In one notorious podcast episode, Sam Harris discussed identity politics with the very socially progressive Ezra Klein. Ezra made unsurprising appeal to consequences arguments, but what I want to talk about is one specific thing he said. He accused Sam of supporting an identity of his own, a reactionary identity of those marginalized by social … Continue reading Identity Politics (Sam Harris is Wrong, Part 5)
I've always thought that the exclamation mark is the perfect symbol for factorials. This is true across many different vectors. It is a bit complicated to explain what I mean, because each of those vectors deserves a deep exploration. So you will have to bear with me. You will ask yourself, "what do those topics … Continue reading Melodrama and Factorials
The second-ever post on this blog is about the question of malevolent AI. I will now revisit the question with more detail, having had time to refine my thoughts. I don't think the question of malevolent AI, more broadly, the "AI alignment problem," can be simply dismissed. If my view has changed at all since the last … Continue reading Malevolent Artificial Intelligence (Sam Harris is Wrong, Part 4)
Sometimes, I find a blog and have no idea where to start reading. The first post? The last post? The most popular post? This is a solution to that. That's too many links! Well don't get intimidated. It's not like you have to read everything. Just look around. Some of my good posts The order … Continue reading Just discovered this blog – what should I read?
I know I'm a day late to this, but here's something that's been annoyed me. Do me a favor. Go to this link, a Google image search for "vintage halloween costumes." Now, the black-and-white coloring may be a factor, and there's probably some selection bias. But those are some scary costumes. Now simply search for … Continue reading The quintessential problem of our day: halloween costumes aren’t scary enough
Harris fails to appreciate the narrative power of religion, or the importance of belief. Here is an excerpt from a debate between Harris and Jordan Peterson, moderated by Bret Weinstein. Harris: I'm not saying that stories aren't incredibly powerful and useful and inevitable... Peterson: You are. You might be saying that they're inevitable. But you … Continue reading Theism, atheism, and antitheism (Sam Harris is Wrong, Part 3)
Every boat is copied from another boat. . . . Let's reason as follows in the manner of Darwin. It is clear that a very badly made boat will end up at the bottom after one or two voyages and thus never be copied. . . . One could then say, with complete rigor, that … Continue reading Design vs Darwinism and “skin in the game”
This post will follow up on a previous one about anti-trust. In that post, I allege that the best (if not only) way to become aggressively rich — to have “passive income” — is to abuse some “barrier to entry.” A barrier to entry is essentially some leverage that makes it very difficult for someone else to compete with … Continue reading More about barriers to entry: How people get rich
See the image below. Imagine you start at the dot. Your job is to construct roads, in such a way to minimize the time spent traveling. It needs to be possible, starting at the dot, to arrive anywhere at the line. Here is the challenge: how do you construct the roads? If cost is not … Continue reading Tree structures, the last mile problem, fractals, and the inevitability of hierarchy
First of all, I think you should vote. Some people say, “I don’t vote because I don’t live in a swing state, so my vote doesn’t make a difference.” I find this to be a nonsensical reason for not voting, because your vote never makes a difference, whether you live in a swing state or … Continue reading Your vote will never matter. That’s why you should vote.