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Themes

Here are the main series I'm planning so far. As I put things up, I will update this page to link to the pieces that have received the most "likes." (Note, though, that I'm the only person with access to the "like" button for this blog.)

  • Most Important Century series. A series of ~10 pieces laying out the case that the 21st century has a high probability of being the "most important" for humanity via the development of transformative AI. This includes discussions of why it looks like we might soon (in the next few decades) develop AI that can dramatically accelerate scientific and technological development, and discussions of why that in turn could lead to a radically different world (in particular, via mind uploading).
  • Has the world improved over time? A series on whether life has gotten better over time and how we should think about the "state of nature."
  • Searching for Atlantis. A series asking mostly, "Is the world doing something wrong, compared to the past, w/r/t innovation?" I emphasize "doing something wrong," not "slowing down" - most discussions online are explicitly about whether innovation is slowing down, but I want to address whether this is about something "going wrong" or just inevitable.¬†"Atlantis" refers to the idea of a past, advanced civilization, now lost.
  • Applied epistemology. Some posts about "how to decide what to believe." These¬† will include my take on the pros and cons of "explicit Bayesian reasoning" (literally writing down probabilities and values for use in decision making), on how to balance "thinking for oneself" with trusting experts and others, and on how far one should take "self-skepticism" (doubting one's own beliefs).
  • Utilitarian ethics. I'm going to lay out the best case I know for a "hardcore utilitarian" approach to ethics - the basic philosophy-based case for "a large # of small benefits to people can outweigh even a huge harm," "helping enough animals could be better than helping humans," and "reducing risk of extinction, leading to more people getting to exist, could be better than either of those." I'm also going to talk about the weaknesses in this case.

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