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Showing posts from 2014

Waiting for "God"

Preserving this because the comments section on H+ seems to have vanished.

Waiting for "God"

A lady lives along a flooded river. She takes her chair up to the roof as the rains continue to fall and the river keeps rising. A man in a jeep comes by and offers her a ride to safety. “God will save me” she replies. “I’m waiting for him.” Two hours later, the water is up to her windows. A couple in a boat see her and offer her a ride to safety. “I’m waiting for god” she answers. Four hours later, the water is up to her roof, the house is creaking, and a coast guard helicopter drops a basket to her. She waves them away. “I’m waiting for god!” she yells up to them until they finally shrug and fly away. After her house collapses, she drowns, and gets to heaven, she looks at God and asks “I was waiting for you, why did you never come?” God looks at her and says “I sent a jeep, a boat, and a helicopter, why didn’t you get on?” Replace god with “Singularity” “Friendly AI” “Benevolent superhum…

The Individual and the Collective Pt2

Last post we observed the dynamics of the collective in the terms of a small tribe, and indicated that at this size, things worked pretty well. That is not to say that error modes were not possible, but that when error modes arose, there were mechanisms in place to deal with those errors. Essentially, at this scale, the ability of individuals to veil their actions in a wall of secrecy did not exist. While it is certainly possible for the individual to lie, cheat, steal and deceive, such actions could only be carried out to a limited extent, and carried repercussions that were deleterious to that individuals long term well being. 
For example, let's say a farmer lied about the size of his crops. In a small tribe, it would be pretty obvious that he had lied, because many witnesses would exist who could refute his claims. His attempts to deceive would be transparent, and the repercussions of his deception harmful mostly to himself.
And I can hear some of you out there saying so what? …

The Individual and the Collective, Part One

Alright, this is in response to Sam's desire for a logical and rational debate, to quote: "From basis of ethics to specialization in politics/government is what I would love to get into. You make some statements I don't know how you support like ones implying the only reason we don't all have plenty now is because evil people are taking it away from us or keeping it from us. Or your statements against free markets. I would like to see your development of those positions from first principles."

So, let's start from "First principles."

Principle 1: Humanity is an animal. As an animal it is driven by primal instincts. These instincts can be viewed as 2 separate interacting drives. The first drive is to survive. The second drive is to reproduce. These two interacting drives underlay all human activity, and together can explain the majority of human activity. Principle 2: Both survival and reproductive instincts are necessary, desirable, and vital to our …