Death - an essay 2017-02-02T17:25:14.685Z · score: 2 (3 votes)


Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, September 11 - September 17, 2017 · 2017-09-14T11:37:09.399Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

A lot of the sequences contain social constructs, or at least can have social impact for readers. The entirety of the book's subsections titled 'Fake Beliefs", "Mysterious Answers" or "Politics and Rationality" falls under social construct commentary.

If it helps, I'd define social constructs as topics relating to how humans communicate, and what is considered socially acceptable knowledge by certain demographics . What passes as knowledge according to rational traditions will lead one to accept or reject what is considered socially acceptable by others, and social construct commentary would be the act of commenting on such acceptance or rejection, defining what should be accepted or rejected. Rational study MUST include social commentary simply because we're stuck with human communication as the only form of transmission of ideas between others. Why is this relevant? Because how one communicates rational concepts can be considered socially unacceptable. And also because what is considered socially accepted in certain demographic areas can directly reject rational pursuits.

Unless of course you're ready to call the "Fake Beliefs" section low quality, I'd say social commentary is unavoidable when it comes to the study of AI or rational improvement of the mind. After all having vastly different ideas of what passes as reality for yourself can have lasting impacts on social cohesion with others if their maps differ from yours (unless you were a fantastic liar).

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, September 11 - September 17, 2017 · 2017-09-14T02:55:38.888Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Any discussions on phenomena related to initial gut aversion to site content by casual readers? Almost every attempt at showing site content has been met with VEHEMENT resistance, I'm curious if this has been observed and noted here.

In fact, my initial experiences with sequences and site content in general began with aversion. Personal experience shows aversion to the obviousness of discussed topics yet incompatibility with topics related to obvious points (i.e science explaining away social constructs or concepts unrelated to pursuit of knowledge through research means.)

Typical aversions from other folk fall along these lines, where most would claim that studying social constructs in such a slow, bit-and-pieces way seems altogether pointless, and not at all in pace with the requirements of said social situation.

More discussion required.

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, September 11 - September 17, 2017 · 2017-09-12T19:10:16.022Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Is there a copy of Eliezer's book in russian? I'm having a hard time finding translations for this text.

Comment by dglukhov on The Hidden Monopolies That Raise Drug Prices · 2017-03-31T19:37:33.603Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Independent pharmacies don’t have the luxury of using mergers to offset the PBM power imbalance. In fact, when states proposed letting independents form their own pharmacy networks, the FTC argued against it, warning that it would “impair the ability of prescription drug plans to negotiate the best prices with pharmacies.”

When I read this it makes me question the legitimacy of the regulatory organization. It makes me couple this with the instance of 'bill mills' alleged to exist currently in both state and federal legislature.

EDIT: I say alleged because getting concrete documentation on the subject is suppressed.

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-28T18:10:09.018Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Just out of curiosity, what is your stance on the impact of cars on climate change? And cars are too narrow, then what is your stance on fossil fuel consumptions and its impact on climate change?

You linked to parts of the debate I've never been exposed to, so I'm curious if there's more to know.

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-28T17:46:56.882Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That is fair, so why was the claim that cars are a net positive not nearly as thoroughly scrutinized as my counterargument? I can't help but notice some favoritism here...

Was such an analysis done? Recently? Is this such common knowledge that nobody bothered to refute it?

Edit: my imagination only stretches so far as to see climate change being the only heavy counterargument to the virtue of cars. Anything else seems relatively minor, i.e deaths from motor accidents, etc.

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-28T16:48:14.227Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, at this point I'd concede its not easy to make a claim with standards fit for such an example.

I'll see what I can do.

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-28T16:42:20.967Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

there is a counter-argument to it, too

What was his counter-argument? I can't read German.

Like the remarkable hurricane drought in the North America? Or are you going to actually argue that weather is climate?

Well clearly we need to establish a time range. Most sources for weather and temperature records I've seen span a couple of centuries. Is that not a range large enough to talk about climate instead of weather?

Sure, but it's a different debate.

Its a related debate, especially relevant if conclusions in the debate a metalevel lower are unenlightened.

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-28T16:20:55.575Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

LOL. Are you quite sure this is how humans work? :-)

They don't, that's something you train to do.

I want you to quantify the claim, not the evidence for the claim.

Why? Are you asking me to write out the interpretation of the evidence I see as a mathematical model instead of a sentence in English?

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-28T16:05:53.618Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Turns out you don't know. The word means expressing your claims in numbers and, by itself, does not imply support by data.

Usually "quantifying" is tightly coupled to being precise about your claims.

I'm confused. You wouldn't have claims to make before seeing the numbers in the first place. You communicate this claim to another, they ask you why, you show them the numbers. That's the typical process of events I'm used to, how is it wrong?

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-28T15:42:25.194Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You did use the word "quantify", did you not? Do you know what it means?

Putting data on the table to back up claims. Back up your idea of what is going on in the world with observations, notably observations you can put a number on.

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-28T15:41:32.926Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You are confused between showing that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and developing climate models of the planet Earth.

What other inferential steps does a person need to be shown to tell them that because CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and because there's a lot more of it around than there used to be, that CO2 cascades into a warming event?

There are people who say that this will become (note: future tense) true, but these people are making a forecast.

The recent weather anomalies hitting earth imply the future is here.

At which point we are talking about the whole energy infrastructure of the society and not about the costs of cars.

Indeed, so why not debate at the metalevel of the infrastructure, and see where the results of that debate lead in terms of their impacts on the automotive industry? It is a massive industry, worth trillions of dollars globally, any impacts on energy infrastructure will have lasting impacts on the automotive industry.

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-28T15:19:12.654Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This is not true.

According to what sources, and how did they verify? Do you distrust the sampling techniques used to gather data on carbon dioxide levels before recorded history?

Demonstrate, please.

What more could you possibly need? I just showed you evidence pointing to unnatural amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Disturb that balance, you cause warming. This cascades into heavier rainfall, higher levels of water vapor and other greenhouse gases, and you get a sort of runaway reaction.

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-28T13:05:09.925Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Clarification - it's hard to quantify the direct relationship of cars to global warming

It is easy to illustrate that carbon dioxide, the major byproduct of internal combustion found in most car models today, causes global warming directly. If you look at this graph, you'll notice that solar radiation spans a large range of wavelengths of light. Most of these wavelengths of light get absorbed by our upper atmosphere according to chemical composition of said atmosphere, except for certain wavelengths in the UV region of the spectrum (that's the part of the spectrum most commercial sunscreens are designed to block). Different chemicals have different ranges over which wavelengths of light can excite their stable forms. Carbon dioxide, as it turns out, can be irradiated over a portion of the spectrum in the IR range, in the region around wavenumber 2351. When light is absorbed by carbon dioxide, it causes vibration in the molecule, which gets dissipated as heat, since this is technically an excitation of the molecule. This is why carbon dioxide is considered a greenhouse gas, because it absorbs solar energy in the form of light as an input, then dissipates that energy after vibrational excitation as output.

The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today far exceeds natural levels ever before seen on earth. There are, of course, natural fluctuations of these levels going up and down (according to natural carbon fixing processes), but the overall trend is very distinct, obvious, and significant. We are putting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere through our combustion processes than the earth can fix out of the atmosphere.

The relationship has been quantified already. Please understand, there is absolutely no need to obscure this debate with claims that the relationship is hard to quantify. It is not, it has been done, the body of research surrounding this topic is quite robust, similarly to how robust the body of research around CFCs is. I will not stand idly by while people continue to misunderstand the situation. Your urge to ignore this factor indicates either misunderstanding of the situation, or it indicates an aversion to a highly politicized topic. In either case, it does not excuse the claim you made. The less obscurity on the topic exists, the better.

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-27T22:07:13.404Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I was not aware that analytical chemists make climate models and causal models, too...

They can. Though the people who came up with the infrared spectroscopy technique may not have been analytical chemists by trade. Mostly physicists, I believe. Why is this relevant? Because the same reason why infrared spectroscopy works also gives a reason for why emission cause warming.

You are confused about tenses. Coastal flooding, etc. is (note the present tense) is not a major cost. Coastal flooding might become a cost in the future, but that is a forecast. Forecasts are different from facts.

Coastal flooding damages infrastructure built on said coasts (unless said infrastructure was designed to mitigate said damage). That is a fact. I don't see what the problem is here.

Electric batteries do not produce energy, they merely store energy. If the energy to charge these batteries comes from fossil fuels, nothing changes.

Agreed. So let me rephrase. Solar energy comes to mind. Given enough time, solar panels that were built up using tools and manpower powered by fossil fuels will eventually outproduce the energy spent to build it. This does change things if that energy can then be stored, transferred, and used for transportation purposes, since our current infrastructure still relies on such transportation technology.

This is what I mean by augmentation. Change the current infrastructure to support and accept renewable energy source over fossil fuels. We cannot do this yet globally, though some regions have managed to beat those odds.

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-27T20:35:23.848Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If you'd filter out one-man firm as a source not worth reading, you'd filter out any attempt of an analysis on my part as well.

I am concerned about quality here, not so much who sources come from. This, necessarily, requires more than just a glance at material.

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-27T19:53:50.096Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Ironic, since you just asked me to do my own analysis on the subject, yet you are unwilling to read the "one-guy organization" and what it has to say on the subject.

The merits (or lack thereof) of said organization has nothing to do with how true or false the source is. This is ad hominem.

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-27T19:41:08.616Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Cost is an economics question. Analytical chemistry is remarkably ill-equipped to answer such questions.

Analytical chemistry is well equipped to handle and acquire the data to show, definitively, that global warming is caused by emissions. To go further to say that we cannot use these facts to decide whether or not the automotive infrastructure isn't worth augmenting because its too hard to make a cost-benefit analysis in light of the potential costs associated with global warming and air pollution is careless. Coastal flooding is a major cost (with rising oceans), as are extreme weather patterns (the recent flooding in Peru comes to mind), as well as the inevitable mass migrations (or deaths) resulting from these phenomena. I'm not aware of such figures, but this is a start.

keep in mind, for example, that humans do need transportation so in your alternate history where internal-combustion-engine motor vehicles don't exist or are illegal, what replaces them?

Though I'm not asking for a replacement of motor vehicles (although electric cars come to mind), I am asking for augmentation. Why take the risk?

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-27T19:15:47.696Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Noted, edited.

The description of the link is entirely unfair. It provides a (relatively) short summary of the language of the debate, as well as a slew of data points to overview. To frame the source as you describe it is entirely an exercise in poisoning the well.

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-27T18:46:19.163Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Okay, consider this an IOU for a future post on an analysis. I'm assuming you'd want an analysis of emissions relative to automobile use, correct? Wouldn't an emissions based on fossil fuel consumption in general be more comprehensive?

Edit: In the meantime, reading this analysis that's already been done may help establish a better understanding on the subject of quantifying emissions costs.

Also please understand that what you're asking for is something whole analytical chemical organizations spend vast amounts of their funding on doing this analysis. To say that I alone will try to provide something anywhere close to the quality provided by these organizations is to exercise quite a bit of hubris on my part.

That said, my true rejection to Elo's comment wasn't that global warming isn't hard to quantify. My true rejection is that it seems entirely careless to discard global warming from the discussion of the virtue (or lack thereof) of motor vehicles and other forms of transportation.

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-27T18:02:45.042Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

ignoring global warming because it's really hard to quantify

Oh really? Since when?

Edit: Just in case you weren't convinced.

If you go into the sampling and analysis specifics, the chemistry is sound. There are a few assumptions made, as with any data sampling technique, but if you decide to want to dispute such details, you may as well dispute the technical details and call your objection there. Otherwise, I don't see where your claim holds, this is one of the better documented global disputes (makes sense, since so much is at stake with regards to both the industry involved as well as the alleged consequences of climate change.)

I can say that global productivity increase doesn't mean anything if it cannot be sustained.

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-27T13:44:35.311Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Cars also directly involve people in motor vehicle accidents, one of the leading causes of death in the developed world. Cars, and motor vehicles in general, also contribute to an increasingly alarming concentration of emissions into the atmosphere, with adverse effects to follow, most notably global warming. My point still stands.

A technology is only inherently good if it solves more problems than it causes, with each problem weighed by their impacts on the world.

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-25T01:55:46.024Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The ability to stay in contact with other poor people is valuable.

It is also dangerous, people are unpredictable and, similarly to my point about phones, can cause good, harm, or nothing at all.

A phone is not inherently, intrinsically good, it merely serves as a platform to any number of things, good, bad or neutral.

What have the millennium development goals achieved?

I hope this initiative continues to make progress and that policy doesn't suddenly turn upside-down anytime soon. Then again, Trump is president, Brexit is a possibility, and economic collapse an always probable looming threat.

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-25T01:50:40.783Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

When basic needs are fulfilled many humans tend to want to satisfy needs around contributing to making the world a better place. It's a basic psychological mechanism.

This completely ignores my previous point. A few people who managed to self-actualize within the current global economic system will not change that system. As I previously mentioned, I am not interested in outliers, but rather systematic trends in economic behavior.

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-23T13:37:23.837Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

"Declining Energy Returns" is based on the false idea that civilization requires exponential increases in energy input, which has been wrong for decades. Per capita energy consumption has been stagnant in the first world for decades, and most of these countries have stagnant or declining populations. Focusing on EROI and "quality" of oil produced is a mistake. We don't lack for sources of energy; the whole basis of the peak oil collapse theory was that other energy sources can't replace oil's vital role as a transport fuel.

This seems relevant These statistics do not support your claim that energy consumption per capita has been stagnant. Did I miss something? Perhaps you're referring strictly to stagnation in per capita use of fossil fuels? Do you have different sources of support? After all, this is merely one data point.

I'm not particularly sure where I stand with regards to the OP, part of the reason I brought it up was because this post sorely needed evidence to be brought up to the table, none of which I see.

I suppose this lack of support gives a reader the impression of naiveté. but I was hoping members here would clarify with their own, founded claims. Thank you for the debunks, I'm sure there's plenty of literature to link to as such, which is exactly what I'm after. The engineering behind electric cars, and perhaps its history, will be a topic I'll be investigating myself in a bit. If you have any preferred sources for teaching purposes, I'd love a link.

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-23T12:48:28.798Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If you look at Bill Gates and Warren Buffet they see purpose in helping the poor. In general employing poor people to do something for you and paying them a wage is also a classic way poor people get helped.

I'm happy that these people have taken actions to support such stances. However, I'm more interested in the incentive system, not a few outliers within it. Both of these examples hold about $80 billion in net worth, these are paltry numbers compared to the amount of money circulating in world today, GDP estimates ranging in the $74 trillion. I am therefore still unaware of an incentive system that helps the poor until I see the majority of this amount of money being circulated and distributed in the manner Gates and Buffett propose.

The great thing about smart phones is that they allow for software to be distributed with little cost for additional copies. Having a smart phone means that you can use Duolingo to learn English for free.

Agreed, and unfortunately utilizing a smartphone to its full benefit isn't necessarily obvious to somebody poor. While one could use it to learn English for free, they could also use it inadvertently as an advertising platform with firms soliciting sales from the user, or just as a means of contact with others willing to stay in contact with them (other poor people, most likely). A smartphone would be an example of a technology that managed to trickle down the socio-economic ladder and help poor people, but it can do harm as well as good, or have no effect at all.

We are quite successful in reducing the numbers of the poorest of the poor. We reduced them both in relative and in absolute numbers. It's debatable how much of that is due to new technology and how much is through other factors but we have now less people in extreme poverty.

Please show me these statistics. Are they adjusted to and normalized relative to population increase?

A cursory search gave me contradictory statistics.

I'd like to know where you get such sources, because a growing income gap between rich and poor necessarily implies three things: the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, or both.

Note: we are discussing relative poverty, or absolute poverty? I'd like to keep it to absolute poverty, since meeting basic human needs is a solid baseline as long as you trust nutritional data sources and research with regards to health. If you do not trust our current understanding of human health, then relative poverty is probably the better topic to discuss.

EDIT: found something to support your conclusion, first chart shows the decrease of population of people in the lowest economic tier. These are not up to date, only comparing statistics from 2001 to 2011. I'm having a hard time finding anything more recent.

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-22T20:29:26.715Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

And when it's not? Consider Ukraine. Or if you want to go a bit further in time the whole collapse of the USSR and its satellites.

Outcompeted by economic superpowers. Purge people all you want, if there are advantages to being integrated into the world economic system, the people who explicitly leave will suffer the consequences. China did not choose such a fate, but neither is it rebelling.

I don't see why. It is advantageous for a leader to have satisfied and so complacent subjects. Benevolence can be a good tool.

Benevolence is expensive. You will always have an advantage in paying your direct subordinates (generals, bankers, policy-makers, etc) rather than the bottom rung of the economic ladder. If you endorse those who cannot keep you in power, those that would normally keep you in power will simply choose a different leader (who's probably going to endorse them more than you are). Of course, your subordinates are inevitably dealing with the exact same problem, and chances are they too will optimize by supporting those who can keep them in power. There is no in-system incentive to be benevolent. You could argue a traditional republic tries to circumvent this empowering those on the bottom to work better (which has no other choice but to improve living conditions), but the amount of uncertainty for the leader increases, and leaders in this system do not enjoy extended times of reign. To optimize to fix this solution, you absolve rebellious sentiment.

Convince your working populace that they are happy (whether they're happy or not), and your rebellion problem is gone. There is, therefore, still no in-system incentive to be benevolent (this is just a Band-Aid), the true incentive is to get rid of uncertainty as to the loyalty of your subordinates.

Side-note: analysis of the human mind scares me in a way. To be able to know precisely how to manipulate the human mind makes this goal much easier to attain. For example, take any data analytics firm that sell their services for marketing purposes. They can collaborate with social media companies such as facebook (which currently has over 1.7 billion active monthly users as data points, though perhaps more since this is old data), where you freely give away your personal information, and get a detailed understanding of population clusters in regions with access to such services.

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-22T17:05:55.919Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Resistance on whose part to what?

Resistance of those without resources against those with amassed resources. We can call them rich vs. poor, leaders vs. followers, advantaged vs. disadvantaged. the advantaged groups tend to be characteristically small, the disadvantaged large.

Revolutions haven't been very kind to leaders, too -- that's the point. When the proles have nothing to lose but their chains, they get restless :-/

Restlessness is useless when it is condensed and exploited to empower those chaining them. For example, rebellion is an easily bought commercial product, a socially/tribally recognized garb you can wear. You'd be hard-pressed more to look the part of a revolutionary than to actually do anything that could potentially defy the oppressive regime you might be a part of. There are other examples, which leads me to my next point.


It would be in the best interest for leaders to optimize for a situation where rebellion cannot ever arise, that is the single threat any self-interested leader with the goal of continuing their reign needs to worry about. Whether it involves mass surveillance, economic manipulation, or simply despotic control is largely irrelevant, the idea behind them is what counts. Now when you bring up the subject of technology, any smart leader with a stake in their reign time will immediately seize any opportunity to extend it. Set a situation up to create technology that necessarily mitigates the potential for rebellion to arise, and you get to rule longer.

This is a theoretical scenario. It is a scary one, and the prevalence of conspiracy theories arising from such a theory simply plays to biases founded in fear. And of course, with bias comes the inevitable rationalist backlash to such idea. But I'm not interested in this political discourse, I just want to highlight something.

The scenario establishes an optimization process. Optimization for control. It is always more advantageous for a leader to worry more about their reign and extend it than to be benevolent, a sort of tragedy of the commons for leaders. The natural in-system solution for this optimization problem is to eliminate all potential sources of competition. The out-system solution for this optimization problem is mutual cooperation and control-sharing to meet certain needs and goals.

There currently exists no out-system incentive that I am currently aware of. Rationality doesn't count, since it still leads to in-system outcomes (benevolent leaders).

EDIT: I just thought of an ironic situation. The current solution to the tragedy of the commons most prevalent is through the use of government regulation. This is only a Band-Aid, since you get a recursion issue of figuring out who's gonna govern the government.

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-22T14:55:10.163Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Good luck coalescing that in any meaningful level of resistance. History shows that leaders haven't been very kind to revolutions, and the success rate for such movements aren't necessarily high given the technical limitations.

I say this only because I'm seeing a slow tendency towards an absolution of leader-replacement strategies and sentiments.

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-22T14:37:08.845Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Much more than the top 20% of this planet has mobile phones. Most people benefit from technologies like smart phones.

I wouldn't cherry-pick one technological example and make a case for the rest of available technological advancements as conducive to closing the financial gap between people. Tech provides for industry, industry provides for shareholders, shareholders provide for themselves (here's one data point in a field of research exploring the seemingly direct relationship between excess resource acquisition and antisocial tendencies, I will work on finding more, if any). I am necessarily glossing over the extraneous details, but since the corporate incentive system provides for a whole host of advantages, and since it has power over top-level governments (lobbying success statistics come to mind), this incentive system is necessarily prevalent and of major interest when tech advances are the topic of discussion. Those with power get tech benefits first, if any benefits exist beyond that point, fantastic. If not, the obsolescence conspiracy seems the likely next scenario. I have no awareness of an incentive system that dictates that those with money and power need necessarily provide for everyone else. If there was one, I wouldn't be the only unaware one, since clearly the OP isn't aware of such a thing either.

Are there any technological advancements you can think of that necessarily trickle down the socio-economic scale and help those poorest of the poor? My first idea would be agricultural advancements, but then I'd have to go and collect statistics on rates of food acquisition for the poorest subset of the world population, with maybe a start in the world census data for agriculture, which may not even have the data I'd need. Any ideas of your own?

Comment by dglukhov on Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017 · 2017-03-21T21:05:13.537Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Not the first criticism of the Singularity, and certainly not the last. I found this on reddit, just curious what the response will be here:

"I am taking up a subject at university, called Information Systems Management, and my teacher is a Futurologist! He refrains from even teaching the subject just to talk about technology and how it will solve all of our problems and make us uber-humans in just a decade or two. He has a PhD in A.I. and has already talked to us about nanotechnology getting rid of all diseases, A.I. merging with us, smart cities that are controlled by A.I. like the Fujisawa project, and a 20 minute interview to Ray Kurzweil about how the singularity will make us all immortal by 2045.

Now, I get triggered as fuck whenever my teacher opens his mouth, because not only does he sell these claims with no other basis than "technology is growing exponentially", but he also implies that all of our problems can and will be solved by it, empowering us to keep fucking up things along the way. But I prefer to stay in silence, because most idiots at my class are beyond saving anyway and I don't get off on confronting others, but that is beside the point.

I wanted to make a case for why the singularity is beyond the limits of this current industrial civilization, and I will base my assessment on these pillars:

-Declining Energy Returns: We are living in a world where the return for oil is what, a tenth of what it used to be last century? Not to mention that even this lower-quality oil is facing depletion, at least from profitable sources. Renewables are at an extremely early stage as to even hope they run an industrial, exponentially growing civilization like ours at this point, and there are some physical laws that limit the amount of energy that can be actually absorbed from the sun, along with what can be efficiently stored at batteries, not to mention intermittency issues, transport costs, etc. One would think that more complex civilizations require more and more energy, especially at exponential growth rates, but the only argument that futurists spew out is some free market bullshit about solar, or like my teacher did, only expect the idea will come true because humans are awesome and technolgy is increasing at exponential rates. These guys think applied science and technology exist in a vacuum, which brings me to the next point.

-Economic feasibility: I know it is easy to talk about the wonders of tech and the bright future ahead of us, when one lives in the developed world, and is part of a priviliged socio-economical class, being as such isolated from 99% of the misery of this planet. There are people today that cannot afford clean water. In fact, most people that are below the top 20% of the population in terms of income probably won't be able to afford many of the new technological developments more than they do today. In fact, if the wealth gap keeps increasing, only the top 1% would be able to turn into cyborgs or upload their minds into robots or whatever it is that these guys preach. I think the argument of a post-scarcity era is a lot less compelling once you realize it will only benefit a portion of the populations of developed countries.

-Political resistance and corruption: Electric cars have been a thing ever since the 20th century, and who know what technologies have been hidden and lobbied against by the big corporations that rule this capitalist system. Yet the only hope for the singularity is that is somehow profitable for the stockholders. Look at planned obsolescence. We could have products that are 100 times more durable, that are more efficient, that are safer, that pollute less, but then where would profits go? Who is to tell you that they won't do the same in the future? In fact, a big premise of smart cities is that they will reduce crime by constant suirvellance; In fujisawa every lightpost triggered a motion camera and houses had centralized information centers that could be easily turned into Orwellian control devices, which sounds terrifying to me. We will have to wait and see how the middle class and below react to automation taking many jobs, and how the UBI experiment is carried out, if at all.

-Time constraints: Finally, people hope for the Singularity to reach us by 2045. That would imply that we need around 30 years of constant technological development, disregarding social decline, resource depletion, global warming, crop failuers, droughts, etc. If civilization collapses before 2045, which I think is very likely, then that won't come around and save us, and as far as I know, there is no other hope from futurologists other than a major breakthrough in technology at this point. Plus, like the video "Are humans smarter than bacteria?" very clearly states, humans need time to figure out the problems we face, then we need some more time to design some solution, then we need even more time to debate, lobby and finally implement some form of the original solution, and hope no other problems arise from it, because as we know technology is highly unpredictable and many times it creates more problems than it solves. Until we do all that, on a global scale, without destroying civil liberties, I think we will all be facing severe environmental problems, and developing countries may very well have fallen apart long before that.

What do you think? Am I missing something? What is the main force that will stop us reaching the Singularity in time? "

Comment by dglukhov on The D-Squared Digest One Minute MBA – Avoiding Projects Pursued By Morons 101 · 2017-03-21T12:56:39.966Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I wouldn't know, I don't know the space of evidence in the first place. I guess in hindsight, that question is a little silly, since you can't know until you know.

What I really wanted to capture was the idea that looking for such evidence seems highly impractical for the average person writing a simple blog. The logistics of going out and finding such evidence doesn't seem trivial. Unless I'm not particularly creative, I'd at least start by integrating into the military operation there, which can range anywhere from active service to doing some civilian work contract there. Even then, I'd have to know the right people with the right informants, evidence of WMD would likely be sensitive information and even more like be kept under wraps for this reason.

Comment by dglukhov on The D-Squared Digest One Minute MBA – Avoiding Projects Pursued By Morons 101 · 2017-03-20T20:47:19.892Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Just out of curiosity, how much work would you expect to complete to look for evidence of WMD (or lack thereof)? I'm sure it'd take more than just a couple of quick phone calls to the CIA, or even a trip to the region itself...

Comment by dglukhov on Excuses and validity · 2017-03-16T16:13:00.247Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm having a hard time distinguishing between your technique and strictly finding ways to AVOID stepping outside the comfort zone.

When you take the time to analyze why the uncomfortable thing is uncomfortable, then seeking solutions to accommodate those discomforts rather than confronting them doesn't seem to change anything for the person.

People form habits, sometimes good ones, sometimes bad ones. Habits require three major components: a signal, a task, and a reward. You seem to suggest that existing habits should be there, stay there, lest we harm ourselves. But how can one establish NEW habits, new tasks we have no training in, when those habits and tasks are not even allowed to be made when your logic dictates doing the routine is a failure mode.

To allude to the bar example. If the routine needed is developing experience BEING comfortable in a bar setting (perhaps a bar is your best chance to meet new people given time constraints or demographic preferences), avoiding the bar altogether won't be conducive to developing the routine. Perhaps learning to feel uncomfortable but still functional is a necessarily required skill in life, and your criticism doesn't seem to account for such a need. You can't always have time to analyze components of a situation and you can't always prepare for everything. Sometimes it pays to think on your feet.

Comment by dglukhov on Sufficiently sincere confirmation bias is indistinguishable from science · 2017-03-15T14:13:48.169Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Sounds a lot like this post.

They had a bold prediction (whether it was biased is irrelevant), they followed through with their test, it was wrong, they did not withdraw from the situation.

Comment by dglukhov on Excuses and validity · 2017-03-15T13:03:39.959Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

To strip situations of choice simply down to the merits of all goals contained within a situation is the best approach. To inject excuses into the situation is the easy approach. At the end of the day, if you constantly checked yourself for the presence of competing goals, you'd see that, with practice, it will get easier and easier to notice that your goals may be at odds with your comfort zone. Chances are, a LOT of goals lie outside your comfort zone. If they were in your comfort zone, they wouldn't even seem like goals, when the barrier to doing them is trivial.

Its interesting to notice this analysis. A lot of trainers (fitness, in my case) will strip the situation down to this kind of a framing. However, that's the easy part. In my experience thereafter, the best advice given was to practice the technique of getting outside that comfort zone, without really any direction in mind as to how to do it or when. This can be dangerous in some ways, extremely beneficial in others. Exercise caution.

EDIT: Therapists trained in cognitive-behavioral therapy would have a much better time guiding and directing those willing to engage in this kind of exercise than athletic trainers, now that I think about it. Definitely worth exploring that alternative if personal attempt become unfruitful.

Comment by dglukhov on [stub] 100-Word Unpolished Insights Thread (3/10-???) · 2017-03-10T21:40:47.033Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Low-quality thought-vomiting, eh?

I'll try to keep it civil. I get the feeling the site is as far removed from the site's founding goals and members as a way to striate the site's current readership. Either pay into a training seminar through one of the institutions advertised above, or be left behind to bicker over minutia in an underinformed fashion. That said, nobody can doubt the usefulness in personal study, though it is slow and unguided.

I'm suspicious, of the current motives here, of the atmosphere this site provides. I guess it can't be helped since MIRI and CFAR are at the mercy of needing revenue just like any other institution. So where does one draw the line between helpful guidance and malevolent exploitation?

Comment by dglukhov on Open Thread, March. 6 - March 12, 2017 · 2017-03-07T21:28:33.094Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The fact that these explorations aren't necessary or interesting to those who just want to learn some tricks to be stronger (probably, for some definitions) bothers me a bit, but more for them than for me. If you don't see how an understanding of Newcomb's problem lets you better evaluate the power and limits of a decision mechanism, that's fine, but please don't try to stop me discussing it.

I wouldn't ask anybody to stop discussing Newcomb problems, my response was solely directed at the rhetoric behind Newcomb discussion, not the merits (or lack thereof) of discussing it.

I'm not as concerned about what it being discussed, as much as how. When inferential distances and cognitive biases get in the way of understanding concepts, much less make them seem palatable to read about, I'd hope people would spend more time optimizing the topic to appear more transparent. When I hear somebody claiming to have had a "bad aftertaste" from coming to this site, I can't help but think this partially a failure of the site. Then again, perhaps my standards would be too high for the discussion board...

Comment by dglukhov on Open Thread, March. 6 - March 12, 2017 · 2017-03-07T19:46:41.682Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Doesn't that bother you?

If the goal of applied rationalists is to improve upon and teach applied rationality to others, wouldn't it behoove us to reframe the way we speak here and think about how our words can be interpreted in more elegant ways?

It doesn't matter how good of an idea somebody has, if they can't communicate it palatably, it won't reliably pass on in time, not to other people, not to the next generation, nobody.

Comment by dglukhov on Open Thread, March. 6 - March 12, 2017 · 2017-03-07T15:22:03.922Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Applied rationality doesn't have that much to do with using logic. It doesn't violate logic but a lot of what we talk about, is about different heuristics. It might be worthwhile to present the idea of applied rationality differently.

This seems like an issue of conflating logic with applied rationality, then. Chances are that I made this mistake in writing my post. I'll be sure to check for conflation in the rhetoric I use, chances are that certain words used will carry with them a connotation that signals to the listener a need to reply with a cached response.

Comment by dglukhov on Open Thread, March. 6 - March 12, 2017 · 2017-03-06T20:21:52.537Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Something earlier? That is, who regurgitated that question to you before you regurgitated it to me? Newcomb? Robert Nozick?

Comment by dglukhov on Open Thread, March. 6 - March 12, 2017 · 2017-03-06T19:21:29.816Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've been noticing a trend lately, perhaps others have some evidence for this.

Perhaps during casual conversation, or perhaps as a means of guiding somebody, maybe an old friend, or an inquisitive stranger, I'll mention this site or rationality as a practice in General. Typically, I get what I believe is a cached response most people saw somewhere that follows along something like this, "Rationalists are too high in the clouds to have useful ideas. Logic is impractical."

Perhaps people heard it through casual conversation themselves, but at the end of the day, there's source out there somewhere that must have blown up like any other meme on the planet. Anybody have a few sources in mind?

Comment by dglukhov on ribbonfarm: A Brief History of Existential Terror · 2017-03-02T21:37:44.472Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Why cache different approaches to analyzing an article to different articles? What do you expect to gain from such a heuristic?

Comment by dglukhov on ribbonfarm: A Brief History of Existential Terror · 2017-03-02T14:21:23.161Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Gonna go out on a limb here and say I can't take this article too seriously. It is chalk full of false dichotomies:

The very premise of this article rests on the idea that human beings live solely by our need to balance between two sides of a spectrum.

"An author working on a book, or a freelancer working on a project, or an entrepreneur working on a business, does not spend their time in a perpetual state of flow, but rather experiences little moments of flow, while mostly vacillating between anxiety and boredom."

Why couldn't a freelancer experience moments outside this spectrum? Why does the author frame our life's experience as bound to this particularly solitary scale? What about the spectrum of awareness of self and surroundings? What about the spectrum of communicability with others, a social spectrum?

The author treats the subject, a human being, as alone, with mention of social interaction as being merely a product of our conformism, which too, rests on a premise based upon a false dichotomy:

"The widespread existential vacuum of the 20th century, the feeling of boredom, was brought on by both biological and cultural evolution: biological in that man is the only creature whose behaviour is not guided by instinct alone, and cultural in that during the 20th century many traditions that constrained behavior collapsed, organized religion being the major one. For most, the vacuum is filled by one of two strategies, both of which seek to avoid the sensation of existential terror: conformism (doing what everyone around them is doing), or totalitarianism (seeking someone out to tell them what to do). The clueless seek out both the totalitarianism imposed upon them by the sociopaths, and the conformism imposed upon them by the rest of the clueless class, as ways to relieve the pressure of the existential vacuum. "

The author sees two camps: the rulers and the ruled. The author has no conception of anything resembling cooperation. Like humans couldn't POSSIBLY be social creatures capable of communal efforts.

I'm not sure what else to say. While I support the message that one needs balance between boredom and anxiety, I can't help but find the article imposing a blind view on the subject.

Comment by dglukhov on Stupidity as a mental illness · 2017-02-10T23:06:42.431Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I wasn't aware mental illness was strictly an American phenomenon, as you comment implies. Or perhaps there is a distinct lack of international or foreign effort in characterizing such phenomena, as your comment also potentially implies?

I'd like the statistics, please!

Comment by dglukhov on Stupidity as a mental illness · 2017-02-10T19:46:29.511Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Please name examples to the affirmative. I'm actually quite curious to see such statistics.

Comment by dglukhov on Stupidity as a mental illness · 2017-02-10T19:38:51.815Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I urge you to read the first book of the Evans Third Reich trilogy, in which one of the interesting topics mentioned revolved around eugenics. I fear that the way you've framed your point will prime people towards this direction.

To approach "stupidity", an already vague concept, from a diagnostic point of view would be a disaster. One reason being the history I linked to earlier, eugenics was a popular -enough sentiment then to be a problematic primer, and I fear that while having stupid people around is an existential risk, I think another existential risk exists in trying to optimize on human intellect without a firm foundation on the concept of "stupidity" and its communicability to the general public.

Another issue I have is your seemingly apparent faith in the psychiatric approach. The DSM 5 is, to put it lightly, a highly biased diagnosis tool with practitioners who may not be using the tool appropriately. This may not be exactly relevant, but I've noticed that the better practitioners in the social and psychiatric fields don't trust this resource. In fact, some will go out of their way to say it is an insurance scam. I personally haven't had a chance to delve into the history of the DSM, but I have noticed that the constantly shifting variability in diagnostic definitions and criteria hint at the idea that a) the DSM isn't perfect and, more importantly, b) large heaps of money is being made off of the vague notions described by this tome. Pretentious writing, even in such technical documents, are great examples of such attempts. Taking the diagnostic approach might make the stigma problem WORSE by labeling the "unfit" for later treatment, especially with an already pretentious diagnostic system. The message you're trying to send is a virtuous one to be sure, but trying to use the current psychiatric infrastructure to tackle this issue is a trap. A very profitable trap.

Comment by dglukhov on Death - an essay · 2017-02-03T21:07:55.103Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW
  1. Conversely, anything negative will also end. If you don't like being depressed, there won't be depression once you're dead. There is full eternity without depression.
  2. I guess you're 2 was a counterargument to my 1. I need some literature on this, I don't quite understand.
  3. Human reactions to impeding doom don't have to reflect on death. Reality doesn't have to conform to our emotional reactions to it, after all. We can only come closer to understanding that reality, and if that requires understanding and accepting one's own mortality, shouldn't that be a priority? I mentioned the source regarding development stages because it seems children do NOT always innately understand death, it is an acquired knowledge, a milestone, according to this theory. So why learn the fear of death, which can cause so much emotional struggle in a person, instead of teaching death's primary result: the termination of gene propagation for an individual.
  4. Agreed.
  5. Again, agreed.
  6. Once more, agreed. though I suppose wills help with such planning to an extent, among other actions.
  7. Conversely, if a relative is suffering from their illness, death can provide for a release from that suffering. This probably ties back into point 2.

Overall, agree that the essay failed to explain why death is bad. It also failed to explain why death is good. Hence it being an essay, it didn't have purpose other than to put thoughts out into the open and rekindle discussion. My intention was to talk, not make claims.

Comment by dglukhov on Group Rationality Diary, February 2017 · 2017-02-02T13:52:16.615Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I have not, I'll see if I can find any. Thank you!

Comment by dglukhov on Group Rationality Diary, February 2017 · 2017-02-01T20:38:49.593Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Trying to fix physical posture currently. With time, I hope to learn how to do proper form on a majority of lifts. I've found that as I've been working on this, my ability to focus has improved, and consequently I came upon the mental postures article as a sort of mental analogue to the endeavor to have good biomechanics.

I wish I had a better way of studying...whatever, without sitting. I hate sitting (even properly, with back engaged and shoulders down), I know it doesn't do me any good and, on certain days, I find I reverse all the hard work and effort I put into trying to put my body back into alignment because I sat for too long learning to code or doing work. If I could squat, I'd probably already be able to solve this problem. But I can't sit squatted without doing it wrong, I can't change my work desk, nor can I move the computer somewhere more accessible to, let's say, a kneeling position or a position where I sit on my calves instead of a seat. Perhaps I should invest in a seat big enough to let me sit cross-legged? I hope I can afford it, because I can't think of anything else.

EDIT: I think the real issue is that the task of focusing on not sitting robs me of focus to do the studying. Is there a way around this, or is multitasking my only real savior here?