Matt Brooks

99Joined Nov 2021

Comments
22

I don't really have the time, skills, or contacts to make this happen, if you want to pick up the torch I would gladly pass it to you.

Tyler seems keen although worried about censors: https://twitter.com/tylercowen/status/1614402492518785025

It seems from the podcast he wanted to only release the book in Chinese (maybe especially at this point due to the decline in willingness for the west to work with China) but I'm not sure, maybe the book would help westerns understand China's culture as much as Chinese to understand the west. A lot of great power war-concerned EAs would probably buy the book to get a better insight.

If I had to guess, I don't think he needs help finding a translator or transcribing the book to an audiobook or any other particular singular task, I think it's bigger than that.

If we could get someone with contacts and backing like OpenPhil to say to Tyler "We will pay all costs to publish the book and assign a project manager to do all of the annoying bits for you" it seems harder for Tyler to turn down, but I'm just guessing.

Happy to chat more, if you'd like

From the way Tyler was talking about the book and topics, it did not seem to me like a politically controversial book "it was a book designed to explain America to the Chinese, and make it more explicable, more understandable". 

Or at least the controversial parts could be taken out if required and a lot of the value could remain. 

Though I covered a lot of basic differences across the economies, the policies, why are the economies different?

Why is there so little state ownership in America?

Why are so many parts of America so bad at infrastructure?

Why do Americans save less?

How is religion different in America?

Hey Robbert-Jan,

Sorry, somehow I missed your comment but saw it once Simon replied and I got a notification.

We're likely staying in the web2 world for now, but there is a chance we graduate to web3/crypto in the future.

Check out our website here: https://impactmarkets.io/ Join our Discord here: https://discord.gg/7zMNNDSxWv Read (or skim) our long EA post here: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/7kqL4G5badqjskYQs/toward-impact-markets-1

Hey Simon,

We've been funded by the FTX Future Fund regrantor program!

Check out our website here: https://impactmarkets.io/ Join our Discord here: https://discord.gg/7zMNNDSxWv Read (or skim) our long EA post here: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/7kqL4G5badqjskYQs/toward-impact-markets-1

I think this is really difficult to truly assess because there is a huge confounder. The more you age the worse your memory gets, your creativity decreases, your ability to focus decreases, etc., etc.

If all of that was fixed with anti-aging it may not be true that science progresses one funeral at a time because the people at the top of their game can keep producing great work instead of becoming geriatric while still holding status/power in the system.

Also, it could be a subconscious thing: "why bother truly investigating my beliefs at age 70, I'm going to die soon anyway, let me just continue with the inertia until I retire soon"

Also, this seems possible to fix with better institutional structures/incentives. Academia is broken in many ways, this is just one of them.

This is a good comment. I'd like to respond but it feels like a lot of typing... haha

 

but that’s not the same as seeing improvements in leaders’ quality

I just mean the world is trending towards democracies and away from totalitarianism.

 

It’s inherently easier to attain and keep power by any means necessary with zero ethics

Yes, but 100x easier? Probably not. What if the great minds have 100x the numbers and resources? Network effects are strong

 

There’s another asymmetry where it’s often easier to destroy/attack/kill than build something.

Same response as above

 

I think it’s ambiguous whether Putin supports your point. The world is in a very precarious situation now because of one tyrant.

My point is that the vast majority of the world immediately pushed back on Putin much harder than people thought. This backs up my trend that people are less tolerant of totalitarianism than they were 100 years ago. We are globally trying (and succeeding) to set stronger norms against inflicting violence and oppression.
 


Some personality pathologies like narcissism and psychopathy seem to be increasing lately, tracking urbanization rates and probably other factors.

I'm guessing it will be somewhat easier to reverse these trends in a less scarcity-based society in the future, especially when we have a better handle on mental health from all angles. And the increases are probably not enough to matter in the wider question of great minds vs dictators.

 

People can be “brilliant” on some cognitive dimensions but fail at defense against dark personality types. For instance, some otherwise brilliant people may be socially naive.

The great minds can just outnumber the dictators in numbers and in resources, but again network effects can fight against this because each individual person doesn't have to succeed against dictators, the whole global fight for good has to collectively succeed.

 

Outside of our EA bubble, it doesn’t look like the world is particularly sane or stable.

The world definitely seems to be trending towards saner and more stable though.

I agree, it feels like a stakesy decision! And I'm pretty aligned with longtermist thinking, I just think that "entire future at risk due to totalitarianism lock-in due to removing death from aging" seems really unlikely to me. But I haven't really thought about it too much so I guess I'm really uncertain here as we all seem to be.

"what year you guess it would first have been good to grant people immortality?"

I kind of reject the question due to 'immortality' as that isn't the decision we're currently faced with. (unless you're only interested in this specific hypothetical world). The decision we're faced with is do we speed up anti-aging efforts to reduce age-related death and suffering? You can still kill (or incapacitate) people that don't age, that's my whole point of the great minds vs. dictators.

But to consider the risks in the past vs today:

Before the internet and modern society/technology/economy it was much much harder for great minds to coordinate against evils in a global sense (thinking of the Cultural Revolution as you mentioned). So my "great-minds counter dictators" theory doesn't hold up well in the past but I think it does in modern times.

The population 200 years ago was 1/8 what is today and growing much slower so the premature deaths you would have prevented per year with anti-aging would have been much less than today so you get less benefit.

The general population's sense of morals and demand for democracy is improving so I think the tolerance for evil/totalitarianism is dropping fairly quickly.

So you'd have to come up with an equation with at least the following:
- How many premature deaths you'd save with anti-aging
- How likely and in what numbers will people, in general, oppose totalitarianism
- If there was opposition, how easily could the global good coordinate to fight totalitarianism
- If there was coordinated opposition would their numbers/resources outweigh the numbers/resources of totalitarianism
- If the coordinated opposition was to fail, how long would this totalitarian society last (could it last forever and totally consume the future or is it unstable?)

Of course, it would, but if you're reducing the risk of totalitarian lock-in from 0.4% to 0.39% (obviously made up numbers) by waiting 200 years I would think that's a mistake that costs billions of lives.

The thing that's hard to internalize (at least I think) is that by waiting 200 years to start anti-aging efforts you are condemning billions of people to an early death with a lifespan of ~80 years. 

You'd have to convince me that waiting 200 years would reduce the risk of totalitarian lock-in so much that it offsets billions of lives that would be guaranteed to "prematurely end".

Totalitarian lock-in is scary to think about and billions of people's lives ending prematurely is just text on a screen. I would assume that the human brain can easily simulate the everyday horror of a total totalitarian world. But it's impossible for your brain to digest even 100,000,000 premature deaths, forget billions and billions.

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