måndag 23 november 2015
onsdag 18 november 2015
måndag 16 november 2015
torsdag 12 november 2015
- You need a secure base. I need black-swan insurance. Belize is working for me now, gotta love the police here, but we're still pre-Singularity. If people like you and me are going to re-create the world, we may need a place where we can ride out transitional disruptions. Also, I don't see Greenland melting down before the Singularity, but if it does, nuclear weaponry could be utilized. We've backed away from nuclear-winter capability, but there could still be a nuclear autumn, a nuclear November, in which case the equator's where you want to be. Isolated valley in the center of an untargeted continent. Make sure you've got some comely young females, some spare parts, some goats and chickens. You can make the place cozy. I'd hate to have to join you there, but it could happen.
måndag 9 november 2015
lördag 7 november 2015
- Det handlar inte om att man inte har något att dölja, det handlar om att vi har något att förlora om vi hela tiden är övervakade. Det mänskliga, det som formar oss och gör att vi kan tänka och utvecklas, det som formar oss som individer.
Att säga att du inte bryr dig om rätten till integritet för att du inte har något att dölja är som att säga att du inte bryr dig om yttrandefriheten för att du inte har något att säga. Det är som att säga att du inte bryr dig om den fria pressen för att du inte är journalist. Eller religionsfriheten för att du inte är kristen. Rättigheter i ett samhälle är både kollektiva och individuella. Du kan inte ge bort minoriteters rättigheter även om du röstar som majoriteten.
- It is not obvious whether we should wish for better surveillance or less: it is not clear it is a force for good or evil in general. Surveillance can prevent or solve crimes, alert society to dangers, provide information for decision-making and so on. It can also distort our private lives, help crime, enable powerful authoritarian and totalitarian forces, and violate human rights. But there doesn’t seem to exist any knock-down argument that dominates the balance: in many cases messy empirical issues and the current societal context likely determines what we should wish for, did we know the full picture.
måndag 2 november 2015
- A discovery [of extraterrstrial life] would be of tremendous scientific significance. What could be more fascinating than discovering life that had evolved entirely independently of life here on Earth? Many people would also find it heartening to learn that we are not entirely alone in this vast cold cosmos.
But I hope that our Mars probes will discover nothing. It would be good news if we find Mars to be completely sterile. Dead rocks and lifeless sands would lift my spirit.
Conversely, if we discovered traces of some simple extinct life form - some bacteria, some algae - it would be bad news. If we found fossils of something more advanced, perhaps something looking like the remnants of a trilobite or even the skeleton of a small mammal, it would be very bad news. The more complex the life we found, the more depressing the news of its existence would be. Scientifically interesting, certainly, but a bad omen for the future of the human race.
- In summary, we still think that the intuition about the alarming effect of discovering extraterrestrial life expressed by Hanson (1998) and Bostrom (2008) has some appeal. In our Bayesian analysis, our first two priors (independent uniform, and independent log-uniform) support it. The third one (perfectly correlated log-uniform), however, contradicts it, and while we find the prior a bit too extreme to make a very good choice, this shows that some condition on the prior is needed to obtain qualitative conclusions about the effect on q of discovering extraterrestrial life.
A final word of caution: While a healthy dose of critical thinking regarding the choice of Bayesian prior is always to be recommended, the case for epistemic humility is especially strong in the study of the Fermi paradox and related "big questions". In more mainstream scientific studies, circumstances are often favorable, either through the existence of a solid body of independent evidence in support of the prior, or through the availability of sufficient amounts of data that one can reasonably hope that the effects of the prior are (mostly) washed out in the posterior. In the present setting we have neither, so all conclusions from the posterior should be viewed as highly tentative.