Wikipedia articles from the future

post by snarles · 2014-10-29T12:49:39.507Z · LW · GW · Legacy · 86 comments

Speculation is important for forecasting; it's also fun.  Speculation is usually conveyed in two forms: in the form of an argument, or encapsulated in fiction; each has their advantages, but both tend to be time-consuming.  Presenting speculation in the form of an argument involves researching relevant background and formulating logical arguments.  Presenting speculation in the form of fiction requires world-building and storytelling skills, but it can quickly give the reader an impression of the "big picture" implications of the speculation; this can be more effective at establishing the "emotional plausibility" of the speculation.

I suggest a storytelling medium which can combine attributes of both arguments and fiction, but requires less work than either. That is the "wikipedia article from the future." Fiction written by inexperienced sci-fi writers tends to generate into a speculative encyclopedia anyways--why not just admit that you want to write an encyclopedia in the first place?  Post your "Wikipedia articles from the future" below.


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by polymathwannabe · 2014-10-30T13:12:19.561Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

English spelling

Between the [[Great Vowel Shift]] in the 8th century [[Before Fusion]] and the [[World Language Unification]] in the mid-1st century [[After Fusion]], English spelling had an infamously inconsistent relation to its phonology. Although the worldwide reach of the [[British Empire]] first, and the [[United States of the World]] afterwards contributed to English being the de facto lingua franca of all humankind, its unpredictable spelling was always a major obstacle to universal learning of the language. [[World Assembly Resolution 5429]] created the [[Revised Hangul Alphabet]] for use in all human languages, giving a long-due solution to a centuries-long problem.

comment by fubarobfusco · 2014-10-30T07:18:11.962Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fan fiction is an historical term for certain forms of [[storytelling]] during the [[Industrial-Copyright Era]]. The term was first used within [[early fandom]] to describe not-for-profit storytelling within fandom, but in the late 20th century came to refer specifically to stories told in violation of the era's [[commercial censorship]] laws, under which a commercially and legally recognized "owner" could impose legal penalties on tellers of "derivative" stories.

Subsequent to the international abolition of commercial censorship following the [[Chiyoda Convention of 2023]], the term became one of largely historical significance. Analytic and [[computational literary theory]] does not support a distinction between "fan" storytelling and "original" storytelling in works published before or after the Industrial-Copyright Era.[1][2][3]

While pre-analytic literary theorists had by and large discarded the concept of "originality" as a poor model of the process of story creation, [[Leonard's Theorem]] showed that the classification of authors or works into "original" and "fan" was an artifact of the censorship regime rather than of the creative process itself. The bimodal distributions of βcha and φplot arose from intermediate values being subject to legal penalty.

"Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different." —T. S. Eliot, early industrial-era author

"In gist, 'original' stories are just 'fan' stories with the names changed." — E. Mitchell Leonard, analytic literary theorist

Replies from: ancientcampus
comment by ancientcampus · 2014-10-31T01:33:10.295Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Nice! I really hope the pendulum doesn't swing that far, though.

Replies from: fubarobfusco
comment by fubarobfusco · 2014-10-31T03:11:33.118Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks. To explain the joke and/or show my work:

  • The seed idea here was the abolition of copyright in a post-consumerist society — not post-Singularity, but dramatically post-scarcity compared to today. Commercial media stopped being a thing because ① people don't need jobs because post-scarcity; ② noncommercial media descended from fan-works continued to improve in production quality; but ③ people still like good stories, and the most popular stories are often ones based on established, well-known characters. (From Anansi to Hamlet would make a great book title.)
  • The twist was literary theory as a scientific-mathematical discipline. This is an extrapolation from the computational turn in linguistics. In this future, "literary theory" refers to the mathematical study of possible and actual stories; with computational literary theory being the application of computational linguistics and cognitive science to the topic.
  • The bit that I had to go back and rewrite was to consistently use the words "storytelling" and "story" in place of words such as "fiction" and "literature", except in the article title and the academic field "literary theory". This future doesn't consider there to be hard boundaries between "folktales", "genre fiction", "fan fiction", and "literature" — all of these are stories, and this isn't a fluffy postmodern doctrine but a scientific result.
  • It's Whig history. The future writers think of their unitary concept of storytelling as both scientifically proven and obviously true, and the former era's distinctions (and laws) as being both superstitious and wicked. They think of copyright as an unnatural imposition on human culture — but they do so from a standpoint where authors/storytellers don't have to worry about earning a living.
  • Chiyoda is the ward of Tokyo in which Akihabara district is located.
  • E. Mitchell Leonard, of Leonard's Theorem, is E. L. James from a parallel universe.
comment by calef · 2014-10-30T01:19:18.220Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This article is marked as controversial and has been locked, see talk page for details.

Quantum computing winter

The Quantum computing winter was the period from 1995 to approximately October 2031 when experimental progress on the creation of fault tolerant quantum computers stalled despite significant effort at constructing the machines. The era ended with the publication of the Kitaev-Kalai-Alicki-Preskill (KKAP) theorem in early 2030 which purported to show that the construction of fault-tolerant quantum computers was in fact impossible due to fundamental constraints. The theorem was not widely accepted until experiments performed by Mikhail Lukin's group in early 2031 verified the bounds provided in the KKAP theorem.

Early history

Quantum computing technology looked promising in the late 20th and early 21st century due to the celebrated Fault Tolerance theorems, as well as the rapid experimental progress towards satisfying the fault tolerance threshold. The Fault Tolerance theorem, which at the time was thought to be based on reasonable assumptions, guaranteed scalable, fault tolerant quantum computation could be performed--provided an architecture could be built that had an error rate smaller than a known bound.

In the early 2010s, superconducting qubit architectures designed by John Martinis' group at Google, and then HYPER Inc., looked poised to satisfy the threshold theorems, and considerable work was done to build scaled architectures with many millions of physical qubits by the mid 2020s.

However, despite what seemed to be guarantees via threshold theorems for their architectures, the Martinis group was never able to report large concurrences for more than 12 (disputed) logical qubits.

The scalability wall

Parallel to the development of the scalable, silicon architectures, many groups continued work on other traditional schemes like neutral atoms, trapped ions, and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) based devices. These devices, in turn, ran into the now named Scalability Wall of 12 (disputed) entangled encoded qubits. For a discussion on the difference between encoded and physical qubits, see the discussion in Quantum error correction.

The Martinis group hoped that polishing their hardware, and scaling the size of their error correction schemes would allow them to surpass the limit, but progress stalled for more than a decade.

Correlated noise catastrophe

Alexei Kitaev, building on earlier work by Gil Kalai, Robert Alicki, and John Preskill published a series of papers in the late 2020s, culminating in the 2030 theorem now known as the KKAP Theorem, or the Noise Catastrophe Theorem. This proof traced how fundamental limits on the noise experienced by quantum mechanical objects irretrievably destroys the controllability of quantum systems beyond only a few qubits. Uncontrollable correlations were shown to arise in any realistic noise model, essentially disproving the possibility of large scale quantum computation.

Aftermath (This section has been marked as controversial, see the talk page for details)

The immediate aftermath of the publication of the proof was disbelief. Almost all indications pointed towards scalable quantum computation being possible, and that only engineering problems stood in the way of truly scalable quantum computation. The Nobel Prize (2061) winning work of Mikhail Lukin's team at Harvard only reinforced the shock felt by the Quantum Information community when the bounds provided in the KKAP Theorem's proof were explicitly saturated via cold atom experiments. Funding in quantum information science rapidly dwindled in the following years, and the field of Quantum Information was nearly abandoned. The field has since been reinvigorated by Kitaev's recent proof of the possibility of Quantum Gravitational computers in 2061.

Replies from: ancientcampus, Luke_A_Somers
comment by ancientcampus · 2014-10-31T01:35:47.016Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"and we're back at square one"

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2014-10-30T14:52:20.843Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Meh. If quantum gravity could do it, then any other quantum force could do it.

Replies from: gjm
comment by gjm · 2014-10-30T19:10:49.225Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think we know anywhere near enough about quantum gravity to be sure of that.

Not that I'd be super-optimistic about "quantum gravitational computers" actually being any use relative to ordinary quantum computers -- but in the absence of an actual working quantum theory of gravity I don't see how we can know they wouldn't make a difference in calef's hypothetical world.

Replies from: Luke_A_Somers
comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2014-10-31T04:18:54.543Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

We actually know quite a bit about quantum gravity: it must fall under a quantum mechanical framework, and it needs to result in gravity, and gravitons haven't been directly detected yet. This isn't enough to determine what the theory is, but it is enough to say some things about it. The main two things are:

1: Since it's just quantum mechanics, whatever it does, it'll just set another Hamiltonian. If it changes the ground rules, then it's not a theory of quantum gravity. It's a theory of something else gravity.

2: Gravity is weak. Ridiculously weak. Simply getting the states to not mush up into a continuum will be more difficult by a factor for which 'billions of times' would be a drastic understatement.

In order for gravity to be even noticeable, let alone the main driver of action, you either need to have really really enormous amounts of stuff, or things have to be insanely high energy and short-ranged and short-lived (unification energies).

Either of these would utterly murder coherence. In the former case your device would be big enough (and/or slow enough) that even neutrino collisions would decohere it fairly comprehensively long before the first operation could complete. In the latter case your computer is exploding at nearly the speed of light every time you turn it on and incidentally requires a particle accelerator that makes CERN look like 5V power cable,

So, everything that makes gravity different from electromagnetism makes it much much worse for computing.

Replies from: calef
comment by calef · 2014-10-31T05:54:22.057Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Not that I actually believe most of what I wrote above (just that it hasn't yet been completely excluded), if QG introduced small nonlinearities to quantum mechanics, fun things could happen, like superluminal signaling as well as the ability to solve NP-Complete and P#-Complete problems in polynomial time (which is probably better seen as a reason to believe that QG won't have a nonlinearity).

Replies from: Luke_A_Somers
comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2014-10-31T12:53:04.213Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Nonlinearities in quantum mechanics? Linearity is what makes quantum mechanics amplitude-independent. If you ruin that, then the laws of nature will change from moment to moment as the wavefunction moves to fill more and more of Fock space. Suffice it to say, QM's leading order is 1, and any higher powers are way out of reach.

Unless, that is, worlds are top-level entities in your physical theory somehow, which then brings in the full weight of the 'what does it have to do, kill a puppy' rant against it.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2014-10-30T08:38:08.650Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Basilisk (cognitive)

(This article is about the cognitive hazard. For other uses, see Basilisk (disambiguation)).)

A cognitive basilisk is a thought which a conscious system cannot think without radically altering its own operation, usually in destructive ways. The name comes from a mythical creature, the mere sight of which is supposedly lethal. (The actual legends mostly hold that the basilisk kills by looking at its victim; it is the Medusa that kills by being looked at. Nevertheless, the original name has stuck.) While it is disputed whether there are any real basilisks for human consciousness (see Roko's Basilisk), they are a major topic of concern for research on artificial conscious systems.

In the early days of consciousness engineering, many sudden and catastrophic system failures were found that at first did not appear to result from any error of design or programming[1][2]. In 2028 Marcello Herreshoff established that these were due to a new class of possible logical defects in systems of self-modifiable reasoning, and proved the first Basilisk Classification Theorem[3]. When limited to immutable first-order predicate calculus, the theorem subsumes a great many standard proof-theoretic results, including Gödel's incompleteness theorems and Löb's theorem. Since then, work has concentrated on extending the Basilisk theorems to obtain a complete classification of basilisks. As yet, no system of self-modifiable reasoning has been constructed that is basilisk-free. It remains an open question whether this is possible at all.

[1] Frey McFeannac, "The Ship Who Sank", Int. J. Unmanned Technology, July 2021.

Replies from: sixes_and_sevens
comment by sixes_and_sevens · 2014-10-30T10:48:36.251Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

(Redirected here from "2019 Cannibal Flashmob Incident")

comment by snarles · 2014-10-29T13:54:57.509Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Simulated dream state experiments

Simulated dream state experiments (SDSEs) are computer simulation experiments involving simulated humans sentiences in a dream state. Since the passing of the Banford agreement (1) in 2035, SDSEs are the exclusive means of ethically conducting simulation experiments of simulated human sentiences without active consent (2), although contractual consent (3) is still universally required for SDSEs. SDSEs have widespread scientific, commercial, educational, political, military and legal purposes. Scientific studies using SDSEs have been used to develop accelerated dream learning techniques; SDSEs are also employed as part of the scientific process itself, as a means of controlling creative hypothesis bias (4). Commercial applications of SDSEs include screening of job applicants and simulated consumer testing. Simulated ordeals are a major use of SDSEs in legal, political, and military contexts, for the purpose of enforcing the ethical integrity or good faith of the subject.

Scientific status

SDSEs are widely accepted within the scientific community as a valid substitute for waking-state simulations. The rapid development of silicooneirology (5) provided the necessary understanding to influence dream states with a high degree of control, including fine control of the subject's degree of lucidity. In a series of studies [1], [2], Walker et al. demonstrated high correlation between the behavior of one simulated set of subjects participating in a battery of waking-state simulated experiments and an identical set of copies participating in the equivalent SDSEs.


SDSEs are still banned in the European Union and in most Latin American countries. Additionally, most religious organizations are against SDSEs. Pope Clementine VIII has stated that the use of SDSEs conflicts with the concept of faith.

A number of international scandals have erupted over the alleged use of SDSEs as a torture mechanism [3],[4]. Such abuse of SDSEs is considered a war crime by the updated Geneva convention.

Critics of SDSEs point out that the widespread acceptance of SDSEs is due to the universal emotional tendency of humans to devalue dream experiences as being "unreal." However, SDSEs differ from natural dreams due to the external manipulation of the dream state. The status of SDSEs with long subjective time frames is also commonly disputed.

Author Jose Hernandez specifically criticized the effect of randomized SDSEs, especially simulation ordeals, on everyday life, in his book "Simulation Shock." Hernandez argues that the ubiquity of SDSEs creates a sense of continual unease as to whether or not one is participating in an SDSE at any given moment. However, surveys conducted by sociologists [4], [5] find a general increase in self-reported happiness levels in employees at companies which began the use of randomized SDSEs.

(1): Bandford agreement: A provision of the UN council of human rights prohibiting the simulation of simulated human sentiences without active consent, even if contractual consent was given.

(2): Active consent: In the context of experiments on simulated human sentiences, active consent refers three conditions: 1. the subjects are aware of their simulated nature, 2. the subjects have the right to end the simulation at any time, 3. the subjects have the means to communicate to end the simulation at all times to the experimenters.

(3) Contractual consent: requires the subjects to be aware of their simulated nature, and provide informed consent to the experiment prior to the setup of the experiment. Additionally, the consenting individual (not the simulated copy) has the right to withdraw their simulated copy from the experiment at any time, and also has a number of rights regarding the confidentiality of all obtained data.

(4) Creative hypothesis bias: A statistical bias resulting from using the same data to formulate a set of hypotheses and to test those hypotheses. According to the Popperian (traditional) philosophy of science, an ideal scientific study completely avoids the creative hypothesis bias by completely separating the process of formulating hypotheses and testing those hypotheses, with an independent experiment for each hypothesis. In post-Popperian philosophy of science, creative hypothesis bias is controlled by use of SDSEs, in which a simulated copies of the original research team is presented with synthetically generated data (control group) or the original data (treatment group).

(5) Silicooneirology: The scientific study of sleep via simulation. In contrast to SDSEs, simulated sleep studies, by definition, make no attempt to interfere with the sleeping brain, providing only a pre-specified set of input signals specified by the Handbook of the International Society of Silicooneirology.

[1],[2],...: fake references

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-10-30T14:31:12.792Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Link: The german computer magazine c't in 2008 asked for future (2033) magazine covers and got over 100 submissions: creativ'08 via Wayback.

This was my submission. I used numeric extrapolation to estimate price, frequency and number of headlines. If I have time I might write up some of the headlines as Wikipedia articles below.

comment by [deleted] · 2014-10-29T15:27:25.550Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

(Note: This is just a copy of with minor edits: I'm speculating what it would look like if polymarriage laws are potentially 50 years behind same sex marriage laws.)

Polymarriage in the United States:

Polymarriage is legal in a majority of U.S. states and recognized by the United States federal government. Polymarriage is legal in 32 states, the District of Columbia, and ten Native American tribal jurisdictions. One more state, Missouri, only recognizes polymarriages established in other jurisdictions. Several hundred marriage licenses were issued to polygroups in Michigan and Arkansas between the time their bans were struck down by federal or state courts and when those rulings were stayed. Most Americans live in a jurisdiction where polygroups can legally marry.

The movement to obtain civil marriage rights and benefits for polygroups in the United States began in the 2020s, but became increasingly prominent in U.S. politics following the 2043 California Supreme Court decision in Yudkowsky v Baliene that declared that state's prohibition to be unconstitutional. During the 21st century, public support for polymarriage has grown considerably, and national polls conducted since 2061 show that a majority of Americans support legalizing it. On May 17, 2054, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state and the twelfth jurisdiction in the world to legalize polymarriage following the Supreme Judicial Court's decision in Alexander v. Department of Public Health six months earlier. On May 9, 2062, Malia Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to publicly declare support for the legalization of polymarriage. On November 6, 2062, Maine, Maryland, and Washington became the first and only states to legalize polymarriage through popular vote.

Replies from: None, Gunnar_Zarncke, None, advancedatheist
comment by [deleted] · 2014-10-29T15:43:56.214Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

As a side note, thank you snarles! This really was a neat exercise, because as an inexperienced writer who likes writing, this gives me the fictional idea of "United States v. Windsor, polymarriage version" where an older altruist polygroup is suing the United States federal government to legalize polymarriage because one of their members died and because of the lack of tax benefits, means would be losing hundreds of thousands of dollars that they could be giving to save the lives of poor people, so OF COURSE they're fighting it in court because lives are at stake and it doesn't matter to them that those lives are far.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-10-29T22:26:44.951Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Interesting. The first time I read about this was in Heinleins The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. My personal opinion is that the construction should be legal but not neccessarily have the same custody and tax rules. The same rules is difficult anyway because you can't just ignore one part (the gender) but need to add lot cases resulting from extra element(s) present. The biological aspects (one biological father and mother) could be dealt with in analogy to adoption as is done with surrogates. But the many real life/law pragmatics of pair-relationships (marriage customs, custody, heritage,...) probably make it difficult to treat this the same way a 'traditional' marriage.

Replies from: VAuroch
comment by VAuroch · 2014-10-30T15:35:25.035Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You would have to change a lot, but there is a natural basis to judge on: there's already the tax-law definition of 'household', and you could allow any or all of a household to file as a unit. It would also be very feasible to make a simple formula for the tax rate given the number of wage-earners in the household. The only trick would be dealing appropriately with teenager's first jobs.

Replies from: Punoxysm, Gunnar_Zarncke
comment by Punoxysm · 2014-10-30T16:03:04.885Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

On the contrary, I think divorce and child custody would be the thorniest issue (as it is in binary marriage divorce).

Replies from: VAuroch
comment by VAuroch · 2014-10-31T21:37:41.479Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Honestly, I think those would get easier rather than harder. If you no longer have a set limit on 'roles' in the marriage, you don't have cultural intuitions about correct outcomes, and designing a system that is simple and easy to execute gets easier.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-10-30T16:03:38.644Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't know enough about U.S. laws. But from my understanding here in Germany it would be quite complicated...

comment by [deleted] · 2014-10-30T12:42:52.361Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm speculating what it would look like if polymarriage laws are potentially 50 years behind same sex marriage laws.

I wouldn't trust that to result in anything useful, because

comment by advancedatheist · 2014-10-30T04:30:49.666Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wonder how many more generations of allegedly unfuckable boys our feminist society casts out before we start to see some serious pushback against women's sexual freedom. Polymarriage can only accelerate this process because the natural alpha males, and the ones who can pass themselves off as alphas with game and pickup coaching, will monopolize most of the women in this social trend.

Replies from: Punoxysm, polymathwannabe, CellBioGuy
comment by Punoxysm · 2014-10-30T15:55:25.473Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

One-man-many-woman marriages are a hallmark of societies that limit women's sexual freedom. Polyamory as practiced in more sexually-liberated and secular contexts is much more balanced.

In other words, you have it entirely backwards.

Replies from: Toggle
comment by Toggle · 2014-11-02T00:40:06.982Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Do we have statistics that back this up? I'm cautious about the normalization of polyamory because it seems potentially easy for it to collapse down to patriarchal polygamy.

comment by polymathwannabe · 2014-10-31T02:12:36.963Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Is The Handmaid's Tale seriously a desirable world for you?

Replies from: Azathoth123
comment by Azathoth123 · 2014-10-31T02:35:13.447Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Have you tried reading history so you're not constantly generalizing from fictional evidence?

Replies from: polymathwannabe
comment by polymathwannabe · 2014-10-31T03:43:19.923Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Have you tried not making broad assumptions about people's factual knowledge because they disagree with you?

I could have asked about the desirability of any other society with horrible oppression against women, like the Taliban regime, Saudi Arabia, Imperial China, or the U.S. in the 1950s, and the question would still be relevant: Would you enjoy living in a society where gender is a basis for differences of power?

Replies from: Azathoth123
comment by Azathoth123 · 2014-10-31T04:17:31.878Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

or the U.S. in the 1950s

Really, that's your idea of "horrible oppression against women"? Yes, the 1950s were in many ways better then today, technology based on atoms was still progressing for one thing, and the system was a lot less dysfunctional in all kinds of ways.

Replies from: polymathwannabe
comment by polymathwannabe · 2014-10-31T05:10:25.931Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

technology based on atoms was still progressing for one thing

Sure, I suppose today's particle accelerators count for nothing. But technological progress is a matter that may merit its own discussion in another thread. It's the situation of women we're discussing here.

And yes, the 1950s were terrible. A society before the pill meets every definition of "it sucks to be a woman." Moreover, a society before legal abortion, before the recognition of marital rape, before massive access of women to universities and positions of power, before equal pay, before no-fault divorce, before sexual harassment was identified as such, and before widespread coeducation, is a society that oppresses women. Heck, I'm a man, and I'd have hated to live under those conditions.

comment by CellBioGuy · 2014-10-30T14:21:28.050Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Pushback against women's sexual freedom would be a tragedy. How can the likelihood of such a trend be reduced? (Profoundly disagree with the whole 'alphas monopolizing women' PUA thing, but still.)

Replies from: Azathoth123
comment by Azathoth123 · 2014-10-30T23:36:30.366Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Pushback against women's sexual freedom would be a tragedy.

Reason? It strikes me as the only way to preserve civilization.

Replies from: polymathwannabe
comment by polymathwannabe · 2014-10-31T02:14:23.645Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Whose civilization? It doesn't sound like the one you want would be a happy one.

Replies from: Azathoth123
comment by Azathoth123 · 2014-10-31T02:34:25.142Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So you'd consider a place where patriarchy has completely collapsed, say present day Detroit, to be an example of desirable civilization. I prefer cities where the infrastructure works and you don't risk getting shoot walking down the street, but to each his own.

Replies from: Lumifer, polymathwannabe, None
comment by Lumifer · 2014-10-31T03:32:24.075Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

a place where patriarchy has completely collapsed, say present day Detroit

How did patriarchy collapse in Detroit, exactly? This is a city looted to the ground by corrupt bureaucrats run amok, a failed-state kind of phenomenon. I don't see gender politics playing any major role here.

Replies from: Yosarian2, Azathoth123
comment by Yosarian2 · 2014-10-31T09:29:39.568Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think that's what happened in Detroit either.

Really, what happened was that most of the auto jobs left, and much of the population with it. It's a city that's had a shrinking population for 4 decades now. That means a huge amount of abandoned houses, whole city blocks with only one or two people living on them. Because of that, you have a dramatically reduced tax revenue that's no longer able to cover the costs of adequate services, and you have all the social problems of abandoned housing (increased crime and fire risk) without the resources to deal with it. We've never had to deal with a shrinking city in the US before, and we really haven't figured out how to deal with it.

I do agree with you, though, that it clearly has nothing to do with "gender politics" or whatever bizzare explanation the person you're responding to was referencing.

Replies from: Azathoth123
comment by Azathoth123 · 2014-11-02T00:10:40.980Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I could half replaced Detroit with (parts of) say Chicago or LA. Detroit is just more dramatic since the dysfunction took over the whole city.

Replies from: Yosarian2
comment by Yosarian2 · 2014-11-14T10:11:57.404Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In general, cities like Chicago and LA have lower crime then they have in decades, have higher property values then they have in decades, and are contributing a great deal to the economy on a per capita basis. Cities in the US in general are doing quite well right now.

In the 1980's, people often argued that cities were "decaying" and all that; the opposite is true now, young people are moving back to cities in large numbers, probably because the high crime rate that drove people out of cities 30 years ago is now way down.

comment by Azathoth123 · 2014-10-31T04:42:48.499Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

A (possibly) unintended side effect of the welfare system is that women are raising children without fathers.

Replies from: Letharis
comment by Letharis · 2014-11-01T17:04:05.842Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Care to explain how the welfare system caused fatherless households?

Replies from: Azathoth123
comment by Azathoth123 · 2014-11-02T00:08:30.133Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well the most direct method is that some of the early programs were specifically for single mothers, and one tends to get more of what one subsidizes. The less direct effect is that freed from the practical need for a provider women were free to indulge their hypergamic impulses.

Replies from: Letharis
comment by Letharis · 2014-11-02T15:44:24.062Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I believe you are deeply incorrect about almost everything you've said in this thread regarding this subject. Can you direct me to any literature that supports anything you're saying?

comment by polymathwannabe · 2014-10-31T03:31:53.938Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I would not describe any spot in the entire American continent as a place where patriarchy has completely collapsed. Or where you don't risk getting shot in the street, for that matter. Perhaps Iceland or Sweden might fit both descriptions.

Edited to add: I'm curious. What exactly happened in Detroit?

Replies from: Azathoth123
comment by Azathoth123 · 2014-10-31T04:15:56.131Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What exactly happened in Detrot?

Most families are headed by women.

Replies from: polymathwannabe, CellBioGuy
comment by polymathwannabe · 2014-10-31T04:26:31.120Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

More comparisons are needed before drawing conclusions: single mothers vs. single fathers, single parents of any gender vs. two-parent families, single mothers with education vs. single mothers without, etc. If it turns out that it is specifically families led by women that are having more trouble making ends meet than families led by men, it sounds like patriarchy has not disappeared one bit in Detroit.

Replies from: Azathoth123
comment by Azathoth123 · 2014-10-31T04:41:41.135Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If it turns out that it is specifically families led by women that are having more trouble making ends meet

What do you mean by "having more trouble making ends meet"? Between welfare programs and the occasional affirmative action job the women are perfectly capable of providing enough food for their children. It's just that the children are growing up feral, for lack of a better word.

Replies from: polymathwannabe
comment by polymathwannabe · 2014-10-31T04:54:43.217Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Are you claiming that women who are alone cannot raise good kids?

That's contradictory. I thought raising kids was what women were traditionally described as good for.

Or are you claiming that women can only raise good kids when a man is present?

That's the best argument I've seen for stay-at-home dads, but I bet you'd see that as a degeneration of the good old values.

Or are you claiming that men are the indispensable and irreplaceable moral compass of a family?

Now that's bovine feces, for lack of a better word.

Replies from: Azathoth123
comment by Azathoth123 · 2014-10-31T05:58:42.618Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or are you claiming that women can only raise good kids when a man is present?

That's the best argument I've seen for stay-at-home dads, but I bet you'd see that as a degeneration of the good old values.

Hint: present =/= literally present every second.

Or are you claiming that men are the indispensable and irreplaceable moral compass of a family?

Now that's bovine feces, for lack of a better word.

Translation: "I can't think of an even vaguely passable rebuttal, better resort to name calling."

Replies from: polymathwannabe
comment by polymathwannabe · 2014-10-31T14:26:39.916Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

... says the guy who at the beginning of this debate called me an ignorant in history.

Look, I made no claims about you. I dismissively sneered at one idea you expressed. There is a difference.

Now back to the actual argument: A city affected by bad management and a bad economy adds a ton of confounding factors to any assessment of gender relations. You need to look at non-patriarchal societies that have kept all other variables unchanged, and claiming that abandoning patriarchy is the cause of bad management and bad economy simply won't do.

comment by CellBioGuy · 2014-11-04T04:16:59.997Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The problem isn't being 'headed by' women, it's having only one caregiver who is on top of that locked into an on-average even-lower-wage state by their gender. Isn't that at least as much a 'men can get away with abandoning their offspring or being so shitty they are cast out' problem?

comment by [deleted] · 2014-11-09T13:16:35.292Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, sure, there are no possible counfounders there, the infrastructure works much better in Sicily than in Denmark, &c. &c. Not.

comment by Mitchell_Porter · 2014-10-29T23:16:59.570Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

A "futurepedia" could be created for this.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-10-29T13:39:22.868Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

[Meta] Comments about this thread go here.

Replies from: FiftyTwo, Azathoth123, None, polymathwannabe, FiftyTwo, Gunnar_Zarncke
comment by FiftyTwo · 2014-10-30T18:25:44.546Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I worry this will end up with the same problems as dystopian/utopian fiction and just show the authors biases about the present day projected into the future. (Scott wrote about this on his old blog)

comment by Azathoth123 · 2014-10-30T03:15:10.123Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If you want to take the concept seriously, I recommend you see about finding old encyclopedias and old books predicting the future. Look at what they believed was "inevitable", look at how badly those predictions turned out. This will hopefully counteract the tendency the imagine the future by simply doing a first order extrapolation of present trends (Hi Michaelos).

This is, of course, assuming the goal is actually to make predictions that will at least resemble the future.

comment by [deleted] · 2014-10-29T14:40:18.320Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Should posting articles based on obvious edits of existing articles (including notes indicating such) be encouraged, or discouraged? As an example, I had written up a rewrite of the Same-sex marriage in the United States article as 'Polymarriage in the United States', moved all dates forward 50 years, changed some of the case names... and then I realized I couldn't really tell if it was what snarles had in mind, or if he wanted more originality.

Replies from: Gunnar_Zarncke
comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-10-29T14:43:58.713Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

II think that should be OK - if you clearly indicate thus. And link the original.

comment by polymathwannabe · 2014-10-29T13:55:02.709Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Shall the homepage logo be DON'T PANIC?

comment by FiftyTwo · 2014-10-30T10:52:48.091Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Orions Arm is sortof like this

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-10-29T13:40:03.900Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I assume average Wikipedia articles with lots of [citation needed] will do.

comment by advancedatheist · 2014-10-30T04:21:25.473Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'd like to see a Wikipedia article from the 24th Century about the Enlightenment which reverses the usual judgments now about the heroes versus the villains in the culture war of the 18th Century.

Replies from: David_Gerard
comment by snarles · 2014-10-31T14:29:04.735Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

EM202623997 state complexity hierarchy

Relative to any cellular automata capable of universal computation, initial states can be classified according to a nested hierarchy'of complexity classes. The first three levels of the hierarchy were informally known since the beginnings of cellular automata theory in the 20th century, and the next two levels were also speculated to exist, motivated by the idea of formalizing an abstract notion of "organism" and an abstract notion of "sentience", respectively. EM-brain 202623897, a descendant of the Musk-Tao-Mirzahkani mergemind, formalized a definition of another two levels of the hierarchy, and argued in their 2107 paper that the formalization provides a basis for the aforementioned theories of "organism" and "sentience". The EM138716-EM198274 theorem established that states of the fifth hierarchy exist for any universal CA; on the other hand, no examples of states of the fourth hierarchy have been found for any cellular automata, other than somewhat unsatisfying examples such as "an encoding of a program designed to systematically search for states of the fourth hierarchy".

CA theorists generally agree that the EM20263897 hierarchy represents a conceptual leap in CA theory, but there is still debate as to whether the fourth and fifth hierarchy actually constitute a concept of "organism" and "sentience" as claimed. In particular, according to the transcoding theorem, any software program; and in particular, a simulated universe (of potentially unbounded size) containing a simulated genetic self-replicator or emulated brain, can be encoded as a finite state for a universal CA; but it is not known whether such encodings are included in the fourth level of the hierarchy. Amusingly, the main issue is the uncertainty as to whether or not all such self-replicators are destined to self-destruct [citation needed].

1. All states. The highest level attainable for any state sequence with a repeated state.

2. Aperiodic. No state ever repeats. A basic example of this is the glider gun) in the game of life.

3. Compuational Irreducibility. The state sequence cannot be matched by a non-universal cellular automata; for example, the state consisting of a single 1 for rule 30.

4. Level IV. The state sequence attains states of unbounded fractal entropy dimension. EM202623997 showed that the proportion states of size N in the third hierarchy with a supremum fractal entropy dimension above any constant times exp(N) goers to zero as N goes to infinity, i.e. "most" states in the third hierarchy are not contained in the fourth hierarchy. EM202623997 further argued that fractal entropy dimension captures the "macrostructures" exhibited by ecosystems. Additional work has confirmed that simulations of interacting and evolving self-replicators seem to increase in fractal entropy dimension.

5. Level V. The state sequence reaches an unbounded level of simuiation dimension. The formal definition is extremely technical, but the idea is that the state sequence contains space-localized subsequences which can be interpreted as simulations of the CA on a coarser scale, which may in turn contain space-localized subsequences with the same property, etc. The simulation dimension is a measure of such nesting: however, due to difficulties in formalizing what it means for a space-localized subsequence to contain a "simulation of the CA on a coarser scale", the simulation dimension is a real-valued quantity (and in practice, uncomputable) rather than a whole number, EM202623997 proved that this property implied unbounded fractal dimension, and argued that requiring unboundedness agrees with the work of philosophers studying "universal characteristics of sentient, rational agents".

Levels IV and V were originally named "life-like" and "sentience-llike", respectively, in the original paper by EM202623997, but the term was never widely adopted.

Philosophical reaction

Philosopher EM19387 criticized the definition of the fifth hierarchy as conflating sentience with self-preservation. EM202623997 responded by speculating that "any universe capable of producing sentience can also produce ambitious sentience", and hence the fifth hierarchy will, in practice, capture "most" state sequences which can be considered sentient.

Quantum analogues

Developing an analogous hierarchy for quantum cellular automata is an active area of research. In particular, a quantum CA could easily encode a universe based on string theory; hence, conditional on the accuracy of string theory in describing our universe, one can very directly ask whether universes similar to our (but modified to have unbounded informational capacity) own falls into the fourth hierarchy. Our own universe is probably not, according to most theories of cosmology, which indicate a bound on the informational capacity if our universe.

comment by CronoDAS · 2014-10-30T08:22:47.500Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I am seriously tempted to write something about a global warming catastrophe - I am extremely pessimistic about the world's ability to solve this particular tragedy of the commons problem.

Replies from: VAuroch, Lumifer
comment by VAuroch · 2014-10-30T15:39:28.108Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm very pessimistic about our ability to reduce greenhouse gas output, but considerably more optimistic about the potential for a technological solution that deals with the problem before things seriously blow up.

comment by Lumifer · 2014-10-30T15:48:31.001Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What's a "catastrophe" in this context and which model predicts it?

Replies from: CronoDAS
comment by CronoDAS · 2014-11-01T02:10:13.672Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Droughts, famines, flooding, etc.

I seriously expect 4 degrees Celsius warming by 2200, if not 2100.

Replies from: Lumifer
comment by Lumifer · 2014-11-01T19:38:29.026Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Do you believe that by 2200 the level of human technology will be inadequate to deal with the droughts and flooding?

Replies from: CellBioGuy, ChristianKl
comment by CellBioGuy · 2014-11-02T18:02:52.584Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What would 'adequate' technology to 'deal with' those look like?

Replies from: Lumifer
comment by Lumifer · 2014-11-02T19:54:23.409Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Droughts are pretty easy, you can do it right now if you stop trying to maximize evaporation and start doing something reasonable like drip irrigation.

Flooding is a bit different in that I assume we're speaking about the Greenland glaciers and some of Antractica melting. You can either prevent them from melting or just build high walls around particularly valuable pieces of real estate. Shorelines are never stable, anyway -- continental plates rise and sink, estuaries silt up, hurricanes rearrange barrier islands, etc.

comment by ChristianKl · 2014-11-01T19:48:15.030Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The problem with flooding is not the average year. It's the year where you get a tornado that you haven't accurately predicted beforehand and that wrecks your defenses. Your dams break and then you lose a lot.

comment by PeerGynt · 2014-10-30T04:51:46.072Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Less Wrong

Less Wrong (German: Weniger Falsch) was an association of philosophers gathered on the internet in 2007, chaired by Eliezer Yudkowsky. Among its members were Yvain, Lukeprog, Michael Vassar, Will Newsome and Gwern. PeerGynt was an eminent student at the time. He was allowed to participate in meetings, but was not a member of Less Wrong.

Members of Less Wrong had a common attitude towards philosophy, consisting of an applied rationalism drawn from Eliezer Yudkowsky, whose Sequences formed the basis for the group's philosophy. Less Wrong's influence on 21st century philosophy was immense, and much later work was in response to the group's thoughts.

The pre-history of Less Wrong began with blog posts on the philosophy of science and epistemology from 2006, promoted by Robin Hanson on Overcoming Bias.

(This is only half joking. If you want the rest of the future history of Less Wrong, it is available at . )

(Edited to fix Google Translate's German grammar)

Replies from: ChristianKl, Azathoth123
comment by ChristianKl · 2014-10-30T10:13:24.028Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

German: Weniger Falsche

As a German native that feels wrong to be. I would rather translate it as "Weniger Falsch". I also see no reason to translate it into German at all.

Replies from: PeerGynt
comment by PeerGynt · 2014-10-30T17:10:00.182Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I can see why this would look strange to a German speaker. It was just intended as a joke/reference to the Wikipedia article on the Vienna Circle. I've fixed the grammar

comment by Azathoth123 · 2014-10-30T07:24:17.918Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What? No mention of Carl Shulman or Anna Salamon? Or Michael Anissimov for that matter?

Replies from: ZankerH
comment by ZankerH · 2014-10-30T08:03:25.308Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Anissimov went on to splinter LW into the Neoreactionary fraction, and was subsequently unpersoned by True followers of EY.

Replies from: Curiouskid
comment by Curiouskid · 2014-10-30T23:25:18.240Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Could you elaborate on this? I've heard the term Neoreactionary thrown around, but I'm not exactly sure what it means.

Replies from: Viliam_Bur, jaime2000
comment by Viliam_Bur · 2014-10-31T10:18:58.547Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's what happens when you look at the lessons of "Politics is the Mind-Killer" and "Reversed stupidity is not intelligence", and decide to ignore them because affective spirals are too much fun to give up.

But it's difficult to choose whether the correct reversed stupidity in politics should actually be libertarianism or monarchy. The former seems more popular among LW crowd, but that also makes it kinda boring; the latter seems more original, but is usually defended by worse arguments. So you invent a libertarian-ish monarchy world, where the freely competing subjects are not the puny average humans, but the Gods-Emperors of different states. (You call all other regimes "demotist" to show that they are actually all the same.)

Of course, putting it this way is not attractive, so you have to hide it in hundreds of pages written in obscurantist language, so that no outsider is really sure what you are actually talking about. Then you insert some interesting historical facts, and a lot of criticism of political left, some of which is insightful.

And then you keep promoting the new teaching in LessWrong debates, because clever contrarianism is your selling point, and LessWrong has a weakness for clever contrarians. And then you use your presence at LessWrong as a proof that rational people support you, despite the fact that your fans are actually a tiny minority here (probably even smaller than religious people; and LW is explicitly atheistic).

Better analysis can be found here: "Reactionary Philosophy In An Enormous, Planet-Sized Nutshell", "The Anti-Reactionary FAQ". The first article explains the ideas better than the original sources, and the second article shows that this map doesn't fit the territory.

EDIT: Ignoring the beliefs and focusing only on behavior, Neoreaction is LessWrong's creepy stalker.

Replies from: hawkice
comment by hawkice · 2014-11-02T20:54:48.755Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

But it's difficult to choose whether the correct reversed stupidity in politics should actually be libertarianism or monarchy.

It's worth pointing out that modern politics (especially American politics) is so jammed packed with opinion and false equivalencies (gay marriage != immigration amnesty) that it has many more than just two reversals. But I see your point, which is about LW politics and socialization specifically. Given that weakness for clever contrariness, perhaps we should focus on the wide expanse of ideas is a good way to confound tempted readers?

comment by jaime2000 · 2014-10-31T00:36:11.762Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Neoreaction is an intellectual tradition of right-wing political philosophy composed of bloggers who are ideologically descended from the ideas of Curtis Yarvin, better known as Mencius Moldbug. If you want the five-minute version, read Konkvistador's summaries. If you are willing to read a much longer introduction, try one of these. Or just read the Neoreactionary Canon, which includes all three.

Anyway, the relevance to the grandparent is that LessWrong has a non-trivial neoreactionary minority (3% as of the last survey), and that former SIAI employee Michael Anissimov and his friends went and made a neoreactionary website called MoreRight (an obvious pun on LessWrong). Eliezer Yudkowsky was not amused.

Replies from: None, advancedatheist
comment by [deleted] · 2014-10-31T10:49:20.711Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

BTW, Yudkowsky and Moldbug have been enemies basically ever since Overcoming Bias and Unqualified Reservations have existed, give or take a year.

comment by advancedatheist · 2014-11-01T15:03:50.876Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Neoreactionary thinking goes back to the foundations of Western philosophy.. Plato and Aristotle saw democracies in action, and they both argued that human nature finds its fulfillment in small, organic communities of related people where the natural aristocracy that emerges gets to run things, instead of the vulgarians who lacked the personal excellence for the task. This makes Neoreaction a revival of a formerly mainstream view which has fallen out of fashion since the 18th Century because of contingent historical setbacks, not because it got the worse in a fair debate.

So what do intellectual advocates of democracy, egalitarianism, cosmopolitanism, etc. want to do? Throw Plato's and Aristotle's writings out of the Western Canon?

Replies from: ChristianKl
comment by ChristianKl · 2014-11-01T15:22:42.203Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So what do intellectual advocates of democracy, egalitarianism, cosmopolitanism, etc. want to do? Throw Plato's and Aristotle's writings out of the Western Canon?

That looks like a strawman to me. Could you link to anyone who wants to throw Plato out of the Western canon because he didn't favor democracy? (There are other valid arguments against the Western canon)

Replies from: polymathwannabe
comment by polymathwannabe · 2014-11-06T16:31:56.744Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

And better reasons than anti-democracy to throw Plato out.