DanielFilan

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Comments for shorter Cold Takes pieces

I haven't heard much in the way of specific proposals for how the existing "system" could be fundamentally reformed, other than explicitly socialist and Marxist proposals such as the abolition of private property, which I don't support.

More right-wing flavoured versions that you could run into include flavours of anarcho-capitalism (see e.g. The Machinery of Freedom and The Problem of Political Authority) and Hansonian proposals such as futarchy and private criminal law enforcement.

Clarifying the Petrov Day Exercise

Perhaps the idea is that it should be a symbolic reminder that trusted community members could do bad things, rather than evidence for that proposition?

Clarifying the Petrov Day Exercise

But if you actually should press the button, and do so because you correctly understand why you should, then people shouldn't learn the lesson "people will do wild crazy stuff out of misunderstandings or malice", because that won't be what happened.

Clarifying the Petrov Day Exercise

It seems like you are successfully signalling your lack of interest without blowing up LessWrong!

Clarifying the Petrov Day Exercise

Doing so, especially as a "trusted community member", would hammer home the danger of well intentioned unilateralists in the way an essay can't, and I think that idea is important.

It seems to me that either the decision to push the button is net negative, and you shouldn't do it, or it isn't, and if you do it people should learn the lesson "people in my community will do helpful net-positive things". There's something strange about the reasoning of "if I do X, people will realize that people do things like X for reasons like Y, even tho I would not be doing it for reasons like Y" (compare e.g. "I will lie about Santa to my child because that will teach them that other people in the world aren't careful about only communicating true things", which I am similarly suspicious of).

DanielFilan's Shortform

Presumably if some crime is deterred by these rules, which would leave the $3bn an under-estimate of the benefit.

I'd imagine that the crime deterred can't be too much more than $3bn worth - altho perhaps if you steal $x, the social cost is much larger than $x.

DanielFilan's Shortform

Sounds like if you could cheaply get rid of anti-money-laundering laws, this would be pretty effective altruism:
> Necessarily applying a broad brush, the current anti-money laundering policy prescription helps authorities intercept about $3 billion of an estimated $3 trillion in criminal funds generated annually (0.1 percent success rate), and costs banks and other businesses more than $300 billion in compliance costs, more than a hundred times the amounts recovered from criminals.
Found at this Marginal Revolution post.

DanielFilan's Shortform

To be explicit, here are some reasons that the EA community should cancel Kaczynski. Note that I do not necessarily think that they are sound or decisive.
- EAs are known as utilitarians who are concerned about the impact of AI technology. By associating with him, that could give people the false impression that EAs are in favour of terroristic bombing campaigns to retard technological development, which would damage the EA community.
- His threat to bomb more people and buildings if the Washington Post (WaPo) didn't publish his manifesto damaged good discourse norms by inducing the WaPo to talk about something it wasn't otherwise inclined to talk about, and good discourse norms are important for effective altruism.
- It seems to me (not having read the manifesto) that the policies he advocates would cause large amounts of harm. For instance, without modern medical technology, I and many others would not have survived to the age of one year.
- His bombing campaign is evidence of very poor character.

DanielFilan's Shortform

Ted Kaczynski as a relatively apolitical test case for cancellation norms (x-posted from LW, I'd link but the shortform post editor won't really let me):

Ted Kaczynski was a mathematics professor who decided that industrial society was terrible, and waged a terroristic bombing campaign to foment a revolution against technology. As part of this campaign, he wrote a manifesto titled "Industrial Society and Its Future" and said that if a major newspaper printed it verbatim he would desist from terrorism. He is currently serving eight life sentences in a "super-max" security prison in Colorado.

My understanding is that his manifesto (which, incidentally, has been updated and given a new title "Anti-Tech Revolution: Why and How", the second edition of which was released this year) is lucid and thought-out. Here are some questions the answers to which are not obvious to me:
- Should anybody read "Industrial Society and Its Future", given its origin?
- Suppose an EA group wrote to Kaczynski in prison, asking him to write a letter about opposition to technology to be read aloud and discussed in an EA meetup, and he complied. Would it have been unacceptable for the EA group to do this, and should it be unacceptable for the EA group to hold this meetup?

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