Set Sail For Fail? On AI risk

Summary Existential risk due to artificial intelligence (hereafter AI risk) is worth taking seriously A common reason why it is not taken seriously is that arguments or scenarios that illustrate the risks from AI contain many "sci-fi" elements that many consider highly implausible, like developing advanced nanotechnology overnight. All critiques that completely reject, or seem to reject, AI risk are flawed. There is value in writing compelling concrete cases for AI risk Near the end of this …

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OpenPhil's report on the social returns to research. Seems about right. Themes in Elon Musk's emails Don't be dumb Talk to each other clearly Self-management Micromanagement is good How common is independent discovery? Pick a discovery or innovation at random, and the probability it has much in the way of built-in redundancy is probably pretty small. I think it is quite plausible that for most papers or patents, if you erased them from history, no one else would independently reproduce the work in the ne…

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For those diet coke drinkers among you, yes aspartame is perfectly fine. It probably is not some kind of secret nootropic either. IVF is a procedure commonly associated with infertility treatments as a last resort option. It is also a requirement if one wants to do any embryo screening. There's a small rabbithole to be explored (I didn't fully go into it) of potential adverse effects of IVF: it might increase in risk of cerebral palsy among others, which could defeat the point of the screening itself (Excep…

On Reboot's Ineffective Altruism

I've seen "Ineffective Altruism" used a couple of times to poke fun at EAs. I remember the first time I saw the phrasing I jumped to some state inbetween of amused and confused. Ineffective Altruism sounds jocular (who would oppose something effective!) so what must be going on is a reaction to the EA aesthetic or specific definitions of "effectiveness". That in turn of course leads us to ask what that alternative effectiveness might be. Or is it a reaction against not so much EA but spe…

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Unsurprisingly, human capital matters more than buildings for scientific output. Also, some evidence for the Newton hypothesis. Equipment Supply Shocks. And how Steve Jobs got a law changed to be able to get every school in California a computer. Inside Fast's (An apparel company larping as a payments company) rapid collapse Using ML to design hardware for specific NN architecture. Interesting as well how the authors paid attention to economics (considering engineering salaries, semiconductor manufacturing …

New Science's NIH report: highlights

New Science just published an excellent report on the NIH, both a good primer for those curious about how the world's premier science funding institution works as well as an essay packed with insights that go beyond the obvious. A recent theme of my latest few essays is the key importance of tacit knowledge in many contexts, and in science reform in particular. I noted elsewhere that the claim "the HHMI funds better researchers than NIH in aggregate" was generally believed to be true until Azoula…