but someday, just someday… you’ll see. We’ll have to change, the conditions will be different. The bad guys can’t stay unpunished. The truth will triumph—when? They never achieve anything. A cheap hope, better than despair? I disagree. Hope can induce passivity as easily as despair, two ways of changing your perception of the situation without changing the situation. What we need is a plan, concrete actionable steps to a goal. Spare the motivational speech, cut to the strat if you’ve got one.
When a person is incarcerated for 8 hours every day, it’s previsible, and I’d say even fair, that they will make life harder for their jailors’ accomplices in their free time. The point ‘children are hurricanes’ fits both sides of the argument.
Anyway, I don’t believe that point to begin with. Sure, some children are like that, but nowhere near the majority.
If you look at wars during the Antiquity, barbarians would rush to combat in disorder. They would challenge each other to kill the most enemies to keep themselves motivated. And they were utterly decimated by the roman legion. Hierarchy replaces morale with discipline: centralised armies can push soldiers way beyond the point where they would give up and flee if they could. Therefore, trust is less an issue in centralised armies: each soldier can be assured that their neighbour will not leave their side at the worst moment. This in turn boosts the soldier’s morale. Unorganised armies would rush to combat, but also break and flee easily, which made it easy for fast troops like cavalry to chase and slaughter them.
Also, strategy: sometimes, troops must be sacrificed to make a higher gain. Who would volunteer to be sacrificed?