Stupid Questions November 2015 2015-11-19T22:36:49.793Z
The Pre-Historical Fallacy 2015-07-03T20:21:31.696Z


Comment by Tem42 on What would you do differently if you were less concerned with looking weird? · 2020-05-08T14:43:25.683Z · LW · GW

Spend more time dumpster diving (treasure hunting is fun!)

Comment by Tem42 on What are habits that a lot of people have and don't tend to have ever questioned? · 2020-04-20T20:39:44.109Z · LW · GW

The standard appliances. For example, most people in developed countries have a dishwasher, which may or may not be worth the cost and room used. Most people probably would want a refrigerator, microwave, stove, and washer/drier if they thought about it.... but most people probably haven't thought about it. I personally do not have a dishwasher, microwave, or dryer because they are not worth the room they take up. I know some people who would do just fine with a chest freezer but no refrigerator, and/or with a microwave but no stove; I lived for a year without a refrigerator with no troubles (but I was in a part of the world in which no one had a refrigerator, which helps a lot).

This is particularly interesting habit, since many people spend a few years in college with few if any of these appliances, but automatically assume that they need them once they get a apartment/house.

(FWIW, I am not a radical minimalist nor particularly efficient; I have a rice cooker, electric kettle, and toaster oven, which are technically redundant since I also have a stove and oven.)

Comment by Tem42 on What are habits that a lot of people have and don't tend to have ever questioned? · 2020-04-20T20:24:23.758Z · LW · GW

"The ways we use the toilet" is particularly relevant right now, with many countries seeing an increase in toilet paper shortages while maintaining the standard level of bidet shortages. If more people knew how to use a bodna/lota, people would be a lot less stressed now.

Comment by Tem42 on I Want To Live In A Baugruppe · 2017-03-20T01:02:54.456Z · LW · GW

Very interested, but not willing to move more than 2-3 hours away; am nowhere near CA.

Comment by Tem42 on Open thread, Oct. 10 - Oct. 16, 2016 · 2016-10-13T23:23:22.534Z · LW · GW

If it is severe enough that you are posting here about it making you feel bad, it is worth trying to replace it with a mental habit that works equally well to prevent future errors but feels better.

It is good to gain control over your mental habits in general, and this sounds like a good place to start.

If those statements appear true to you, no other analysis of this behavior is likely necessary.

Comment by Tem42 on Fermi paradox of human past, and corresponding x-risks · 2016-10-09T00:56:41.970Z · LW · GW

It is interesting to note that if we quietly pass away and 50 million years later intelligent lungfish build up a civilization, they would presumably have good evidence that we were here, and would have good reason to assume that civilizations arise about once every 50 million years on average. Our effect on the Earth has probably been great enough that they will not have significant evidence from previous periods to contradict this assumption. In the case of large scale planetary civilizations, only the first one is likely to be in a position to reliably notice a delay in the appearance of previous civilizations longer than the pause between themselves and the immediately previous civilization. Therefore it may be reasonable to believe that, if 10 civilizations arise on the average planet, 90% of them will believe that they are probably midway through a long succession of civilizations.

Comment by Tem42 on Fermi paradox of human past, and corresponding x-risks · 2016-10-09T00:26:55.183Z · LW · GW

If we are the only civilisation to exist in the history of the Earth, then we will probably become extinct not in mild way, but rather in a way which will prevent any other civilisation from appearing. There is higher probability of future (man-made) catastrophes which will not only end human civilisation, but also prevent any existence of any other civilisations on Earth.

I don't believe that this follows. It is surprising that we are apparently the only civilization to so far appear on Earth, but if we accept that we are, we should not assume that we have accomplished this by destroying the future.

However, while I feel strongly that this is this case, I do not feel confidant that I can express it in a way that would be understood by someone who does not agree with me.

If someone could explain clearly why I am right, or alternatively, why I am wrong, I would greatly appreciate it.

(For context, here is what I would write given my currently semi-formed understanding: "while it makes sense to compare ourselves to a time-line independent view of the world to test the probability that our assumptions about the world are correct, it does not make sense to assume that our assumptions about the world will guide the future.")

Comment by Tem42 on Rationality Quotes July 2016 · 2016-07-23T02:41:59.024Z · LW · GW

A simple justification of a slightly less extreme position is easy enough: there were many sane people who did not predict the value of the internet, indicating that being sane and smart are not sufficient to predict such things.

There are plenty of quotes from people who were supposed to be experts (or at least well-educated) saything that heavier than air flight was impossible, computers would always be room-sized monstrosities of limited use, etc. I assume that this quote is pretty much the same idea (that future technology is unpredictable), but using a technology that is 1. more recent, and thus more relatable, and 2. not simply a matter of technology, but of adapted use; that is, most smart people might have guessed that the early internet could be made faster, webpages better, and the network more comprehensive. They simply didn't see the value that this would produce, and so assumed that technology would not move in that direction.

Comment by Tem42 on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2016-07-15T05:13:45.515Z · LW · GW

May not be as effective as you hope. I experience this and find it vaguely annoying. The only people who have a reason to talk/post about it are the people who enjoy it, but that doesn't mean that they are in the majority.

Comment by Tem42 on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2016-07-15T03:21:14.660Z · LW · GW

I am an introvert and this effect is strong for me. But the best way to see if it works for you is to try it.

Comment by Tem42 on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2016-07-15T02:06:05.469Z · LW · GW

After 6 years one could then live fairly well in a relatively poor country on 15k.

Additionally, there are ways to get people to pay for your living costs in very poor countries. If you live in the US and are looking for a fun but not too easy early retirement, spending two years in the Peace Corps is not a bad way to go -- if you do want to spend a few extra thousand on living expenses it will go a lot further than it would in America, and if you just want to let your retirement funds gather a few years of additional interest you can do that. The PC does take married couples and loves people with college degrees and work experience. No kids, though.

Comment by Tem42 on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2016-07-15T01:51:02.375Z · LW · GW

I have found that I wake much more effectively when the alarm is very quiet; rather than waking suddenly and having my brain rebel, I wake over the course of 30 second to 2 minutes. This works much better than it has any reason to.

The downside is that a very quiet alarm is easy to miss, and if there is environmental noise at the same time as the alarm goes off (from the air coming on to trash pickup), it's much too easy to sleep through. The solution that worked best for me was to run a white noise generator (actually an air filter) all night; this raised the noise threshold so that a louder alarm was needed to still be a quiet-but-audible alarm; the louder alarm is loud enough to be heard over the white noise, and thus loud enough to be heard over any environmental noise that is not also loud enough to wake me.

Another useful trick, albeit slightly more painful, is to get up at the same time every morning. This means also on weekends. It really does help, but requires that you are willing to actually wake up enough to get out of bed. Once you are 'up', you may decide to just read Facebook for 5 minutes before going back to bed (I usually just went to the bathroom and then read in bed for 15 minutes before falling back to sleep). I only use this when I have a significant change in schedule, and only for a couple of weeks.

Comment by Tem42 on November 2013 Media Thread · 2016-07-09T15:13:21.003Z · LW · GW

I'm just starting arc 9, and am ready to give up. It's fun enough, but there doesn't seem to be any rationality here. I would buy an argument that the author is rationalist, but not any of the characters so far. (The backstory does suggest there the characters have done research and thought deep thoughts, be we see none of that.)

If it suddenly improves please let me know -- I've heard enough good things from enough people that I kept going this far, and it'd be a pity to quit just before things get interesting. But I'm almost a third of the way through, and still nothing :-/

Comment by Tem42 on Rationality when Insulated from Evidence · 2016-07-01T15:34:16.372Z · LW · GW

Yes... but this is not an issue of GMO. This is an issue of additives. You should require information that is clearly relevant to health regardless of GMO status. GMOing is a way of adding nutrients, but we would want additives labeled regardless of how they are added.

Or, to put it another way, this is a case where the GMO change is something that should be labeled, because there is a possible effect on health. But the factor under consideration isn't that it is GMO, it is that it there is an possible effect on health.

Comment by Tem42 on Rationality when Insulated from Evidence · 2016-07-01T15:22:04.949Z · LW · GW

Point #2 is a big important point. The media does not select relevant issues, they chose issues that play well to the public. Sometimes these overlap, but often they do not. GMO is a good example, because it is reported as monolithically important, but each genetic modification has to be considered individually; considering GMOs as a unified group is not very useful. Likewise, if you are interested in health and nutrition, you should also look for vegetables that are grown to be nutritious, which includes many GMO but not others: many plants are modified to look better, not be healthier; but many plants are modified to be more nutritious, not look better; etc. Moreover, you can also get some benefit in nutrition by ignoring the GMO debate and looking at things like soil health (organic works as a vague proxy for this, but again, 'organic' is a media chosen label, and so is touted as Very Relevant In Every Way and also does not limit itself to soil health) or time-since-harvest (locally grown, proxy, media pollution, etc.)

Comment by Tem42 on Rationality when Insulated from Evidence · 2016-07-01T15:00:41.931Z · LW · GW

Do you believe that people shouldn't know whether or not their rice has added Vitamin A? I think it's very worthwhile for people to know about it.

You are jumping topic. GMO risk is different from GMO labeling. However, it is true that labeling nutrition information is good, regardless of GMO status, and that GMO may have more variation in nutritional content (positive and negative) than non-GMO.

Comment by Tem42 on Open Thread May 30 - June 5, 2016 · 2016-06-17T16:07:09.877Z · LW · GW

Let's assume that everyone has a fixed budget of attention and empathy.

This is a bad assumption. I could spend more time empathizing than I do -- for example, when I chose to read a nonfiction book, I am likely to emphasize less than when I read a fictional tear-jerker. Moreover, the media spends a lot of time trying to increase your attention and empathy budget, getting you very engaged (attentive and empathetic) to their characters, whether these be fictional or political personages or whatever. Anytime that you stay up late watching Football (rather than go to sleep) you have increased your attention and empathy for that day.

However, it is true that TV and internet have strong money-making incentives for gaming your attention and empathy, and your neighbors probably don't. So on the A&E market, it is reasonable to expect that large powerful players will often outperform small local players. The fact that the market is flexible rather than fixed is probably a factor that makes it worse.

Comment by Tem42 on Buying happiness · 2016-06-17T15:57:16.280Z · LW · GW

Slightly of topic, but relevant. Nothing in this nor any of the comments mentions what percent of your "happiness level" might be expected to come from a form of spending money. Presumably, some significant percentage of your happiness comes from things that do not directly involve spending money.

You cannot have a true idea of how much happiness money can buy if you do not adjust (downward) the value of money-bought-happiness based on the fact that it will account for only a portion of your happiness pie chart. Most of us do this to some extent, automatically weighing in the value of an extra hour of sleep or hour of unstructured family time into our happiness calculations, but if you are looking to maximize your happiness you should look at non-money sources of happiness as rigorously as you do moneyed.

Comment by Tem42 on Avoiding strawmen · 2016-06-17T15:40:40.237Z · LW · GW

Assuming that you are engaged in conversation/argument/debate with a specific target, perhaps the best way to edit out spurious strawmen is to mentally append "except in this case...." to any objection.


Them: "It's important to be yourself."

You: "Except in this case, because John is a psychopath."

(Or, You: "Except in this case, because John is a fine, upstanding young guy... oh... nevermind.")

Not only should this eliminate most straw men, it should help keep the discussion on track.

Comment by Tem42 on Attention! Financial scam targeting Less Wrong users · 2016-06-17T15:24:28.100Z · LW · GW

Surely scammers will be more motivated to find good signals, and will have more opportunity to experiment with what works and what does not. Someone effectively signaling that they are a non-scam should be a hallmark of a scam.... which is why smart people like us need a long thread like this to explain to us how the scam works.

Comment by Tem42 on Open thread, Jun. 13 - Jun. 19, 2016 · 2016-06-15T20:00:45.961Z · LW · GW

From the rhetorical side, you can sometimes gain an edge by starting with a leading question or with stating a problem. "I recently found myself in the unusual position of having some money to spare; so I asked myself, where can this money do the most good?"

Your audience may have any number of answers, but you've started by framing the matter in a favorable way (not "can I spare the money", but "when I have money to spare", and not "talking about economics" but "talking about morality"). This has the added advantage (or disadvantage) of encouraging alternate solutions... Someone in your audience might make a good argument for AI research, perhaps even convincing you to change your mind :-)

This should be applicable to most arguments: riding bikes ("When we're looking for ways to be more healthy..."); veganism ("If we are looking for ways to reduce our ecological impact..."); protectionism ("How can we keep Americans in their current jobs?").

Sliding just a bit more to the dark side, try stating another possibility, preferably one that you suspect that your audience has already heard of and is suspicious of, and then giving good reasons against it. Of course, this requires that you know your audience well enough.

Comment by Tem42 on How can I spend money to improve my life? · 2016-06-15T18:25:09.211Z · LW · GW

I cook today because my mother taught us to cook as kids. Obviously, cooking with a 5 year old is a bit of a burden, but as kids get older they are more helpful, and then you get extra, productive, and positive family time. And then later, older kids can often be convinced to cook the entire meal on their own if they get to choose the menu.

Barely relevant: neither I nor anyone I know instagrams their food. This may be a cultural artifact of your local population. Or of my local population.

Comment by Tem42 on How can I spend money to improve my life? · 2016-06-15T18:09:59.736Z · LW · GW

Since you didn't spell it out this aspect of it: one aspect of this would be to invest in better insurance policies.

Comment by Tem42 on How can I spend money to improve my life? · 2016-06-15T18:05:23.889Z · LW · GW

Additional note: give yourself opportunity to make sure that "high quality" is actually "high utility"; I have failed to sleep well on some very expensive mattresses. Paying extra to buy from a company with a good return policy or trial periods is often worth it.

Comment by Tem42 on How can I spend money to improve my life? · 2016-06-15T18:00:00.528Z · LW · GW

Another possible work-around; I found that my radio alarm became much more tolerable, and that I woke more gradually, once I started sleeping with a white noise generator (actually an air purifier). This was less intrusive and more effective than simply waking to a very quiet alarm.

Comment by Tem42 on Open Thread Feb 22 - Feb 28, 2016 · 2016-02-29T00:37:26.355Z · LW · GW

In the context of communication categories (a, b, and others) it may be useful particularly to view conversations as persona building (as above), because there is a subset of people who do not tell stories about what they have done, but tell you about what they are doing -- or simply do them. The person who shows up with Google Cardboard or TARDIS nail polish is signaling strongly without telling any stories. Depending on your goals, this may be a more effective way of persona building than learning to tell stories.

On the other hand, if you want to improve conversational skills, you might instead focus on finding productive questions to ask -- it is very hard to determine what stories people will enjoy, but most people will enjoy telling you about themselves, and this appears to be true even if you ask very simple questions.

Comment by Tem42 on Open Thread Feb 22 - Feb 28, 2016 · 2016-02-29T00:16:34.548Z · LW · GW

The relative advantage of LessWrong is that it is free, and contains many smart people with variable knowledge bases. There is no reason to believe that it will always (or often) be better than your doctor, but there very little cost to asking and the potential gain outweighs the minimal cost.

Comment by Tem42 on Open Thread, January 11-17, 2016 · 2016-01-27T23:37:59.965Z · LW · GW

Unfortunately, I think many of the people who come to LessWrong are in the position of having read about 50-75% of the content of the sequences through other sources, and may become frustrated by the lack of clear indication within the sequences as to what the next post actually includes.... it is very annoying to read through a couple of pages only to find that this section has just been a wordy setup to reviewing basic physics.

Comment by Tem42 on Open Thread, January 11-17, 2016 · 2016-01-27T23:21:55.580Z · LW · GW

Watch your baseline: you should not consider the benefits that you and your child might get vs. not having children, but rather, the benefits you and the child might get vs. the benefits that you and another child might get if you did not have a child but became involved in a mentor program (or other volunteer activity helping children).

It may be hard to determine the value you get through working with other people's children, but there are big two plus sides to doing so:

  1. you have a comparative advantage for a certain population of kids; those with mental illnesses may benefit especially from an adult who has experienced something like what they are going through and

  2. you can experiment to determine the value you get from a mentor program much more easily (or rather, with much lower cost) than you can experiment with having your own kids -- and it makes good sense to try the low cost experiment before you run any final calculations.

Comment by Tem42 on Open thread, Jan. 18 - Jan. 24, 2016 · 2016-01-27T23:11:39.127Z · LW · GW

I am not a first responder, but if I had a pile of corpses and one of them had an organ donor tattoo, that corpse would definitely be flagged for special attention and quick transport to the morgue. I wouldn't count on it being legal for them to make an extra effort to ID one body before another just based on (suspected) organ donor status, but making it into the refrigerator a bit earlier is a benefit.

Comment by Tem42 on Open thread, Jan. 18 - Jan. 24, 2016 · 2016-01-24T16:17:32.130Z · LW · GW

I had to give up on trying to find out if a tattoo can count as consent on its own -- I would guess that it would be iffy territory unless you had it notarized and witnessed.

It might still be worthwhile to have a tattoo; it does tell them that you have given consent, meaning that they will make an extra effort to look for consent (In the US this means a state database). This would only be relevant if you are found without your drivers license/ID. There are a number of fringe cases where you might be found dead and dying without easy access to your ID, but they are admittedly rare. They are also more likely to cases where your organs aren't usable (fire, ravaged by bears, rip tide carries you out to sea). However, if the legal team gets any head start on finding a John Doe's organ donor status, on average this is likely to result in increased organ salvage.

Here's a revised suggestion, for social feasibility, effectiveness, and pain reduction: get a tattoo of a red heart and the words organ donor and your name in a protected area (e.g. on the side of your trunk, just below the arm pit). Until RDFI chips become common this is also probably one of your best protections against becoming a J. Doe (I mean, other than living a sane and safe life).

Comment by Tem42 on Open thread, Jan. 18 - Jan. 24, 2016 · 2016-01-23T21:21:04.822Z · LW · GW

It would be worth double-checking your local regulations, but tattoos do not generally restrict you from organ donation. You should make sure you get your tattoo from a licensed business, of course.

As far as legal status -- that is a good question. I would think that as long as you updated it at least as often as you update your driver's licence, it would remain a valid indicator of your intent. That might mean adding a date to the tattoo, and adding another one every few years. You might contact your local hospital and see what they would do if they had a fresh corpse with no ID but a organ donor tattoo...

Comment by Tem42 on Open thread, Jan. 18 - Jan. 24, 2016 · 2016-01-23T21:13:36.203Z · LW · GW

I wasn't arguing against the tattoo! It sounds like a good idea, and more likely to be seen than the card. (However, you should get the card and then plot the tattoo. A being on the local database and having your wishes known by your next-of-kin is your best bet to being effective in donating).

Comment by Tem42 on Open thread, Jan. 18 - Jan. 24, 2016 · 2016-01-23T16:55:41.752Z · LW · GW

I think that optimal design would include the red heart that is placed on driver licences (in most American states) and on NHS cards (in the UK), plus the words "Organ donor". You might also want to include your organ donor ID, but you might not... in the US this is (sometimes? usually?) your driver's licence number, which may not be something you need strangers to see when you are at the beach.

My understanding is that if you do not specify otherwise, it is assumed that they can take any organ they need, but if you wanted to clarify (or were worried that your relatives my get greedy about the parts you get buried with), I would expect that the words "no limitations" would be sufficient to allow the hospital to take any skin, eyes, etc., they feel they have a use for.

Optimal wording may be less important than optimal placement. I would assume on the chest over the heart would be least likely to be destroyed in an accident / most likely to be seen by first responders... Plus, if that is destroyed, the best organs are also likely to be damaged. However, if you want optimal, you should really get a set of tattoos -- one for the chest, one for the stomach, and one for the neck(?).

Comment by Tem42 on Open thread, Jan. 18 - Jan. 24, 2016 · 2016-01-23T16:39:38.077Z · LW · GW

My experience is that pay sites are geared most towards signaling professionalism and (moderate) wealth -- which is often shorthand for 'adult', and therefore useful. However, in my experience OKCupid has provided better signaling for intelligence and thoughtfulness, simply because it allows users to write commentary on any question you answer. Most users do not take advantage of this, but looking for 'explained answers' is one of the most useful metrics I have found on any dating site.

Comment by Tem42 on Open thread, Jan. 18 - Jan. 24, 2016 · 2016-01-23T16:30:07.716Z · LW · GW

One possible interpretation of this is that you are more liberal when surrounded by people whose judgement you trust -- which is a sane and defensible position. You should give more trustworthy (and more rational) people more leeway in their behaviors.

Comment by Tem42 on Open thread, Jan. 18 - Jan. 24, 2016 · 2016-01-23T16:26:29.440Z · LW · GW

Is that working under the assumption that normalizing is better for your health? I don't think that I would trust myself or my doctor to optimize supplements based simply on what I am low in.

For example, normal vit. D3 levels are often set by the healthy level for Caucasians, with the result that Asians with healthy, normal levels for their genotype are flagged as dangerously low. This is not something that you can assume that your doctor is aware of.

However, the tests would give you some starting points for research. Also, I suspect that most doctors are not likely to offer much more than a chem-20, which I think is pretty useful across populations (IANAD) -- but also is probably not what you are recommending.

Comment by Tem42 on Open thread, Jan. 18 - Jan. 24, 2016 · 2016-01-23T16:06:30.393Z · LW · GW

For many people who on their own homes it would actually be feasible to build or install a pit toilet. I do not know of anyone in America who has done so.

The cider-block idea sounds unstable... but I haven't tried it. However, it seems that it should be fairly easy to train your body to go just before you take a shower, assuming you take showers on a predictable schedule, thus solving the undressing inconvenience.

Comment by Tem42 on [Stub] Ontological crisis = out of environment behaviour? · 2016-01-16T18:31:25.968Z · LW · GW

This is why it is important for us to teach AIs to play games. We have a extensive tool set for practicing temporary rule-switching and goal-switching and we regularly practice counterfactual models with our children. It shouldn't be hard to do the same with an AI, if we just remember to do it.

Comment by Tem42 on List of techniques to help you remember names · 2015-12-22T03:19:15.749Z · LW · GW

Double-sided? How does that work?

Comment by Tem42 on Open thread, Dec. 21 - Dec. 27, 2015 · 2015-12-22T03:15:42.948Z · LW · GW

Another, much smaller, example.


Comment by Tem42 on Open thread, Dec. 21 - Dec. 27, 2015 · 2015-12-21T22:36:31.664Z · LW · GW

I don't think that anyone ever thought that paying the bank to hold your money was a theoretical impossibility -- paid checking accounts are not a new thing. What is supposed to be 'impossible' is for bank loans have a negative interest rate -- if the bank pays you to borrow money. Of course, even that was/is only 'impossible' with certain exceptions (specifically, deflation is bad for lenders; but they try to predict deflation, and try not to loan at a negative real rate).

Comment by Tem42 on Open thread, Dec. 21 - Dec. 27, 2015 · 2015-12-21T21:39:01.449Z · LW · GW

Here's an example that did not scale well: The New York Time Magazine: Paper Boys

Comment by Tem42 on Open thread, Dec. 14 - Dec. 20, 2015 · 2015-12-21T02:46:46.782Z · LW · GW

...using a definition that isn't used by the target...

I suspect you may be overestimating young childrens' critical thinking abilities. If daddy say X is "powerful medicine", then "powerful medicine" is defined as X.

Comment by Tem42 on Open thread, Dec. 14 - Dec. 20, 2015 · 2015-12-20T04:39:17.620Z · LW · GW

Rationality takes extra time and effort, and most people can get by without it. It is easier to go with the flow -- easier on your brain, easier on your social life, and easier on your pocketbook. And worse, even if you decide you like rationality, you can't just tune into the rationality hour on TV and do what they say -- you actually have to come up with your own rationality! It's way harder than politics, religion, or even exercise.

Comment by Tem42 on Agent-Simulates-Predictor Variant of the Prisoner's Dilemma · 2015-12-16T22:40:32.190Z · LW · GW

I think it demonstrates something stronger -- we have, as humans, already developed a game (Chicken) with very meaningful outcomes in which lower intelligence is beneficial, despite the fact that the humans in questions were not intending to select for low IQ and would not have seen a rock as a valid player.

If we are talking about Chicken we do not have to assume a rock (which has no preference), but simply a human with bad judgement, or slow reactions, or who is panicking.


I'm not sure what that proves.

Well, 'proof' aside, it demonstrates that:

stupidity can be an advantage

Among other apparently maladaptive responses.

Comment by Tem42 on Estimate the Cost of Immortality · 2015-12-15T21:23:37.580Z · LW · GW

It is just that until you explain HOW you organize this without ownership, it is impossible to determine how such a system without ownership compares to the current one.

To a a close approximation, the new system looks just like the old system, just without the paychecks. Assuming that workers know their value (big assumption), then the question becomes "to create the most Xyriking, should I do my job or change to a job producing Xyrikes?"

Caviar producers should change jobs; grain producers should not; salt producers should determine what exactly is meant by "temporarily" before making a decision.

Taking the hypothetical as it is given, I think it is fair to assume that no one will quit their job simply because it is unpleasant or because someone else could do it -- those don't really count as working together (or "pooling resources ... without worrying").

Human resources include skills like planning, logistics, common sense, and health and safety. Of course, it is possible that good planning skills are so limited that they must be devoted primarily to producing Xyrikes, and not keeping people healthy.

Comment by Tem42 on Estimate the Cost of Immortality · 2015-12-15T21:03:09.807Z · LW · GW

This is true -- but the example as given assumes no centrally managed economy. It's just a case of everyone independently deciding to maximize paperclips.

We have moved away from a complex allocation system to a simple one. It doesn't matter if you use money -- the relevant aspect of the situation is cooperation.

Of course, I may be reading to much into "everyone decides". But I'm assuming if they all 'decide' to do something because they have a gun to their head, then the downside is obvious.

Comment by Tem42 on Estimate the Cost of Immortality · 2015-12-14T22:26:02.974Z · LW · GW

Oh. I had assumed that "not planning for catering" fell in the "odd cases" category, but maybe I overestimate humans.

Comment by Tem42 on This year's biggest scientific achievements · 2015-12-14T22:22:43.329Z · LW · GW

I don't invent time travel for another 60 years. But I will get back to you in 2075.

On a more serious note, I wasn't wanting the deaths removed, just balanced.